Our home has been such a work in progress. When we moved in we knew we were going to change everything but would need to do it slowly and of course… cheaply. When I walked into our home with my realtor/friend I told her to put the offer in within just a few minutes. I could see huge potential and I could see this becoming our home. Forgive the poor quality of the before photos! I didn’t have my iPhone 7 back then, ya’ll!
Before the renovation the kitchen was cut off from the entire house. It was still a large kitchen but it isolated me or whoever was in there from the rest of the home. I dreamed of a large, open space that contained a dining, sitting and kitchen area. The structure of our home posed some issues here. We didn’t have a large budget to work with and the wall separating the dining and kitchen was load bearing and also had the weight of stairs mixed in. Removing that or opening it up would be thousands upon thousands. No thank you. Every day I looked at the kitchen from different angles. I even asked contractor friends. I still got the answer… you’re talking about a lot of money here. If you look below you’ll see the kitchen on the day we moved in. Shiny black, but solid wood, cabinets, a space waiting for a fridge and decent quartz counter tops. Oh. And red walls. Which probably looked stellar with someone else’s decor… but not mine. AND that soffit above the cabinets. Dry wall and soffit as far as the eye can see. The wall on the right (where the fridge goes) is the wall that divided the kitchen from the next room, picture #2. This room was a den/living area with faux wood beams and fireplace and lots of track lighting. This room was so dark despite the two sets of French doors.
The wall before coming down
The den on the opposite side of the kitchen wall
The opposite side of the kitchen. This leads into the bonus room and the dining room. The dining is where you spy the bit of chair rail. This is now my office and sitting area with a nice big couch.
One day as I was standing in the kitchen, it hit me. Why fixate on the location of the dining room? We could take the wall down between the den and the kitchen and create the open area we wanted! This wall was not load bearing. Additionally, because I had no budget for an actual new kitchen… why not move and repurpose all the existing cabinets? They were in good shape and very solid. Of course all these ideas hit me AFTER I did my mini $250 renovation. Thankfully I only lost the tile on wall I was planning to take down. You can read about that little detour here.
So here’s what we did in a nutshell. And yes, we did call in some professionals as well as doing a lot ourselves. There were some shady things going on with the electrical before we called in the professionals. It’s always lovely when you find out that the contractors that did the upstairs bathrooms renovations (before we bought the house) cut through the floor beams and just left them. PTL we didn’t end up with a shower or bathtub in the middle of our kitchen! We had our fair share of HGTV phone call moments and things to fix that cost more than we were expecting. Lesson #1 in home remodeling… always over-budget because you will uncover crazy things when the walls start coming down.
What we did:
– Removed wall separating den and kitchen, created column to encase plumbing pipes after wall removal, added hardwood floor where wall stood previously,
– Added additional can lighting to replace track lighting in den, removed gross faux beams
– Painted red brick on fire place, painted EVERYTHING
– Removed and rearranged cabinets, make an island from a portion of the cabinets, found contrasting granite at scrap granite yard
– Refinished ALL wood floors in house (they were a different color in each room),
– Painted cabinets, installed backsplash, converted electric range to gas. We also added extra moulding to the top of the cabinets. They looked strange after removing the soffit and that really helped dress them up.
– Removed soffit above cabinets, repaired drywall 1,000 times
– Added cabinetry for microwave area
And here we are today. The column marks where the wall once was. We opted to encase the plumbing with a column rather than spending thousands and thousands trying to move it. It was a budget win, and I like the detail. We also added a light switch and outlets which is very handy with the island. We added bead board to an existing cabinet, pulled from the old wall, and the island with seating for 5-6 was born. Someday, the black ovens will completely die and I’ll get new stainless ones… but not today.
Here is another angle from this perspective. I love the clean lines of sight. I love that we can gather here. I love that a painting from Ethiopia and baskets from Uganda all found their way into a space that boasts Farm House above the door. I love that those stools were $40 at Home Goods as well. LOVE a bargain. Ya’ll do too right??
Now here we are, looking from the opposite end. I didn’t remove my fridge crap for you guys. Wanted to be mostly real. Although there is usually a bit more crumbs and dog toys or whatever to be found on the floor. What I love about this view is the budget chair and table. The distressed(ish) blue chairs are leftover from a previous table set. The upholstered chairs were $60 each on World Market’s end of year sale. The farm house table with metal top was a shocking $175 at World Market’s end of year sale. I am cheap to the core, so I pick up things and build my style over time. I sometimes pick something up and don’t figure out how to use it for a good two years.
There is a lot of walking (or running) space in this room. It’s really airy and now that it’s not brown you can really feel all the natural light. I painted the fireplace in this room because the original brick was not a pretty red. Otherwise I would have kept it original. The shelving unit was brownish mustard poop and now it has a shiplap treatment and is a nice, snowy white. And it houses little treasures from Africa, Haiti, China, South Carolina and wherever else we’ve ended up.
This view highlights the working room I have in the kitchen. I can now have lots of people (kids) busting around in here with me. No problem. The open cabinetry area holds a microwave… and currently all of our water bottles. I try not to fuss with stuff like that and just give easy access for the kids to make their water bottle each day for school and sports. The rugs are simple and can be thrown in the wash on a weekly basis.
Here you can catch a glimpse of the bonus room, which we recently finished with a shiplap treatment. It took me awhile to agree to this… but man, I just love it so much. There is also a sliding door that divides the rooms, it’s featured in this post. I told you I wanted to keep it real, do you like the mad stack of water bottle mess down there? And oh man, that black stove hood and double oven. Not pleasing to the eye… but they work right? Someday…
There you have it! We went from this:
And we did it without incurring any additional debt. We saved a bit, we made decent choices and reused a lot of what we had. Why spend a ton of money on a renovation when in 10 years someone is going to move into this house and blog about how they had to paint over all my light grey and add a wall because why would someone ever want such an open house (lol). It’s all relative friends. Enjoy your home, make it yours… and don’t break the bank.