In February, John and I bought our first house with the generous help of my parents. Built 35 years ago, it was–is–in need of some serious updating and repair. So far we’ve been able to avoid living in the midst of a remodeling project by renting another house in town, but we’re down to about 5 more weeks until we have to move. It’s crunch time!
While we’re making over every room in the house, the kitchen is our definite splurge. We decided to do a complete make-over, starting from scratch. The old cabinets were stained, greasy, and in disrepair. Ditto for the appliances. We decided it all needed to go.
Painting the kitchen was the first priority, which John did nearly all by himself. His sister, Kalyn, selected our kitchen wall color: Woodlawn Lace by Valspar, a soft, yellow-based cream to complement the warmth in our wood cabinets and bamboo floor. As a professional artist, Kalyn has a well-developed eye for color. She’s my go-to color girl for this house remodel!
Lighting was the next step. The old (and seriously dirty) fluorescent light fixture was outdated and ugly. I decided I really wanted recessed lighting in the kitchen, but none of us felt comfortable doing it ourselves, and hiring an electrician was not in our budget. Thank goodness for great friends! Louis and Rebecca, one of our favorite DFW-area couples, agreed to come visit for a weekend and help us out. Louis is an experienced remodeler and knows all about recessed lighting. While he put up 5 canned lights for us, Rebecca and I painted trim and cleaned dirty AC vents. John and I loved having their company and support that weekend, and we couldn’t be happier about the recessed lights.
When the day finally came for demolishing the kitchen last week, I was elated. John and his dad first made a plan of action:
Then they got busy. I kept myself occupied with painting in other parts of the house so as to keep out of their way…
…but I checked in every so often to see how they were progressing.
The upper cabinets went first. Then they removed the countertops and base cabinets.
Notice all the lovely glue drips on the wall below the backsplash. Apparently the person who installed it was that kid in Kindergarten who used up all of his glue sticks for the year during the first week of school.
Finally, the demo was done!
Repair and clean-up came next. The sheet rock was damaged behind the range, and much of the wall behind the backsplash needed to be smoothed out with compound. John swept and mopped the old flooring repeatedly, as it would remain underneath our new bamboo flooring.
With the kitchen cleaned up, we set Saturday as kitchen flooring day. John and his dad were well-practiced at installing our click-lock bamboo flooring, as they had already laid it in two of the bedrooms earlier this spring. As a result, they made fast work of the kitchen and dining space, completing it in one afternoon.
The underlayment went down first. We went for a 3-in-1 underlayment, which smoothes out the floor, protects against moisture, AND (this is the part I’m most excited about) serves as a thermal layer between the concrete slab and the bamboo floor above. Our feet won’t freeze on the bare floor this winter!
Once the underlayment is secure, you just start locking the pieces together on top. Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, especially along the edges. Those two men made it look easy, though.
John Sr. has a magical ability to work on his knees for hours without pain. His son did not inherit this particular characteristic, so I bought my dear husband some manly knee pads to help him out.
The knee pads did protect his knees while on the floor, but they also gave him carpet burn. Ouch.
Our finished floor was worth it, though! It turned out just lovely.
The only slow part came when taking the floor out of the kitchen and down the short hallway towards the bedrooms. I share perfectionism with my father-in-law, so John Sr. cut and recut the pieces in the hallway until they fit just right.
While the boys worked on the floor, Loveta and I painted, painted, and painted some more. She finished up the closet off our master bedroom while I tackled the laundry area, which features 3 closets. I’m all about the storage, but those closets made for slow and tedious painting!
The four of us were exhausted after a long day of work, but we felt great about our progress. We were ready for cabinet install on Monday! And yesterday, it got done. We ordered custom cabinets from Brady Cabinets in nearby Brady, Texas, and they did a fantastic job. Within the day, owner Lance and two of his workers installed the Shaker-style cabinets they had built for us in their shop.
We had selected an Early American stain, as we preferred our cabinets to be on the darker side. Stainless steel appliances, a light gray tile backsplash, and the cream color on the walls will keep the room from being too dark.
I had purchased our cabinet hardware ahead of time so that they could affix them the day of the install, but the screws were too long for the door knobs. They were able to install our drawer pulls, though, which I just love.
Coming up next for our kitchen: granite countertops, tile backsplash, and appliances. Be watching for Kitchen Remodel, Part 2!