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I can’t believe this is the first post I am sharing about what we have been doing at our new house! The truth is we haven’t had anything complete to share yet (except for our living room which I shared on Instagram last month!). I think that is the reality of how we are able to work on the house though – I chip away at small things and totally completed spaces come slowly. That’s the way I like it though, I tell everyone that I talk to about the house that I want the work here to last 10 years…and right now, it’s true! However, with more time in the next few months, I am definitely going to focus on sharing our slow process here, not just the completed rooms (because who knows when we will have another complete!).
So, today is all about our kitchen…the latest completed space in our house! As soon as we started discussing our plans for the house we knew the kitchen would be one of the big changes we eventually made here. For the most part, with our work in the house, our goal is just to enhance what is already here – nothing major. However, when it comes to the kitchen there isn’t much about the existing kitchen that we want to save…nothing, actually! At this point we THINK we even want to move the kitchen location to an entirely different room.
Saying all this, we didn’t want to rush any major updates in our home and Dan and I want to live in the space to see what works for us before we do anything major. This is also the one room in the house that we know has a lot of work involved when we get to working on it. When we want to move the kitchen to the new location it will be a new kitchen project but also involve fully gutting and renovating this room. We can tell that the ceiling, half of the walls, and floor will all need to be removed and redone in this room, which is not the case for any other rooms in the house (as far as we can tell!). It’s just a bigger project (financially and logistically) than we want to get into right away but we definitely know it is work that needs to be done! I also love design and the thought of doing a whole new kitchen definitely excites me so I want to take some time and make sure our new kitchen is well designed and thought out.
So, all in all, we just didn’t feel ready for a kitchen renovation and the one in the house currently was totally fine…just dated aesthetically. I figured that with a few days of work and minimal budget I could transform our current kitchen into something that we would be excited to use for the next little while until we make plans for a new kitchen.
So, here is what we did to update our cute little kitchen! It took me 4 days (spread out over a few weeks due to my schedule!) and cost about $400 (I really focused on using things and materials that we already had). I hope some of these ideas can inspire you to fix up a space in your house to feel fresh and new!
It is so amazing what a coat of paint can do to make a space feel fresh. Every surface in this room (except for the floor) got a fresh coat (or 3) of paint and that alone made an amazing difference. We painted the trim a cream – Roman Column by Sherwin Williams, it is the same colour that I have been using throughout the house and I really love it. The walls are the same colour as the trim but in an eggshell finish. I made sure to caulk all the trim in the room as well. Have you discovered the magical powers of caulking yet? I’ve always been a room painter (my childhood room got weekly paint jobs…I was a creative kid hah!) but caulk is something I just started using a lot with this house. Paint + caulk is basically a dream come true. Latex caulk fills in all those gaps between the wall and the trim that create shadows and trap dust and really just makes everything feel new.
The cupboards were the next thing to paint and Dan and I both agreed that dark green was the way to go in this kitchen. These cupboards didn’t have any character to them so a darker colour really helped add a richness to the room and also helped mask any imperfections in the wood (there were many). This colour was called Forestwood by Sherwin Williams. The final thing that we painted in this kitchen was the acoustic tile ceiling. While I would love to get rid of this entirely, that is a job we will save for the actual reno of this room because I know there is a LOT of work to be done there (we discovered 2 other dropped ceilings under this one!). Painting the ceiling was definitely the best move we made here. It blended the colour difference between the frame and the tiles and really just makes the ceiling disappear as opposed to how it stood out as an eyesore before.
Swapping out hardware is one of my favourite things to do in a bathroom or kitchen update or even on a piece of furniture. It makes a piece feel new and it’s so easy to transform the style of a piece just by swapping out the hardware. Remember the hallway makeover from my last apartment? Just spray painting the handles to the doors black made such a big difference! With our kitchen makeover, I was really keen on using what I already had rather than buying new so I used some knobs that I had left from a project I did earlier this year in our bathroom. Pro tip: Construction salvage places always have such great handle and knob selections and at a fraction of their usual cost! The ReStore is my go-to location for these as well as a place in Beamsville (if you’re local :)) called New Again. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique and don’t mind spending full price, the knob and pull section at Lee Valley is the BEST!
Dan and I both agreed that we needed a small island in the space so we could have a nice surface to prepare food. We have gone from living in a small condo to living in a small apartment and have dealt with minimal cooking space for a lot of years. Believe it or not, this is the biggest kitchen either of us have ever had! After scouring the local spots, Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji for an island, we couldn’t find something the right size. My parent’s old island was just sitting in the barn at their house. When my mom suggested it and sent the measurements we saw that it would be the perfect fit! Again, I was so happy to find something to use that we already had. The island was a bit low for what we wanted so we added castor wheels to the bottom which gave us some added height and also gave us the flexibility to move it around which we love. We also bought a new butcher block top so it felt fresh and clean.
A good spot for Dan to make coffee was a must. For organization sake, I really like things to be thoughtfully placed and compartmentalized which is just what his coffee cart does. Dan has a lot of small pieces of equipment that he uses to make coffee and having them together in one spot is so much nicer than having them on the counter. You might notice this kitchen is lightly styled and that is definitely intentional – I’m not one for knick knacks, open shelving or anything on surfaces…I like to keep counters as neat as possible! We purchased this IKEA bar cart back when we lived in Toronto and it has been totally perfect for Dan’s needs. It neatly fits his grinder, scale, kettle, and V60 as well as a whole slew of coffees that he is enjoying that week. I even bought some cool coffee prints from a Hamilton artist and framed them in some simple frames from Michaels to complete the coffee corner.
Again, with a temporary makeover (and working on my own for the most part), I did not want to get into removing the current backsplash and installing a tile one, it just didn’t seem worth it! I opted to paint the backsplash which, somewhat to my surprise, went really well. I then put some tangerine decals on the backsplash area. I purchased these decals from Urban Walls, originally for our bathroom update but when my brother unexpectedly gifted us a new vanity for the bathroom that he didn’t need at his house, they no longer matched the plan (we were happy to set them aside for the beautiful new vanity though!). These decals were the perfect solution to make the backsplash stand out and make this kitchen the fun space I wanted. Embracing the old kitchen and having fun with a quirky design made sense in this space instead of trying to make this a polished, formal kitchen that it certainly is not.
These Urban Walls decals are SO GOOD. I could not have been more impressed with how they go on. I have purchased a few huge decals from Urban Walls (I’m talking like 6′ + high decals) and I can’t wait to put them up in the house where I am imagining!
There are a few decor pieces that really brought the room together. The carpet was the first. As you know, I am a fan of a carpet in every space. This vintage Persian rug was perfect to ground this space and add some richness and depth. This was first used in the front entry way at our apartment and I’m happy to give it a new life here!
Swapping out light fixtures is another one of my favourite ways to update a space and make it your style. I am currently working my way through updating all the light fixtures in our home. I always find that the standard ones in houses are so ugly! Don’t you? Lights can be purchased inexpensively at hardware stores and thrift shops and are really easy to change once you know how. I bought this fun vintage chandelier for $20 before we even had this house. I actually wanted something more modern in this space but going with my theme of using what I have, this chandelier was basically too perfect for this room to turn it down. I admit that it took the kitchen into a ‘country kitchen’ territory that I wasn’t totally comfortable with at first but the kitchen is quirky and fun and in the end I love the chandelier in the space too.
Finally, I added a couple pieces of art. The two coffee pieces above Dan’s cart suit that little corner nicely and a larger framed print of wildflowers that my friend Adriana gave me is the perfect final item. It has lots of green that makes a nice visual connection between the cupboards and the other side of the room where the art is hanging.
Have you updated any of your spaces lately? What did you to do make a change?
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