As we continue on with our house flipping story, we are once again in the heart of the home – the kitchen. I showed you in my last post some brief before and after photos of our kitchen renovations, but this post will get to the real meat and potatoes of making our dream kitchen.
It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better
Words cannot even begin to describe the mess that we made while tearing apart our kitchen. There were cabinet doors scattered across the room, tarps covering the floors, tools everywhere and maybe a wine bottle or two (I’m only human!). Like I mentioned before, we are by no means professional renovators… we are two first-time homeowners who are stumbling our way through renovation projects. We were very excited and super ambitious about getting ALL of our projects done, so we kind of just dove right in without a plan. We had done our fair share of research and we thought we had enough of a plan to at least wing it. With some helping hands of our family, we removed the cabinet doors and setup a sanding station outside. Meanwhile, on the inside, there was plenty of taping, painting, and edging to go around.
I took on the task of painting the cabinets, I figured that I had a firm grasp on what needed to be done and I was fairly sure that I could pull it off. Cody took on the job of painting the walls and installing our dreamy subway tile backsplash. I will do a full tutorial later on the cabinet project – to share tips and what I learned along the way – but for now here’s the basics. We sanded each piece of every surface and cleaned them thoroughly with TSP. Next, I did the first coat of primer. At this point, panic set in… it looked horrible. Kind of like a five year old took to a paint can and had a field day. I cried a few nervous tears, but I carried on.. I was pretty committed at this point.
To my great relief after the first coat of our Valspar Cabinet Enamel, things began to come together. The paint went on quite easily and dried with a smooth semi-gloss finish. I used a high quality paintbrush to make sure that I got in all the corners and a small paint roller that is designed for cabinet projects to ensure an even application. I decided to do the top cabinets and our tall side cabinets in a clean white color along with the island. I added some dimension and interest to the lower cabinets and drawers by painting them in a slightly darker gray. It’s a very slight difference but at night the colors really pop! The entire cabinet project took me about one week, but it was totally worth it because it drastically changed the look of our kitchen.
While I was busy working on the cabinet project, Cody was busy painting all of our walls late into the nights (seriously he would be up painting at like 3am – what a guy!) and had simultaneously taken on the subway tile project. We decided that the earthy tones the previous owners had selected just wasn’t really our style. Instead, we headed to Lowes a handful of times to pick some paint chips and finally after plenty of back-and-forth, we landed on gravity grey.
Cody did a wonderful job on the subway tile, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. I plan on doing a complete post on that process at a later date where Cody will share the tips he learned along the way. One thing I will say right now though, be sure to have lots of spare tile on hand… it’s hard to find the same tile later down the road. We learned this lesson the hard way!
On a side note, the previous owners had a passion for fireplaces. Did anyone notice that random fireplace in the middle of the room? They had one mounted above the kitchen table, one in the corner of the living room, and a gas fireplace in the basement. We decided that we only really needed one fireplace, even though we do live in the Mitten State, and we moved the one above out to Cody’s man cave. He likes to be very regal out there. I’m just kidding, he likes to work on his dirt bike and play darts with his friends out there, but who am I to judge? Anyways, back to the renovation…
At this point, we could really see things beginning to come together. Just look past the mess – things were starting to look much more to our taste! After some immense cleaning and about two weeks worth of work, we were finally able to move into our home. During those first two weeks, we stayed with Cody’s family so that we could focus solely on our array of projects. It was really nice to get away from the paint fumes for a bit! The final major change we wanted to make to the kitchen was to change out our floor. When we moved in, the floor featured a roll out vinyl in a beige that never really quite looked clean. We opted for a dark walnut laminate and Cody took to YouTube to figure out how to install it.
We decided to install directly over the existing flooring instead of installing a new subfloor, so you can see the old flooring above. I loved the contrast of the darker flooring against our white trim and grey wall – super pretty! After a couple days of meticulous work on behalf of my lovely husband, our kitchen was truly coming together. We also replaced the kitchen hardware to a newer and more modern design. We got a steal of a deal on Build.com and got hardware for the entire kitchen for around $60!
At this point, we really just needed some finishing touches. We replaced the covers on the outlets – the old ones looked a bit dingy next to the white subway tile. We also added a basic black kickboard under the cabinets. This was a great option because it’s super easy to clean and it doesn’t distract the eye and pull any attention away from the prettier aspects of the room. We also added quarter round trim to the base of our island and along the space between our wall and cabinets – this created a much cleaner line and also covered up any imperfections. Finally, we wanted to add more height to our cabinets. Cody wasn’t so sure about this, but alas he trusted my vision once again and this project too turned out great… after some time.
We added trim pieces that are actually meant for baseboards and we really finagled our way through the process. This was one project that Cody seriously disliked – we didn’t have the correct tools to get this job done the “right” way and it turns out cutting trim at an angle isn’t an easy task. We also had to borrow a nail gun from some friends – so we were at their mercy for when we could work on this. We took legitimately several months to finally finish the trim project – more out of procrastination and busy schedules than anything else – but they turned out gorgeous! It really makes the builder grade cabinets look more custom and high end.
We are really pleased with how our kitchen turned out. Adding fresh herbs and our fun new kitchen utensils from our wedding really pulled the entire project together. I honestly love cooking in this space and experimenting with new flavors in our beautiful kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed our kitchen journey! Until next time,