Introduction: Modest Kitchen Makeover
This is the story of why and how we curbed our makeover from a design and plan that would’ve involved ALL NEW everything to one introducing very little new at one tenth the price of the original estimate.
We figured the project would cost us $8000, when in the end, it cost us not even a tenth of that- less even than $800. How? It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention; having had all the water pipes burst when we moved in, many of our original plans for renovation also went down the toilet; luckily, Yankee ingenuity set in (yes, we’re here on the Hudson in NY)
Instead of replacing the cabinets, which we realized were in GREAT condition & solid oak,
we played around with some finishes - and opted for the red over the white pickled effect. And believe it or not, that pint-sized Behr-sample of Red paint called Raw Cinnabar which cost us $3.00 with tax, was enough to paint all the cabinets, top and bottom, with some remaining for touch up! We then used Mini-Wax hand-rubbed semi-gloss poly to seal the deal! (rather than a brush, I used old socks to apply both the paint and poly.)
The cabinets now looked sharp – like cherry or mahogany, but they needed to be raised,
Which we did, and glued up some wood strips as “crown” molding. We stood back and were grateful we hadn’t insisted on buying all new.
We were less tolerant of the vinyl faux-marble tiled backsplash, and remembered some handsome handmade floor tiles we had saved from a project 20 years prior, we worried about their heaviness and how cumbersome it would be to work them, when lo and behold we happened upon some Tile-setting Mats at Home Depot. That made the project so EZ.
Suddenly the formica countertop didn’t bother us either- it picked up the oatmeal tone in the tiles, and we felt it all worked nicely. Someday, perhaps a new sink, but for now, it was on to the FLOORS.
The floors had been water damaged, so here called in a professional. She sanded them and provided the first coat of stain, before we came to stencil. Using the Pizza Box we had handy, we laid out the design, which worked out magically, centered both laterally and from front to back. WE couldn’t believe it. We then laid the box down, outlining it with blue painter’s tape.
We’d alternate the rows of squares leaving the tape down til each row was dry, then took it up and did the rest. We used an ebony glaze for faux finishes for these, deciding that even a black stain was too much a contrast to the oak for the effect we wanted. With the Diamond Checkerboard complete, we tried different sizes for the accent squares, finally fixing on a 4” square., and quarter-marked it, so positioning would be exact; again we outlined each square with painters tape, and then used a boat brush to paint them all black. That floor became our pride and joy.
But what to do with that area under the little window overlooking the little English garden.
This was another area we splurged! We spent $175 for a Granite Remnant, and $50 at Home Depot for Braces to support it, and this is where we have our coffee every morning now.
Finally, it was time for a coat of fresh paint- Irish Mist – and some artistic touches – the sign above the sink we made from our old picket fence, and the Hudson River mural on the soffit we painted on leftover Sheetrock. That old Yankee ingenuity…