If you’re a fan of the 1970s Brady Bunch kitchen, then you would have LOVED this one. That is…until Erin and I destroyed it. Literally.
When we bought this house, our intention was to simply update the countertops and appliances. We were even contemplating painting the existing cabinets for a fresh new look. However, like most of our projects, what started out as a 2 week update turned into an 8 week total renovation.
We knew we could make it aesthetically pleasing, but it also had to be functional. The current layout didn’t make the best use of the space. With a new redesign, we could maximize the kitchen by adding more countertop surface area on the back wall, and storage by changing the lower cabinets to drawers.
Bye-bye Brady Bunch!
No More Carpet
So…we rolled up our sleeves, called a few friends, and had a demo party. The first thing to go was the carpet. I’m sure it feels nice to have carpet under your feet while in the kitchen, but this carpet was disgusting. It had to go. And there was a stunning surprise underneath that saved us thousands of dollars–original brick floors hiding under a layer of carpet glue.
What are we doing!
This was our moment of panic! We were scheduled to move into this house in about 2 weeks, and we had no kitchen, no cabinets, no walls! Not to mention Erin was 5 months pregnant with our third child. Our friends thought we were crazy, and looking back…they were probably right!
Just going for it
I had very little experience hanging sheetrock. Someone showed me how to do it once…on youtube. (We’d do anything to save a few bucks.) One night I was working late on the house by myself and out of the blue my neighbor walked in. He had his drywall tools offering to help. We got to know each other pretty well that night.
A lot to be thankful for
We never would have completed the project without the help of fiends. Lonnie helped countless hours teaching me how to texture the walls. One of the small groups at our church came over and helped scrape the floors. The glue didn’t come off easily, but we were determined to save the character of the brick flooring. Each brick had to be soaked in water, then hand scraped with a sharp knife. Then they had to be individually polished to restore the shine. It was a tedious process, but in the end it was worth it. Thank you friends for helping.
Walls, clean flooring, and a little paint. We were starting to see the light of day. At this stage, we were actually moving into the home. We learned that it’s totally possible to live in a home without a kitchen. No, we didn’t eat out every night. We made do by plugging our microwave into an outlet. That’s all we had. Erin would go to the church on Saturdays and spend the day cooking 6 meals. She’d bring them home and put them in the freezer. Each night we’d grab dinner out of the freezer and warm it in the microwave. Home-cooked family meals without a kitchen. Then we’d wash our dishes in the bathtub!
A Four Week Worth the Wait
Erin and I couldn’t wait to see our new cabinets. We were a little apprehensive about the dark stain we chose, so we decided to take a little trip to the cabinet shop. We loved the way they were turning out. Shaker style cabinet doors with ebony wood stain.
It felt a little like Christmas the day our cabinets were installed. It was the moment it felt like a kitchen again, and by this point we really wanted a kitchen. We promised we’d never complain about washing dishes in the kitchen sink again. Talk about a thankful project!
The next big moment was the day our countertops were installed. We chose a neutral Santa Cecilia granite. It seemed to be the safe choice to accent the darker cabinets. And since we knew we wanted to sell this house, we opted for safe and resalable! In the redesign, were we able to extend the countertop on the bar area creating a little more leg room. We also added a broom closet next to close in the fridge opening. At this point, there were two major things still missing-the floor was incomplete and there was no backsplash.
We had to get creative on the floor. Because the bricks were so brittle, we wound up losing several in the clean up process. We finally came up with the idea of using a dark “wood-like” tile as a border around the brick. It turned out great, and you barely notice since it matches the cabinets so well.
You can never go wrong with a simple white subway tile for your backsplash. It’s timeless. We ended up adding a few glass tiles sporadically to splash it up a little. If you want another quick tip, order your cabinet pulls off of Amazon. A nice10″ pull bar could cost you $5 bucks or more at Lowes. We ordered them on Amazon in bulk for about a buck a piece.
Ready for the next one
This completed two kitchen remodels for us. We survived. We stayed married, had the baby and we’re addicted to renovations! Are you thinking of taking one on? You can do it! You’ll need a little patience along the way, and you just might pull your hair out. But that’s ok! I hear bald is in style!
We made this kitchen our home for about a year. We hosted several small group Bible studies, a few birthday parties, lots of game nights and holiday dinners. It rarely stayed this clean, but that’s because it was a busy hub for our busy life. We wouldn’t have it any other way.