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Thursday, January 13, 2011

kitchen nightmares

The state of my kitchen combined with my appreciation for Gordon Ramsey made today's title perfect. As promised in my last post, I am sharing with you the unfinished state of my kitchen.

To give you some background, we started our kitchen re-do project in November 2008. This was no $30k kitchen remodel as was popular in the last decade; that kind of remodel not only was out of our reach, but would've priced our house right out of the neighborhood and we never would've recouped the money in a sale. No, this was a $3k re-do, meaning the work had to be done by us. The one thing that we contracted out was the new flooring. We decided to have new floor put in both the kitchen and the family room at the same time, which is about 500 square feet total. Having put in flooring before, we knew that it was back and knee breaking work, so we justified spending the money on labor. After that experience, I hope to never have to do that again. But that's a topic for another post, or this one will go on forever.

Given our budget, our thoughts immediately turned to Ikea for cabinets, the sink, and faucet. Problem is that there is no Ikea in Denver (although we are getting one this fall - hooray!). I looked into having the cabinets shipped to us, but the shipping alone was as much as the cabinets. So, being the driving fools we are, we decided to drive to the closest Ikea and pick them up ourselves. Well, the closest Ikea is in Salt Lake City, an 8 hour drive away! And we drive a VW Rabbit. So, we used Amex points to rent a big pick up truck (costing us nothing), we loaded up the two dogs (we had two at the time - RIP Rupert, we miss you!), drove to SLC, picked out all our cabinets plus a million other smaller things, loaded everything up, and drove back. It took about 20 hours total. Oh, and it was December and freezing. Fun times! In the end though, we got all our cabinets for about $800. Not bad.

The one problem was that the sink we wanted wasn't in stock when we were there. I had planned all the cabinets around that sink and I wasn't about to start over. So, we had no choice but to have it shipped to us, which turned our $300 sink into $600. Yes, the sink alone cost almost as much as the all the cabinets, but I couldn't be happier with it!

Other than that, we replaced the fridge and the range but kept the dishwasher we had. That means they don't match (the fridge and range being stainless and the dishwasher being black) but I didn't care - it saved money and I think it looks fine.

So, that's the background. Now, here's what it looks like today:

Notice how the backsplash on this wall is only half finished - that tape has been there for I don't even know how long.

More unfinished backsplash and beautiful blue tape

This wall is supposed to have open shelves to hold all our dishes. Instead, our dishes are stacked on the dining room table and have been for months.

I love the sink, but it still hasn't been properly caulked. 

Notice all the crap on the windowsill and the obvious lack of window treatments.

I love the new fridge, but the lack of upper wall storage means all the little-used stuff gets piled on top of it.

I think this lighting fixture (the only source of light in the kitchen) is probably original to the house (which was built in 1951). And it's not nice original :)

The coving has been put in everywhere except this one corner. Don't ask.

So there you have it. By doing this, I hope I will be inspired to get this project finished. Or, at least inspired to nag Jeff enough about it that he will finally finish it! I'm tempted to hire someone just to get it done. Or I could still be talking about this next January.


  1. It's looking good- I am in love with your sink! We live in a 1971 ranch house that was all original when we moved in and our budget allowed for nothing more than some paint and new hardware. I would love a new backsplash- (we have avocado green tiles, same as in our bathroom). We were fortunate to buy our house during the 1st time homebuyer credit and we used that to update the flooring and do some other necessary stuff throughout the house, but I'd LOVE to get all new cabinets and a big farmhouse sink.

    Don't knock yourself, what you've accomplished is big. DIY is tough, especially when you have a life that interrupts, lol!

  2. You are a brave girl!! I edit my photos to cut out all the stuff like that :) Amy, you don't know how much better your post made me feel. I want so badly to live in a "Southern Living" type home but there is just crap and unfinished project around every corner!! I have spent the whole morning cleaning and moving stuff and the house still looks like crap. It is very uninspiring and honestly quite embarrassing to me!

  3. I know how it feels! Here nothing ever gets finished EVER! It's now a running gag...

  4. I think your kitchen is going to look amazing when you are done! Do you like the ikea cabinets? I want to do an ikea kitchen in my condo and am looking for reviews :)

  5. katie, i LOVE my ikea cabinets. i did all drawers instead of regular cabinets and i am SO glad i did! and they aren't hard to put together either. for the money, i think the quality is very good!