Archive of ‘Kitchen’ category

Kitchen Renovation – The Final Before and After Reveal

Alright, here it is! The final reveal of our kitchen renovation. All in all it took almost a year for us to complete the DIY reno from start to finish (oh and in that year we worked and had a baby), but we couldn’t be happier with the result and we do feel a sense of pride having done it ourselves (ok, with lots of help from family too!) Our kitchen has officially left the orange1960s vibe behind, and has been transformed to a modern, chic space.

Caution: the before & after photos are shocking.

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

I drew the color inspiration from Emily Henderson’s kitchen (one of my favorite designers!) It took a bit of convincing to get Matt on board with blue for the lower cabinets (I understand, color in a kitchen is scary for some!) but he trusted me and we love the color combination of the deep blue on the bottom, and a crisp white on top. And YES folks, those are the same cabinets as the before photo….sort of (read on…)

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

You’ll notice in the kitchen renovation that the floors got a major overhaul from the 1960s faux cobblestone linoleum (ew) to fabulous hardwood hickory in ‘butterscotch’ tone (the lightest tone). I love the variation and rustic feel it brings to the modern updated kitchen. Oh and that cute white vase show below for kitchen utensils? It’s from Magnolia Market (don’t you just love Fixer Upper!) and is one of the fabulous gifts from our fun Christmas Exchange, our favorite things (read more on how that works here).

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

You may have noticed that we also extended the counters out beyond where the original footprint used to be in our kitchen renovation project. We added the cabinet to the left of the fridge (which really makes the fridge more a “part of the kitchen” vs. hanging out alone in left field like it was before), and added to the left of the butcher block counter, which allows us a pull out garbage drawer (best. thing. ever.)

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

The cabinet doors got a lovely facelift in this kitchen renovation. You can see that we added a 1/4″ thick, 2″ wide frame outline to each cabinet door, giving them a shaker style look, but still using the original (real wood) cabinets (hence saving a LOT of money). I will do a post more on this later because it really is amazing how much just a small border and some paint completely transform cabinet doors. The doors of course also got some stylish new hardware (we bought the hardware off Craigslist, but needed a few additional pieces that we matched from Amazon here). You will also notice in the before and after photos that we took down the ugly scallop detail above the sink connecting our upper cabinets and replaced it with a straight piece of wood (amazing how much that scalloping dates a space!)

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

And oh the bar, how I love the bar! (It may be my favorite component of our kitchen renovation). My dad made us this butcher block (yes MADE, he’s so talented) and I love how it compliments our new hickory floors. We sit here all the time, often you can find Matt working on his laptop while I cook in the evenings, or me working on my laptop during the day and watching Vera in the living room. (Or Lewis enjoying the barstools as you can see below. He doesn’t get much fame these days with Vera so I figured I’d give him his spotlight on this post). Of course the opposite side of the bar in the kitchen allows us for AMAZING counter space and lots of outlets (is there ever such thing as too many outlet?! I think not).

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Yay for pretty appliances! (see you never again, Jenn-Air) We had purchased the fridge in the ‘before’ photo (the old one died on us), but this dual oven 5 burner gas range is brand spankin’ new and we love love love it. If you recall we also moved the location of the stove (kitchen layout plans here). The refrigerator and stove are part of the Frigidaire Gallery Series.

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

I am also nerdily excited that my microwave is tucked away and hidden in the nook in the base cabinets (a high priority in my kitchen renovation plans). The shelf also does double duty to store my cookbooks, and the large drawer under the microwave (large like hugely deep), stores all our pots and pans. (You can see our dishwasher is our last appliance to update eventually, but it’s still kickin’ and tucked away so it doesn’t bother me too much). We also love our gray upholstered barstools with nailhead detail from Target.

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

And our backsplash! Ah I just love it. We went with gray glass subway tiles laid in a classic brick pattern. I love that the gray tiles bring in the gray from our quartz countertop. The countertop really resembles marble but is a great durable material, quartz (these countertops were installed a few days before Vera was born, oh kitchen renovation timing). We ordered our range hood off Amazon (see it here).

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate DressKitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

I love walking into this kitchen every day (real life: it’s never this clean, you should have seen the living room and dining room filled with all the clutter I took away for the photos). But clutter or not, it has made leaps and bounds of change for the better, both function-wise, and aesthetically.

A few future additions/projects/tweaks to the kitchen include lighting above the sink, a possible window treatment, upgraded dishwasher, and maybe pendant lighting over the bar.

One more before and after side-by-side, just to remind us of how far the kitchen has come and to instill belief that there really can be potential and life in old spaces to make them new.

Kitchen Renovation Before and After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 

Kitchen Renovation Before & After | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Kitchen Renovation Layout

Kitchen Renovation Layout

We bought our house knowing we would be doing (a lot) of work to it. One area in particular was the kitchen. I read somewhere on a blog that you should live in your house for a year with the current kitchen before you go gutting/remodeling it to find out what works and what does not (by actually living in it), hence the kitchen renovation layout plan. As much as I wanted to tear it apart right when we moved in, we knew the whole main floor reno would be a process, so we started to consider what we liked/didn’t like before starting our renovation.

Liked:
Let’s start with the positive (glass half full).

  1. The cabinets themselves are made of real wood, solid oak. Very sturdy. This made it difficult for us to say “just gut them and replace with new ones” because a lot of new cabinets are pressed particle board and Matt just couldn’t not have real wood (which I understand)
  2. The cabinets went to the ceiling maximizing storage = win!
  3. The general “U” layout of the kitchen really worked well in the space. With the garage access door where it is, the window above the sink, and the sliding door in the dining area, it really utilized the footprint well.

Didn’t Like:
Oh boy, I warn you, it’s a big list. A combination of both function and aesthetics.

Kitchen Renovation Layout

  1. The cabinets (oh wait, I thought we liked those?) Well, we liked the real wood aspect of them. What we didn’t like was: the orange-y 80’s color, how the doors were flat and lacked depth, the hardware, and somewhat the layout (more on that later)
  2. The scallop above the sink, enough said
  3. The lack of counter space (hence our microwave sitting on our counter = pet peeve!)
  4. The Jenn-Air stove with its “easy-bake-oven” size oven (for real, pans had to go in vertically and it couldn’t fit a Papa Murphy’s family size pizza. Not. Ok.)
  5. The pantry (cabinet next to the fridge in the photo above) ate up valuable counter space/kitchen area and it was a black hole of no organization
  6. When you walked in from the garage (to the left of the fridge in the photo above), which is an access we used often, the fridge pretty much smacked you in the face (or so it seemed) since it was right up next to the door.
  7. Our garbage that sat out for the world to see (and smell) at the end of the cabinets. Ew.
  8. The 70s step down counter that was a dumping ground for junk
  9. The floor – 60’s yellow/orange faux cobblestone laminate just isn’t a dream of mine. “Shocking” I know.
  10. Lighting – Yep there was one overhead light for the entire kitchen space (one of two in the entire main floor, they didn’t believe in overhead lights back in the 1960s, lamps were the cool thing)

So first thing was first, were we going to gut and 100% start over with new cabinets/layout? Long story short, we decided no. It was a combination of the high cost of new cabinets, and knowing we had real wood solid oak cabinets that were super sturdy and had potential (I KNEW I could save them and bring them back to life!) But we did want to change the layout (slightly), so we knew we would be building a kitchen with a mix of ‘old’ and ‘new’ cabinets. Oh boy, here we go.

KITCHEN RENOVATION LAYOUT CHANGES:

Refrigerator Location
As I mentioned in the list above, you don’t really how much you hate a refrigerator being right next to a door unless you experience it. Our light switches for the kitchen and garage were also BEHIND the fridge so you had to stick your hand behind there to use them. Just silly. So, we knew we wanted to move the fridge but our layout didn’t lend too many options. Therefore, we decided to slide it inward and put a 1 foot cabinet on either side of the fridge. To the left, there was now the 1’ cabinet right when you walk in the door from the garage (and we can access our light switches!) Also a great spot for coffee cups, charging phones, etc. On the other side of the fridge, it was the buffer between the newly placed stove and the fridge.

Kitchen Renovation Layout

Stove Location (& Update)
Our retro Jenn-Air stove used to be on the peninsula side of our kitchen, leaving a scrappy amount of counter space on either side. Not ideal. We chose to move the stove location (and upgraded to a new dual oven, 5 burner gas stove. Swoon! Quite the upgrade) over to the garage wall side to free up much needed counter space.

Extend countertop for garbage/more counter space
At first I worried that we were extending our kitchen, but I think that now-a-days as compared to the 1960s when the house was built, the kitchen is so much more of a living space and social gathering place than a tucked away secluded area. Therefore, we decided to extend the former peninsula side of the kitchen out to flush with the new 1’ cabinet by the door to the garage. This also allowed us to build a pull out garbage drawer so that we would never have to look at (or smell) our trash cans out in the open (hallelujah!) AND gave us even more counter space, which let’s be honest, you can really never have enough of. Win. Win.

Add bar-height counter
I grew up in a kitchen that had a raised bar-height counter and I have memories of sitting there ALL the time. Homework, breakfast, lunch, sometimes even dinner, or just hanging out with my Mom while she cooked dinner (still in the kitchen to socialize but out of the way). I knew I wanted to add this to our kitchen and I’m SO glad we did.

Layout Before & After
So as not glamorous as my mockup plans are, this was really a huge undertaking to figure out the new layout of the kitchen without REALLY changing the footprint/designated space. (And now you have officially familiarized yourself with our OLD fabulous 1960’s orange-y kitchen as it was in all it’s glory. That will be clutch when you see the new reno and the huge transformation!)

Ta da!

Kitchen Renovation Layout

Kitchen Renovation Layout

I am so excited we are ALMOST done wrapping up our entire kitchen process that has literally taken a year to undergo (in our defense, we did a lot of the work ourselves, and had a baby :) Jaw-dropping before/after photos to come!!

Kitchen Layout Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Painting Wood Paneling

current-wood-paneling

It’s been awhile since a house project update – don’t think it hasn’t been on our mind (trust me), but we are excited to start our kitchen plan!

Now let me preface with a tough decision we had when it came to our kitchen update plans.  We figured there were 2 routes we could go:

1) Gut + Brand New

We did go through the research process of drawing up a kitchen plan, meeting with the Menards kitchen designer and getting quoted for custom cabinetry (ouch for pricing).  Menards came in around $8K for cabinets alone (not counting countertops, hardware, etc.)  We found a discount cabinet supply store that had pretty good pricing on cabinets, but again being in the thousands for cabinets alone, then taking into account the incremental costs associated with the flooring, countertops, etc. – it just seemed like a lot at this point in our lives.

2) Facelift

Matt has always had his reservations about facelifts (home decor cosmetic facelifts that is, I am opposed to human facelifts too :).  I understand his concerns.  To put money into an “interim solution”, but when we plan and think we are probably going to live with our current kitchen footprint for the next 5-ish years, it is well worth the investment to spruce up what you have with some budget friendly updates.

So, facelift it is!

One thing I have hated in our house since we bought it is the excessive amount of orange-toned wood, including this beautiful paneling we have.  The paneling is along this wall (the chalkboard wall), the sliding door wall (which does really have much wall), in our entry way, and then down the hallway to our bedrooms/bathroom.  So some, but not everywhere.  It isn’t in our living room at all (whew).

Wood-Panelling-Plan_original

Rather than ripping it off and revealing a bunch of destroyed drywall we have to replace, I’d like to paint it.  The question has now become – what color to paint it?!  Initially of course I was thinking a white/cream color.  But our kitchen plans are starting to involve some “bold color” (OMG are you guys excited?!  I sure am. Can’t wait to share :)

Anywho, so I’m leaning toward keeping our walls white and maybe going with painted gray paneling. I am drawn to the gray from this inspiration photo, I just love the clean white walls with the contrasting gray.

paint-wood-paneling-gray
photo credit

Here is the mockup of this little corner of our kitchen with the gray paneling:
Wood-Panelling-Plan_gray2

Plus the white is leaning a little too ‘country’ for my taste, while I feel like the gray is different.
Wood-Panelling-Plan_white2

What do you think?!  I seriously need opinions as I am totally torn over this one…

Painting Wood Paneling Gray

 

DIY Chalkboard Wall

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Sorry for the delay folks!  We have been in house project mode!  I’m so excited to reveal our chalkboard wall–  I just love how it turned out!  But like any typical project, it was quite the process in getting there (it didn’t go as planned?!  No way.)

Let’s back up to where we started with.  Two words come to mind:  Holy. Orange.  (p.s. ignore the messy kitchen, hey we just moved.  Keepin’ it real).

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Yep, when you walked into our house from the garage (which is our main point of entry at this point) you were greeted with this, umm “bold” wall.  Hey, I’m not an orange-hater, I think it can work in some instances.  Here is why it did NOT work here (or at least my theory).  The dark paneling + the orangey linoleum floor + the orange tone kitchen = orange overkill.  The tone in here was just so, well, orange.

So, it was time to paint.  This was an emotional rollercoaster for me.  All of a sudden you come to the realization that you are painting a wall black.  NOT OK!  Is it?! Maybe? Not sure?  Well can’t go back.

Here is my paint tray (yes, lined with tinfoil, I just hate cleaning up after painting!)  And Lewis, also questioning the choice to paint a wall black- thanks for the support buddy (I imagine this look says “really Mom, this was a debatable choice”.)

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

The result:  A scary shiny black wall.  Ahhh!  Walking into the house from the garage made Matt & I both question the entire project while the paint was still wet and shiny, it was like walking into a black hole.  But, I had faith (or just really didn’t know a plan B) so we kept trucking along.

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress*p.s. after it dried with a matte finish it was TONS better and really did restore our faith.

Next we needed to tackle the shelf I envisioned.  We toyed with whether we should do a floating shelf or a shelf with brackets.  We ended up going with a bracket setup because this wall really is our facelift vs. our big huge reno (we didn’t want to put giant anchors into the wall for a floating shelf).  We bought a 2×10 board at Home Depot for the shelf.  I liked how substantial it was and initially thought I could throw some stain on it like the Master Closet (here) and call it a day.  Well, not the case.  We bought “Doug” wood, which has a red tint/undertones to it.  The Master Closet was Pine.  These two woods take to the stain VERY differently.  Plan B was to whitewash it, which didn’t cover up the red tone either.  Here are my visuals with my samples I tested trying to visualize:

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Strike 1, Strike 2, Strike 3– we were out.  Hrumph.  I didn’t love any of the options (and yes, Matt hated me for forcing him to hold the huge heavy board while I took a photo, but no pain no gain honey :) )

So back to the drawing/re-finishing “board” (ha! Get it?!) for the shelf.  Actually, this meant literally DOWN to the basement with my board to try to figure out a finish for this red-hued wood.

Ta-da!

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

I love the outcome!  It was the perfect combination of making the new wood look old/weathered.  We purposely chose a board with some character/cracks to help us achieve our desired look.

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Solution:  Basic (very light) coat of white primer + using the oil (same as in the Master Closet post) to fake some wood grain (see below for the side x side before & after wiping the stain on the white painted wood).

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

And finally here are the finished photos of the completed project.  We were able to display some fun wedding gifts, install some wine glass holders, and style it to be casual yet “put-together”.  The two chairs on either side of the buffet were killer Goodwill finds at $8 and $6 each, they are in great shape.  I have plans to paint and reupholster them to give them an update.  Finally, we want to paint all the wood paneling to white to brighten up the space- more projects of course!  :)

Again, we are so happy with how this turned out and love walking in the door to see this wall :)  You can see we even swayed Lewis’ reservations and he has officially come around.

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

DIY Chalkboard Wall | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Chalkboard Wall & Floating Shelf for under $50