Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Kitchen Makeover

I have always wanted to makeover our little galley kitchen. Well, "always" meaning the 14+ years that we've lived here. We fully expected to make changes one day.

The kitchen had other plans. One day in February it said, "Today!"

That's when the bottom bank of cabinets collapsed. Collapsed! As in, the whole front had broken and the counter top was slanting toward the floor with all its contents balancing on tippy-toes to keep from plunging to the floor. It turns out that there were no "boxes" to our cabinets! Only a facade! The only reason the whole contraption stayed together for so long was because there were 3 drawers anchored to the back wall. Precariously. As in, 1 thin rail each and 2 screws each drawer. When those screws lost their foothold? Well, you can't fight gravity.

You know, I've had breakdowns in the kitchen - What to fix?, How many people are coming to dinner? Who ate all the ice cream?!!! - but this is the first time  - and, please Lord? Let it be the only time! - I've had a kitchen have a breakdown on me.

After rescuing the canisters and the Keurig, the cookie jar and the candle, we propped the whole contraption back up and called for help. Thankfully, Dan and Lisa were in town. "Hey! How would you like to go to Home Depot with us today?""

"Sure! We'll take the truck!"

Exactly what I had in mind. :)

There was a sale on stock cabinets and I had a gift card that I had received as a Christmas gift (yes, really) so we got out of there without spending too much money out of pocket. Praise the Lord!

We put the existing butcher block laminate counter top back on top of the new cabinets for the time being. Baby steps.

This, and the three drawers that bravely held it all together for the 30+ years of the house's existence was all there was to set out for the garbage:

The facade of our cabinets

Since we were not doing custom cabinets we put individual units side-by-side. Notice the boxes? I love them!  "Security!" they soothe. :)

Later we picked out counter tops from Menards and Pastor Dad installed them. Since this was an emergency project we didn't have the time to save up for granite or composite. Maybe someday. Maybe... For now, we went with a HD (high definition) laminate. (It was on sale, too.)

The next step was the sink, the garbage disposal, and the faucet. Then I began gluing tile to the wall. This time the back splash really is tile and not a painted facsimile. (See my post about the painted apple tile here.)

We added new lights, too. You can see the one over the sink in the picture below. The ceiling fixture is similar.

We kept the apple cookie jar. You probably know why. The apple pattern canisters are staying as well.

Notice in this picture that the sink holds dishes at various stages of washing. These days the sink always holds dishes at various stages. That's because the dishwasher decided to quit in March, about a week after I had braved one of the few cold but sunny, snow-free days to paint the front panel out on the back patio to match the rest of our appliances. If only it had died sooner I would have been spared the effort.

We'll replace the dishwasher soon. It just didn't meet the same urgency as the collapse of the bottom cabinets. ("Oh, it's just the dishwasher that broke. Pshaw!" Words I never thought I'd say after the luxury of having one for 14 years.)

A working view of the kitchen

A close up of the tile with bronze insets

We stained the bottom cabinets just. last. week. They aren't the color I had in mind but I can live with it. (As long as I stay away from Pinterest, that is. The bottom cabinets were supposed to be "light" just like the top ones are "dark" with the idea to continue the theme of the tile. Somewhere there is a salesman laughing at me.)  Someday we'll replace the upper cabinet DOORS ONLY and the facades to match the bottom ones and everything truly will be uniform once more. (Oh, please tell me that the top cabinets can't hear me! I don't want them to unexpectedly have problems, too!)

Cabinets, counter top, sink, faucet, and renegade dishwasher as well as surviving canisters and Keurig, cookie jar and candle

Here's a look at the room in the other direction. I tiled all the way across, from wall to wall. Just don't look too closely. There are places where it might look like I was too lazy to take down the radio and just stuck tiles behind it. Oh, wait! That's exactly what I did do!

To help tie everything together, meaning the old upper cabinets with new lower ones, we added matching knobs that mimic the copper and oil rubbed bronze of the faucet.  Since we haven't had knobs in all these years we joked that we might need to watch an instructional YouTube to learn how to use them. So far, so good. ;)

And that is how our kitchen came to unexpectedly have a whole new look.

* * *

P.S. We're still working on the peninsula cabinet and counter top. Once we get that finished (it hasn't been for a lack of trying) I'll show you what we did and how we did it. So far, it has been the most difficult part of the whole project and that's saying a lot!


  1. Looks great! Was the tile difficult??? We put in a new kitchen a few yrs. ago but didn't do the backsplash yet. Kind of timid to try! :)

    1. No, actually, Annette, the tile was surprisingly easy. I did it all myself minus a cut or two. I worked on it in sections whenever I had a few minutes. Sometimes I would only spend 15 minutes or so. The grouting was harder because of the small spaces. And what a mess! It took a few days to clear the house of all the sand and grit that settled everywhere.


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)