Kitchen Remodel: Part I

After reading Madame Sunday’s blog posts on her kitchen renovation, I got inspired to blog about my own upcoming remodel (as well as inspired to use the F-bomb a bit more loosely; however, I shall resist!). Since we’re still in the very early stages of planning, I don’t have much to share other than a few cabinet and color combinations.Exciting, right?So instead of inundating you with our endless options of finishes and counter choices, I’ll start with why this kitchen needs a makeover.

Let’s start with the obvious.Its circa 1978, with a few ‘upgrades’ that really should be considered ‘downgrades’. Don’t believe me? Let’s turn our attention to the wonderful choice of ‘new paint’:

Cobalt. As in, blue. As in, cobalt blue, directly next to a pinkish-taupe dining room (look at the pony walls in the foreground!). I know your face is undoubtedly contorted in a shocked and disgusted way, but remember your face can freeze like that, so you better do some relaxation exercises between images.

Our fridge is trying its best to blend in, but its like the fat kid playing hide and seek that ducks behind a sapling pine tree.  We can all see you. Just give up already. Not only is it just ridiculously oversized for the 70’s built ‘fridge niche’, but who needs that much food storage in a one bedroom condo? Uber-mega fridge, really? I could fit enough food for a family of five in there (alliteration, ftw!). On top of it all, I can barely squeeze into my ‘pantry’ (which is really just a bunch of shelves directly in front of the breaker box). It is important to note I’m a petite lady, and if I have trouble getting in and out…good luck to anyone of a ‘normal stature’. Did pocket doors not exist in the late 70’s?How about bi-fold? Anyone?  I find it ironic that the pantry door has a door stopper attached to it.  Moving on!

A single meal obliterates our kitchen; half the counter space can be filled by a cutting board. Our counter space is so segmented, you can’t really use it. I’d go so far as to claim it isn’t even a counter.12 inches of flat surface every few feet isn’t a counter. It’s a high school shop project gone wrong.Stop pretending!

After we purchased the condo, I did some digging on the ‘net to see if we got a good deal. I found images of a few other units in our complex for sale, and it turns out we did. However, it also seems that there was a ‘group discount’ offered to anyone in the complex who purchased the tile and appliances you see in the photos. Stone for stone, fridge for fridge, I saw our condo’s materials and appliances in the photos of another unit for sale. Did it ever occur to anyone that having identical units is a bad thing? You think standing out from the crowd would be a good thing when trying to, oh I don’t know, rent or sell the place? Instead, we’re left with ‘tile for the indecisive’ and it doesn’t even match our cobalt walls. Who knew that the tile-that-matches-everything wouldn’t match? Irony.

On top of the tile being a bit fickle on color allegiance, it wasn’t installed well. Maybe they were trying to add a bit of extra storage…ya know, for all the food I spill on the floor.

So let’s sum it up in a single image:

Now that you’re in full agreement that there could be ‘room for improvement’ (especially given how wide the kitchen is?!), let’s see what we have in store. (In case you were wondering what’s wrong with our uppers, I taped paper to the cabinets to give us an idea of what the new and improved 30” uppers would feel like.)

I drew up some quick plans on how the ‘new and improved’ kitchen will look, and I think, given our um…limitations…it will be much better (i.e. functional). I also came up with a rough ‘schedule’ of tasks, even though I’ve never scheduled a remodel in my life. I suppose its more of an ‘order of operations’ rather than a schedule, and solely based on my assumptions of how things work (which is undoubtedly wrong). I’ll probably want to consult a more professional professional on how to schedule a remodel. Anyway, here is the plan for the remodel:

We’ll sell off the old tank style water heater and replace it with a super tiny wall mounted tankless version. That will allow us to triple our pantry storage, and *gasp* walk inside! (once we convert the door to a pocket door, that is). Check out our current ‘food storage area’:

We’ll sell the current fridge as a ‘garage fridge’ to some suburban family of four who apparently needs more food than an entire city block combined, and replace it with a sleek IKEA counter depth model (which has excellent reviews, by the way!). If, by chance, our sleek new appliance needs a tune up, we can always get a quick and easy fix through a website like

With the newly slimmed fridge, pocket door and actual pantry space, that corner of the kitchen will be functional.  Take a look at my plan and elevations (crude though they are):

We’ll keep the stove side relatively the same, but install 30” high cabinets (apparently 24” is no longer ‘en vogue’).

Turning our attention to the sink side, we’ll do some moving and shaking. The dishwasher will go to the far right, up against the pony wall. Next to the DW will be a single rectangular sink basin (cookie sheets are rectangular, not square – an important fact to note!), followed by the corner ‘lazy susan’ cabinet. I’m not sure about this whole ‘lazy susan’ business. Somehow the idea of a slacker turn table just doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps this ‘susan’ isn’t quite so ‘lazy’, but the word association just isn’t winning me over. However, for now, it will do.

Turning the corner, we’ll do a double door bottom cabinet with a FULL sized drawer. This alone makes me want to giggle like a girl…wait…I am a girl…and I’m giggling. Anyway, up to this point in time, we’ve had to keep our silverware in three separate drawers, since they’re less than a foot wide. To have all of my flatware together at last, is like music to my ears; clanging metal as it collides into a single depository makes me well up with tears of happiness. No longer will I have to say ‘what kind?’ when asked by a guest where the silverware is.Bliss!

For the uppers, it’s pretty easy overall. Above the fridge is a bit of a conundrum though; the height doesn’t allow for cabinets, and you can’t exactly reach back there anyway. Leave it open? Put some open shelves back there? What to do, what to do? We’ll solve that later.

For the counters, we want to go dark; A nice crisp contrast to white cabinets.  Something like this:

Most likely we’ll go with a quartz surface, since its low maintenance and we don’t want to leave a nice material in the hands of renters; Those evil, evil hands…

The backsplash will be some sort of marble(d) subway tile – a white with gray to balance the transisiton, and pick up the slate blue on the dining room walls.

As for the flooring, we’re still undecided. I’m currently considering cork after reading about it on Paul Anater’s blog, but we’re wondering about gouging it when we move the fridge (or other heavy furniture such as the dining table; shhh, my hubby doesn’t know I’m thinking of including the dining floor with this project!). At first I was considering a light color, but after looking lustfully at some “kitchen porn”, I am really digging the dark colored floors. It doesn’t hurt that my hubs said he loved the dark cork I showed him. Win win! I just love the way cork looks and feels:

After the kitchen is all said and done, we’ll do some minor tweaks to the dining room: a fresh coat of slate blue above white wainscoting w/chair rail, a new chandelier with ceiling medallion, and best of all, NO MORE MIRRORS! (except the kind that is independent of the wall and has a distinguishable frame).

If you’re still reading at this point, I commend you.  I probably would’ve gone into a coma by now (unless I was remodeling a kitchen; then I’d be glued to the screen and drooling a bit – in a good way).


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