Friday, August 20, 2010

if I had a million dollars...

Three years ago I fell in love with a house.  People always say you know when the house feels right, and the minute I walked into this one, it did.  It even smelled right.  That's not to say it couldn't be improved upon.  I was looking for a project, so I didn't mind a bit.  I bought the house on the spot.  The bf hadn't even seen it yet.  But that was okay, because the minute he saw it he fell in love, too.

The boyfriend and I both have the "gift" of vision.  We can see possibilities.  Things that aren't actually there yet.  And we both saw some possibilities in this house.  The first thing that had to change was the kitchen.  It's a 70 year old house and it had a 70 year old kitchen (with a few slight updates, none of which were complimentary).  It was tiny - roughly 7x11 - with an equally tiny attached dining area.  There was also a sunroom off the back of the house - the only way to reach the backyard - but it could only be accessed by going thru the laundry room off the kitchen!  So our first vision was...what if we make the sunroom accessible from the kitchen and then use that as a dining room, then we could use the entire kitchen/dining area as kitchen!  Brilliant!

The boyfriend has a woodworking background, but had never made cabinets before. Seemed like a good time to try, right?  Before it was all said and done we ended up doing everything ourselves, including electrical, plumbing, tiling, flooring, ceiling, concrete counter tops, painting, blah, blah, blah, and of course, said cabinets.  It took a year of nights and weekends, but this is what we ended up with:

First - the BEFORE:

The Brick column on the left was the wall of the original kitchen.  Tiny!

Here you can see where we opened the wall to make a doorway into the sunroom, now a dining room.  There used to be a window above the sink, too.  Not anymore! Oh, and a ceiling fan in a kitchen with a gas stove?  Really?

My life for almost a year...

And now....the AFTER:

Better, right?  Yeah, we did those awesome ceilings, too.  Well, the bf made them and I painted them!  And in case you're wondering where the dishwasher is? It's at the other end of the island, facing the sink - super easy for loading and unloading.
Concrete countertops - a labor of love, let me tell ya!  And those cabinets!  They still make me weak in the knees when I look at them!  The bf done good...real good.
Here you can see the new doorway into the sunroom, which we now use as a dining room (table is just to the left of the new doorway).  The view out to the garden is lovely from here!  And we've replaced those fugly track lights since this photo was taken!
To sum up what has turned into a very long story, we absolutely LOVE this kitchen.  Not only is it exactly how we wanted it to look, but it works so well for how we live.  The bf and I both like to cook and this kitchen accommodates both of us, along with a few friends who can hang out and drink with us while we cook.  And we've spent many an evening sitting at the dining room table, long after dinner is finished, drinking wine, talking and enjoying the view to the garden. If I had a million dollars to spend on a kitchen, I would do this exact same thing.  Life is good.


  1. wow, what a beautiful job you did!

    would you believe me if i told you we renovated our entire cottage in 7 weeks? we did with a small army. my husband kept saying we'd be in by jan 1 and none of the neighbors, or i believed it could be done. we moved in 2 days before christmas. it was a whirlwind.

    i love all the choices you guys made and am so impressed that you did it all yourselves. you guys should have your own tv show!


  2. Amazing transformation! I love the cement countertops, and would like to hear how it was installing them.
    You and BF should be very proud!!

  3. Thank you both!
    Janet - I would be amazed to hear that you managed to renovate even one room in seven weeks - never mind an entire cottage! Wow! And it turned out beautifully, too! I love how serene your home feels.
    Allison - I didn't do much of the work on the counter tops because they were really heavy, and because the bf had a big emotional attachment to them and wanted to do them "all by himself"! It turned out that he did have to hire two guys to help him bring them in, as they were several hundred pounds a piece (and he's not a young stud anymore - don't tell him I said that!) All I did was pick out the color of the concrete mix! They've been there for a year and a half and so far, so good!

  4. Unbelievable. I'm reading this at work so i can't really do it justice, but even a quick glance is amazing.

    I'm so glad to come and meet you.

    be back soon.

  5. I've been traveling through your blog and love this kitchen renovation. What a difference! You two should win an award - fabulous.