Have you ever watched House Hunters and wondered why people seem to have such unrealistic expectations for their budgets?! I have, and yet to my dismay, I became one of those people during our own house hunt.
When my husband and I were searching for our first home I thought my list was pretty basic. I wanted a somewhat open floor plan with a large kitchen for entertaining, at least 2 bathrooms, a decent sized yard for when we got a dog and/or kids, and a garage; which apparently is not very common in our part of Virginia. That isn’t too much to ask, right? We agreed that we didn’t want a fully finished, up to date house because we wanted to make it our own. This was something that was very important to both of us. My husband found our current home, and I’ll be honest, if it hadn’t been for the location, the fact that it had a garage, and a huge multi-level back deck I never would have even given it a chance.
Boy were we willing to give it a chance…
We walked through the front door, trapped by two half partition walls, into the tiniest “foyer” ever. This lead straight into what could only be described as a dark dungeon-like kitchen. It was completely enclosed, for anyone with claustrophobia this room would have caused you great anxiety. There was a pocket door leading to the dining room and the only natural lighting was the one window above the sink. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How did someone live like this and never think to open it up more? The cabinets were a dark cherry, granted they were beautifully constructed and soft close and fairly new, but dark none the less. The counter tops were black granite with gold flecks in them and the walls were the most hideous shade of olive green I had ever seen. To make matters worse the previous home owner had this strange blue globe pendant light fixture actually made for the space. I have no idea what he was thinking because it didn’t match the kitchen in any way. He had a large hutch that took up most of one corner of the kitchen, making it feel even smaller.
And so it began…
I knew that the only way I would consider purchasing this home was if we could knock down some walls to open up the foyer and living room area, as well as the kitchen and dining room. Down the road I figured we would be able to update the kitchen more drastically to make it my dream kitchen. If you’ve read my About page, you know that my husband is in commercial construction and he’s quite handy himself, especially in knowing what can and can’t be done in a given space. He knew that we were able to open the wall between the dining room and kitchen because it was not a load bearing wall. So the first thing we did when we closed on the home and obtained possession, was to start knocking down walls. It made me realize we made the right decision and saw the potential. It was exciting to think that we were going to restore this home to the way it should have been originally.
We decided for now that we would hold off on redoing the kitchen completely considering we had all our hardwood floors refinished and stained before we actually moved in. Instead we planned to just paint and put in a floor strip as the divider between the two rooms. I picked a light shade of blue-gray for the kitchen (Behr Marquee Sky Light View) because it would not only brighten up the space with the existing cabinet color, but would also pair well if and when we were able to redo our kitchen. We removed the chair railing everywhere except for the one wall in the dining room. I planned to make this an accent wall and picked a darker blue for the bottom half under the chair railing, Behr Marquee Hampton Surf. I still have no idea what the bottom half of that wall was supposed to be, but can only assume they wanted it to look like stone, it was even textured to feel like stone! My poor husband sanded this for a period of three weeks over the weekend while I was working (yay for public accounting). It ended up being so worth it, even with the never-ending dust that took almost as long to clean.
If you’ve ever dealt with dry wall dust or sanding of any kind, you know that it takes time to truly get it all clean because the dust continues to settle over time. You can wipe the walls with a damp cloth while in the process of sanding to prohibit as much as possible from settling on the floor. For any that does get on the floor, I found a damp cloth works much better than vacuuming especially with hardwood floors as it can get down into the groves. Just be careful not to get the cloth too wet so that you don’t ruin your existing finish. After that if you have hardwood floors, Bona will be your best friend!
You can get a complete Bona kit here (affiliate): —-> Bona Kit
Finished Product (for now at least):
We painted the trim paint and chair railing the same Cameo White by Behr Marquee that we used in our downstairs half bathroom.
Let me know what you think in the comments and be sure to subscribe to stay connected for Part 2 of Our Kitchen Reno!