Kitchen Reveal

Does a house renovation really ever end? If you've had any experience with renovating, you're probably answering with a disgusted, "NO!"

We definitely do not feel like our project is complete because of those "finishing touches" that drag on and on. If you're optimistic like my husband, finishing touches are fun because of the progress, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you're an average Debbie Downer like me, finishing touches are frustrating because 1) money, 2) time, and 3) if you need a worker or contractor to come in, you have to figure out a time for them to come, hope they show up when they say they will (since August, we've been at about 3 for 10), and then you have to clean up after them. Despite the stress and frustration, we've had some really hardworking trades, and we feel so at home here even though it's somewhat incomplete.

Out of the entire house, our kitchen by far took on the the biggest change. It used to be a tight 8-ish by 4 foot galley kitchen in the middle of the house and made the rest of our home feel very compartmentalized (see this post), but now our kitchen is located in the front of the house and is more open and much larger. We even still have a couple of empty drawers and cabinets!

Do I have any regrets with the kitchen? Aside from installation problems with our backsplash tiles, no. However, I was on the fence with the tiles after installation. I originally wanted white tiles, but some people convinced me otherwise because of the size of the kitchen and the white cabinets and counter top. Since white was out, I was on the hunt for a clean, bright color that was still kind of subtle, and online these tiles looked like a great option. They're from Cle Tile, and the sample tiles we received had a brighter hue to them, whereas our entire order was more gray with just a few bright pieces, so I felt a little bummed at first, but they've really grown on me. I love the tiles' organic look and how none of them are alike. Now that I see the "finished" (haha) product, I'm glad we didn't choose white. With the kitchen being such a wide space and the bright natural light coming in, I think my eyes would hurt.

Well, here is our mostly finished, spacious, airy, and open kitchen. We really feel it reflects our style and is the perfect space for how we function in the kitchen. See my notes below each photo for where some of the finishes and products came from (nothing in this post is sponsored - I'm too small for that).

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Originally, this entire space was a sunken living room. We had it filled with some planks as opposed to cement so there wouldn't be any bubbles in the new flooring. When you step in the kitchen, you hear a slight echo through the floor. It might sound strange, but I like that sound. It reminds me of what this room used to look like and how much it has changed. The pendant lights are from Schoolhouse Electric, the cabinet pulls are from CB2, and the stools are from a good ol' Minnesota garage sale.

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The rug on the left is from West Elm and is part of our dining room. Photos from that space will come soon! Also, I spy a lifetime supply of rice.

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Styling the shelves was a struggle for me. They were empty for a few months until Ikea came out with some fancy new glasses and mugs. The floating shelves are from Target, the wire baskets are from Anthropologie, and the lemons are from our tree. Please pardon my sad looking basil plant.

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All of our major appliances are from Samsung in stainless steel black. And may I just say how efficiently designed this fridge is? I don't mean energy-wise but space-wise. The shelving inside the fridge is so functional. The space between the shelves is much shorter than your average fridge which weirded me out at first, but I realized that 95% of the food we store in the fridge is not that tall. There's still enough space for taller items like cartons of milk and 2 liter bottles of LaCroix. That would be a dream come true.

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Our faucets are from Delta in Champagne Bronze, and yes, our sink is black! It's a composite quartz Elkay single bowl from Home Depot. It's nice because it disguises stains and scratches but is deceiving because you don't think you need to clean it as often. There's something to add to my New Year's resolution.

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During the week, our island often gets piled on with mail, used containers from lunch, and CostCo receipts. But when it's clean and has some small decor in the middle (love eucalyptus branches), I feel invited to cook and bake and experiment with recipes. That's really how I feel about our kitchen in general - invited to come, be creative, and be ourselves.

Have you renovated a room in your home? Do you have any regrets, or are you completely happy with the outcome?

Progress Update: Layout and Kitchen

It’s been several weeks since demolition has started on our new house and about time I document the work so far. If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ve seen a lot of the work that our contractors and their guys have been doing. It has been so exciting yet scary. There's a lot of time, money, and emotion going into this house. I'm so glad that we've hired a project manager and contractors to do the work for us. Hiring people can be a daunting task, but lucky for us, our people are confident and professional, at least so far.

When we first bought our house, we just wanted to update and relocate the kitchen. It was a small galley style kitchen right in the middle of the house (see the "Before demo" graphic and photos below). It made the living, dining, and family rooms feel small and compartmentalized. So we thought we could just move the kitchen to one of the corners of the family room. However, relocating the kitchen turned out to be much more work than we thought. It would involve removing walls, moving plumbing and electrical, pushing HVAC up, redoing the floors and more. 

When it came to choosing the right spot for the kitchen, our designer showed us that the front of the house (originally the sunken living room) provided the maximum amount of space versus one of the corners of the family room. Kelvin and I love to cook, so the bigger the kitchen, the better! We just needed to raise the sunken living room floor. Additionally, we are turning the family room into the living room and putting the dining room in the middle of the whole space. We want it to feel clean and open.

Layout Changes - Before and After!

Here are my sketches of the house's original and new layouts (not to scale) with actual photos below. I am by no means a graphic designer, so no judging now. :D (And learn from my mistake and take before and after photos from the same angles.. argh!)

Before demo: Original layout of our house

Before demo: Original layout of our house

After demo: New open layout! (Kitchen cabinets and appliances have not been installed yet)

After demo: New open layout! (Kitchen cabinets and appliances have not been installed yet)

Before demo: Family Room (from the right)

Before demo: Family Room (from the right)

After demo: Family Room (from the left)

After demo: Family Room (from the left)

Before demo: Kitchen (from the left)

Before demo: Kitchen (from the left)

After demo: Kitchen is no longer in the middle of the house (from the right.) So long, closed off kitchen!

After demo: Kitchen is no longer in the middle of the house (from the right.) So long, closed off kitchen!

Before demo: Sunken living room, soon to be kitchen

Before demo: Sunken living room, soon to be kitchen

After demo: Future kitchen space - you can see the layout of cabinets, stove, oven, etc. written on the wall. The floor is being filled in! 

After demo: Future kitchen space - you can see the layout of cabinets, stove, oven, etc. written on the wall. The floor is being filled in! 

Kitchen Finishes

Previously, I posted about kitchen design but had a very difficult time picking out a backsplash. It was genuinely a struggle for me, but I learned a lot in the process and in the near future will post some different ways you can choose the right tile. We recently finalized and ordered a lot of the finishes, so here is what we are going with. Click the links at the bottom to see the sources.

one - two - three - four (similar) - five (similar) - six - seven - eight - nine (similar) - ten (similar)

Are you doing or have you done any home renovation projects? What kind of work have you done? Home projects can be exciting and scary all at the same time. I'd love to read about your experiences.

Renovation Plans: Kitchen Finishes and Backsplash Options

The time has come! Last week, we closed on our new house and met with our designer to pick out the fun stuff! By fun stuff, I mean flooring, counter tops, etc. And yes, we are working with an amazing designer not because we have oodles of money to spend (her services are very affordable), but because we have no clue what we're doing and want to do this the right way. 

Here we are in front of our new house, which you can't really see in these photos, or in real life, because it's hidden by shrubs.

Inside, the kitchen/living layout is pretty compartmentalized with a galley style kitchen in the middle of the house. (Check back for a post about that later!) We're opening up the kitchen/dining/living space and moving the kitchen to the front of the house.

The kitchen finishes are the most exciting part for me. Below are similar finishes to what we plan to use in our new kitchen. Click the photos to see where these products are from. We're aiming for a clean contemporary feel that's still soft and airy. 

Flooring - this is linked to hardwood, but we're planning to do porcelain tile that looks similar to this.

Flooring - this is linked to hardwood, but we're planning to do porcelain tile that looks similar to this.

Drawer pulls

Drawer pulls

Countertop

Countertop

Island color?

Island color?

Kitchen pendants?

Kitchen pendants?

Could I just say that picking out a backsplash is exciting but so tormenting? For me, it's one of those decisions that feels next to deciding what to do for the rest of your life, which is not a decision that often "just feels right." I was only interested in a couple different countertops and flooring types and wanted white cabinets. Those were easy to choose. But backsplash? Where does one even begin? I love white subway tiles, but our designer believes we should steer clear of all white in the kitchen. I'm fine with all white, but I also trust our designer since we are going for something that will add a little more visual interest. We picked out a back splash when meeting with our designer on Friday, but I think I picked it out just for the sake of picking something (I couldn't find a picture of it online, otherwise I'd post it here). It's kind of a funky take on subway tiles, but I feel like it's just not me. So, since meeting with our designer last week, I've been scrounging through beautiful tiles online but have had great difficulty finding the right one.

Here are a few I'm interested in but still unsure of:

This is so pretty when arranged vertically! I'm nervous of how it'd go with the island color.

This is so pretty when arranged vertically! I'm nervous of how it'd go with the island color.

Not sure how this one would go with the counter top

Not sure how this one would go with the counter top

Not sure about this one. I like geometric stuff, but this might be too math-y for me.

Not sure about this one. I like geometric stuff, but this might be too math-y for me.

    Favorite, but it's white

    Favorite, but it's white

Any advice on picking out "the one" backsplash? Are there any good quality and affordable tile sources you know of?

Help. Please!