Before and After: Kitchen

When we bought our house, the kitchen was one of the worst rooms in it.  The cabinets were original to the house, and were built-ins, meaning that there was no back to the cabinet.  As the house deteriorated, mice could easily come from outside into the cabinets, and, well, you know what mice do in kitchen cabinets.

The countertops had seen better days, but a renter that lived here before us, decided to “fix” them by painting them green.  From looking at the chipped paint in the pictures, I’m going to say they ingested a little big of that green paint.  Yum.


Another odd feature was the set of windows on either side of the sink, but plain wall in front of the sink, leaving nothing to look at when you wash dishes.


That whole wall behind the kitchen cabinets got torn out by Nathan.  You can see in the pictures that it was rotting, but it was really bad in real life.  This spot is also where I dropped the 10-foot beam on Nathan’s head.  Before you install windows, you have to frame all around the window with wood.  We were putting in the beam that goes on top of the windows when my arms started to give out from holding the beam for so long.  Instead of saying something, yelling, or letting Nathan know in any way that I was getting ready to drop it, I just dropped it (not recommended), and it landed on Nathan’s head.  Good thing he has that helmet of curly hair!


When we exposed the wall behind the corner shelf, we found a brick chimney that ran through two stories of our house and down to the basement.  It was going to be nearly impossible to get out, so we just worked around it, as you’ll see in the “After” pictures.  Basically, it kept us from doing a normal corner cabinet, but it also gave the kitchen lots of charm!


The decorative board across the top was the only thing in the kitchen I wanted to save.  Oh, and I wanted to save the wood floors, but since they’re pecan and no one makes pecan flooring anymore, we had to take it up in order to patch some bad spots in the living/dining room.  Anyway, I kept the decorative board for about 6 months before I realized that there wasn’t really anything I could do with it.  I mean, you try.  What would you do with a 10-foot long board?  Turn it into a giant picture frame?



When we bought it, there was no insulation in any outside walls in our house.  The doors and windows were as old as the house, and as you can see, didn’t really keep out the weather!



Our hard drive crashed last winter, so I lost most of my “between” pictures.  I wish I had them, because with all the plaster off the walls and ceiling, the cabinets torn out, the floor torn up…there was about 3 feet of debris all across the kitchen.  After that, Nathan had to redo all the wiring and plumbing, add insulation, frame in the windows, install the windows, hang drywall, tape the drywall, add 3 coats of mud to the drywall, sand that down, prime it and paint it.  Then, we leveled out our sub-floor with a mortar mix and the cement board you see on the floor in this picture.  This was just about a year ago, and we were getting ready to lay tile.


Before: Nathan tore out these old cabinets  in order to create enough room for  a breakfast nook.  We also took out that door which leads out to the mudroom and just made it an open walkway.


After: Breakfast Nook

This table came from my in-laws barn.  I’m banking on enough birthday money to buy a new, espresso colored set with leather plastic-that-looks-like-leather chairs.


Before: Washer and Dryer hook up, with a nice view of…another room in the house.


After: Cabinets with a built-in-hutch look.  If you are getting cabinets for your kitchen, I would highly recommend bringing the cabinets all the way down to the countertop like I did here in one or two spots.  It really adds visual interest to the kitchen, and gives you extra storage.  Plus, the countertop is still wide enough to use as a drink station when we have lots of guests.


Before: Dark and dingy kitchen, gross cabinets, painted countertops, mouse droppings everywhere.  Oh yeah, rotted back wall.


After: Brighter room with so much more storage, a big bank of windows, new appliances, lighting, and a huge sink.

I want opinions on the curtains.  I love the fabric and the pop of color they bring in to my neutral kitchen.  Originally, I wanted roman shades, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend upwards of $300 on kitchen window treatments.  I’m not crazy about the scalloped bottom edge and the gathers at the top.  But, the whole thing only cost $30 at Lowe’s.


The tile backsplash was my main contribution to the kitchen, besides picking everything out.  If you’ve been thinking about doing one, just do it!  It is so simple.  It took me about two days and it wasn’t cheap (I want to say $500?) but it was totally worth the way it pulls the room together.


I found my green accessories at Crate and Barrel (plates), TJ Max (round vase) and Target (baskets).  I’m hoping it’s still an “in” color this year so I can find a couple more items for around the house.



I totally love my big kitchen.  Since the frame of the house was already here, I had to work within that for the layout of the room, but with the help of our experienced cabinet maker, we were really able to make this room work for us.  The storage to the ceiling is really incredible, and I would totally do it again.  My next project in here is painting the walls grey, but shhh, don’t tell Nathan.  He already thinks I’m obsessed with repainting things!


One thought on “Before and After: Kitchen

  1. The kitchen looks A-MA-ZING! 🙂 well, so does everything else. 🙂 but I especially love the kitchen! 🙂 i think the curtains look good in the kitchen, especially with all the other greens. They seem to go along nicely. 🙂 but, I suppose it’s really just depends on you’re taste. 🙂

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