The Evolution of our Kitchen

**WARNING: Longest Post EVER!**

This is the story of our little-kitchen-that-could. Here it is in all its glory today:

 But to appreciate this you have to see the before pictures from 3 years ago:

We lived in this kitchen for 2 1/2 years and didn't touch a thing. During that time I would try to reconfigure the layout in my mind, keeping in mind a skinny-jeans-tight-budget and a husband who I didn't want to stress out. In my mind I had finally come to a conclusion and drew up plans (literally) so I could show Steve my ideas. He is a visual guy- he needs to see a picture to get it.

So then we started small... really small.... we added a new light fixture and took down the one that has been there since Elvis was alive. We had also taken down the apple curtains... immediately after we got the keys to the house. Sorry to all the apple lovers.

See the new light?

Then I got really sick of the floor.... not like I wasn't gagging over it before (see above pictures), but I truly couldn't take it anymore. The girls called it "our pond" because of the fake, yucky colored rocks. The grout was all gooey and black and nasty. So, we debated if we should tear it out or lay something over it. There is already a little step to enter the kitchen as it has multiple layers of linoleum underneath and I know there is asbestos underneath so we opted to go the easier and safer route and lay something on top. We found this interlocking vinyl that looks like hardwood. One of the best things about it is that it doesn't need an adhesive so if we decided to change it  up in a few years, we could remove it without a lot of maintenance. 

So, here are the pictures after we added new flooring, which by the way, took us an entire day working together and crippling us for the next few days as we recovered.

 Looks real, right?

It blends in pretty well with the original hardwood in the rest of the house. It is darker though. We covered this area up with a wood strip, too.

Then, after all that work, we were quite pleased except it started to make the rest of the kitchen look pretty shabby since the vinyl is so great and looks beautiful next to our old, dirty and dark cabinets. I knew I eventually wanted to paint them but it wasn't on my "let's-do-it-soon" radar. Except after we saw the contrast, I was quite motivated. 

But first we had to figure out a permanent layout. I didn't want to always have a portable dishwasher (though extremely grateful for any dishwasher) and the fridge just blocked a lot of natural light from the hallway. Finally, I knew we had to move the fridge and replace it with a new dishwasher. We toyed with the idea of the fridge being in the pantry but I didn't want to lose all that pantry space. So, the only other spot it could go is next to the pantry. We moved it in February, after installing a new outlet for it to plug into.

I was worried it was going to block the natural flow of traffic but it really isn't bad. There is plenty of room to open the dishwasher and plenty of room to walk by and head to the other rooms. Plus it totally opened up the kitchen. It made it feel very spacious. And the functionality of the dishwasher next to the sink was finally accomplished.

Next step: Tear down some cabinets! See this link for further reading on how we tore down the upper cabinets and where we primed the remaining cabinets. After priming and painting the cabinets, and installing recessed lighting above the sink, we were left with this:

 So much better! This was all done by April.

Our plan after this was to add beadboard (cheaper than tiling), new countertops, new sink & faucet and a few open shelves above the sink, oh, and paint the hood, and paint the kitchen. We did all that here, here and here , except the shelves.

Here is where we were last weekend before the shelves went up:

And this past weekend, we finished the shelves... actually 1 shelf. So here was the dilemma- all the inspirational pics I liked had at least 2 open shelves . We went to measure before actually cutting up our piece of wood that we were going to use and wouldn't you know- there isn't room for 2 shelves! Because of the soffit there, we could only add one! Oh well. It actually worked out to be a free project because we returned the wood and brackets we were going to use and used the shelf and brackets that we originally had up in our living room! They just needed paint and primer. So I painted, primed and Steve hung.

This shelf came from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore for like $2. The brackets were on super sale at Menards for 50 cents each! So glad we are able to reuse it after we had it up in the living room!

One more before and after:

So, that is the very long story of our kitchen evolution.
The End.

Cost breakdown:
Flooring from Lowe's: approx. $120
Lantern from Menards: Free (used a gift card we had from parents)
Primer for cabinets: $15
Paint for cabinets: $55 (BM Chantilly Lace)
Brushes, tarps, random painting necessities: approx. $20
Hardware on cabinets: approx. $55
Spray paint for stove vent: $4
Trim for tops of cabinets and baseboards: $30
Curtains: made with leftover material
Beadboard: approx. $50
Liquid Nails & sandpaper: $10
Caulk for beadboard: $5
Sink: Craigslist - brand new (Kohler) $100
Faucet:  $140 from Lowe's
Dishwasher: Craigslist- used- $100 (but we made money off selling our portable dishwasher for $250!!)
Countertops: IKEA for approx. $150
Paint for kitchen walls: (BM Silver Crest) Free- a friend gave me 1/2 gallon of leftover paint
Recessed lights: approx. $50
Drywall for recessed lights area: $3 from scrap pile at Menards
Shelf (painted with leftover kitchen paint): Free- we already had bought it from the ReStore
Corbels: Free- we already had bought them from Menards on super sale @ $.50 each

From my calculations this came out to under $700 (remember we made money off our dishwasher). I only point this out to say that with patience and hard work, you can create a kitchen that you love on a limited budget!! We saved with Craigslist and doing everything ourselves (along with help from the amazing Handy Housewives!). We also didn't splurge on high-end items and are just as happy with the end results than if we had. We truly didn't have it in our budget anyways, and we pay cash for everything so we had to be disciplined.

If you have any questions about anything, please send me an email and I will answer then!


  1. Love the new floors...I think you wrote they are vinyl...could you tell me the name of them and what store you got them from? I live in Texas so they might not be from around here, but I LOVE them!!! Awesome kitchen!

    1. Thanks Ashley! I found them finally!! I can't believe I hadn't written it down but they are from Lowe's. The brand is Armstrong's Exquisite. It is called a Floating Vinyl Plank- they come in 6"W x 36"L. Unfortunately, it looks like they won't mail it to you but I wish you luck and hope that you can use them!