Category: DIY

Kitchen Plans

One of the things that has always bothered me most about our current house is the tiny galley kitchen. It is close to impossible for two people to comfortably work in there and as Ben has grown and wants to play wherever I am, it has become even more difficult to make dinner with a stethescope, two or three blocks, a ball, Mr. Potato Head’s hat, and a sippy cup underfoot. The kitchen at our new house is much bigger! There are at least twice as many cabinets and I am very excited to fill them. Here are a couple of panoramic photos to get you oriented.

Looking into the kitchen from the back breezeway door
The dark kitchen view from the dining room

Grandpa built all of the cabinets in the kitchen when they remodeled in the ’90s so compared to some areas of the house, this is quite modern! Everything is solid wood and in great shape so there are very few changes we have to make for the space to be safe and usable. Aesthetically though, the space is far from what my dream kitchen would be. I want to write up a list of the changes to each room as I post about them to help us keep our DIY aspirations in check with reality and for us to be able to look back upon some day and realize how far we’ve come. We’re considering two phases of renovation for the kitchen, one to update it to something closer to our ideal and then the dream kitchen several years down the road. We completely gutted the kitchen at our current house two and a half years ago and have been enjoying the upgrades we made ever since (built-in, double-layer silverware tray for the win!). My guess is that most of the phase 1 goals will be taken care of within the next 12 months and phase 2 won’t start for another 5-6 years. Over the next many years, we would like to:

  • Swap the stove and dishwasher for those at our current house
  • Install a garbage disposal (phase 1)
  • Paint the cabinets using Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformation kit (phase 1)
  • Replace cabinet pulls
  • Find a good, toddler-safe trash can solution
  • Replace the window (phase 1)
  • Remove wallpaper and boarder (phase 1)
  • Paint the walls (phase 1)
  • Replace the circular-bulbed fluorescent light fixture
  • Replace the countertops with butcher block (phase 1)
  • Add a large rug (I’m jonesing for stripes) (phase 1)
  • Replace vinyl toe kick with wood (phase 1)
  • Replace the microwave (phase 1 or 2)
  • Replace the cabinets (phase 2)
  • Built out the bulkhead over the fridge (phase 2)
  • Replace the fridge with a wider model (have to figure out how to feed 2 boys somehow!) (phase 2)
  • Install new countertops  (phase 2)
  • Install new sink with new faucet (phase 2)
  • Paint walls (phase 2)
  • Replace vinyl flooring with wood/manufactured wood/laminate wood (phase 2)

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to add? Things you would have done differently when you remodeled your kitchen?

New House

Welcome to our new house! Grandma decided to move out a few months ago and although Brian and I were planning on buying her house for an investment property, we were eventually won over to the idea of moving our family there and renting our current house instead.

Our New/Old House
Our New/Old House

The bank finally approved our loan on Wednesday afternoon and we closed yesterday (Friday) morning. The closing wasn’t without drama (the house title was held by a trust in my grandma’s and deceased grandpa’s names but apparently you can’t sell a dead trustee’s home, even with one surviving) and we weren’t entirely sure it was going to happen but it did. I’m so glad to be done!

It has a 2 stall garage attached the house via a breezeway, larger kitchen than our current house, small family room with gas log fireplace, built in bookshelves, and desk, one and a half bathrooms (the full bath has pink tile!), three bedrooms all bigger than our current house but with smaller closets, a slightly smaller living room at the front of the house, a rectangular (instead of square) dining area, a full basement with laundry, woodshop for Brian (he is thrilled to get to work), unfinished space that will eventually be Brians’s office, and ample storage space. The biggest draw was the HUGE mostly-fenced backyard that backs up to an elementary school’s playground and the lot’s location on a dead-end street.

We have loads of plans for the interior and exterior that will take years for us to DIY. We’ll be making mostly cosmetic changes within the next few weeks and doing lots of cleaning while saving for a big kitchen gut-and-rebuild and completely remodeling the full bathroom as well. I’m hoping to take some before photos soon so we can track our progress as time goes on.

Brian and I spent the night at the house last night, in the tradition of our family. We spent the evening collecting papers from drawers, emptying closets and cabinets, throwing away wire hangers, exploring the garage, pulling down and washing window obscuring curtains (YAY!), and counting lightbulbs. You may think the lightbulb thing is a little strange but there was at least half of all lightbulbs missing from every fixture in the house. The full bathroom was the worst with only one 40 watt bulb in a 4 60-100 watt fixture! Apparently my grandparents were so frugal that they didn’t want to spent any extra money being able to see at night. We’ve hired someone from church to help Brian paint the bedrooms, full bathroom, and family room (ladders aren’t so much my thing right now) so we can move in sooner. We’re also hiring one of our college students to help clean so that process can move along swiftly. My parents are moving the furniture they had stored in the house tomorrow and I’m hoping I can spend a nap time or two there this coming week cleaning and polishing the hardwood floors.

Ben came down with a fever yesterday and has been droopy and sad but doesn’t really show any other symptoms. We’re keeping him drugged so his fever doesn’t spike too high (it’s been 103 unmedicated) and you can hardly tell that he isn’t feeling normal other than his tendency to sit in laps and snuggle for longer than 10 seconds at a time. It looks like we won’t be going to church this weekend since we can’t expose other kids to whatever this is (teething? odd virus? cold?) so maybe we’ll get to go hiking or do another family activity (Like vacuuming the new house! That’s fun, right?!)