Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Top favorite Reno's - #4 Mulberry Forest Kitchen

This. Kitchen. Was. Dis. Gusting. And that's putting it nicely. The kitchen at Mulberry had potential - under layers and layers of grime. Literally.

Galley style, you could access it one of three ways. From the garage or the two non-doored walkways from the living room and laundry room.You could say it had okay bones. The to-do list was pretty lengthy...
1. Remove carpet and layers of old flooring
2. Paint cabinets
3. Remove counters, back splash and upper cabinets
4. Re-paint lower cabinets
5. Build faux cabinet between stove and wall
6. Install new counters, sink and faucet
7. Install bead board back splash
8. Hang open shelves
9. Install microwave
10. Add can lighting
11. Replace floors
12. Add pantry
13. Refinish Habitat table and chairs

Whatever designer in the 70's and 80's thought that carpet in a kitchen was a good idea is certainly still in hiding today. Under the carpet were layers of linoleum that mama and I spent two weekends on our hands and knees peeling up with paint scrapers and warm water. I never thought I would be so happy to see 1950's linoleum but it was the best of the layers and would have to do until my budget allowed for new flooring.

Once the floors were up and I could walk into the kitchen without my feet sticking I painted the cabinets for the first time... Custom built from particle board these babies were nothing to write home about. I painted them dark and quickly realized my mistake.

The counters were one of the dirtiest areas in the kitchen, no matter what I used they were always tacky. Tearing out the mis-match tile and wood edging was one of the hardest but most gratifying projects. We leveled the cabinets and installed butcher block counters from IKEA for under $400. Following a blog with step by step instructions I was able to stain counters dark and seal them with a food safe sealant - giving them the rich polished look I was going for. Pinterst win! I re-used the stainless seal sink and installed a new faucet for under $75.

With a clean slate above the counters I installed bead board all the way to the ceiling as a back splash. Not only did this save a tremendous amount of money compared to tile, it saved a TON of time in that any damage to the lathe and plaster walls from removing the cabinets was covered up in a matter of minutes. The lower cabinets were re-painted white to match the bead board in addition to adding black drawer pulls from IKEA for under $100.

Instead of replacing the upper cabinets I installed two open shelves across the length of the wall for under $50 versus $1000+ for stock cabinets. Carrying the open shelves over the stove allowed a place to hang the microwave so it was off the counter giving it all a custom built in look. I made the shelves from basic 2 x 12's painted black and basic wood brackets from IKEA. Aesthetically this was huge as it opened the room immensely and made it feel 10 times bigger, however I took the cabinet space from limited to almost non-existent. Adding a pre-built amour to the opposite wall for a pantry solved the storage issue for under $200.

The stove that came with the house was a close relative of Kermit the Frog, at least they shared the same coloring. As soon as it hit the dumpster I had a new stove delivered - unfortunately the opening for the stove was 25% bigger than it needed to be. We closed in the gap with a cabinet made of scrap wood, topped it with a scrap butcher block counter and tied in the bead board and you'd never know it wasn't there to begin with.

I had my electrician swap the single light in the center of the room for a can and added one on both sides. I added a decorative fixture to the light over the sink and hung a candle chandelier over the able to define the space better. Had I known the difference this would make I would have had this done when I had the overall electrical updated when I moved in.

The finishing touch was having tile floors installed which made all the other projects shine 10 times brighter. I found a square table that had two fold up sides at Habitat along with four mis-matched chairs and refinished them to complete the room. When it was all said and done the kitchen had 3 different colors for the walls, 2 colors for the cabinets, new stove and microwave - totaled less than $200. Winning!


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