The kitchen, the room where food and memories are made. In this case, it was also where nightmares were made. The kind of nightmare where you realize you have to cook dinner for a family of six in a microwave. Things could have been much worse though, and I am being slightly dramatic. Our first kitchen was in the living room. The house had an existing kitchen but after living in a finished home it was difficult for us to picture using it. This is what we started with:
Nothing except the wall frames were salvageable. We began by ripping out the cabinets which showed just how damaged the plaster was.
Once we had the cabinets out we really needed to decide what exactly our first floor layout was going to be. We considered doing an open floor plan but with such an old home we did not want to mess too much with anything that might impact weight bearing. We decided we would have a bar facing the kitchen. Cutting and measuring that out happened before we made the kitchen layout.
We needed electric work done. There were only two outlets in the kitchen and neither were up to code. Extension cords had been used for appliances which made us a little uncomfortable as far as fire safety goes. One of the biggest hold ups was getting an electrician in to update the current wiring, add outlets and doing so without ripping out the walls completely. We have a basement but unfortunately under the kitchen there is only a crawlspace. This meant suiting up and climbing under there to access the plumbing and electrical lines.
We decided to add a skylight and do a vaulted ceiling so we could make the smaller kitchen feel more open. Opening the ceiling was a great choice because we found some beams in poor shape and we were able to replace them. After the ceiling was done and we had electrical wires and plumbing in place we were able to add drywall. We did not want to take down the plaster walls in the kitchen so we cut into them for electrical lines, added insulation and then drywalled over it.
Once we had measurements our next step was to design a kitchen. We took to Google and started a search for the kitchen of our dreams that would fit into our budget. The fourth picture was our loose inspiration: http://www.bhg.com/blogs/centsational-style/2012/11/01/open-shelving-in-kitchens-7-different-looks/
We wanted quality cabinets but we also needed them to fit into our budget. We had looked into IKEA but with our computer packed away and four kids the idea of sitting in the kitchen design area induced panic attack like symptoms. Several contractor friends recommended AAA Distributors. We took our measurements and within five minutes they designed a wonderful kitchen layout. We bought bottom cabinets and had them assemble the cabinets before we picked them up.
With cabinets ordered we needed to get shelving, appliances, flooring, lighting and accessories within our budget. We bought wood and wooden brackets, basic commercial tiles, lighting, and in-stock laminate counter tops at Home Depot. We went to IKEA for accessories, organizers and butcher block for the bar. We reused the barstools from our old home, purchased used appliances and used left over paint from the kitchen in our first house.
As mentioned before, I am not a photographer and our house is quite lived in!
We will likely add and change things in the kitchen as we get a better feel for our needs in this house. For now though, we are very thrilled. I am thoroughly amazed with my husband’s skills to build a custom kitchen for under $4500 that included electrical and plumbing work. The boys are enjoying finally having a place to sit and eat!