My husband and I bought our current house in Virginia while living in Los Angeles. He flew east for a whirlwind house hunting weekend while I stayed behind with our 3 small children. That means that we bought a house that I never laid eyes on! Ha, what a way to inject some excitement into our lives - a cross-country move to a surprise house!
The house needed some upgrades right away so we replaced floors, painted throughout, and upgraded the fixtures. No matter what we did though, the house still had a major wart: the outdated, small kitchen.
The kitchen actually occupies a huge portion of our downstairs, it is just laid out horribly. There is a lot of square footage dedicated to our kitchen with very little countertop space and cabinetry. Our contractor suggested we add an island to give us more work zones and extra storage. I also wanted to update the golden oak cabinets. With the gold granite, golden cabinets, and beige tiles, our kitchen glowed (and not in a good way).
It took several months for me to make any decisions on the kitchen. Deep down I really wanted to demolish the whole thing and start over, but that would be foolish considering the costs we could absorb if we were willing to put a little sweat equity into it. So I started the process of improving the kitchen's elements that were staying put: oak cabinets, gold and black granite, and the earth tone brick backsplash.
We knew the way to make this kitchen look fresh and polished was to paint the cabinets. Oak cabinets are really a terrible candidate for painting though because of the grainy and porous nature of the wood. Even with rigorous sanding, those teensy little veins in the wood will leave unsightly pockmarks in the paint. Wood filler seemed like the only way to make these old cabinets look sleek and professionally painted. So I sanded, applied wood filler with a credit card (perfect because it flexes and can really press the filler into the grain), and sanded again until I could drag my fingernail across the wood without feeling bumps. Then it was time to paint.
I stared at paint swatches for months before deciding on a warm, whitish ivory. Because of the warm tones in the brick backsplash and the gold granite, I didn't go with a pure white. I'm really pleased with my selection.
We added new gold cabinet pulls, antiqued brushed bronze lantern lighting, a new faucet, and an island. Selecting every new thing took me such a long time. I took my time and shopped every single thing on the internet before making any decisions. I wanted everything to complement each other without looking like it all coordinated in a way that was pre-fabricated.
The island has really become the center of our home. The kids eat every meal there, they compete their homework on it, and it's where I prep food....it's a wonder how we ever functioned without it. We decided on a butcher block top because I couldn't match the granite, plus I really appreciate the warmness the wood provides. The steel hairpin legs are my favorite and I had a lot of fun sourcing them. (So many steel leg options out there!) I also enjoy the added storage. That big drawer is the stuff junk drawer dreams are made of.
We are really thrilled with how our kitchen turned out. It's much more functional and pretty. I am proud of the work and time we've put into it.