What bothered us about the kitchen when we moved in 3 months ago was:
1. The way the FRIDGE jutted out from the wall
2. The way the SINK protruded in, killing not only flow but offering no backsplash
3. The drab COLOR scheme*
4. The linoleum faux-wood FLOORING
5. Lack of STORAGE
6. * The countertop and backsplash would never be our choice, from either a color or material standpoint, but it was in excellent-like-new condition, and we’re trying to operate in an as close to ZERO BUDGET as possible.
How we tackled each of the above:
1. Behind the wall against which the FRIDGE stood, was a closet with entry from den which was not really very useful – very narrow, very deep – so we knocked down the wall to accommodate the fridge which we then rolled back into the closet so that the fridge ended up flush with the cabinets, no longer jutting out into the kitchen’s work area. Cost? ZERO: used the material from the demo for reframing.
2. Moving of the SINK: Again, we wanted to turn it so it would be against the wall next to the stove, and lin line with all the cabinetry. We’d need to swap the existing corner piece of cabinetry for the one supporting the sink - a little tricky as we were concerned about cutting through the countertop and having seams show later. Ended up working out perfect.
a. First, we needed to move the sink’s plumbing (copper water line and PVC waste line.) Shut off water service, Grabbed torch, flux, solder, and with a run to the hardware store for some copper pipe and fittings and PVC totaling $50, we were set to rework the plumbing. No problems.
b. Next, removed countertop edging with heat gun to loosen contact cement. Put formica strips aside.
c. Used router, with strip of wood clamped down as guide, to cut through formica ensuring a nice clean edge to left of sink, and to right of cook-top/left side of corner cabinet portion.
d. Used a jig saw to cut through the rest, and now had freed the two kitchen pieces for the swap (sink dropped into cabinet going in where the corner cabinet with shelving on its outer side had stood)
e. Re-adhered Formica Strips to countertops.
f. Turned water back on. All good.
g. Added bonus was that changing the orientation of the corner cabinet we had removed, it worked perfectly across the room nearer to the fridge and serves as both a terrific countertop there, but also needed shelving in the kitchen.
3. COLOR SCHEME: We spend a LOT of time in the kitchen, and it’s truly the center of our house; we knew we wanted a very inviting, vibrant hearthy look to the kitchen so went for rich earthy colors. The trick was to have them play well with the blue.
We lived for a week with paint strips mounted to cabinets and walls and took advantage of our local hardware store’s $1.99 paint trial-size special to try some colors out.
We ended up not needing much more than that: Used 1 Qt. Buff for the ceiling, which immediately added warmth, a sample of goldenrod for the walls which I added glaze to and rubbed it in with a rag for the feeling of Tuscany/Provence, a sample of Carrot for the lower cabinets which I got 3 coats out of (!!!), 1 sample of Moroccan Red lightly brushed on, for an almost “grain” effect, for the top, and 1 sample size Autumn Apples for the Crown. – so 5 paint colors in all, but applied differently for varying sense of “depth”. Following final coat, applied MinWax’ hand-rubbed poly with rag to all cabinets – 2 coats.
Finally, Bought Hammered-Copper Spray Paint and took to the white knobs (put 24 screws through pizza box, and mounted knobs on tips to create “spray-box”. COST: $40
4. FLOORING: We knew the linoleum faux-wood had to be replace with some more natural material, and contemplated wood, cork, brick or Saltillo. In the end we chose Brick. We were really lucky in laying the tiles down that they measure 4x8 and our room dimensions are such that it worked out so well, we had next to no waste at all. This was the “big ticket” item in our make-over, with 65 sq ft of brick along with thin set and grout costing us $400.
5. STORAGE: we created extra storage by:
1. Creating a PANTRY by putting up shelves in the dead space behind the door that opened into the kitchen from the living room (we actually swapped out doors form the original one that had glass panes to the a solid one both serving the living room and in our minds working best the way we swapped them); the door is almost always open, so serves to conceal the shelves that serve as a pantry which was sorely missing. Cost of wood? $50
2. Donating an unneeded tall CD shelving unit to serve as SPICE cabinet next to the fridge.
3. Being able to use the corner cabinet we swapped out for the sink for storage of bowls, etc
It was a fun makeover, and we are thrilled with the result. We still plan to mount a pendant light over the sink, but other than that consider it “done”. J
In terms of time, this project took us (2 “old” people) 1 full week, and cost us less than $550.