before and after: the kitchen

oh my have i ever been holding out on you guys. our kitchen has been "done" for a long, long time—this is old news for many of you who have been over to our home.

but for those of you who haven't seen it in person, here it is!

an "after" is much more satisfying when the "before" is a hot mess. here's the kitchen when we bought the home.


now that i take a look at these pictures again, that kitchen doesn't look that bad. i think it was the feeling of grossness that was so overwhelming—especially with that water damage. i never cooked in that kitchen. not once. we ripped it apart before we even moved in (although we kept the "newer" half of the cabinets for storage in the basement). if you are interested in pictures of the process, check out the archives from 2009. oh yes. two years ago.

okay. this is the part of the tv show where the host says "uncover your eyes and take a look at your new kitchen!!!"



"unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1

we are incredibly grateful to have this kitchen.

the state of our [home], part 2

i'm back to show pictures of the kitchen as it stands today. of course, a room is never really "done," and this is no exception—we need to cover the putty holes on the trim, do some paint touch-ups, etc. but the kitchen functions so that's fine with me. :)

when we bought the house, the kitchen looked like this:




it was positively lovely. :) today, it looks like this:

i know it's a lot of white, but don't fear! the other side looks like this:

we love our kitchen. we spend tons of time in it and it just functions so well—tons of counter space, wonderful light. we added a bump-out window over the sink (klaas's idea) and replaced the small door at the back with a slider. we'll get some stools and a proper table and chairs eventually.

ben took an action shot before dinner the other night. here's to good cooking in 2010!

phase one layouts

(this picture was taken standing in the kitchen, facing toward the former dining room. we were in the process of knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen.)

i realize that without showing a layout, it is difficult to visualize what structural changes we've made to our home. there was a time when things looked like the above photo—and there was a reason! we moved/removed a few walls and rearranged a few things, including windows and doors. this was all a part of "phase one" of our remodel, which will eventually include the entire first floor.

we use a program called chief architect to play around with layouts. we didn't hire a general contractor for the project: klaas (my father-in-law) and ben are knowledgeable on these types of things, and klaas's advice was invaluable. he's built houses for a living and knows what works and what doesn't. he thought of plenty of things that we didn't and we are so thankful for his help.

here's what the first level of the house was like when we bought it (a little fuzzy):


and here's the after (well, after phase one!):


the garage is to the right, next to the living room and former dining room. BUT, as you'll notice, when we bought the home there was no door from the garage entering into the house. you'd park your car in the attached garage, and then walk back out the garage door and go to the front or the back of the house to get inside. that was one of the first things we fixed! a lot of houses in bloomington have detached garages, so we wanted to make the most of our attached one.

so we cut a door from the house to the garage. :) in the after layout, there is a proper mudroom as an entry into the house from the garage. we were so happy we made this decision—it is so convenient.

we had to decide if we wanted to try to squeeze our washer and dryer into the mudroom (they are in the basement) but we decided not to. instead, we put in a small half bath and a pretty substantial closet. (a few project entries here and here.) the decision to put in a half bath was partially influenced by the decision to create a proper master suite on the first floor—and thus tie the full bath that already existed into the suite. we added the half bath so that guests wouldn't have to use our master bath or go upstairs—there would be a guest bath on the first floor.

the mudroom was created out of the former dining room, which had a large french door to the back of the house. (i forgot to mention that the house used to have a gross "porch" on the back, which we ripped right down last spring.) so we don't have a formal dining room anymore, BUT we have a much larger kitchen and dining area (we expanded the kitchen a few feet into the former dining room space). again, so happy with the decision.

i was concerned about the fact that we were stopping the "flow" of the first level by blocking off the living room. the living spaces on the first level used to be a full circle, but the living room is now closed off by itself. it has turned out great, though, because the living room has more wall space for furniture, etc. it hasn't been a problem so far.

so i think that's pretty much it! oh yeah, you might notice that we did away with the closets that used to exist as part of the eat-in area/bedroom #2. this expanded the kitchen by about two feet. every bit counts! bedroom #2 is now without a closet, but that's okay. it's going to be part of the master suite. more details on that later.

thanks everyone for the encouraging facebook messages and emails! i'm glad to see people are interested in what we've been doing. we are thankful for the opportunity, the means, and the physical ability to tackle this project.

well, both REAL SIMPLE and this old house came in the mail today, so i'm going to put on my jams and hop into bed for some reading. goodnight!

visual update

we've been hard at work. the tile in the mudroom/half bath is grouted and ready to be sealed. paint is on the walls. and perhaps most exciting of all, our appliances are here and (mostly) installed. here are a few pictures. it is still a construction zone, but i am looking forward to moving into the kitchen later this week (and giving it a thorough cleaning!). tools out, dishes in!


we hope to have the fridge for a long time, so we bought the biggest one we could afford.


klaas stayed over late last wednesday night to help us install our sink, faucet, garbage disposal, range, and fridge. and of course he shed blood.


the dishwasher went in tonight. it was relatively painless, except for a quick trip to menards/home depot. but that is typical.


ben did the honors of the first load. we got a bosch because of good reviews on consumer reports. man that thing is quiet!



yes, that is a toilet in the garage. it will (Lord willing!) be installed tomorrow night in the half bath. we also have to install the microwave. close to having a working bathroom AND a fully-functional kitchen!

weekend update: mini-makeovers

this past weekend was full of small triumphs around the house.

first off: the front porch. i finally put out the housewarming gift dave and lauren got us. it is an adorable welcome mat from patina. my mom and i went to costco and she bought us this fantasticly huge plant. so they went up on the front porch. i know this is kind of like lipstick on a pig, but it brightened up our entryway significantly (even if the only person who notices is the postman).

before:


after:

to quote from clueless, "not a totally betty, but a vast improvement."

here's another small update:



(please excuse the sawdust.) i love the knobs. they add a great sheen to the kitchen that makes me really excited for shiny new appliances.

and finally, we painted the mudroom a lovely shade of gray. it was actually called "dorian gray" from sherwin williams. they had funny names. a close shade was even called "intellectual gray." i want that job: naming paint colors. we also installed a light fixture because we have our final electrical inspection coming up. we decided that the fixture wasn't bright enough, but we'll keep it up for the inspection and then change it out.

before (note the sad little light bulb):


after (note the sad lack of doorknob):


i think it will look awesome with crisp white trim. the doors will be painted a color to keep them from looking filthy; i'm just not quite sure which color yet.

this weekend involves a paint project in the half bath with a special guest. i'll post pics when it is finished!

the faucet chronicles

who knew selecting a kitchen faucet would be so hard? not me. i seriously dreamed about faucets last night. but we finally picked one. i bought it today, after numerous trips to home depot, menards, and a few online browsing extravaganzas.

chrome, stainless, or oil-rubbed bronze? two handles or one? pull-down spout? side spray? soap dispenser? it's worse than ordering coffee. plus, there's always the complication of getting the best quality we can afford but spending as little as possible.

i knew going in that i wanted a side spray, and ben told me that we should get a one-handle model (there was a reason but i can't remember. something to do with pressure and an even temperature...).

when i first started, i wanted something modern and industrial. our small group leaders have an awesome one like this:


i love how intense it looks, but again, i didn't want a pull-down faucet. so i thought something simple like this:


but we wanted to go with kohler or moen for their warranties, and it was hard to find one in our price range. then, today, i was at menards. it was time to make a decision. i saw this moen beauty, and i was strangely drawn to it. (amazon has it listed for $400...we did not even pay close to that for it.)

it is definitely a departure from the modern stuff i usually go for. but i think that is what makes design fun - mixing styles can make a room interesting because you can't quite pin it down.

in other news, i put the knobs on our cabinets tonight. as i unwrapped each knob, i felt like i was opening a present. they are so shiny and pretty! i'm thrilled with our choice. the details really do make the difference. so i'm blogging about the minutiae to remind myself to pay attention to the small stuff.

we have walls!

this past weekend was an eventful one. on saturday, we had a crew of guys come over to help us drywall. it was exciting - a very marked occasion of putting our kitchen back together again.

my mom and i did some surveying of the garden while the guys worked. we got lunch ready, and then i went to a wedding shower for kaylee while the menfolk slaved away. on saturday morning, the house looked like this:



we worked most of sunday afternoon, too, and at the end of the day, the kitchen looked like this:



the vision is coming together! really, i got so excited as the sheets of drywall went up. i spent most of sunday screwing in the drywall and i was starting to lose steam. but i got a second wind (after i went downstairs and ate a cookie) and we finished up a lot of the smaller pieces in the closet and bathroom.

we are hiring a taper - that is definitely not something i'd like to attempt. later this week, we'll be finalizing our cabinet order, as well as appliances. i have some paint colors picked out for the walls, as well as ideas for tile for the mudroom/closet/bathroom. we're on the brink of really starting to see the changes come quickly!

inspection nerves

we have recessed lighting in the kitchen! check it out.


i think it looks fabulous. recessed lighting makes a room really sparkle. we actually have eleven cans in all - we were going to have eight plus one over the sink, but the dining end of the room was looking a little dark. the electrician added two more, and now the kitchen is super bright.

we have our electric inspection tomorrow. i hope we pass the test! :)

a random post

this post doesn't have a topic sentence. just some random pics of the house from the last few weeks.

here's the new mudroom/closet/half bath from the kitchen. on the left, you can see where the closet is framed in. on the right will be a *very* tight half bath.

and perhaps the most exciting part of all...access from the garage to the house! we think it will be well worth the sacrifice of the formal dining room. now we just need a doorknob.


here's the lovely miss beth modeling where our new john will go. i love calling it a john. so funny. i hope it's not crude? (and the falling-down duct tape represents where the window will be.)

here's a shot of our basement kitchen-cave. as you can see, we have a range set up. and a table. the other side has a fridge and microwave. there's a little pantry area, too. it'll work for now. the lights usually flicker while we eat, casting a romantic glow that could be mistaken for candlelight. very dharma initiative.


and here's a shot of me and my twin, mrs. mary jane hanson. love you mom!


and a shout out to my sister, who turns 22 today. signing out!