Nine years ago, when we were looking to move from the city to the suburbs, we had a set criteria of the type of house we were looking for.
- Easy access to the train
- A downtown that we can walk to – and that has something to offer (i.e. restaurants, coffee shop, pub)
- Good schools
- Big yard
All I can say is that now, my criteria would be a bit more detailed and actually focus on the house.
We lovingly call our home, “the little house.” I wasn’t a fan of the house when we were looking – but, it did fit our criteria and we fell in love with the yard and finished basement. So, after looking at 25+ homes (our poor, poor realtor!), we decided the little house was the one for us.
My biggest pet peeve with this place was the kitchen. A tiny galley kitchen, jutting out into the middle of the main living space. For this foodie girl, it was a nightmare! It was dark, cramped and the only window looked out into the car port. The dark, oak cabinets were original to this 1950 house and were covered in grit and grime – and made it feel even darker and smaller.
The first thing I did, was got rid of the wallpaper and decided to paint it, hunter green (WHAT was I thinking?!). And then, painted it again. And… painted it again (let’s just say… silver sage does NOT look good in every room!). I never found a color that worked in the tiny space or with the dark cabinets. All I wanted to do was to take down the partial wall and open up the space. Alas, six years passed and the kitchen remained the same, terrible place.
Luckily, I escaped the kitchen for nearly four years and created (from nothing) a new kitchen in Germany. I loved it. It was light and bright… still small, but very functional. I knew we had to make a change at home, but just needed to convince the hubs it would be worth it in the end.
So, the man was onboard with taking down the wall, but not with all of my ideas. It was a slow, painful process for both of us. We compromised and cut some corners, but in the end – we made it work!
The ugly, dark cabinets came down and up went new cabinets. Well, after priming and painting them (which is the MOST painful, time-consuming and tedious task for this anal retentive lady). This was a big cost saver – the custom cabinets that we looked at would have cost 4 times what these set us back. Granted, I don’t have the cool pull out shelves that I wanted, but, I also do not have to deal with the ugly ones that were there.
Our vinyl countertops with the gouges and cuts was taken out and replaced with butcher block from Ikea. It is solid oak, thick and beautiful! Oh, and did I mention completely reasonable?!
Taking the wall down immediately brightened the kitchen, but then, we added some new lights! Oh, how I love these lights! So, the pendant lights aren’t the brightest, but they sure are cute. Luckily, the dome lights provide more light. LIGHT! My once dark and gloomy kitchen is flooded with light. I’m loving it!
We still have some work to do. I’m searching for some fun fabric to line the back of the mounted cabinets (their doors will eventually have glass in them) and to make a curtain for above the refrigerator (eventually we’ll get a custom door made). There is still a lot of painting to do – doors and trim, ceiling and the entire open area (luckily the kitchen part is painted – but I think it will need another coat). We will eventually get a self venting stove and dishwasher (hopefully in the next 5 years!!), a refurbished farm table, coat rack and some sort of tiny entry organizer for shoes and backpacks and such; not to mention a cupboard to house the electronics, printer and things. But, all in good time. For now, I’m happily baking away in our sun filled, bright kitchen!