This is our kitchen! It’s all done! Do you remember what it looked like last time I showed pictures? Take a look here for a walk down memory lane (and this is where we started when we first bought the house – oy vey!).
I’m really happy with the way it all turned out. We had originally planned on putting up shelves all around the kitchen, on all the walls, but once we had been living here a while we decided to only put shelves up on the back wall for a couple of reasons. For one, we had gotten used to not having any storage above the counters and realized we didn’t actually need the space as much as we had once thought. Living with less, that’s been our theme (and it’s felt so good!). Secondly, we really felt like it would keep the kitchen feeling more open if we kept the other walls bare. And that open feeling was very important to us.
The floating shelves were a bit of an “issue.” Our first contractor wouldn’t do what I wanted. He insisted that I HAD to have decorative brackets that would be seen and I had to have a lot of them. This “floating” business was nonsense. (“But it’s all over Pinterest!!” I said. He stood his ground.) In a weak moment, I gave in, spent $200 on decorative brackets, painted them, and decided I would just have to settle. Later when I fired him (for other reasons), I realized that he was just stubborn and didn’t want to listen to me and decided I was gonna get my floating shelves, come hell or high water. So, tossing out $200 worth of un-returnable brackets because they had been painted, we bought different brackets. Ones that could be totally hidden in the drywall and shelf itself. And hired someone else that got my vision.
I didn’t document exactly what we did, but I can try to explain it for anyone else who’s curious. I bought 10″ corner braces like these, had the guys cut away the drywall at the studs and screw the braces directly on the studs. Then, for the shelves which are 12″ deep by 1.5″ thick solid wood, I had them trace on the shelf where the bracket would go, then use a router and route out a depth of about .25″ so the bracket would be flush with the shelf. Once everything was screwed in on both the wall and the shelf, we plastered over the stud/bracket with drywall compound, and did the same on the shelf with wood putty. Slap a coat of paint on both, and bam. Floating shelves. This tutorial helped me understand how to do the wall part and we just figured out the shelf part ourselves. I am SO glad I got these floating shelves in the end, even if I had to wait a while. Even losing the $200 was worth it.
The shelves are decorative, yes, but it does store items I use quite frequently. All the jars have dry goods I use a lot, like beans, rice, dried fruit, nuts, oatmeal, etc. And my mixing bowls are there too. Everything else I can’t reach without hopping up on the counter, so that’s all pretty stuff that I won’t be getting down much.
I love how open the kitchen is to the rest of the house. When I’m cooking, Parker can be pretty much anywhere in the house and I can still talk to him. And when guests come over, they sit at the bar while I prep food. We can even have a group in the living room and I can still be a part of the conversation.
Just a note about the Whirlpool White Ice appliances we have: we love them. The fridge and freezer are really spacious, the stove top is solid and has five burners, the oven has a rapid preheat option which comes in really handy and the dishwasher holds more than any other dishwasher I’ve ever seen. For the water dispenser in the front of the fridge, you can choose how much water to fill your glass and walk away while it fills. That’s nice, we use it all the time. We would buy these again in a heartbeat. Also, I like that they’re white, but they don’t have that texture that most white appliances have. It’s smooth like plexi or something. The only thing I don’t like about them is that I feel like I have to push the buttons (er, non-buttons) really hard sometimes.
It was important to me that I display my jadeite and vintage blue mason jars. I started collecting them for our wedding (one of those jadeite cake stands held our wedding cake!) and they still hold sentimental value to me. I have (lots) of other treasures that didn’t make the cut this round, but I plan on switching things out and moving pieces around as my mood changes and I get tired of looking at the same things.
I had regrets about the insulator lights that I first hung from the very beginning (here’s a closeup of what they looked like), so I finally just took them down and built these instead. I found this tutorial online and went about ordering parts to piece together to make my own. They were so cheap and easy – like $20 a piece or less and a couple hours to put all together. I like these so, so much better. They blend a lot better and go with the light fixture hanging over the dining table. The silver dipped Edison bulbs I bought on amazon (these are them).
The countertops were a bit of a trial and error situation. I bought some stain that you just brush or roll on and it had horrible streaks and brush marks. I did two coats before realizing I couldn’t save it. In a fit of rage and frustration, I strapped on a face mask and got to sanding it all down to the bare wood at 10:00 one night. (Tip: if this ever happens to you, have a shop vac so you can vaccum down every single possible surface because there was dust every.where. I’m still finding saw dust actually.) Anyway, I bought a much better stain, Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut, that you brush on thick, let it sit, then wipe it all away. No brush strokes, just gorgeous, saturated color. One coat and it was perfect. We sealed it with some polyurethane (about 5 coats) and now they are durable and I don’t worry too much about them getting messed up with water or food.
So do I have anything that I would change if I could go back from the beginning? A couple of things, maybe. Nothing huge that bothers me, but the floor wasn’t installed perfectly for one. My tile guy that did my bathroom did such a better job and I wish I had known about him rather than just trusting my contractor at the time. Also, I think I would choose slightly different tile for both the floor and backsplash. Floor & Decor (where I bought our tile) has the best prices in town, but the coloring is a little off what I wish it was. It’s much cooler than the “Dover White” from Sherwin Williams that I painted the whole house so it clashes a bit. It’s not so bad that I’m gonna be painting the whole house anytime soon, but it’s something I notice. Also, I would use just a plain white hex tile on the floor rather than the black flower pattern. But I still like it! Just saying…if I could do it all over again.
So what do you think? I have to say, it feels SO GOOD to have a completed kitchen, where everything has a place, and I don’t have to explain to people when they come over “Oh, it’s not done yet we still have to do this, this, and that…”. It took us a while to get totally finished (almost 6 months!) but it’s done. Yay!
In case anyone is interested, here are the sources for what you see: Cabinets: Ikea with Adel off white doors | Countertops: Ikea | Sink: Ikea | Faucet: Overstock | Cabinet Hardware: Home Depot cup pulls & knobs (I think that’s right, they look more black in person) | Appliances: Whirlpool Gold White Ice collection | Shelves: custom (thanks, Dad!) | Pendant Lights: DIY (this tutorial) | Canisters on bottom shelves: Hobby Lobby and Target | Jadeite, cake stands, vintage scale, and blue jars: thrifted | Calendar: Rifle Paper Co. | Subway Tile and Hex Tile both from Floor & Decor | Counter Stools: Overstock
UPDATE: I thought it would be helpful to anyone wanting to undertake a similar renovation to see how much this kitchen cost us. We saved a lot of money buying everything from Ikea, Home Depot, and Overstock, and only “splurged” (if you can even call it that) on appliances. Although I wanted Big Chill appliances that would have cost as much as the entire renovation, so I guess you could say we saved a ton of money there too! Here’s the rough breakdown:
- Demolition, including removal of wall: $900
- Cabinets: $2,000
- Countertops: $700
- Installation of cabinets, countertops, appliances, and can lighting: $900
- Floor tile installation: $1,000
- Backsplash tile installation: $1,000
- Shelving installation: $300
- Hardware, lighting, tile, miscellaneous: $1,000
- Appliances: $3,000
- Total Cost: $10,800