Friday, January 22, 2010

Our latest project - the beginning.

I can't remember how I first ran across it, but I've developed an new love/obsession with a decorating and remodeling blog called Young House Love. It used to be called This Young House (which I liked better, but who am I?) until someone (who is a big fat bully) got all up in their business and MADE them change the name, if you know what I mean. Meanies. But when I happened across a blog post about a reader re-design, and I saw this picture:

Well, let me just say that the heavens opened and angels sang.

Let me start with a little background. When we built our house, a mere 12 years ago, I chose to have open soffits above our cupboards. I liked the way it looked and that it made the room seem more open. Well, I didn't think about the years of grease and dust and grease and filth and grease that would accumulate up there, and let me just say that I refused to even look up there much less clean up there because of the nastiness. Blech! So, in the back of my mind, for about the last two or three years, I've been brainstorming ways to close up that space. When I saw that this homeowner had simply mounted standard size cabinets at the ceiling and put a cute shelf underneath my heart stopped. Completely. For a few minutes. I love love loved the idea and immediately a kitchen remodel was born. Oh, and did I mention the white cabinets? Or the white subway tile? Or the crown moulding? or the fact that I fell. in. love. with this kitchen? Oh, and to boot, she had a link to the kitchen that inspired her. Be. still. my. heart. Gaze upon this vision of loveliness:

Again with the angels singing!! Oh, and did I mention that this blog showed step-by-step how they moved up the cabinets and added the shelf and white subway tile! Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!! I'm giddy again!!  I could hardly stand the gorgeousness.

To top it all off, the Young House Love blog (YHL) has a "How-To" section? And if you click on that link and head on over there, WHAT is the very first project they list? What? I can't hear you. Yes! That's right. A little louder. PAINT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS! I KNOW!! It was fate.

I'm sure you can only imagine my husband's surprise when he came home that day and I met him at the door by saying, "How do you feel about me painting our kitchen cabinets? And moving them up to the ceiling? And tiling under them? With white subway tile? Huh? How? Huh? Honey? Are you okay? Honey? Do you need CPR? Honey?"

Can you picture it? It's as if it just happened yesterday. Well, he wasn't actually that excited about me painting the kitchen cabinets. And truth be told, he wasn't all that excited about moving them up and putting a shelf under them. He said it would be just another place to collect grease and dust and grease and grime, and once I really thought about it I knew he was right. Other than that though, he was totally excited! So we started brainstorming and calling around and getting some bids and calling around more. One of the first places we called was the company that made our cabinets when we built our house 12 short years ago. They told us they would not paint our cabinets and that if we had it done we'd be sorry and everyone who had ever done it had regretted it and it would turn out terrible and we'd be unhappy and it wouldn't hold up and it would chip and peel and turn yellow and it was a bad idea and we were bad people for even thinking about it. Well, except for us being bad people. They didn't really say that, but it was implied. So they proceeded to give us a bid for new cabinets and it was EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS! I think I might have actually laughed out loud when he told me that. I wasn't trying to be rude, but I couldn't help myself. Here I was trying to save us money and do things myself and I had it in my mind that we could do the whole darn thing for about $5K including the cabinets and new countertops and the tile backsplash and a trip to Tahiti. Well, okay, maybe not Tahiti, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Maybe I should stop here and show you what we were working with.

This is my kitchen, as it looked on November 7th. It's not a horrible kitchen. It's not really even that bad a kitchen (if you ignore the wallpaper.) It's not that outdated. It's not that ugly. In all actuality, there's not really anything wrong with it. Stripping the wallpaper and adding some paint in and of itself would have made a world of difference. I know people who have much worse kitchens. Much much worse. I never even really complained about anything in my kitchen. I picked out everything that's in it. I chose for it to be what it was and I sorta liked it. But when I look at my kitchen the heavens don't open and there are no angels singing. To be honest, I felt a little guilty for even wanting to change anything or spend more than a few bucks on it. But we have lived here 12 years, and things are starting to show a little wear, and we just decided that we'd try to do things as economically as possible and just update things a little. However, $8K of new cabinets doesn't really fall into that plan very well.

Fast forward a few weeks and one day my husband came home at lunch and said, "I've been thinking. What if I modify the cabinets myself." As a side note, he's a total stud like that. He can really do anything. Any. Thing. Really. He has a whole bevy of wood tools in the garage and I had no doubt he could do anything he set his mind to. So he said, "I'll make the cabinets taller and then we'll order new doors and then hire someone to paint them." I reminded him about the guy who said it couldn't be done and his response was, "People paint cars all the time and those don't chip and peel and turn yellow and look awful. Why in the world can't someone paint these cabinets?" Good point, huh? He's a smarty like that. So, the picture above was taken on November 7th right before I took this picture:


And that's really how it all began. Mike has been working steadily, as time allows, on making the upper  cabinets taller (which gets rid of the dust and grease trap at the top without creating a new grease and dustr trap under them) and re-attaching the crown molding. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the cabinet guy also said, "You'll never be able to re-use that crown molding. It will be destroyed when you take it off. You'll just need to order new molding." Which, of course, turned out to be several hundred dollars. When the guy left Mike said, "That sounded like a challenge to me." He successfully removed and re-installed every piece of the crown molding and it looks amazing. He's currently working on the last of the 10 upper cabinets. The new taller doors were ordered on Monday of this week and the painter is scheduled for Monday, February 8th. I'm thrilled with how it's all turning out and can't wait to show you more of the step-by-step process. I hope you'll stop by again soon for more of the remodeling saga. Thanks for sticking with me this long! Oh, and lest you think I was jesting about the grease and dirt and dust and grease and grime, here's a picture of the first piece of crown molding to come down (in one piece, I might add.)

Blech! Can you see that nasty business?!? I'm thrilled that in my new kitchen there will be no where for that type of "stuff" to accumulate.

Oh, and lest it go unnoticed, the YHL kitchen is no slouch either and is a little more like what I picture mine turning out to be (except for the stainless appliances and the dark floors and the paint color and the layout and the cabinet style and the backsplash, but you know what I mean.) I'm just sayin' that angels might sing when I look at this one too. Thanks to Sherri and John for a boatload of inspiration! Plus, aren't they just the bees knees!

3 comments:

Leslie Hanna said...

I LOVE these types of projects! This place ahd the shorter cabinets when I bought it, but they were cheapcheapcheap, and I actually did replace them with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. LOVE IT! And so will you!

I love the wood, though. Do you really want them painted? Why not wait until you have the new doors and then decide. I love wood.

bristowmom said...

Oh, I thought there was going to be an "after" picture to go with the "before". I guess you're just keeping us in suspense. I can't wait to see it!

denise;) said...

Oh you're a brave woman! But your hubby rocks- so I'm sure it will all turn out splendid!! I can't wait to see!!!

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