Our kitchen remodel: Putting on a new face

 The Pea and I in our kitchen, 11 years ago

Since moving in to our home, we've made quite a few changes to our kitchen --  replaced the ceiling lights, replaced the stove, repainted the walls.  But the mainstay of our kitchen, the thing that gives our kitchen its look and feel -- the white cabinets -- have remained.

The cabinets came with the house, so we have no idea how old they actually are, but after seeing them deteriorate year after year, it was time for a change.  Some of the cabinet doors were falling off their hinges, and some had paint peeling and flaking off from water damage.  Simply changing the doors and drawer fronts was not enough, because we wanted to change the color of the cabinets from white to cream.  Since we were happy with the general layout, we decided on cabinet refacing instead of outright replacement.  This was too big a job to do on our own, so we found a contractor who seemed well established and charged reasonable rates.  We picked out our cabinet and drawer colors and styles, chose some hardware, and began the Refacing Phase.

You don't realize how much stuff you have in your kitchen until you have to empty out all the cabinets and drawers.  Our guest room was filled to the brim with dishes, pots, pans, cleaning products, pantry items, kitchen appliances, kids' artwork, magnets, and various odds and ends that somehow took up residence in the kitchen.  After the kitchen was completely empty, the contractors removed all the old cabinet doors and  drawer fronts.

 Over Thanksgiving break, we covered up all the countertops and masked the cabinet edges, then put the kids to work painting the insides of the cabinets.  We figured any mistakes they made wouldn't show, and it was way cheaper than hiring a painter.

They had a lot of fun, and got the satisfaction of helping out with a major home project.

I think more paint ended up on the kids than in the cabinets!

We decided to pain the cabinet interiors light blue.  It was an unorthodox choice, to be sure, but the blue makes a great accent color, and a gives everyone a pleasant surprise whenever they open a cabinet door.

Next, the contractor covered all the fronts and sides of the cabinets with a wooden veneer pre-painted in the same color as the cabinet doors.  This is a really tricky process since it requires putting up a single giant slab of veneer for each side, and cutting holes precisely where the cabinet and drawer openings will be.

Once the cabinet doors arrived, the contractor put them up and attached the new hardware (i.e. drawer pulls and cabinet knobs).  Simple, right?  Ha.  Getting things to fit properly in an old kitchen such as ours is a lot more time-consuming than you'd think;  the old cabinets had sagged with age, square corners were no longer square, they ended up doing a lot of recutting and reordering.   We were originally quoted one week for the whole project, but it ended up taking four -- but in the end, we got the results we wanted, and we couldn't be happier.

Here are some before and after photos to give you an idea of how things have changed:

Before, there was way too much white; now, the cream colored cabinets make a nice contrast to the white tile countertop, and give the room a warmer feel.

The oil-rubbed bronze Craftsman hardware gives the kitchen a more authentic look than our old chrome-and-white hardware, and the dark color provides a nice accent for the cabinetry.  By the way, if the wood on the center island seems darker to you, it is.  Alfie now oils it every other week, so it now has the same golden brown tone as the hardwood floors, and it resists water and stains more effectively.

The old paneling was much too elaborate for a Craftsman kitchen, so we chose simple Shaker style doors.  Also, I didn't realize how ugly the water damaged cabinet doors looked until we got the new cabinets! 

My sister gave us that toaster oven as a wedding present.  For the past five years, it has literally been held together with duct tape.  We finally replaced it with a newer, stainless steel version to match our stove.  Next up: replacing the microwave and toaster in stainless steel.

 We love our new kitchen cabinets!

1 comment:

Kim/reluctant renovator said...

I love happy home reno stories! I must admit, I was freaked out when I saw the photo of you with a baby, until I read the caption. I thought I had missed something really important! Enjoy the new space!