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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kitchen Before & After

Once upon a time there was a nurse and a nerd.  They fell in love, went to college, got married, moved back to their hometown, and saved like crazy in order to purchase a little place of their own.  After searching a couple months for a home, the nurse's dad said, "Hey! We are buying some land and it comes with a house.  Want to come and look at it with us?" The nurse and the nerd said, "heck yeah!" They love looking at houses, even if they weren't going to buy it.  Little did they know, they were about to set eyes on their forever home.  Seeing the dilapidated, worn and dusty surface did not scare them off.  No,they quickly became very interested in the home for its many features: view of the river, location, great potential, and one great price.  "Let's do it," they exclaimed! And they set off to do just that.
Fast forward 5 months and the Nurse and the Nerd finally and officially purchased the property.  The very day after they signed their names on the dotted line, they set out to work.  They tore up the carpet, they pulled out bushes, cut down trees, ripped down ceilings, broke down walls, swept, swept, and swept some more.  And with sheer determination, imagination, and a saintly uncle... they started to put it back together again.  Electrical, plumbing, floors, drywall, siding, windows, and the list goes on and on (and the bank account goes down and down).  Slowly but surely, little by little, it started to turned into their dream home.  And a full year after the nurse and the nerd saw their future home, they moved into it.  And now the nurse and the nerd stand around gazing at all that has changed.  In the kitchen they remember the wall thar blocked the view of the river.  They walk into the bathroom and remember all the walnuts they found hiding under the tub.  They laugh about how, at one time, they could see clear from one end of the house to the other.  When the nurse thinks back about what the house used to be, she can still smell the stale smell of a house longing to be loved.  And then she looks around at her well loved home and smiles. 

So on that note, would you like to see?

I thought you might. 

Over the next couple months, I will be revealing more before and afters of our fully renovated 1st floor.  Lets start with the big guns.  The Kitchen. 
The biggest thing we wanted to change about the kitchen was to open it up into the dining room and living room.  The picture above was taken from the living room.  Below is a picture from the same angle from before the renovation.

 Here is another before and after shot:
 If you can tell, the basic layout stayed about the same - stove and sink remain in the same spot.  However, we took out the entryway to the hall and replaced it with our refrigerator.  Where our current pantry is, there used to be a door leading to the backyard.  Both those changes allowed us to create a larger kitchen footprint - and who doesn't want that?  Taking down the wall allowed us the opportunity to put in a large island.  And we removed the linoleum and laid new hardwood floors to match the rest of the house.  Remember when the kitchen looked like this? I barely do. 

You might remember that I talked a little bit about the cabinets in this post.  We decided to go with inset cabinets.  White Shaker style on the perimeter and black beadboard cabinets on the island.  


For the counter tops we were interested in some type of stone or stone-like material: Corian, Quartz, or Granite.  My sister and brother-in-law were going to look at granite for their own kitchen and invited us to go along too. 

Because we were going with a black and white kitchen, I was looking for something with white undertones, instead of cream -which a lot of granites have.  Truly, I was looking for a granite that looks like cararra marble.  
That is Carrara Marble -So pretty.  But so impractical.  Marble is porous and soft.  Not ideal for kitchens.  And I'm married to an engineer, so if it it ain't durable, we (he) ain't interested.  That was another reason we didn't go with the warm and yummy butcher block countertops that I had been crushing on so hard - not as durable as stone. 

So as we marched around the warehouse full of huge slabs of granite, I was a little unsure.  Except for one type that caught my eye.  It is called Silver Wave.  Its black with white and grey veining through it.  Kind of like carrara but the negative of it.  Its pretty but... is it too much, too busy, too bold? I thought it might be until I told the guy helping us that I love carrara marble but that I wanted something more functional.  He pointed me in the direction of a quartz look-a-like and that is how we came up with our combination:

We went with a quartz made to look like carrara marble called Bianco Carrara Quartz on the black island and the Silver Wave Granite on the white cabinets.  The light island counter helps to lighten the heavy weight of the black island and the dark counter helped to ground the perimeter cabinets. 

We love how it has turned out.  

Finally, we decided to go with a simple white subway tile backsplash to keep things simple and clean.  Thanks again to my bro-in-law Nick! Steller work! I love the way it contrasts with the dark countertops. See?

We realize it is only a slight upgrade from the picture on the left but we are pretty happy with it! ;-) 

I love the copper lights too.  One day it just came to me.  Copper.  It's what our kitchen needed.  Every country kitchen does.  But updated (and affordable) copper fixtures are not the easiest to find.  Thankfully my friends at Wabash Electric had just what I was looking for.  I think they are beautiful and add some much needed warmth to the room.  

And that's where we are! Last night was our first night here and tonight we had our first meal here.  Domino's day old pizza heated in the toaster oven.  Don't judge, we are still living out of boxes.  

So we made it in before Christmas, and that is a very good thing.  I probably would have suffered deep and unrepairable emotional damage if we hadn't been able to be in our home at Christmas. 

Wow, that was a gross exaggeration. Sorry about that.  Ridiculous.

On that note, hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Michael and I will be celebrating with friends and family for the next couple of days! Looking forward to it! 

For any of you who are interested I thought I would start giving a resource list of where we purchased things in case you are getting geared up for your own projects. 

Resource List
Counters: Silver Wave Granite and Bianco Carrara Quartz - Classic Marble & Stone
Lighting: Wabash Electric
Electrical and Plumbing: Crist Plumbing and Heating
Sink: Kohler Whitehaven Single Basin sink
Backsplash: Daltile 3x6 white tile Home Depot (and the ReStore! Holla!)
Faucet: Lowes
Appliances: Sears, Refrigerator is LG, range and dishwasher are Kenmore