Monday, April 23, 2012

House Tour: Kitchen -- Before & After

Falling off the blogging special gift is falling off the blogging wagon. (Anyone know what movie I stole that from? Well, not the blogging part, but the rest.)

Another month is gone, and the home tour is coming to a long, drawn-out end. Today, is the last room I have for you. (At least until we add-on, right?!)  I present, our kitchen.

This kitchen was kind of gross. I don't really know another word for it. From far away it doesn't look as dirty as it actually was. Imagine a coating of grease on every available surface. Our plan here was simple--rip it all out. But, we didn't do that. We are not ones to rip out a cabinet unless we really, really have to. So we changed the plan. (Okay, that was never the plan.)

First some rearranging. The biggest was the cooking area. We called a plumber and had a gas line installed against the wall where the glass-front cabinets were. We removed those cabinets and decided this was the best place for a new gas cooktop and hood. The existing electric cooktop went the way of the floppy disk and I knew from the start I wanted a butcher block top.

Circa-1994 flourscent lights got the heave-ho (along with the big wooden box that housed them) and we brought in a crystal chandelier and can lights around the perimeter. (Very easy to add if you aren't the one doing it.)

The falling apart (and never cleaned) black appliances were replaced with stainless steel Bosch appliances that I purchased off of eBay to save hundreds of dollars.

I had my eyes on a so-big-you-can-bathe-in-it farm sink, but decided to go stainless with it to give my traditional nature a little modern kick (for Kevin). We also added a fantastic commercial style sprayer faucet that has been really practical.

The color is kind of hard to read online, but it is a dark gray. I only tried about 150 shades of gray (not the book title p.s.) before I picked this one.

Oh, and the backsplash. It is a subway tile, but a little longer and shorter than normal subway. I think a 2 x 6". We ordered it online and I love that it is traditional, but different. And the backsplash over the cooktop is a specialty tile that is a knock-off of some super expensive (and crazy gorgeous) Walker Zanger tile:

We did the white version from Same idea...on a budget.

And the granite. I used to have dreams at night about honed black granite. Honed = not shiny. I actually had dreams about antiqued or leathered black granite, but I knew from the some visits to the stone yard, that those would remain just that--dreams. But, honed black granite, although a definite splurge (the biggest in our kitchen), wasn't exactly out of the question. We looked at dozens of black granites, almost black granites, and even white granites to decide where we wanted this kitchen to go. And we kept leaning towards Absolute Black honed. If you do a google search on this topic, you'll hear about what a horrible idea this is. It is compared to a chalkboard, called a cleaning nightmare, and about every other bad name in the book. But, we couldn't help it. We wanted it. We loved it. We finally bit the bullet and decided on the much-bad-mouthed granite.

And the verdict? We love it. It is definitely not for the lazy. There is frequent wiping and smudges will not be camouflaged in the way many granites so nicely can. But, it is so, so pretty. And exactly the look we were going for. In the end, decide what you love and do it. Everyone else can pick their own granite.

The details:
Walls: Sherwin Williams City Loft
Trim and island: Sherwin Williams Dover White
Cabinets: Sherwin Williams matched to Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray
Granite: Absolute Black, honed; Northwest Building Supply
Chandelier: Overstock
Appliances: eBay
Sink: eBay
Faucet: Overstock
Backsplash: Home Depot/Overstock
Butcher Block:


1994 called ( on the wall phone) and they want their white-washed cabinets back!

Notice the outline of the previous mat--and the grease-coated drawer.

Just a tad bit dirty.

Oh my wallpaper.

 And some mid-remodel excitement:

Picking cabinet colors.


The John Boos butcher block walnut island.

Bosch appliances (microwave/oven/convection over and dishwasher) all purchased on eBay!

Backsplash might be my very favorite. We used a longer subway and the Moroccan-inspired backsplash. 
Overview of the kitchen, before the chandelier, but without the florescent light box. Still need to raise hood and install butcher block. You can see here how we added a bigger counter overhang to accommodate barstools.

Some things missing here, but a good overall shot of the space.

And like everything else in our home, nothing is all-the-way "after" yet. There are still a few final things to do in this kitchen. I still need some really good after shots once we make it to that point. Overall though, the biggest change in our house. Ridiculously different.

And one more before/after comparison:

Still to-do:
Extend range hood to ceiling and create crown molding surround
Hardware: pick out and install
Install pot-filler on backsplash behind cooktop (it is sitting in the box, waiting on us)
Window treatment

Monday, March 12, 2012

House Tour: Laundry Room -- Before & After

If it possible to love a laundry room, I do love this one -- and boy howdy has it come a long way. Beginnings as a dingy, awkward workspace have turned into a structured mudroom/laundry room that gets a ton of use on a daily basis. Our former home had the mud-bench setup with storage and hooks aplenty and we piled so much stuff on it that I knew we needed a version of the same here. After taking my ideas/brainstorms to Kevin the Great, he came up with a design and proceeded to implement it exactly. 

Cue the angels. 

We used stained concrete for the floors because we knew durable and utilitarian was the way to go in here. Cabinets were painted out, a new mud bench took the place of the former counter-top and cabinet. We added a leather-finish granite that is way too nice to be in a laundry room. It was another remnant piece that at full price would have been something insane like $150 a square foot. We paid nothing close to that. The final piece of the laundry room puzzle? Why, a sparkly chandelier. I can't tell you what a big difference such a minor detail makes. It just makes the room much happier than a laundry room should be. I thought, hey, if you have to do gross things like laundry, it might as well be in a pretty room! 

The details:
Walls: Sherwin Williams Mysterious Mauve
Cabinets, Mud Bench, and Trim: Sherwin Williams Dover White
Granite: Name escapes me, but someday I'll find out and add it here; Northwest Building Supply
Chandelier: Overstock
Faucet: Home Depot
Sink: Northwest Building Supply
Backsplash: Home Depot
Storage baskets: IKEA


Again, didn't bother to clean the floors before photos.

Still to-do:
Laundry...always laundry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

House Tour: Family Room -- Before & After

Now, we come to the room where we spend 90% of our time in the house -- the family room. Attached the kitchen, it is the central hub of our house and the best place to cozy up as a family. 

The existing built-ins in the room were custom-made for those big projection televisions of the 90s. (We still have one that we purchased in 2003, by the way that we have been meaning to haul to Colorado for about 3 or 4 years now). So, while I'm sure this was a very luxurious feature in 1994 when the home was built, now it didn't make sense for our much-loved flat screen. Kevin put on his thinking cap and instead of trashing the cabinets, we repurposed. Our resident contracting genius took the right side of the existing built-ins, lowered them, added some needed trim and presto-chango. A perfect, elevated spot for the TV of today. 

My big project for this room was painting out the fireplace and the brass surround that again, I'm sure was fantastic when the home was new. It took many, many hours and gallons of paint to whip that fireplace into shape, but I love the way it turned out. I do have some future plans of redoing the entire thing in a cool stone, but those are distant future plans. I removed the brass surround, took it outside and used a heat-resistant black paint to paint out the brass (I sanded it down to rough it up a bit and it took the paint just fine without a primer). As far as painting the brick...I scrubbed it down to get it as clean as I could, then started painting (again, no primer).

We kept the carpet in here only for a comfort factor (I fought for all wood, Kevin demanded carpet. Kevin doesn't demand much, so he won.) We also have near future plans to install new French doors out to the patio. We actually ordered them, but when they came to install the custom-made doors, they were a huge, cheap-looking mess. We cancelled the install and the order and haven't revisited the whole issue since then. But, it is in the works and the original door is fine for now.

The bar area is a part of the family room and it's a fun space that we use way more than I thought we would. Every 80s/90s house has a wet bar, but this one is more full-on bar. Our plan was to make it a beverage station where the kids can grab drinks (and the adults), and we have one more landing space while entertaining (which we do a quite a bit, surprisingly). 

Here, we painted out the wood in the same white as the trim and cabinets throughout, we added absolute black honed granite (my one oh-my-goodness-I-must-have for the kitchen and here), new sink, faucet, and tile backsplash to coordinate with the kitchen (see...sneak peeks!). There was an ice machine in this space, but we will be adding a beverage cooler and filling it to the brim with refreshing and tasty bevs.

I'm sure there's more to say about this space, but instead I'll get on with the pictures. 

The details:
Walls: Sherwin Williams City Loft
Trim: Sherwin Williams Dover White
Entertainment Cabinet: Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black
Ceiling Fan: Lowes
Granite: Absolute Black (honed finish); Northwest Building Supply
Faucet: Overstock
Sink: Northwest Building Supply
Backsplash: Home Depot Online


Little baby Riley!


I guess I could have cleaned this out before I took pictures...

Still to-do
Add tempered glass to the entertainment center doors
New French Doors
New window
Beverage cooler