Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


One Big Step...for our House

Time to turn the attention onto to something different...the house. To be even more precise, the kitchen. While our kitchen remodel was not the first thing that we did to the house, it has been by far the biggest change we have done. Aside from ripping up all the carpet and re-finishing the beautiful original oak floors, nothing else even compares to the difference our new kitchen has made. Here is what it looked like when we were in the purchasing process.
Let me start by saying that this was a LONG process. When we bought the house it did not come with the refrigerator so from the time we bought the house in September until when the kitchen was finished in May of the following year, our refrigerator was located in the garage. We didn't see much sense of bringing it up into the kitchen when we knew it would have to be moved during remodeling. On top of that, the planning was tedious and, at times, very frustrating. When we first bought the house, we started out with the idea that we were just going to remove the island and move the fridge so that it would be on that long blank wall. We figured we would put a dishwasher in place of the fridge since the kitchen didnt have a dishwasher. We also knew that replacing the floor was a must. I'm sure anyone would agree how much this dark laminate flooring stuck out.
As we started looking into it we realized that we would need to build cabinets around the dishwasher to keep it in place and the strange opening would require something custom that probably wouldn't match the existing cabinets. Plus, we would have to get a new counter top to go over the new dishwasher. Not that we were complaining, but it was really starting to add up. Then, the idea was tossed around of building an island and putting the dishwasher in it, but as you can see the kitchen is not very large and that would have had to have been custom as well. Nothing seemed like a perfect solution and everyone had different opinions as to what would be best. So, one day I decided to go to Lowes with our kitchen dimensions and get an estimate on new cabinets and counter tops.  Two months later, after countless estimates and three or four different drawings, we made a decision. This was going to be a big job and one we wanted done right with quality materials. Needless to say, it was way too big of a project for us to do ourselves. We figured that the difference a new kitchen would make on the resale value of our home would be worth the cost and it only helped that we had a $7,000 first time home buyer tax credit to play with. As luck would have it we found A&R Quality cabinets who gave us an unbeatable price on beautiful cherry cabinets, HD laminate countertops (we didn't want to overdo it for the area), as well as running lines for a new dishwasher and installation of the dishwasher and sink. The best part is that it would be done in 3 days! (Lowes had quoted us a week to install the cabinets, after which they would measure and order the counter top which would take a whole month to come in.) We loved that James Rich, the owner, had many suggestions and ideas that no one else had thought of. He seemed to be utilizing the space better anyone else we had talked to and that gave us lots of confidence. It also helped that his prices were actually cheaper than that of Lowes and Home Depot yet he was using better quality materials. We decided to save money by gutting the kitchen ourselves which turned out to be fairly easy and kind of fun.
 Once all the cabinets were done we painted the walls a light yellow. I was very particular about making sure the paint tied in the floor, cabinets and counter top. I almost went with a deep red, but settled for a more subtle and light color to help make the room look bigger and brighter. We also decide that we could handle doing the floors ourselves. Although we had never done such a thing, the estimates were too much and my Dad had all the tools we could ever need. We settled on a ceramic tile that was on sale at Lowes for about the price of laminate, though in retrospect I would have paid double for it because it looks so much better than any laminate we looked at.
We finished grouting the floor the night before the cabinet installation. Whew, just in time. It was a few days of constant work to get it ready, but after day one of installation we knew all those months of trekking to the garage for drinks and using our desk as a countertop for three weeks was worth it, because our new kitchen was beautiful. Even the animals couldn't resit admiring it...

It was a spectacular sight even before we had all our appliances. It amazed everyone (and sometimes still does) that this is the same kitchen. Once we were able to get all of our appliances in place and put up a few pieces of art, then it finally felt like ours...finally. Not only is it beautiful, but it is functional and practical. Here are some pictures of the final product...
 Please excuse the messy pantry, but the pantry deserves a picture because it is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. So although this was only one room of our house, we can honestly say that this one remodel was the biggest step our house has taken to get out of the 1950's and we couldn't be happier.

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