Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Kitchen Remodel

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: dishwashermicrowave, 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.

{For a better kitchen remodel (and where I drew inspiration) visit Sarah.  For cooler DIY home remodeling ideas visit the other Sarah.}


  1. Oh, that's beautiful. I love where you took out the wall, and your "beachy" colors. I want to have a nautical themed area at some point and I am always thinking of what colors I'd put there. :)

  2. Looks fabulous! If you get ambitious you could paint those cabinets white! I'm obsessed with white kitchens too and am going to tackle some oak cabinets in our new rental home next month. Landlord gave me permission and I've been scouting Pinterest for ideas. I've heard and read that Benjamin moore's advance paint line is amazing for cabinets- it's self-leveling and long lasting. A bit pricey but cheaper than replacing cabinets. Either way, looks great!

    1. Yes to painting the cabinets! If they are good quality & if you purchase the right paint, you won't even know that they aren't new. Although it is a lot of work.

  3. Everything looks really good! I really like the island and the lights you picked out! I think all of the challenges and money certainly paid off because you have a much more functional kitchen now. Enjoy!

  4. It looks awesome! Can you believe that Baby Boy 7 (is there an official baby nickname going?) is never going to know any differently? I love your blue choices! And yes, we just changed the light in our "dining" room (we use it as a play room except for twice a year) and boy howdy. Spendy!

  5. Oh my goodness! I can't believe the changes! I have about 100 things to say so I might need to call you and tell you over the phone haha!
    I love love love the kitchen dining area. I can totally see you using the island and the kids doing homework at the dining table. Lighting is so expensive but when it looks that good, it's like totally worth it! Great choices... so hard, I know! The light coming through the dining room is fabulous. And the pantry, desk and hutch are all great! And your old closet! I can't believe it's a mudroom = perfect!!! I am dying for a mudroom and the kids aren't even in school yet, but I can't keep track of shoes and diaper bag items as it is...
    Okay, moving on... your bedroom! The closet looks great (I can't believe how awesome the trim is around the door - totally the style I wanted to go for) and I love the new tv and your office nook is perfect! I can totally see you sitting there blogging.
    The flow of the downstairs is just so great now! You guys should be so proud! It was so special for me to see these after pictures because I can't even count the number of times I sat (I mean ate football food/chinese/cake) around the old kitchen table. I just love your house! It has always been such a warm and faith filled place and I love all the new stuff you've done! In a couple of summers, we'll have to have some sangria out on the porch! xoxo

  6. AnonymousJune 01, 2016

    Are your brown kitchen cabinets wood? If so could you not sand them down and paint them white?
    Another option, why not (in the future, money/time not withstanding) look at just changing the cupboard doors, for white ones.
    It's looking good.

  7. It looks gorgeous, Colleen! And I love that picture of Mary and baby Jesus in your room. Beautiful!

  8. What a great transformation!!! House reno posts are my absolute favorite. And having just done a kitchen remodel ourselves where we painted the cabinets, I want to say go for it! It took some time, and patience, and about 3 coats of paint on every door, but it's totally worth the effort - and since you don't have a ton of cabinets, I don't think it'd take too long! But breaks between home reno projects are necessary for everyone's sanity. :)

  9. AnonymousJune 02, 2016

    I love it! Y'all could totally paint the cabinets to match. Or even hire someone to do it for for a fraction of the price of new ones. All the remodeling has been wonderful to watch. I know you must just love it now that it's more functional for your family.

  10. It looks great Colleen! Glad you survived it all-while pregnant, which makes me want to give you a medal of honor. (The lighting was one of the hardest things for me to pick out too-too many choices, too difficult to picture in the space. So glad all that extra thinking is out of my brain!)

  11. Wow, Colleen! It all looks amazing! I am really impressed with your creativity and vision for moving walls and designating spaces. It seems like you guys really won big time with this remodel.

  12. I am having a blast sitting here this morning taking your remodel tour. Since I've actually seen the space in person, it's so much more fun to see the transformation and know exactly what went where. Can I say that I absolutely LOVE, LOVE all that you changed and the choices you made?! Seriously, ah-mazing. What great work! I hope that you can sit back now and enjoy it. And yes, beachy colors. That's so funny because as I was scrolling and relaying the changes to Reed I was looking at your paint colors. The word I used for your colors was 'beach' and then I kept reading and that's exactly what you called it. I've got a hankering for new kitchen/dining color and the blue/grays keep catching my eye. Thanks for sharing all of the marvelous photos and your awesome remodel. I think I need to visit again to check it out. ;)

  13. I love your remodel! Especially the kitchen and dining room. I also like how you haven't plastered your walls with décor. Very nice. You have a lovely house!

  14. Beautiful! Through the whole first part I kept thinking... "BUT WHERE WILL YOU SLEEP"!?!?!?!

  15. Thanks For the info!!...


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