Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kitchen Renovation: Week Three

We finally made it to week 3 of our kitchen renovation. Weeks 1 and 2 went by surprisingly fast, especially since week 2 was mostly just a waiting game. See the details on week 1 here and week 2 here.
Week 3 was full of exciting steps towards a finished kitchen. Check out week 3's progress day by day:
Day 11 - Surprise, countertops!
We didn't have anything on the schedule until Wednesday (Day 13 of the renovation), when the countertops were supposed to be installed so you can imagine my surprise when the project manager called mid morning Monday to let me know countertops had been installed. I couldn't wait to see them! They also installed our under mount double sink so that was a nice bonus. Having the granite in early also meant the rest of the schedule could move up, meaning we might actually finish earlier, which is definitely exciting when you're in the middle of a renovation. Check out the countertops - aren't they gorgeous?
Kitchen Renovation 
Kitchen Renovation
Day 12 - Fancy faucet:
Day 12 brought us the installation of our fancy new faucet. You would probably be surprised at how hard of a decision a faucet fixture was. There are plenty like what we chose - the single piece with integrated handle and detachable head for flexibility and spray functions - and they each had a style of their own. We ended up agreeing on this model after debating several options. Who knew a faucet could be so complicated?
Check out the new faucet: 
Kitchen renovation project
We also had a disposal installed, which we didn't have previously. I'm so happy to get rid of the little mesh drain "catcher" we'd been sporting since we bought the house so we didn't send food down the drain by accident. I hated that thing!
Day 13 - Back Splash Fun:
Remember all the back splash ideas I shared (see them here) when we were planning and picking finishes for our renovation? Now you get to find out what we chose! Drum roll please......we went with a herringbone pattern using smooth subway tile! Here is the inspiration for that:
Herringbone tile pattern
 We wanted something with a little modern flair that wasn't overly busy since we already have a bright orange kitchen. We also wanted to keep it light since we have the dark cabinets, so the herringbone pattern in a creamy subway tile was the perfect fit. Installation was scheduled to take 2 days, but the tile crew finished in 1...another day taken off the schedule was fine with us!
Isn't the herringbone backsplash beautiful?
Herringbone tile pattern
Here's a close up of the detail:
Herringbone tile pattern
Day 14 - Shiny, New Appliances:
Day 14 marked the beginning of a civilized kitchen again: Our new appliances were installed and we were ecstatic. As part of the renovation, we opted to get new appliances. What we had inherited when we purchased our home were old, dated, but functioning at least. We felt new appliances were the icing on the cake of our new kitchen. After a lot of research (Consumer Reports became our best friend.), we chose Samsung appliances. Their refrigerators rank very high as do the other pieces, so it was a fairly straightforward decision for us.

We love the custom built-in refrigerator:
Kitchen renovation project
 We also opted to do an above-the-range microwave instead of a countertop unit. We'd had an above-the-range microwave in our first home and loved it. Part of the reason was it really opened up a lot of extra counter space, so it was an easy decision to add one during our renovation.
Kitchen renovation project

Kitchen renovation project

Day 15 - Ceiling Painting & Lights:
When we swapped our fluorescent fixtures for recessed lighting, it left some nice holes in the ceiling. These were patched but the ceiling needed to be repainted so it all matched. That was done on day 15. We also opted to add one more recessed light at the far end of the kitchen, just past the refrigerator. It was like a sad, dark black hole before we added the additional recessed light.
Kitchen renovation: recessed lights
We also were really excited to see our new eat-in kitchen fixture installed. We loved the design of it and felt it was a nice fit with the other finishes in the kitchen. It also was just a relief to get rid of the existing fixture - let me remind you of the original fixture so you can really appreciate the new one. Original fixture:
And the new fixture:
Eat-in kitchen light fixture
 Big change huh? We love the new fixture. We'll be donating the original fixture. Someone will love it I'm sure. Maybe a diy-er will think of something amazing to transform it.

Well that wrapped up week 3. What did you think was the most impressive change? Countertops? Back splash? New appliances?

Stay tuned for a reveal of the entire refinished kitchen very soon!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Kitchen Renovation: Week Two

Last week I posted about week 1 of our kitchen renovation - check it out here. It was pretty amazing to both Will and me just how much a few days of small changes made. Getting rid of the fluorescent fixtures and replacing with recessed lights, swapping the pantry and refrigerator placement and adding cabinet moulding all seem like small changes separately but together they equal some major change. We're loving seeing our kitchen renovation dreams become reality!
Week 2 was the waiting game though. Nothing else can happen until our granite countertops are installed, which is scheduled for next week. The first week the granite company came and templated the countertops so everything will fit perfectly, but it takes awhile to get it cut to fit.
So during the waiting game, I had several of these:
Bagel Pizzas
Bagel pizzas! It's like Bagel Bites for adults. They're toaster friendly which is perfect when you don't have appliances, and you can top them with whatever you're in the mood for (olives and pepperonis in my case). I used whole wheat bagels to make them a little healthier. One piece of advice though: They turn out better when you lightly toast them before topping them--it prevents sogginess.
Next week will be more exciting - granite countertops will be installed, the mystery back splash will be revealed and you'll get to see which fancy faucet we chose (That's overwhelming by the'd expect it to be so simple, but there are so many choices.) Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kitchen Renovation: Week One

Last week I posted about our kitchen renovation and the prep to get ready for it - more on that here. I'm excited to share the progress so far! I hope you'll follow along with the updates. Week one included a lot of exciting changes, even though it left us with no countertops, appliances or a sink. Get a glimpse into the planner that I am - see the dishes I made to prep for the renovation here.

Here's what you've been waiting for - a run down of the changes by day along with some fun progress pictures of course.
Day 1 - Load out:
Appliances were taken out and the countertops and back splash were also removed. The "back splash" was more of a lack of a back splash. It was a piece of cream colored laminate (matching the countertops) glued to the wall between the upper and lower cabinets. We're pretty excited to be rid of that and be replacing it with a real back splash. The counters were cream Formica/laminate and every drop of coffee, wine, pasta sauce etc. immediately stained them before you could even wipe it up. Although we learned that a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser worked magic on those little stains, we won't miss the counters. Check out our sad, bare kitchen (and note the glow from the fluorescent lights):
Kitchen renovation
Day 2 - Lights!
Day 2 brought removal of our 2 fluorescent light fixtures, which were replaced with 6 recessed lights. This may seem like a small change, but it made such a difference to us! We'd had issues with flickering lights in the fluorescent fixtures, and didn't particularly enjoy the ambiance the fluorescent lights gave off. They were popular for kitchens when our kitchen was built about 20 years ago, and for years before that, but it was time for change. Check out the new lights: 
Kitchen renovation

Day 3 - Cabinet face lift time:
Day 3 brought the most dramatic change so far - a few cabinet modifications and the addition of moulding to our cabinets. In thinking about new appliances for our kitchen, before we enlisted the help of our design firm, we were running into an issue with a new modern-sized refrigerator fitting where our existing one resided. Ours was older, and apparently a good bit smaller than current models. There was a cabinet above the refrigerator that limited the height, and there wasn't much room available for a wider refrigerator in the current spot. Our design firm had the innovative idea to switch the placement of the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet. It wasn't an idea we'd even imagined but swapping the two fit our layout well and allowed extra room for a slightly wider refrigerator. It didn't mess with the flow of the kitchen either, which was a big consideration for us. The plan is to raise up the cabinet above the refrigerator and also bring it forward a bit. Along with that, it is getting a built-in look as it will be encased with cabinet panels matching our existing cabinetry. We knew it would be a very custom look, which we loved.
With the renovation, we also are adding an above-the-range microwave. We had one in our first house and loved the extra counter space it gave us (you can never have enough of that, you know). That change meant we needed to move the cabinet above the microwave up, so this was taken care of on day 3 as well.
Along with those swaps and modifications, our design firm recommended adding moulding to our existing cabinets. We knew this would really kick it up a notch making our kitchen look a lot higher end. That change really exceeded our expectations. We are loving these changes!
What you can't see here is that the granite company came out and templated the kitchen countertops once the pantry and refrigerator homes were swapped. We'll be playing the waiting game for the granite to be cut because it takes up to 10 business days and unfortunately, nothing else can happen until it's installed.
Check out the pictures of day 3's impressive changes: 
Kitchen renovation
The pantry in its new home:
Kitchen renovation
The cabinet raised for the above-the-range microwave:
Kitchen renovation 
The custom-built cabinet to house the refrigerator, in its new home:
Kitchen renovation
That was it for week one. We love the progress and the outcome of these few days. It's amazing to see something we've been dreaming of for the last 2 1/2 years in motion and we can't wait to see more progress. Are you as amazed as we are at how these simple changes make such an impact?
Next up, sheet rock patching, countertop and back splash installation, more lighting...there's plenty more to come! Stay tuned! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Prepping for our Kitchen Renovation

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Will and I are starting a kitchen renovation - more on that here. I was debating on back splash with so many options and creative ideas out there. We've decided on that along with what felt like a million other little decisions, but it's finally time to start the renovation. It's something we've had our eye on ever since we looked at this house, so we're just a little bit giddy right now.

When we moved in, the kitchen was wallpapered in an over sized floral print. We had that removed and chose this fun orange shade of paint to replace it. It certainly isn't everyone's taste and was a little risky, but we love it. We also changed out hardware on the cabinets but that's all we've done as far as the kitchen goes.
We are keeping our cabinets and our floors, but that's about it. In preparation, we had to remove everything from our lower cabinets...and everything is a LOT of stuff when you think about it. Ever packed a kitchen in preparation to move? That is the room that always takes the longest, right? We loaded it all into boxes and moved it into it's temporary home, our nearby dining room. The bright side is it gave us a really good opportunity to clean out and get rid of some items we never use and some we didn't even realize we had.
Here are a few shots of our kitchen before everything started:
Kitchen before renovation 
Kitchen before renovation
And I have to show you a close-up shot of the ever-so-lovely fixture in our eat-in kitchen:
Pre-renovation light fixture
It's a real beauty, right? I can't explain how excited we are to get rid of this thing! It's an eye sore and barely lights the casts more shadows than anything. There's a major improvement coming, I promise!
We'll have almost a month of no appliances, other than the refrigerator which will have a temporary home in our eat-in kitchen area (I am so thankful for that!). I'll be mastering the art of microwave, toaster oven and gas grill cooking. In preparation, I had a busy few hours of cooking so we'd have some healthy and tasty options. The dishes I chose to make are all either freezer or refrigerator (for the first week), and microwave friendly dishes. I've actually shared 2 of them here. The first is jambalaya; see it here.
Jambalaya recipe
The second is Chicken Tortilla Soup; see it here.
Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe
And the last is a double batch of chili - I haven't shared it yet, but I will sometime soon. All three are simple one-pot wonders (you know I love those by now thanks to those posts as well as this one).
To make the renovation period a little easier, I've also invested in microwavable paper plates and bowls, plastic cups (they're recyclable!) and plastic silverware (also recyclable) since washing dishes in the bathroom doesn't sound especially fun. I was surprised at how much of each of those things mentioned above I actually already had when we emptied out our lower cabinets in preparation. I guess all those parties, dinners, and other miscellaneous get togethers over the years meant we ended up with a lot of mismatched "party ware" so there wasn't too much to even buy. Nice surprise.
I think we're ready for the renovation now...wish us luck! I can't wait to share pictures of the progress and the finished product. Stay tuned - updates to come soon!