Bringing You Up to Speed, Part II

The part of our house that needed the most work when we moved in was the kitchen. David and I got really excited about making changes and decided to demolish the entire kitchen within the first couple of weeks living in the home, but we didn’t have a plan for completion. We didn’t think about the difficulty, time, and money needed to complete the project (our hearts were bigger than our brains).

I had just started my master’s program and the recession hit hard on my husbands work. Not only did we not have a kitchen, but we had a major mess/eye sore at the front of our home. They say that looking back is 20/20 and I would completely agree. If I had known that I would be washing dishes in a big tub on my back porch in rubber tubs and that our makeshift countertops would be old doors on sawhorses, I would have been a little more strategic. To give you a time frame, it was almost two years before I put the sink back into the kitchen and another six months for water.

During the demolition:



Here the wall is finally patched (I couldn’t believe how well Kilz paint covered ugly and stank):


The next part of the process, often the most expensive, was the cabinets. I had just about every cabinet magazine in existence. There are certain areas of my life where I will admit that I am snobby in my purchases – purses, jewelry, and jackets to name a few. I wanted my cabinets to be added to this list. My mom, if writing alongside would point out my wine taste and beer budget dilemma.

Reality finally kicked back in. It would be RIDICULOUS to put more than $5-10,000 into cabinets for our housing market as I would ever be able to gain the money back. My only argument for paying more would be if I was a professional chef and/or this would be my lifelong home until I go onto my home in heaven. Since neither one fit the bill, I couldn’t logically justify the spending spree.

A solution to my situation came through a call from my oldest sister Lindsay. She let me know that the house they had been renting from the library was going to be torn down for a parking lot. It was perfect timing for her because they had just bought their first home and this was the jackpot for me, a parking lot doesn’t need cabinets. Lindsay arranged a purchase of the cabinets within the home from the library. I was on cloud nine. Her kitchen was similar in size to mine and they were older, but high quality cabinets. The even better news was the price, $400 for the entire set of kitchen cabinets. Yes, go back and read it again. Between you and me, I would have paid $1000+.

David and I travelled three and a half hours to get the cabinets with a trailer borrowed from a family friend. There was a miscommunication in the business transaction with the cabinets because it was my understanding that the cabinets were going to be removed from the home. Needless to say that we did not bring any tools whatsoever and when we arrived they were still attached to the wall.

I can’t STRESS enough how awesome it is to have a supportive family. Lindsay, David (Lindsay’s husband), David (my husband) and I removed all of the cabinets with hand screw drivers. There was not power in the home and we didn’t have any cordless tools. I might also mention that it was about 90 degrees in the house. I will say that I don’t remember any complaints from our family helpers. In my book of rules, this is one place you could be given a free complaint pass.

We made it home with the cabinets in one piece and without setting the library rental on fire. Below you will see the upcycled kitchen cabinets. We painted the cabinets white to make them look newer, added crown molding to make them look more custom, and painted all the pulls to be consistent with all the oil rubbed finishing in the rest of the house.




Custom refrigerator cabinet:


Middle of process. Added pre made countertops. Tips for that will come later:


My father did the flooring and it completely changed the feel of the home:


Now, what you have been waiting for……the almost finished version. We have many little projects left that you get to enjoy later on.


Notice the missing drawer pulls…like I said…more to do…


Enjoy…more to come this week.