Monday, July 7, 2014

The evolution of a kitchen

Oh, the sacrifices I make for you, dear reader!  You don't even know.  I just went through approximately 1,294,856 photos to find pictures of our various kitchen remodels.  The burning question at the moment is, "WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO GET A DIGITAL CAMERA?!?!"  I'm pretty sure I bought a digital camera right AFTER we did the last big remodel.  Luckily for you, I hit the jackpot and can now share photos of my kitchen through the years.

Once upon a time, waaaaay back in 1995, my husband-to-be brought me to the house that would become ours.  His parents owned it, and had just evicted their previous tenants a week before.  I was so excited to finally get to tour the house in which I'd start my new life as a married lady.

Until I walked through the front door.

Picture it:  a 100+ year old house that was previously occupied by a troop of wild monkeys.  Okay, not actual real monkeys, but a close approximation.  It was bad.  I won't get into any of the other rooms, but the kitchen made me cry.  As in, I walked outside, sat down on the (crumbling) porch, and sobbed.  The kitchen had the original 1" wide plank flooring, which was practically in splinters.  There was an old, broken electric stove on which to cook.  The sink leaked so badly that the cabinet that housed it was literally crumbling into a soggy mess. There were only three cabinets:  a 60" wide sink base, and two 18" wide wall cabinets.  That was IT for storage.  Well, unless you count the weird sideways pantry that was pretty much impossible to access, and which I'm pretty sure was home to at least 17 mice.

I was 23, had never lived on my own before, and BROKE.  What on earth was I going to do with this mess???

We eventually figured out a plan.  We'd add a few "builder basic" cabinets, a new stove, a new fridge, and a new microwave (our wedding present from my mom and dad) and a new floor.

This is what we came up with:
Not surprisingly, there aren't many pictures of this kitchen.  Would you want to memorialize this hot mess?

A few years later, we added another base cabinet and a Dish Fairy, more commonly known as a dishwasher.  It was a good day in our house when the Dish Fairy moved in. (Her arrival was exactly one month before the arrival of another important family member:  our first child.)
Yep.  Still sad.  Plus, it was in front of this strange chimney butt-out that made it stick out halfway into the room.  Old houses are so weird.

There were some other additions to the kitchen over the next eight years.  New paint color, some ceiling-height shelving, and a wallpaper border (incidentally, wallpaper borders are the work of the devil) were some of the ways I tried to infuse a little more style into our bland, boring kitchen.

FYI, the addition of plants did NOTHING to hide the fact that I was trying to stash all of the things I had no cabinet space for.  And also, EVERYTHING was constantly coated in dust and cat hair.  FAIL.  And seriously, what was I thinking with the apple wallpaper border?  Eeek.  Sometimes I question my own taste level.

In 2005, we decided to take our tax refund (hooray for Taxmas!) and remodel the kitchen.  Still on a budget, we opted for pre-assembled cabinets from Home Depot, along with the in-stock pre-cut counters.  We bought laminate flooring at Sam's Club, because budget.  Some yellow paint and a good bit of elbow grease later, we had a new kitchen.
Don't we have the cutest helpers ever?

Almost there!

A vast improvement, to say the least.  We went from five cabinets to FOURTEEN.  I had so much cabinet space there were actually empty cabinets.  (Side note:  they did not stay empty for long.)

I just had to add this one because it's one of my favorite photos of Sam.  Doesn't he look like a Baby Gap ad?

The oak cabinets made me happy for about four years.  Then I started to loathe all of the yellow--yellow walls, yellow oak cabinets and yellow oak floor...yellow, yellow, yellow!  Guess who got the brilliant idea to paint the cabinets?  I didn't want to close the room in by painting them all dark (because dirt), but I didn't want to spend my entire life wiping them down (because dirt).  The compromise?  Light on top and dark on bottom!  Everybody thought I was crazy until they saw the finished project.  I actually really liked my cabinets again after I painted them.  The sky blue paint really accented the cream and cocoa cabinet doors.  We also swapped out the hardware for a more stylish oil-rubbed bronze finish.

  These cabinets above were an addition with this remodel.  Don't look too closely or you'll realize they are a completely different cabinet with a totally different counter.  D'oh.  Thanks for discontinuing EVERYTHING, Home Depot.

We also added an over-the-range microwave.  Hooray for reclaimed counter space!

Eventually, we took out almost all of the half wall and added a window over the sink.
It's almost completely open to the living room, and it feels big and bright with the new window.  We have a ton of lights, which also helps immensely.  I love those sconces over the table.  That wall is sooo long and is hard to fill.  Unless you want to spend a small fortune on a huge piece of art, which I don't.

So this is where we begin our latest remodeling adventure.  Pretty much everything is going.  Well, except for the microwave, the fridge, and the dishwasher.  I refuse to replace nearly-new appliances that are in perfect working order.  (The dishwasher is only two months old.  The fridge and microwave are 5-ish years old.)  Though we are converting to a gas stove.  Yay!  It's a five-burner gas range.  I'm so excited!  The new kitchen is going to blow the old kitchen out of the water.

Tomorrow, I'll give you a sneak peek of what's going back IN the kitchen!


  1. I can't wait for this to get started!!! And then finished!
    Living vicariously is still exciting when it's all you've got. ;)

    1. Don't worry--it will be well (read: obnoxiously) documented. And if you think you're excited for it to get started, you should be me. I haven't slept in DAYS. Which is going to be a problem since the cabinets won't be here for 3-5 weeks. I'll be re-enacting my own version of the Walking Dead by then...