When my wife and I got married she owned a condo, we repainted the interior to make it feel like “our” home. One thing we both agreed on was that we eventually wanted to do a little kitchen remodel. Now, let me tell you, I am no fan of manual labor. I grew up in a home where if something needed to be fixed you called an expert in to fix it. My wife on the other hand grew up in a home where her dad could fix anything. I’ve become a little more interested in fixing things for myself with my current “Fixer Upper” obsession but I get a little crazy and become a major perfectionist. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned when working on your own kitchen.
After being married a little over three years we had finally decided it was time to quit saying that we wanted to a kitchen remodel and just do it. There wasn’t a lot that we really needed done: paint cabinets, paint walls, get a new sink and get granite counter tops. Our plan was to do it ourselves and use the expert skills of my father-in-law.
We had found an image of some cabinets that we absolutely loved. How fun would it be to do a fun navy-like color cabinet instead of the traditional tan or white that everyone else is doing? But when thinking more about resale value, we decided it would be better to stick with a color that was a little more traditional.
We first removed all of the knobs and doors from the hinges. We began sanding the cabinets which I thought would be the hardest part, and it turned out to be the easiest. We used an electric sander making things much easier and go by a lot quicker. Granted, there was some hand sanding that needed to happen, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.
As you see, the counter tops were an awful sea foam green color that we knew would have to go. It really was so bad that we would only turn the lights on when we had to because we hated the countertops so bad! Once the cabinets were finished, it made the counter tops look a little more blue than green, but it didn’t mean we were going to keep them. So out they came. Because the counter top also went up as the backsplash, we had to plan a new backsplash that would tie the kitchen together.
Painting is simple. You pick a color, tape the edges to keep the paint off the things you don’t want it on and go to town. Of course, we make it much more difficult than it needs to be. Maybe instead of the navy cabinets we could do a navy wall. A statement wall is fun and adds great color to a room, it’s just hard to pick a color. We tested so many and felt like we were ready to go with the navy. But when you think about it, a dark color can really make a room seem smaller. Our kitchen isn’t the biggest, so to make it feel smaller wasn’t the best idea. A linen color was perfect and went great with the cabinets and the granite counter color we had picked.
The granite was going in nicely but we needed to get ourselves a sink. Home Depot had some good options, but we didn’t want to settle for any sink. We turned to Amazon and found just what we were looking for.
After installing the sink and granite, it was time for a backsplash. Since everything else was becoming so plain and basic we thought, maybe the backsplash would be where we could direct our love for color. Maybe a fun pattern that would grab the attention of everyone, but why would anyone want their backsplash to be the focal point in a kitchen?
Again, we went with a classic look doing white subway tiles. I loved the idea because I may love new and modern, but deep down, I am all about the classics and keeping things simple. The hard part about subway tiles is that you have to make sure everything is lines up completely perfect and make sure nothing is off. This was a lot easier than I had expected it to be, but the grouting wasn’t my favorite. In fact I had to have my wife finish it because my perfectionist mind couldn’t handle it.
After we were done with it all, we decided we knew what we needed to do to make it unique, fun and original. My wife and her family have a love for art and I have converted over to this love. We decided a gallery wall would be the perfect statement piece to go in our kitchen. We love art, pictures of our family and fun pieces we have collected from some amazing companies.
Things to think about when doing a kitchen remodel:
- Either do it all yourself or hire out. If you don’t know what exactly you want, maybe doing it yourself is the best because you can pick as you go. You have no idea how much you depend on your kitchen until you can’t use it at all, so don’t take forever doing it.
- You don’t have to do it all at once. We finished the major renovations that we wanted done, but realized how great it would be if we had dark wood floors. The floors are not necessary at the moment and we decided we can wait them out.
- Set a budget and stick to it. We had set a budget of $500 and that is exactly how much we spent. We were able to find deals and get exactly what we wanted .
- Think about the future. If you are thinking about staying forever, or for a long period of time, then yes, do whatever you want. But if you want to sell soon and get a great price then maybe stick to classic looks.
- When picking colors, go crazy on the things that are easiest to change. When we wanted the navy cabinets it was a great idea, but it’s a lot of work to repaint. Painting a wall on the other hand is easy and can be changed anytime you want.
If you think you can’t do it, you can. I look back and I am proud to be in the kitchen because I did so much of the work. I learned new skills and tried new things. I may have grown up in a family where we hired everything out, but doing it myself makes me feel a part of my home and appreciate it that much more.