The first half of 2016 was a time of remodel in the Martin casa. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. No, scratch that, it was pretty much the worst until it was all finished. I learned a lot about myself during this process, namely that I have no patience, design skills, or enough energy to care about these kind of decisions. Poor Phil.
We had put our house (condo, actually) on the market twice and it didn't sell, so we decided to remodel to allow us to keep living in it with our growing family. At the start of the year, we painted the upstairs bathroom, painted the little boys' room, reorganized furniture in all the kids' bedrooms, had a bedroom built for Maggie and ripped up carpet to install new flooring. You can see those changes here.
Then we moved on to the downstairs. I had been dreaming of opening up our kitchen since we moved in ten years ago, but was never sure exactly what to do. As you can see from these pictures, it was a pretty small space for our big table and the counter space was minimal...
One day, I had the bright idea to knock down that wall where those brown cabinets are and expand the kitchen into our bedroom (on the other side of that wall). There was an unused chimney to the left of those brown cabinets that would also have to come out, and a beam would need to be placed on the ceiling for support as it was a load bearing wall. I even made a video asking HGTV for help but then never sent it.
When you walked through that single white door, you walked into our old bedroom...
|Look at that dinosaur of a tv!|
That mirror there to the left hung on the built-in shelves and drawers where so many of my clothes were stored. It also was the wall that included the unused chimney and would need to come down. Then this bedroom would be turned into the dining room area, which you can see in the AFTER photos...
Knocking down that wall opened up so much room and light, I love it! I look at that room and can't believe it used to be our bedroom! Below is the view from the dining area looking into the kitchen.
Our old master closet (you can see one of the doors in the above photo) became our mudroom closet:
It's a little messy, but the kids actually put away their things now! A place for everything and everything in it's place. They each have their own shoe basket and numbered hook with space to keep adding ;)
One of my biggest and hardest decsioions was the kitchen and dining room lighting. Do you guys know how expensive lights can be? It's crazy town! We finally settled on this chandelier in brushed nickel with matching pendants over the island. I really love them, they look clean and nautical. My parents suggested we get lights over the table that shone down so that the kids could do their homework under nice lighting. Smart move.
We moved those brown cabinets from the kitchen into the dining room so we wouldn't lose any storage, and added a corner desk and chair for the kid's computer so we can monitor the monitor, ha!
Now into the kitchen...
Ahhh, I just feel like I can breathe in here now! It was so cramped with the table and now we have loads of room and counter space. We chose Kraftmaid cabinets (not the cheapest but great quality) and countertops from Lowe's and handles from IKEA. My sister suggested we put outlets on each side of the island, and once again, we were glad to heed the advice. I've already used my Kitchenaid mixer and griddle over here a bunch of times.
There are the chandelier's three matching pendant lights and the bar stools are from IKEA. We sort of rushed into buying the stools right before Maggie's First Communion party when we realized we had forgotten that piece of the puzzle. Phil wanted something really sturdy with all these littles climbing up and down, and the wooden ones we looked at seemed wobbly, so we settled on these white metal ones. They are easy to clean, have backs for safety, and seem really sturdy.
We wanted to replace all our old cabinets with white ones, but when we calculated the expense and knew we had good quality cabinets already, we couldn't justify it. Maybe one day we'll have an all white kitchen! We upgraded our appliances since our old microwave made popping sounds, our oven was duck-taped together, and our dishwasher was about 20 years old. We chose these appliances: dishwasher, microwave, and oven. I would have loved a gas range, but we only had an electric hookup, so we rolled with it.
The island is 4 feet by 6 feet, and we had so many issues getting the right size countertop ordered. We wanted it to cover the island (duh) with a 12 inch overhang on the back and a one inch overhang on the other three sides. We also wanted rounded corners for less collateral head damage for running toddlers, but with our custom size, apparently we couldn't. I think we'll get some of these for the corners.
So our kitchen was remodeled, but where would Phil and I sleep? Not to worry my friends. Our "work room" which was originally a dining room that we never used as such, would become our new bedroom! Here's the work room before:
I have a thing for beachy paint colors. This one is called Yarmouth Blue, so pretty.
The problem in this room was that there was no closet, so that would need to be built, and there were two doorways into this room, so one of those would need to be walled up. Due to the placement of the windows, and the size of our bed and furniture (I wasn't giving up my king size bed - uh uh, no way) we had to build a closet that ate into the floor space of the room but left us with all the windows.
Here we are entering the new bedroom, please excuse the messy dresser and tv cords...
That white shelf up there is annoying because it's not centered, but I don't want to move and paint. Maybe we can add on and keep the shelf going across the room? The world's softest comforter and prettiest pillows make me love this cozy bedroom even more.
So there's the new closet and "alley" we left to have access to the window. We ordered a small computer desk and chair that fits in there perfectly and now have a little quiet work space tucked away and out of sight when we go to bed.
Here's the inside of the closet. It's small, but holds a lot as we made it a U-shape with two rows for hanging clothes. I bought two hanging closet organizers for all my t-shirts and long sleeved shirts. Those hampers on the bottom are for my sweaters and some maternity clothes, which won't be staying there forever - hallelujah!
Finally, our screened porch that's right off our kitchen got a small update in the form of new chairs (the old ones were too big and bulky for the space) and some twinkle lights (leftover Christmas lights).
Phew. How do these home makeover bloggers do it? This post took me about three days to write!
Overall we are super happy with our choices and the work done, everything added up but it was still waaaaay cheaper than buying a new house with 4 bedrooms and a big open kitchen/dining area and all new flooring and appliances. Plus, we don't have to pack up 8 people's worth of stuff and move! We did move out of our home for a month while the downstairs work was being done, and are extremely thankful to my parents who put us up for that time. It would have been impossible to live here during the construction. I have a few more small projects in mind, but I'm in no rush. They include - new carpet on the stairs, subway tile backsplash in the kitchen, and eventually a new roof. There's always something to be done but we are happy to call this space our home.