Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is pretty close to being done (like 99%) and we don’t have any plans on finishing it for at least another month. So, this post is a tiny bit premature, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to show you what we have been working on all summer long.  Although, if you follow me on Instagram, then you have seen some of the progress along the way, so I apologize for the repetitive pictures.

Just to give you some perspective, this was our kitchen the night before the demolition. Next to the oven (on the picture on the right), was a dishwasher that had to get pulled up to the sink in order for it to work. Did you know one of those existed? I didn’t until the day we moved in and I couldn’t get the dishwasher to work….

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It was pretty obvious that we needed an upgrade and we’ve upgraded every other room in the house except for this one. We knew  a kitchen upgrade was going to be pricey, which is why we avoided it. But, then some used cabinets became available to us and with the help of Dave’s aunt, uncle and grandpa, we were able to change those cabinets into something great. Here’s a link to my post about how we transformed our “new” used cabinets.

After all of the work that we’ve done in the house, I still thought that any project that we start would be finished in no time flat. This project wasn’t any different. Shockingly, I was wrong.. The plan was that after 3 days of work, our kitchen would be functional. Functional, to me, meant that it would be practically done. I was in for quite a surprise! Let me start from the beginning…

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First, we needed to demolish our old kitchen. We had the old cabinets and plumbing  ripped out along with the old floor before lunch time on Day 1. After such a productive morning, I was sure we’d have this up and running in no time. But, what I didn’t know was that the demolition is the easy part because then the hard part started. Do you like the salmon colored walls? That was actually the back wall of our cabinets. I had no idea that when I saw the salmon color in the back of cabinet, I was looking at the wall. Interesting construction technique.

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There’s some proof that Dave was hard at work:)

We had to cut out some insulation board for the electrical to be done and since we planned on using drywall, we ended up putting some insulation up the wall first.


After the new dry wall was measured, cut, nailed in place, and mudded, the new floorboard was nailed in place.


Looking better already, right?

By the end of day 3, we were able to get the bottom cabinets in place and after realizing that there was no way we could get in the new countertops, sink, and plumbing because it was too late, this happened:


Yes, we had to dumpster dive for our old sink and the plumbing. There was no way around it, so we went in after it. By this point, I thought I was going to cry (it really is stressful remodeling), but then Dave’s aunt Debbie started to laugh and truly, what else could we do but laugh?  We got the sink and plumbing out of the dumpster and put it on the plywood counter that we would temporarily have.

Here’s how functional we were able to get after Day 3.


We all continued to work into the next weekend, usually with intentions to be done early. However, they almost always ended up being late nights. But, so much got done: An above the range microwave got hung up, along with all of our upper cabinets, the sink and plumbing got put in, a garbage disposal, and a new dishwasher. A real dishwasher. One that I don’t have to slide over to the sink and hook up to the faucet. I feel like I’m living in the lap of luxury now! I can wash my hands at the same time as the dishes are being washed!!!

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{countertops from Menards: Carrara Pearl laminate}

Things were finally moving along in this kitchen and since Dave’s mom and brother’s were coming into town, I wanted to paint the walls and work on the backsplash. I ended up not having time to do the backsplash before they arrived, so, I had them help me.

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{backsplash from Menards: Mohawk Coastal Keystones}

We had two big projects left in this kitchen: put in the floor and move the kitchen doorway. Yes, I said move the doorway. Our new countertop was sticking out into the doorway, so unless I wanted to shred my hip on the corner every time I walked into the kitchen, it needed to be moved. One whole weekend later, the floor was laid and grouted, and the doorway was moved (but the trim needed to be done).

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{Flooring from Meanrds: Snapstone Porcelain floating tile in Beige}

We also wanted to make a smaller floor register, since the older one was hideous and replacement registers would cost us over $200. This new one from Menards cost about $60 since we had to change some of the ducting.

Old Register New Register

I know this is such a long post, but I swear I’m almost done. I’m getting to the tail end, I promise.

We had a vacation coming up so, I told Dave that we had to finish this kitchen, or we weren’t going to Florida. I just couldn’t bear to come home to an unfinished kitchen. We worked from morning until night for 6 out of 7 days. It was a grueling week. We had to re-texturize the wall in the dining room and after some research, I discovered that the texture was made with mudding. I couldn’t figure out exactly which type of texture, but I knew it was close to the “knockdown texture”. I figured I’d give it a go and after it was all done, it looked alright. Not quite what I was hoping it would look like, but I accidentally let the mud dry on too long.

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In order to texturize with mudding, I had to thin it out with water. Then, I slapped it on the wall and let it sit for about 45 min, before I “knocked it down” by leveling it out. But, since I let it sit for too long, it was hard to level it out, so I still have some peaks on the wall. After it was painted though, it doesn’t look too bad.

The trim in the doorway was a little bit more difficult with all the measuring and precise cutting. It ended up taking us 3 days to finish it, especially when there are little people running around vying for our attention or running into freshly painted walls. But, it got done eventually, which is all that matters.

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We did some stuff on our own, but for the most part we had the help of Dave’s aunt Debbie and uncle Larry along with Dave’s grandpa. We felt bad keeping Dave’s aunt and uncle away from their family for so many days, but we really had no idea how we could have finished without their help. We appreciate it more than words can say. A HUGE thank you to them.

This was a big undertaking, but I’m so happy that it is done.

I said that we are 99% done because we still need to build a small cabinet by the dining room doorway to put cookie sheets and cutting boards in. Once that is built in, I have some rubber kick plates that I will adhere, and then we will be FINALLY done!

Here’s some before/after pics of the kitchen to really put things into perspective:

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Our Cabinet Makeover



This weekend was beautiful, wasn’t it? Exactly what mothers deserve; a reprieve from the cold, harsh Winter/Spring. A moment to watch the kids run around on the green, plush grass after bubbles and listen to them scream with delight when the water hits them from their squirt guns. I loved looking at the wide smiles on their slightly reddened faces when they would run up to me to tell me how much fun they are having. It was a GREAT Mother’s Day.

Since it was such a warm, mostly dry weekend, we headed over to Dave’s grandparents house on Saturday to begin the  staining process of our almost new kitchen cabinets with the help of Dave’s aunt and uncle.

We began by first taking off all of the cabinet doors and removing the hardware (hinges and handles).


Look closely and you will see Dave’s grandpa supervising:)

Then, with a bucket full of soapy water, we scrubbed the grease off of them (inside and out) before we roughed them up with 220 grit sandpaper. Since they were already used cabinets, they had a previous finish on them that needed to get sanded off in order for the stain to soak into the wood. While we were washing and sanding them, we would point out any issues, such as loose drawers, exposed nails, etc., to Dave’s grandpa and uncle to fix before we would start staining them



Dave working hard sanding down the doors.

The stain we picked out was Minwax Polyshades in Bombay Mahogany. However, after trying it out on a few cabinets, we noticed that they were drying streaky, regardless of how we applied the stain. Back to Menards we went to get a separate stain and polyurethane. I wanted to get a rich, dark red color, so we decided to try the Minwax Red Mahogany and a water based Minwax semi-gloss polyurethane. I had a hard time picking out the stain because the samples at the store are on unfinished wood and it doesn’t tell me what our cabinets would look like since there is still a stain on them. It worked out well and I loved the way the cabinets turned out.


I had no idea how easy it is to stain wood! Way easier than applying the stain and polyurethane in one. Here is what we did: two of us grabbed rags and dipped them into the stain (while wearing gloves to prevent our hands from staining) and applied a thin coat of stain to the wood going with the grain. After allowing the stain to saturate into the wood for about 5 min, two other people wiped off the stain with a clean rag, while we already moved on to the next set of cabinets. We had an assembly line going:) It worked out great and before we knew it, we had them all stained.



Here’s a picture showing the contrast of the original cabinet (on the bottom) to a drawer that we stained (on the top). We ended up only putting on one coat of stain since we really liked how it turned out.


We still had to flip the doors over and stain the inside of them, but we lost daylight before the fronts were dry. We decided to move everything back into the garage and call it a night. This afternoon, we headed back to continue working on the cabinets and since the stain dried without a big change in color, we decided to not add another coat of stain. Instead, we got another assembly line going to put on the water based polyurethane.

Once again, I was surprised how easily this went on. I’ve read about how careful you have to be with polyurethane so that it goes on evenly without bubbles and streaks, etc. But, we had no issues whatsoever. I’m not sure if it’s because it was the water based version or what it was exactly, but I’m thrilled that there were no problems.

There was rain on the way this evening, so we were on a time crunch and therefore, unable to stain the inside of the cabinet doors. Instead, Dave’s aunt and uncle polyurethaned the cabinets while Dave and I would move each piece into the garage when it was done. Afterward, we loaded up the cabinet doors into various vehicles and got them over to Dave’s aunt and uncles house, since they plan on finishing the  staining of the inside of the doors as well as putting on another coat of the polyurethane. We got done in the knick of time as the rain poured down on us!

The tentative plan is to start the demolishing of our kitchen on the Friday evening or Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend since we’ll have 3 days to get as much done as we can. I’m so excited!!!!! I can’t wait to see how these cabinets will end up looking in our kitchen.

Although it wasn’t this big, relaxing weekend, it was great to have these cabinets mostly done. Also, we got to spend time with family 🙂 Overall, it was a wonderful weekend.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, as well. A special Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Teresa and my mother-in-law, Therese, as well as my sisters, family and friends. Love you all!

Plans for Kitchen Remodel

Plans are underway for our kitchen remodel and I am so excited to get this going and done.

This is our current kitchen:

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Clearly, we need a remodel, not just a cabinet resurfacing.

Our plan is to rip out, well, pretty much everything and replace it with “new” cabinets, put in some new appliances, a new counter and backsplash, along with some new odd and ends. We are getting some oak cabinets from family that are only a few years old, but they need some new stain put on them. We want a darker cabinet color like this one that we saw at Home Depot today.


The Bombay Mahogany stain from Minwax is the closest thing I could find to that color and I hope it will turn out similar.


This stain is a poly/stain in one and I’ve been doing some research to find out if we should do a all-in-one stain or a separate stain and polyurethane. I’m leaning toward listening to good ol’ Bob Vila and use the combo one but there are people that say it can be harder to do. I like the way the color looks more in the combo stain than in the individual one. But how am I supposed to know? I’ve never done this before.

My friend Sara from Wild Tree Design is my go to person for color/design and she suggested with our small space to have a lighter countertop, backlash and wall color. She sent me this link from Pinterest that I love:


I love the subway looking tile and I found a couple of options that I like (both on the right side of the picture).

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I think that we will end up going with the smaller tiles in the picture on the right along with this wall color (Behr- Creamy White):


The samples on the left of the paint sample are countertops. I like the bottom one best because it has flecks of mahogany in it and I think that it would bring out the cabinets more.

We currently have a pull up to the sink dishwasher. It is super annoying to get the dishes done. Dave has almost flooded the kitchen when the drain got plugged, so now we make sure we are awake and home to monitor it all. I hate it. So, I can’t wait to get a new dishwasher installed! Along with that, we will get an above the range microwave, sink and faucet. Here’s a sink I saw at Home Depot today that I love, but I think we might get one smaller than the 33inches that it is. But we will see.


Because these are hand-me-down cabinets, we are adjusting things to the make everything look symmetrical. For example, we have a window that’s above the sink but the cabinet that the sink will sit in will end up being a little off center. My thought is to get this double sink with a smaller and larger bowl to give the illusion of symmetry. I’m hopeful that it will work, but if not, it would only be a couple of inches away from the center of the window and shouldn’t be a big issue.

Now, all that we are left with is flooring. We may have some flooring left over from a family members remodel, but if not, or if it doesn’t work with the style of the kitchen we are going with, we will get something different than our current flooring. I’m just not sure exactly about the color, etc.

Once the weather is warm enough and dry enough, we can start staining the cabinets in Dave’s aunt and uncles garage. As soon as that gets done, we can gauge when the kitchen will be done. Like I said before, I CANNOT WAIT!!!!