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dee850_gw

advice on low budget updates

13 years ago

Ive been reading this forum for a while and learning a tremendous amount here - what a great resource! IÂm de-lurking now to ask for feedback and advice on my kitchen plans. This is the first time IÂve had to/had the opportunity to do anything to my kitchen, and I donÂt want to mess it up! Apologies in advance for the length of this post... I guess "brief" is not my strong point :)

What I want to accomplish here is a low budget update. I have some skills and am up for mostly DIY, with some calling in of pros as needed.

Photos of the kitchen in its current state:

The house was built in 1975, and I believe that the cabinets and counters are original. I think the cabinets are wood, but itÂs hard to be certain because they have been painted at least 3 times. The frames and doors are solid and in good shape, especially considering their age. I actually like their vintage-y look. The drawer boxes are falling apart, though, and need to be replaced entirely. The peninsula is too long. The walkway between the end of the peninsula and the other cabinets is only 30 inches, and right next to the fridge, so opening the fridge door can completely block passage.

The laminate countertops and backsplash appear to be built in place, and are in terrible condition. Badly scratched, stained, water-damaged, and a couple of edges have recently peeled off.

The appliances are just a few years old and are in good shape. WeÂll be keeping most of them. The floor is hickory wood, runs through the whole house and is a keeper for sure.

The planÂ

Cabinets: sand and re-paint white. Replace hinges, knobs and pulls. The peninsula will be cut down by 1 cabinet off the end, and thereby open up that walkway to about 50 inches. WeÂll replace the drawer boxes, and IÂd like to install drawers or roll-outs in all of the base cabinets that can accommodate them.

Countertops: butcher block, probably Ikea or LL. We donÂt much like laminate, and none of the more affordable granites really called out to me. It doesnÂt seem smart to spend the $$ on granite that I donÂt even like that much. We do love the look of butcher block, though. WeÂll do a drop-in sink, likely KohlerÂs Bakersfield or Cape Dory, a big single-bowl. No faucets in mind yet, looking for something fairly traditional and simple.

Backsplash: thinking cheap white subway tile with gray grout.

The range hood will be replaced with a better-looking stainless steel model.

My questionsÂ

1) Does the plan to cut down the peninsula make good sense? We do use that countertop space for cooking prep, but I hate the narrow passage!

2) Will a white subway tile backsplash be too much white with white cabinets, too? Any suggestions for a similarly affordable alternative?

3) IÂve toyed with the possibility of removing the uppers above the range, getting a wall-mounted chimney-style hood, and continuing the backsplash up that wall. But the hood would be considerably right of center. I donÂt think it looks too unbalanced with the cabinets there, but would it look off without them?

4) I dislike the wavy-edge valance over the window by the sink. Would a straight-edged replacement look out of place in this kitchen?

5) Does anyone know how on earth I can get this backsplash off? There are no fasteners or loose edges in sight! I suspect that the substrate was screwed on, then the laminate went over it.

6) And finally, do you see anything here that you think needs attention and I am overlooking? Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me!

Comments (28)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It's great that you plan to work with the vintage look of your kitchen. There's a lot of great potential there. Try to resist going too modern with it.

    If you do remove the valance, I wouldn't put anything there. Just leave it open.

    Removing the countertop and backsplash is going to make a mess just by looking at it. You may end up having to replace the wall behind it. But those counters really need to go. We just removed laminate counters and backsplash. You have to pry them loose with a long thin piece of metal, they are probably glued so you have to work the glue loose. Lots of work, but worth it. Try not to dig into the wall too much, if you go slowly you can do it unless they were really stuck on. Butcherblock counters there would look good.

    Be sure to turn off the power to those areas first.

    Vintage glass knobs and vintage hinges would look great.

    A chimney style hood might be too modern. It looks like you need to keep all your storage.

    Removing the cabinet and opening the aisle looks like a good idea. You could put a narrow shelf or bookcase there just to add a bit of storage to help with what you are losing by removing the cabinet.

    If you can add some crown molding to the cabinets it would add some detail.

    Your cabinet boxes look wide and the doors narrow. If you add pullouts you might lose a lot of space on the sides because the pullouts can only be as wide as the doors.

    There was a magazine called Cottage Living that had great ideas, but it's no longer published. I think some of the ideas are still available under the website I've linked below.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There's just so much lost storage space with your existing cabinets because of the wide frames that I don't think you could stand to lose any more with aftermarket pullouts.

    These look like built in place cabinets, not modular, and if so, there isn't a "single cabinet" that can be removed on the peninsula without remaking the whole thing. Are you up for that, or do you have a carpenter to help you? If your budget could also stand to have a carpenter take the cabinet doors above the fridge and make you a much deeper cabinet with a side panel to enclose the fridge, it would look better and give you more storage space. However, at that point, with remaking a couple of your cabinets, and redoing the hardware of the existing, you're probably not that $$ far from actually buying new stock cabinets that would provide you with a LOT more storage space for the same cabinetry. So, you need to decide the cost/benefit ratio of what you're planning. If you're doing Ikea butcherblock, then you're close enough to an actual Ikea to consider maybe upgrading one half of your kitchen at a time with new cabinetry from there. Play around with their planner and see what you come up with.

    So, if you're on a tight budget, simply replacing the countertops and taking down the valance entirely would be a nice low budget improvement. Just a little bit more time and money spent with new Ikea cabinets could really give you a lot more functionality---and wouldn't have you spending time and money on paint and hardware for the existing ones.

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  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Do the hardwoods go under or up to the peninsula? At our last house we were doing a similar project and couldn't change the peninsula since the floors didn't run under it and I couldn't afford a giant hardwood floor patch. We ended ripping out the built in desk thing and put the fridge in its place to open the walkway. Not sure about the backsplash. We ended up using the HD pressed tin colored backsplash to go over a tile backsplash that the old owners painted on since we couldn't get it out w/out hurting the cabinets. Maybe you could sawzaw out the backsplash?

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Glad to meet you and your kitchen! Could you post your prefs after taking the Sweeby Test? (Look at the first page Read Me thread by Buehl). It's very helpful for us when thinking along with you.

    Just checking...Where did you view the laminates? Reason I ask is that the big home improvement stores don't stock or promote very many options. There's actually a lot of choice out there. You might consider mixing butcherblock with laminate. Put the butcherblock as a landing spot either side of the range but put laminate in the sink area for easier care. Ikea butcherblock is very affordable--We just did this on either side of our range, which busts up the lengths of laminate and gives a place to put hot pans and chop or pound by the range. It could go on the microwave counter also--depends on how long the slab of butcherblock is and how far you can stretch it. You can also get a very affordable large movable cutting board at Ikea that overlaps over the edge of a square edged laminate countertop--gives a visual break when seen from the side and can be moved around to serve chopping activities wherever you need to do them.

    Changing out the hardware will make a big difference, if you choose something that is very different from the black which is so high-contrast against the white. Because you'll be buying hinges as well as knobs and pulls, this is going to take a bite out of your budget. Begin looking at hardware websites so that you are aware of the current range of options "out there."

    Am also wondering if you would get a different feel in the room if the "white" is a new white such as an ivory or cream or a greenish white or, well you get the idea. It would not match with the white appliances, but because you won't have white countertops and backsplash any more, you can introduce a great new less stark whitish scheme. Would also urge you to find a different ceiling fixture, which would again create an immediate feeling of differentness for the users of the room. Your hickory floor can give you some cues--can you work off the floor color and go toward various browns and creams? or greens? or ... Here I go making recommendations without having a Sweeby Test to give guidance, so I should quit brainstorming.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Charming kitchen! First, how long do you plan on living in your home? The reason I ask is because as mentioned above a DIY spiff up may not be an easy task and after all the work and money spent...will you really be happy? If you plan on staying a while maybe there is a way to use a stock laminate over existing counter top until you could save and plan for a new Ikea or other kitchen. I'm all for saving usable cabinets but you could use an improvement on extra storage, and as already mentioned as a start you could utilize the space over the frig and more.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love that kitchen. Not sure I'd love storing my stuff in it, but it's so cute! Do you like yellow? How about yellow subways with white cabinets? Or (my preference) yellow cabinets with white tile? Maybe not yellow, but you needn't stick with white!

    The floor really is great--and it's probably not under that chunk of cabinet you want to remove, so... I dunno. Might have to leave it.

    If you feel daring, you could perhaps recess the fridge into the wall a scootch. Still won't be able to get into that fridge cabinet, but everything will feel bigger anyway.

    If you remove that cutesy curvy valance, you could replace it with a straight one, or one with a gentle arch.

    Backsplash? You might be able to go over it but I think you ought to give a crow bar a try. Whatever gets the counter off, use on the BS.

    Ohhh....I know--AQUA! Or a grown-up goldish tan colored tile to go with your drapes...

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So many great comments already, thank you!

    I should have mentioned that we will definitely be in this house for the next 5 years, but hope to be here for more like 10 15, if not more.

    Also should have mentioned that DH and I are pretty big on cooking, and we have a 3-yr-old son who loves to "help" us. So, pristine surfaces are not our thing, we like the patina of use. Despite cooking a lot, we have managed to maintain a very well-edited collection of cookware and tools, and we actually dont even use all the storage space we have here.

    I totally forgot about the Sweeby test heres my "mood words" list: Warm, friendly, bright, light, simple, well-used, vintage, comfortable, inviting, fun

    I think the cabinets we have provide many of these things, certainly they are vintage, simple, bright and well-used. Butcher-block countertops will add to that, and keep the room light and warm. Maybe the backsplash would be a good place to bring in some color for brightness and fun beyond all the white and neutral wood.

    The wall color is also open, and maybe thats a place to bring in color for the bright, fun element. I dont hate the light khaki we have, but its just what was there when we moved it, I have no attachment to it. Same with curtains, ok to stay or go. There is wainscoting and chair rail painted white in the rest of the kitchen, where we have a small table, chairs & play kitchen for my son (did not photograph that part, its full of junk from other rooms we are painting right now). I was considering painting the wainscoting the same shade of white as the cabinets, and then the rest of the walls in a deeper color, perhaps a muted navy blue. The adjoining rooms are the dining room, which is maroon with off-white accents, and the family room, a medium gray. I want to have some sense of "going together" when you walk from one room to the other.

    The cabinets of the peninsula are indeed all one piece. We have a great handyman/carpenter who says he can cut the end off and repair it to look like new, and he estimated that the cost would be in the zone of $300. Im not so worried about losing the storage space, since we dont feel pressed for storage at all, but the counter space loss could be a real issue for me. I am positive that the floor does not run under the cabinets, because we installed it when we moved in 2 years ago (the vinyl and carpet here at the time was just tragic). However, we have more than enough leftover planks to fill in if we want to patch. Our carpenter says he can do it I guess the question is, would it really come out looking good? I suppose we can always leave the peninsula as it is for now, replace the countertops, and cut both down in the future if we really feel we should.

    steff 1, those kitchen photos are inspiring! And glass knobs sound fabulous. I had been thinking of different finishes of nickel, didnt even think of glass as a possibility.

    live wire oak, I definitely see your point. Ive priced new Ikea cabinets in essentially the same layout, which we like, and it would just fit into the budget. It would save the time of painting the old ones, but then we'd be spending that time installing instead - or maybe that's faster? The nearest store is 5 hours away, but we are a road-trip-friendly family and would do it if we really wanted to. Emotionally, though, I hate the idea of pulling out old custom cabinets. Its absolutely true that they are not remotely as good as new ones would be in terms of functional storage, and I know new ones would be lovely to use day-to-day. However, we try to have a very "green" lifestyle. At least 75% of our furniture is vintage or thrifted, and Im not sure if getting a brand new Ikea kitchen would feel right. Im on the fence Id really, really love to have lower cabinet drawers -- but feeling that I might regret tearing the current cabinets out.

    floratha, we looked at laminate samples at the big stores, but also ordered samples online from Formica and Wilsonart. We love real soapstone, but it is totally out of our price range, so we were looking at some of the soapstone-esque laminates. We actually did like Formicas basalt slate well enough to price it, and surprisingly, Home Depot was the lowest, under several local guys, around $1500 installed. It would cost nearly the same as Ikea butcher block if we DIY, but I am more nervous about that for laminate for some reason. I hadnt thought about mixing laminate with butcher block in different spots, but that does sound like an interesting possibility. Would it be weird for laminate and butcher block to abut one another in a corner?

    Definitely agree about the lighting fixture. I was thinking about school-house style for the replacement.

    fori, I love the idea of recessing the fridge if that is at all possible, I will definitely do it! Even 3 inches would make it more like a counter-depth and help open up that walk-way. Im a bit afraid of yellow, but aqua backsplash tile sounds appealing. Certainly, youre right that I dont have to be limited to white for the cabinets. I guess Ive been infected by the white cabinet trend, I didnt really consider anything else :)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, if new cabinets fit in your budget, but you want to stay green, how about a compromise? The base cabinets are the ones that are really killing your storage, so what about replacing just the base cabinets with Ikea and color match some paint to take care of the uppers. Or, mix and match with the base being entirely different. That would give you a LOT more functionality and still preserve some of the existing cabinetry. However, you could also put all of the cabinets as available on Craig's List or Freecycle and see if someone else could recycle them for themselves and go with all new. The time spent putting them together and hanging them will actually be a lot shorter than the prep and painting of the existing units.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I really like your ideas and I think your kitchen is already cute and has a lot of potential.

    I think your idea about putting in butcherblock and new backsplash is great. Without doing some demo, it may be difficult to know exactly how the current countertop and backsplash are attached. From your picture, it appears that you will need to remove the countertop before the backsplash. Other than that, I would recommend gentle prying using putty knives, pry bars, etc. It is possible that you may end up damaging the wall behind the backsplash and having to replace it. This isn't a big deal since you're intending to tile over it and won't need to worry about a lot of finish details.

    I also love the idea of new vintage style hardware. Here are a few adorable vintage-style knobs from Anthropologie that would look fantastic on your cabinets.





    And here are a few of the vintage-style pulls.

    {{gwi:1942818}}

    I also agree that a change in light fixture could add interest. I especially love the idea of a school house style flushmount.

    You could even do a schoolhouse flushmount with a colored shade to break up the white if you do white cabinets.

    I also like the idea of removing a segment of that peninsula. I would probably remove as much space as a single cabinet encompasses, but no more so that you can retain some counter space.

    I also absolutely agree that the scalloped valance should be removed. Personally I would go without a valance, but if you want one I'd do something gently curved or straight (something simple).

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, that explains the nice floor. A good carpenter type should be able to stick in new planks. Good.

    You could put up a gateleg table-type counter extension to give you extra work space. Or compromise and chop off only half the offending cabinet and turn the remaining piece of cabinet into a bookcase. Preferably with half-moon shelves, of course. (Curvy counters hurt less when you bump 'em.)

    I think you need to sketch us a floor plan--the fridge isn't where I thought it was!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Check out Rookie2010's backsplash post. A ways down is a vintagey kitchen with butcherblock counters. Painted

    AQUA!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "If" you did think about replacing the bottom cabinets before you put time and money into the wall repair and a new countertops & backsplash There are some really neat ideas just in these two pictures. In the first picture, if you bought white base cabinets with a few new nice drawers maybe there is a way you could have some open cabinetry? Then you would save on upper door paint and hardware. Picture this kitchen with lighting you choose and your butcherblock counters and pretty floor.

    http://s1004.photobucket.com/albums/af170/jterrilynn/ideas/?action=view¤t=whiteretro.jpg"; target="_blank">

    In the next picture you could almost keep the upper cabinet hardware you have and of course keep upper cabinetry too and save money, but look what you could do if you bought some brand-new unfinished base cabinets and painted the bottom in your favorite color, whether it be red, green or whatever.
    http://s1004.photobucket.com/albums/af170/jterrilynn/ideas/?action=view¤t=bhgkitchenwz2.jpg"; target="_blank">

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OH NO I think I like that wallpaper!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think your kitchen is adorable! I'm in the process of painting my dark wood cabinets....it's quite time consuming, but I think it will be worth it. I have no advice, but I can't wait to see what you do!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    fyi: here's my kitchen where butcherblock abuts laminate. Have only had this installed for 4 weeks, so am not sure how things will work out in the long run, but I'm not worried at this time. Installer was fine with this.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a great resource for you. Check out this link and make sure you scroll down the page:

    http://www.barsandbooths.com/bandbmetalbanding.htm

    I agree that maybe new lowers would be in order because of the functionality and labor required to retrofit and re-paint. If you want to go green, try www.greendemolitions.com or your local Habitat for Humanity Restore. They both carry new and used building materials, (especially kitchens for GD) and the money goes to a good cause. You can also try the following link to see if there is an architectural salvage place within striking distance:
    http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/recycled-building-materials.htm
    There's always craigslist and ebay as well.

    If you can't find "new to you" base cabs, then IKEA might be a good option. I would certainly (100%) keep your uppers and I think even the valance fits the vintage look to a T.

    If you like the laminate with edge banding idea, then chrome pulls and knobs would be in order. I am waiting on samples from several places for the laminate, but know that I will be ordering the chrome from barsandbaths at minimum. I am not sure what the other companies charge for the sheet laminate, but I have seen some really nice looks and got my first sample today in the mail, which is a contender (from Arbolite). If I do get my laminate itself from barsandbaths, dh & I agree it will be the gray cracked ice. You can't find much more retro than that! We are going for a more '40s vibe so the boomerangs are a little too modern for us, lol.
    If you go with new laminate counters, you may want the matching laminate for your splash as well. If you do the chrome insert banding at the bottom of the splash, it would look more dressed up.
    A lot of what you describe is how I am trying to proceed. We are using a vintage stove and sink as well as vintage hardware. I love reclaiming something and presenting it in a fresh way. My house is also full of antiques and old stuff that has life left in it and is not always appreciated in our consumer society. I love the modern conveniences, but that does not mean everything from before should be disposable.

    BTW - if the floor gets patched at the end of where you are cutting back the peninsula, a well placed garbage can under the counter overhang (if you cut back your cabs more than you cut back the counter), would help cover up part of the patch and would provide a function as well. I also see it being a more rounded overhang there for comfort and for not losing precious prep space.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ah, this is why it's good to get feedback from other people! I don't know why it didn't even occur to me as a possibility to change base cabinets and keep the uppers. That might be a nice compromise for us -- living with a dysfunctional kitchen does seems silly when we can afford to improve that element. I'm really digging the idea of non-matching uppers and lowers. That creamy white and red kitchen jterrilynn posted is extremely appealing. I'm also really liking the aqua - beautiful vintage-style knobs and pulls, pricklypearcactus, and that aqua-cabinet kitchen on the backsplash thread is very cute.

    Here's the floorplan as it is currently (uppers not shown). The only significant change I'm thinking about is shortening the peninsula. If we do go that route with the original cabinets, I love the idea of putting open shelves on the end - I've been looking for a way to bring in cookbook storage, and that might be it.

    I tried and failed to slide my thinnest putty knife behind the awful laminate backsplash, so I'm thinking it might be glued or at least sealed near the edges. The sawzall might make have to make an appearance! I'm not afraid of busting up the wall, but I'm a little nervous about the possibility of cutting through wiring or some other important stuff that may be back there. It'll be a bit of an experiment to get this thing out, but it's got to go.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    dianalo, thank you! We had thought about a metal edge with laminate early on, but that somehow got forgotten as we started looking at granites and butcher block. You've revived my interest again -- that could look very cool. It would be a less "farmhouse" direction than butcher block, but I can see it working. We have a fair amount of 1930's and 40s furniture, actually. Would you say laminate/metal edge is more or less consistent with that era?

    My suburban small city doesn't have a full Habitat for Humanity Re-store, but they do have a small warehouse store that sometimes has cabinets. I'd be thrilled to find something there, on craigslist or ebay. I will definitely check out the ecobusinesslinks site. It wouldn't kill me to buy Ikea, but re-use is sort of a point of pride for me, so I'd be really happy if I could make that work.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love your cabinets! If this were my kitchen, I would not remove any existing box - storage is a premium. I would for sure remove all the black hardware and that ceiling fixture and replace with a silver metal such as chrome, nickel or stainless. In our small kitchen, reflection of light was very important in making the space feel larger. Same goes for the white - I would keep the white. I'd change the wall color to an aqua or turquoise blue or blue-green. Leave the white trim! For sure change out the counter - don't cross stone off your list just yet. I've seen some really lovely and inexpensive pieces that would not detract from the period feel of your space. I would be OK with white subways on the backsplash, but I might go for something with a bit more charisma on the splash - it's a nice way to use a more luxurious material without having to break the bank and it stands out because there is so little of it against all that white. I would not go with a stainless hood - would detract from the period feel too much and the style of what is there is just fine. Check out local stone yards - seeing the stone in person is totally different that seeing it on a monitor or photo. I love your sink valance - don't touch it! Now that curtain above the sink would have to go. I can see a large, wide single bowl sink in place of that double. Whatever choices you make, be happy with them.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dee - while the site that sells the banding pushes the 1950s vibe, it was around a while before that.

    Don't forget to look at reclaimed tile when you hit the links from the architectural salvage places. Even if it is not your look, it is a fun browse. I think it is recyclingthepast.com that has the best tile selection. You need to scroll to the right for each page. At first I thought they only had what came up on each screen until I noticed that.
    You may want to try to find an old sink with attached sideboard/s as well. Mine is a single, but I would have loved to find one with the double sideboards. I got mine on freecycle and you just can't beat free ;) I am so glad we get to use a wall mount faucet. I was actually going for a farmhouse look from that period and veered a little into retro modern from early mid-century. Pretty much anything from between WWI-WWII.
    I got my vintage, yet unused knobs and pulls from ebay. It was a major score as a hardware store was closing shop and someone found them in a back room in original packaging. The price was what one would pay at HD or Lowes for basic stuff. I felt it was like hitting a mini Lotto, lol.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    dee850, just a thought on the laminate backsplash:

    The door trim looks as if it creates an awkward angle to try to pry under the laminate substrate. You might try taking a hot iron, and with a piece of fabric or paper between the iron, and the laminate layer, heat the laminate near the edge, to soften the glue. Then use your putty knife to loosen the laminate. If that works, and the substrate is screwed on, removing the laminate sheet first might make demolition easier.

    Also, if you ruin the laminate with this little test, it might be an incentive to move ahead with the plans. :)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well it seems to me that the peninsula is being slandered here and it hasn't done anything wrong. Someone put a fridge and desk unit in the passage and is trying to make it seem like they are innocent of blocking the way.

    I agree your fridge/desk array is adorable. It's also not very functional. Can't reach over that fridge. Don't need a desk. Might need a microwave shelf...OK, I'll give you that...

    What about ripping that whole thing out? Recess the fridge or buy a counter depth one. Or both. Replace the desk with something shallower. Or, assuming you can get the fridge back into the wall enough (because counter depth fridges are taller), not ripping out anything except the desky part, shaving that down to upper cabinet depth, and sticking it back in.

    If you go with laminate, and want it on the backsplash too, you MIGHT be able to put it over the existing stuff.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Look for a local option when pricing new cabinets. We priced locally made stock cabinets for a house we recently sold and they beat Ikea and HD by a good bit and included installation.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dee850, I think you have a very cute kitchen, that has a lot of potential (with small budget!)
    Anyway, I did a quick drawing for your fridge:

    I thought you could move the big doors up, make a spot for the MW and bring out the cabinet above fridge to make it usable. The uppers and lowers can be made to look like a buffet.

    And the stove area:

    Shrink the doors above the stove to make room for a decorative mantle. And add a farm sink. Don't know if you have room for some sort of decorative toe-kick.
    Oh, and I made a counter for my *hutch*...it's plywood painted to look like butcherblock.


    Anyway, just a few ideas. HTH

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It's looking like some shade of aqua/turquoise will be a winner.

    Dianalo, the tile on recyclingthepast.com is going to be my new obsession! Amazing stuff. I wonder if it's just coincidence that they have such a large selection of Belgian stuff right now. Belgium is a favorite travel destination of ours, and in fact, the artwork in the kitchen and dining room is mostly Belgian prints. I think we really need to work in some sort of accent with that tile!

    I'm also in love with those big sinks with attached drainboards -- always on the lookout for one, never get lucky. It would necessitate bigger changes to the cabinets than I was thinking, but it would be so worth it.

    I will definitely try the hot iron approach to removing the backsplash. mama_goose, it's true - the worst that can happen is that I'm that much more motivated!

    fori, you are right, the peninsula is innocent! It's a bad relationship between it, the fridge, and the neighboring cabinet. That countertop where the microwave currently lives mostly functions as a clutter-magnet, so I could certainly live without that counter space. It does provide good storage below, though.

    After doing some measuring, I'm not sure how much recessing the fridge and/or removing that cabinet would do. The pantry wall on the left of the fridge limits how far I could push it back and still get the freezer door open all the way. I'd get 2 inches, at best. Not sure that's worth the work of breaking down the wall there. Forgetting about that base cabinet for the moment, the diagonal measurement from peninsula corner to fridge corner is only 30" and the diagonal from the opposite corner of the peninsula to the laundry closet wall is only 33." Since the fridge can't move much, and the laundry closet is not changing, I think that area would still feel cramped even if we took out that base cabinet entirely.

    paintergirl94, I am blown away by your drawings! I hope my kitchen looks so good in the end! I am really liking the microwave shelf idea -- had never even heard of that before I started reading this forum. Your plywood counter is so cool, I never would have thought of something like that.

    DH actually came across a local cabinetmaker the other day, so that and you all are spurring me on to consult with some independent guys here and see what they can offer. I'm getting optimistic that we can get some combination of new and old to blend well here.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am so excited for you as you seem to be making real planning progress. I feel like you have the soulmate kitchen to mine if I were starting with anything worth keeping, lol.
    Keep an eye out at architectural salvage places for a sink with sideboards. Since you are redoing your counters, it really is not a big issue to install. It is a simple self contained unit. I am a little worried about tiling around the back part, but that is why we are getting a professional to do the backsplash, as I want it done well (as is sadly true for everything else). I wish I could DIY with confidence, but my role will be as unpaid assistant and go-fer instead. I can pick up lunches, make coffee, and run to HD or Ace hardware with the best of 'em, lol.

    Fori is right. I forgot to mention that the beauty of possibly going laminate for the backsplash, reto-style, is that you walls need not be perfectly smooth after ripping out the old stuff and you may get away with going over.

    Paintergirl; quick drawing? You have some real talent ;)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Definitely making progress here! Thank you all so much for your thoughtful input. Just a couple of days of posting here has been more useful than months of thinking about it on my own.

    I've come around to agreeing that the base cabinets should just be replaced. The amount of work we'd have to do to improve them, and then still not even be halfway to ideal, just doesn't seem worthwhile.

    Now that my mind has been opened to non-matching uppers and lowers, and colors other than white, I have so many more options to consider. We're going to need to keep looking for inspiration photos, get more samples of various sorts, and shop around.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love this thread : ).

    Dee, your kitchen as it is already has such charm and will be lovely when it's done.

    And paintergirl, your sketches are amazing. When I get around to posting my kitchen (we're not even building until next year...), I would be delighted to commission and pay for some drawings to hang in the finished room!