Now onto the kitchen! It was just about the only part of the house that had been updated, as new cabinets and appliances were added sometime in the 90s. However, it all still looked super dated.
But now it looks a whole lot fresher and brighter! Removing the upper cabinets above the peninsula also went a long way towards opening up the kitchen to the family room and making the two spaces feel cohesive.
Here’s the original view of the kitchen, looking through the door from the dining room:
And now it’s so much happier! This kitchen really just got a bit of a facelift instead of a gut-job – we kept the original cabinets, left all of the appliances in their original locations (but switched them out for new ones), and just added prettier finishes in the form of white paint, polished nickel hardware, a marble backsplash and a lovely marble counter top.
My original urge was to demo everything and start from scratch. My budget-conscious husband and mother convinced me otherwise, and they were right. :)
Didn’t those cabinets and the raised bar make the kitchen feel so cut off from the rest of the space?
The raised part of the peninsula was actually a pony wall that stuck out beyond the counter-height portion by about 4 inches – it was weird, and I wanted it trimmed back to be flush with the cabinets sitting in front of it. However, once the top of the pony wall was cut down to counter height, we were confronted with this ugly surprise:
Nothing like a few random sewer pipes and water lines to ruin your day! But a quick call to the plumber was all it took to set us back on our merry way, and now the peninsula looks great. I wasn’t thrilled that we had to have a vent hood hanging over the peninsula (I prefer open space above) but if you have to have a hood, I think this is a pretty good-looking one.
Here’s another view of how removing the upper cabinets made a huge impact in the space:
And yes, we lost some storage, but I definitely think the open feel makes it worthwhile.
One of the things that I really like in the kitchen is the marble mosaic backsplash – it’s the perfect marriage of brown and gray so it worked wonderfully with the carrera marble counters, as well as the hardwoods and brick floors.
For some reason the color is a little weird in the above photo – here’s a better pic of the backsplash tile, before it was installed, which gives a truer representation of the colors:
Before, the family room was just a sea of brown – brown painted brick, brown paneling, and a brown brick floor.
We kept the brown brick floors (after sprucing them up with a serious refinishing) but everything else was painted bright white – so much better! I also like that the brick floors are similar in tone and color to the wood floors, so it all flows together even though the materials aren’t the same.
Those windows at the back part of the family room have a great view of the backyard and are definitely the best part of the room – but all those curtains hiding this space’s assets!
With the windows opened up, now your eye immediately goes to the backyard.
You can see in the photo above that there’s a little hallway leading to another room – just off that hallway, and down two steps, is a powder room. It’s a great location for a bathroom, but it needed a little sprucing.
The wallpaper was stripped and every finish in the room was updated. I originally wanted to re-use the wall hung sink (I thought it was cute) but it was lost during the renovation. (So was the octagonal mirror – sniff.)
The powder room is tiny, so it’s pretty much impossible to photograph. Below is an in-progress shot of the marble mosaic floors – one of my very favorite tiles!
Just past the powder room is the “bonus room.” If we were living there we’d probably use it as an office, but it would also make a great play room, mud room, or even a guest room. However, it’s a garage conversion and in its original state it definitely felt like one.
(FYI – the washer and dryer are also located in a closet in this room. That took some finagling, but that’s another story.)
Anyhoo, with the addition of some hardwoods and new doors for the built-in cabinetry, this office/playroom/mudroom/guestroom was looking a jillion times better.
But of course, it couldn’t be as simple as that, could it? Nope. You see, since we were keeping the kitchen cabinets we originally planned to buy pre-fab vanities for the two full bathrooms and avoid using a cabinetmaker altogether. As you know that ultimately changed, but before that happened we decided to take a carpenter up on his offer to make new doors for the built-ins in this room and the formal living room. He was great at trimwork so we figured that skill probably translated into cabinetry . . . but you can see where I’m going here.
It would take awhile to enumerate all of the things wrong with the doors he gave us (below), but I’ll try. First, they definitely do not have the Shaker profile I requested. Second, it is not possible to put hidden hinges on them due to the way they were made. Third, they don’t fit properly. Fourth, we paid for them before we realized the second and third mistakes.
Lesson learned. At least we finally got the doors we wanted, right?
Next up, the second story!
And in the meantime, would you mind making me feel better about the cabinet door fiasco by telling me your stories of projects gone wrong? Thanks. :)