Late in the summer of 2017 my husband & I bought a 118 year old house in Indiana on the outskirts of a town of 750 people: the town where he was born & raised but had left 18 years prior. The house had decades of ugly slapped about with no thought to the age of the old girl. There was no consistency throughout: every room in the house was a bright, ugly color… except the kitchen. That was dark brown with black appliances, dark brown counters – none of which sat straight or were secured properly. And an oven that sat over the only heating & cooling duct in the whole kitchen. In part, it was ugly & dark. So this summer, we transformed it. This is our kitchen makeover…
For those of you who have undertaken renovations you’ll know it’s not for the faint hearted. When done well & as you pictured (or better), it’s worth the blood, sweat, tears & money it takes to transform your home. We are doing all the renovations ourselves. ALL of them. Thank GOD I married a smart & talented man.
This is our kitchen we finished in the summer amidst power outages, ungodly heat, a dying puppy & a very overworked husband. The dark cabinetry & appliances with the tomato soup red walls, made the rather spacious, open kitchen so dark we nicknamed it “the cave”. I’ve always loved the idea of open shelving, so popular in my country, so one of the first things we did was remove all the upper cabinets & a giant bank of cabinetry on the opposite wall that loomed like Roman pillars. We flipped those cabinets upside down – turning the top into bottom cabinets, adding a counter to them & repurposing the remainder in the garage & laundry.
As we’d done throughout the whole house, the layers & layers of flooring that had been put on the original hardwood floor were removed. The kitchen had nine, NINE layers of flooring. This small patch shown here, took my hubby two hours to remove before he bought a bigger tool. (There’s a joke in there somewhere I’m sure.)
There was quite a lot of space that wasn’t utilized for kitchen counters so we moved the oven to where a pony wall had been poorly installed, removing the wall & building a kitchen counter-height wall that was secure & level. We added a Whirlpool gas oven, relocating the oven from where the previous owners had it blocking the heating & cooling duct.
For the first five months after the reno we were island free but the space was big enough for a skinny island so we bought a marble slab & my hubby made an island for extra storage & somewhere to sit, graze & sip on cocktails right in the kitchen. One can never have too much counter space.
I cook for a living so I wanted easy access to my knives, utensils & such that I use all the time. This piece of wall right next to the oven proved perfect for that & it’s where I spend most of my time when I’m in the kitchen, which is a lot.
We added shiplap on three walls. And industrial looking shelving. The wood we scored from a sawmill & the pipes we bought at Home Depot & painted them black. Eventually we’ll get a range hood for over the oven. It’s so good cooking with gas again after using electric for several years. It’s my favourite means of cooking. We kept the dishwasher in its original location but updated what was there was a whisper-quiet, stainless steel inside, Whirlpool that we love. If you can love an appliance.
Which clearly I can because I love this French door fridge: also a Whirlpool. We opted with the same brand for all our appliances. Whirlpool is assembled in the US, was reasonably priced, had what were were looking for & all the appliances have a cohesive look. Having French doors on the fridge meant not having one giant door opening out into the space which allowed us to have a small island. I also love there’s a giant bottom drawer in the fridge. And the stainless just cleans with windex or other kitchen spray cleaner. I love stainless & don’t find it hard to clean or keep clean.
We opted for stainless counters: they’re easy to clean & sanitary, you can buff the scratches out of them, they’re smooth which is wonderful for rolling pastry & my hubby works with stainless steel. I sanitize them & then spray them with stainless spray to keep them looking nice.
Initially we’d opted for a white farmhouse sink but I often cook with cast iron pots & pans & I’ve had a white farmhouse sink before & those pans are rough on it. I love the look of the stainless sink. It’s huge. There’s not one pan I have that won’t completely fit in the sink.
For the tap I wanted just a plain black industrial looking faucet combo. And for the lights we opted for something you could see through so not to block the view because they hang down right in front of all three windows. The light cages we bought at Lowe’s. The tap I bought online.
I love the stainless name my hubby made me a couple of years ago. Perfect in our kitchen.
I abhor dragging appliances from the depths of my cabinets when I need to use them. Lucky enough to have the counter space, we chose to have the appliances I use most often on a baking station we created – out, where they’re easy to get to. We also added a pantry where once was wasted space.
My hubby built receptacles for the garbage, recycling & microwave. He also enclosed the fridge. Nothing says “unfinished” in a kitchen than the fridge free floating in the middle of the room.
We bought a spray gun & my hubby sprayed the kitchen cupboards with the same white patio & floor paint we have the floors in the kitchen & throughout our house painted. Durable & easy to clean it’s excellent paint. We replaced the cabinetry hardware with black cast iron knobs & handles I bought online. And we opted for no window treatment for a clean look. The fairy lights I have here & there about the house permanently. I love their touch of whimsy.
What matters most about the kitchen is we love it. I find it very easy & enjoyable to cook in. It’s well organized & laid out. It was a real labor of love – my hubby did almost all the work, I just designed it. It’s a place to gather, share stories & create memories. Five months on, I still walk out each morning & marvel at how it turned out, forever grateful.