Kitchen Reno Reveal

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Soooooo.....ummm this is's been a while hasn't it? Not to worry I didn't give up completely on design and just crawl under an unembellished rock to die. I'm not going to list my boring, finally exercising again, finally cooking again....blah, blah, blah. The point is we've been busy and finally have something to show for it. Guys, we finished our mini kitchen overhaul! All the exclamation points (did you miss all my exclamation points?)!!!!! 

I am completely in love with our new space! It feels a million times better in here and I'm just so darn excited that my vision for the space came to life thanks to our hard work. Mostly Chad's hard work but I did paint every single cabinet myself-totally worth it! The kitchen finally came out of the 90s and now feels modern, classic and clean. The only downside is that it's making some of the other spaces feel very dated (I'm looking at you bathrooms). 

Many months ago I did a post on the kitchen in our new house and what we had done for the time being to spruce it up. I had thrown around idea of painting the cabinets dark green and redoing the floor with a graphic pattern. How closely did I follow my original plan? Pretty close considering we had a tight budget. After testing some paint samples the green was just not working for me. I love the contrast of the black cabinets with the wood and brass knobs. Also a huge thank you to Chad's mom who, while visiting in September, suggested removing the upper cabinets on the back wall to visually lighten the space. It totally changed the space and having the open shelving back there is one of my favourite bits-thanks Paulette! I'll go into more detail on the process because of course I took a million pictures. Here is the before, the during and the AFTER:

Hello fresh new kitchen! Let me tell you, I do not miss that special splatter paint backsplash tile or the chipped laminate countertop. In pictures the floor didn't look that bad but it was scratched and kind of a strange greige colour.  

Ok, now on to the process. Below is where we started when one night I magically convinced Chad that we should just start ripping shit out. Luckily the tile wasn't incredibly secure so didn't damage the drywall too badly when we pulled off the old tile. The kitchen felt more open the minute we pulled those upper cabinets down!

We took off all the cabinet doors, set them up in the garage and used paper cups to support them. I mostly followed the steps outlined in the Young House Love tutorial. I can't recommend the Benjamin Moore Advanced paint enough. It's definitely more expensive but a gallon covered our entire kitchen. It went on beautifully and didn't leave any brush marks. It seems to be holding up quite well.

The butcher block countertop installation was a whole other story. The issue "we" had was trying to cut the corner seam with an uneven back wall. After much swearing and threats of "just having no countertop" we decided to not do an angled seam and simply have two pieces meet at a straight seam as you can see in the picture below. It's not perfect but I think since it's in a hidden corner it's not as noticeable.

In the middle of all of this we also had our windows replaced because they were rotting out and birds had made a home inside the sills. It's nice to have windows that we can actually open now.

Chad's officially a tiling pro now so this was one of the more straightforward parts of the project. We used white subway tile mainly for cost but you also just can't beat the look of clean, classic subway- especially when you have lots of other patterned elements.

For our flooring we went with Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT). We chose this option mainly for its low cost and ease of installation. My dream tile would be a patterned cement tile but we don't exactly have an extra million dollars hanging around. We easily glued this flooring right over our old greige plastic tiles. It allowed us to still create an interesting design and is easily maintained. Lying VCT is also fairly straightforward as long as you don't do it on an angle or make any type of pattern. Obviously, I chose the most complicated option. You can see in the photo below (on the left near the wall) where the floor hadn't been continued and we had to fill with cement to level out the floors. Again I say "we" which means I stood there with a glass of wine and watched. Laying out the majority of the pattern was "easy" it was more difficult to get the corner areas once you had to cut things on irregular angles.

Whew, that makes me tired just remembering...I think that's enough of the process photos. It took us a few months of slowly working on projects during the weekends and weeknights but it was totally worth it.

I re-purposed our old bar cart/table by using up some of the leftover cabinet paint and tucking it in the corner that had been previously unusable due to the french doors taking up all that space. 

We sealed our Ikea wood counters with the sealer that they have at Ikea. We debated using a varnish but in the end I liked the idea of easily being able to touch up the wood with a quick sanding and keeping the natural finish. I love the black sink we got from Costco, it blends in nicely with the cabinets and is easy to care for-no worrying about scratches or marks like I did with stainless steel. 

The opening shelving is made from brackets from good old Ikea and the wood was just planks we picked up from Lowe's. I used a light natural stain on them to match the counters. I wasn't sure about mixing all the metal finishes in the kitchen. Would our silver faucet and stainless steel dishwasher go with the brass knobs I had found at a salvage store? In the end I love how the brass warms up the black. I think it's key to repeat the metals in a few areas so I brought in brass accessories throughout.

Much to Chad's delight I found this cool light fixture at Lowe's and knew I had to change out the multiple black pendants we had for something sleeker and modern.

If you've browsed my Pinterest then you know I was obsessed with having shelving in the dining room. We'd kept the old cabinet there because there was no flooring underneath (thanks old owners). With new flooring in place I could finally have my wall-to-wall shelf. I bought four of these simple Ikea units to create one giant bookcase/shelving unit. I have a lot of stuff, a minimalist I am not, and with no other real bookcase in the house I am thrilled to have a designated place for all my tchotchkes.

I'm loving how the metal legs of the Ikea shelving mirror the metal dining table legs. I also love that I can now constantly rearrange this space. Nothing better then a Friday night with some wine and styling!

So that's it-our new kitchen. I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse inside our improved space and seeing what some budget friendly updates can do. I've been re-arranging a few of our other spaces so hopefully I'll have time to share these with you soon. 

The New House-Master Bedroom

Sunday, May 1, 2016


We've made it to my favourite room in the house...the Master Bedroom...because anyone who knows me knows I take my sleep very seriously. I'm that person that gets excited to get into bed. Clean sheets, a little spray of lavender and I am over the moon. Chad could sleep in a pile of dirty rags so he finds it hilarious how much I enjoy the getting ready for bed process. He calls my "process" P.B.M or Pre-bed-maintenance because I've been known to draw it out a little bit. Anyhow...starting out, this bedroom wasn't the worst room in the house. It fits a king sized bed nicely, has a large closet (but no walk-in) and a Master bathroom. The paint and carpet-not my jam-so goodbye beige. I also have horrible allergies so wall-to-wall carpet is just out of the question even though this was the newest and least disgusting of the upstairs carpet. Most if this is the result of what a little bit of paint and new decor can do.
Here are a few of the "DURING" photos. The first step was removing the popcorn ceiling. We didn't have to put any plastic down because we knew we'd be taking out the carpet so it became a drop-cloth. We also took off the fake wood plastic closet doors at they didn't sit properly on their tracks and were also just super ugly. I had grand ideas of leaving it an open closet but realized very quickly you need a very minimal black and white wardrobe to pull that off.

Once the popcorn was off, we painted the ceiling and removed the carpets. You can get a better sense of the wall colour in this photo. Actually less of a beige and more of a poop-y colour. Not exactly a colour that screams retreat to me!

In the picture above you can see the new flooring is in and the cutting in was started for painting. I went back to my old standby of grey once again. My inspiration for the bedroom was found from this room via Chris Loves Julia. The wall colour is Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Gray and I love it. It reads a whole bunch of different colours in different lights-from green to grey. I think it makes the room cozy and plays nicely with the white floors for a bit of a Scandinavian vibe.

Looking into the room from the hallway. The curtains are these from Ikea- I used 4 panels to give enough coverage and fullness. Most of the furniture and accessories are the same ones used in our old bedroom or from elsewhere in the house. The tables we were previously using as bedside tables are now down in the living room, so I repurposed some other side and hall tables we had.

I had several pieces of art that had pink in them and wanted to tie pink and mint into the grey and white colour scheme. The little pink chair was a consignment store find and the pink pillows are also from Ikea. 

I'd love to get some cozy rugs for either side of the bed or a large one for the room but I'll have to wait and save up for that. I'm also loving that it's one less thing to vacuum. 

We also added some wall lamps from Ikea to free up space on our bedside tables. I bet you can guess that we made a few trips there to buy stuff for this bedroom. I wanted to try something different with hanging the art above the bed so I hung then lined up from the bottom. 

Here's Billy enjoying a freshly made bed. You can also see our final Ikea purchase(s)-curtain panels to use as closet doors. We did this in the office/bedroom in the last house and I love the way it works. It's cheaper then buying new closet doors and has the flexibility to allow you to let you slide all the panels to the side. Great if you find yourself really digging in your closet like me.

There is a small area before the master bathroom that I'm assuming is supposed to be a vanity/dressing area but to me it is just wasted space. I don't know about you but I'm not about to sit down to powder my nose. Eventually we'll expand the bathroom to include this area into one bigger bathroom.

How would you like to see the world's ugliest bathroom? All I could do in here was paint and add a matching shower curtain. I mean, there isn't much to do with a flesh coloured bathroom!

Surprise! It gets uglier. Is that not the worst tile you've ever seen? It's brown and it looks like it's melting ON PURPOSE. Someone actually chose this bathroom and thought it didn't look too bad. The only good thing about this room is that the brown tile does hide dirt and hair.

Since I can't leave you with an image that burns your eyes out here is one last one of my little sanctuary. 

The New House-Kitchen/Dining Room

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Okay so not exactly a week after but hey, I'm trying! Onto the second room reveal of our new house. Again, it's not a shocking before and after or anything as we haven't (yet) done any major renovations in the kitchen/dining room. I think it still looks much better after we removed the popcorn ceilings, added a light fixture over the dining table and of course, painted everything white. The other thing that I think made a huge difference in modernizing the space was throwing out those hideous bar stools. Don't worry I didn't really throw them out. I sold them on Kijiji, so they are hopefully happy in their new home and perhaps reminiscing about the good old days when it was acceptable to sponge paint every surface in your house. The new bar stools were a major score from a consignment store here in Ottawa. Here's a before and after of the kitchen/dining area from the real estate listing versus today:
It's looking a little less late 80s, early 90s, right? We still have big plans for the kitchen which you can see HERE. Phase one will be: paint the cabinets, new cabinet hardware, new back countertop and a new floor. Phase two will be to completely gut and redo the kitchen... someday. I'm not sure how the people before ever used the dining area as there was not a single source of light other then from the kitchen pot-lights. Maybe they liked eating in the dark? 

In terms of layout and functionality I'm really enjoying the space. There is a huge amount of storage and it has all sorts of built-in drawer accessories like pull-out shelves and in-drawer organizers. I still have a few empty cabinets which is quite a luxury. The only thing I'm not crazy about is having a vent hood floating over the island. I've hit my head on it a few times and when we have people over it blocks anyone standing on the kitchen side of it. When we re-do the kitchen someday, it's something I may think of relocating. I do love having an island and I love our built-in fridge. I also love having built-in garbage drawers so you don't have to have garbage/recycling sitting out. Something to definitely keep in mind if you're redoing/planning your kitchen. 

Our mini-oven isn't turning out to be a problem because it's not like I'm cooking a turkey every day and the oven has all sorts of custom oven trays to fit it perfectly. Chad re-jigged the microwave opening and made ours look built-in as well.

In the corner near the bay window there was a weird little granite remnant telephone table floating on the wall that we got rid of. Chad is in the process of building us a table but our old little round table is a nice placeholder for now. 

On the wall in the dining room side there use to be a full tv cabinet. I wanted to remove the entire thing but it turns out they didn't finish the flooring underneath it. It's a bit wide to be a real buffet but again it's a good placeholder until we re-do the entire kitchen including the floors. Here's a view of the kitchen while we were still in "Dexter mode" removing the popcorn ceiling. You can see the how imposing the old built-in cabinet was and also get a glimpse of the weird floating shelf in the corner.

Again, I've reused mostly everything from our last house. The mint cabinet and bar cart along with the large artwork I made for the black feature wall have all been reworked into this space. The black drum shade is from Ikea and has a copper interior which gives a nice glow and ties into the other copper pieces in the house.

My good old Ikea striped rug is still hanging on despite numerous attempts by the cats to try and destroy it. A good wool rug can withstanding anything. I also use a lot of Bissell spot lifter carpet cleaner. No one has asked me to say this-obviously-but THIS product is the best and seriously gets everything out. 

A few people have mentioned that our kitchen doesn't look THAT bad. It isn't, really, until you get up close. The back countertops and back splash look like they were sponge painted. The crappy laminate countertop also took a beating when they installed a new dishwasher. There are also some weird stains that are permanently etched into the countertop. See not dirt just a mystery stain!

I took another close up picture so you can also see the metal edging around all the cabinets. I think this must have been the height of chic in the early 90s. I also cannot wait to change out the back splash tile. I've never wanted a simple white subway tile more. The one plus is that all the sponge paint-y-ness really hides crumbs and dirt. 

I can't leave you with a picture looking at this, so one more view towards the dining room. I'll show you the master bedroom and the world's ugliest master bathroom next. 

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