Before it was dark. And old. And cramped. And, and, and... just plain YUCKY! Before we bought the house my dad came over to look it over and the first thing he said to me was "Well, the kitchen sucks." And I said, "Yeah. It sucks ass. Can you fix it?" And he said, "Yeah. Buy it." And so we did. And it took us 3 years to get the kitchen fixed. But boy howdy did we fix it good.
(this picture has notes that you can see if you click on it)
We have a grown-up kitchen! We have a grown-up kitchen! We have a grown-up kitchen!
And, we are almost all unpacked in it. There's just so much more room than we're used to, our heads are spinning.
The final push was this last weekend. So many little things to finish. We built the banister and the baby gate over the stairs. We put up trim. We finished the outside storage closet that was part of the addition. I had had the idea that under the cabinet by the door we could build a little tip-out cupboard to take advantage of the triangular space created by the stairs, and my mom backed me up, so my dad set about making it happen, grumbling all the while that the reason this project took so long was because my mom and I kept adding tasks to it. But he didn't mean it. He was just annoyed that he hadn't thought of the tip-out himself.
I only have one regret. This last weekend I was moody and hormonal. I didn't mean to be. I didn't want to be. But I just could not be happy and excited and sociable. I cried at the least little thing. I moped. My parents kept apologizing that this had taken so long, how hard it must have been on us. And that just made me feel worse. Because they were helping us and they didn't have to. We never would have been able to do this remodel project if they hadn't been there. And there they were apologizing to ME. I felt like a priveledged, spoiled brat. But I couldn't cheer myself up. It's the medication I'm on, but that's still no excuse. I need to do something spectacularly nice for them. They deserve everything I can give them and more.
So, the financial round up:
$750 on rustic maple wall cabinets
$500 on two laminate countertops and one laminate backsplash
$1500 on appliances: stove, microwave, dishwasher, disposal, sink and fridge (we bought the fridge last summer in anticipation of this remodel)
$700 on studs, plywood, subfloor, banister parts, and hardware.
We already had the tile for the floor. The base cabinets were free. The bar stools were free.
All told, we spent less than $4000 on a major remodel of our kitchen. Not too shabby, if I say so myself! I can only imagine how much value we've added to our home. Especially since the cabinets are hardwood and high quality. In fact, we got our entire kitchen for the price we would have paid for the cabinets alone if my dad hadn't been able to get us clearanced cabinets and a discount on the cabinets we had to straight-out buy. We are so lucky that my dad works for a cabinet company and was clearancing them out when we decided to do this remodel. Also, my brother was able to get us a discount on the countertop, Kristin and I spent a year working sales to get our appliances, and the floating chairs for the bar were donated to the cause by my dad. He had them in his garage from when he had to close a cabinet showroom a few years ago. He thought he would use them in his own house, but couldn't find a place to put them, so gave them to us. They sell for $1500 a pair. And then you have to figure in the cost of labor. How much it would have cost us to hire someone to do what my dad did for us. This probably would have been a $15 K project if we had gone it alone. Lets hope it added at least that to our home's worth.
So the months of discomfort and hard work and frustration were worth it. I can't wait to throw our first dinner party. I can't wait to make Christmas cookies and fudge. I can't wait to put up our garden's yield -- so much space to set the cooling jars out!
But the best part was when Julia (who has the freedom of the entire upstairs now that there's a strong gate by the stairs and the holes in the floor have been patched) crawled into the kitchen, over to the fridge, and started playing with her magnet toys. Both Kristin and I had had a vision of Julia playing contentedly in the kitchen while we made dinner or did dishes or baked cookies. Last night we saw that vision blossom into life. It felt like home.
If you like, you can see the entire process from start to finish on my flickr set.