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Kitchen update/makeover, on a budget...

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Kitchen update/makeover, on a budget...
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Mr. Anderson
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
2009-09-03, 16:48

My Mom's cluttered (I am forbidden to show any "before" pics, she'll kill me to death), outdated kitchen was in really bad need of work. Since my stepfather died in November 2004, this was just "one of those things" that fell by the wayside (sadly, that was something they were going to tackle the following year).

I finally got tired of looking at it when I'd go over (and hearing how unhappy she was with it all) and said "let me do this, and just get it done and let's quit talking about it" (because we'd "plan" it until 2015, otherwise).

In a nutshell? It was yellow and white striped wallpaper, lattice on the upper soffit(?), "country" shit everywhere, bowls, pans, food, knickknacks EVERYWHERE, old, chipped, yellowed cabinets with underlying paint, rusting gold hinges and a 20-year-old vinyl floor that was so nasty and stained from years and years. Not to mention just "ugly".

My goal? Remove the wallpaper, patch the walls, repaint, paint the cabinets, putty old holes and install new hardware, lay down new floor, replace outlets and switches and their faceplates, remove old, oversized (for the space) table and hutch and "go small" with the newer items (she had no room to move or walk, and now with my stepfather and grandparents gone, the need for a big four-seater table has gone).

The one thing that I did get into some time on was totally stripping the cabinets (and four layers of peeling, nasty paint) down to the raw wood, sanding, priming and painting them fresh). I spray-painted the hinges the same oil-rubbed bronze finish as the new hardware. And I even spray-painted the floor AC vents (they were a rusty, nasty white). So I improvised and saved where I could (not having to buy new hinges and two floor AC vents probably saved $50 or so).

Just to give you an idea, here are five "during" pics of the how bad it was after I'd gutted the cabinets, threw about six huge bags of useless, old crap out, stripped the 2-3 layers of wallpaper, etc. (yes, those are pink walls...when we moved into the place in 1978, it already had some ridiculous brown and orange wallpaper...I guess before us, someone had painted the joint pink back in the 60's or early 70's? I nearly puked...).

During, #1
During, #2
During, #3
During, #4 (cabinets, post-stripping)
During, #5 (grey primer for the red wall)

Anyway, no real carpentry, plumbing or electrical (everything stayed where it was)...pretty much all cosmetic. But I did fix some things (the wall, various holes and gouges, spackled and sanded the walls, remounted a dishwasher counter the right way, added some trim and moulding, etc.

Here are the "after" pics, in a MobileMe gallery.

Actually, they were taken about a week-and-a-half ago, and she's done a few smaller things and gotten rid of some things seen here (and I've done some touch-up painting as well, tucked in a few phone wires, etc.). But it's essentially the same (and I've added a black metal backsplash/grease shield behind the stove the other day).

It's quite an improvement, I learned a lot (mainly that I hate wallpaper ) and she's happy as can be (and is no longer embarrassed about her old kitchen). And she has room to move around and actually prep/cook the right way...all kinds of space to work in now.

Not bad for an idiot whose only "training" is HGTV, a couple of websites and a helpful, advice-giving ex father-in-law. I had some help from my friend for about three days on the wallpaper removal and cabinet stripping. Other than that, I was solo the entire time (just under three week).

Final budget (including paint, flooring, etc.)...just under $500. Things were bought on sale, items reused, tools and primer left over from a previous project, I "worked smart" where I could, etc.
Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2009-09-03, 17:14

I was hoping you would show us what you had been up to!

All told, not bad at all. Especially for just $500! I'm sure you added far more than that to the value of the home - kitchens are so important to home-lookers nowadays (as I believe you've begrudgingly noted ).

Red stimulates the appetite, so it's a great fit for kitchens and dining rooms (though not if you're trying to lose weight ). My personal favorite is a Mediterranean palate with tomato reds and deep, glassy blues; as my friends would tell you I love citrus colors as well - especially for small metal appliances! - but they're much too strong to be anything more than an accent in a neutral, modern kitchen (though they stimulate alertness, so they're perfect for a small breakfast nook).

You are totally right that going smaller-scale with the new items was the way to go; especially when coupled with the darker wall color (going darker with the paint can make a room feel smaller, though in your case the white cabinets and trim will mitigate this).

I especially like the various "Carnation" memorabilia sprinkled throughout the room (and what a perfect place for a clock that is!). The colors also remind me of Campbell's soup and Coca-Cola, other nice food connotations.*

A job well done, and a lovely reminder to all of us that you actually can make a world of difference in a house with a small investment, as long as you're willing to learn and do things yourself.

*Though not necessarily together. "Chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side"?

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
2009-09-03, 17:25

Absolutely beautiful work, Paul. You want to do my kitchen next? It's a brand new house, but my kitchen isn't nearly that charming. I'll gladly pay you $500.

Twitter: bwyatt | Xbox: @playsbadly | Instagram: @bw317
Mr. Anderson
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
2009-09-03, 17:29

Her Dad - my grandfather - drove a Carnation milk truck during her childhood out in Port Angeles, Washington in the 1950's. So she's got strong, sentimental ties to that. Obviously.

Yeah, I told her the walls looked like a Campbell's soup can...white on bottom, red on top. I offered to paint her the Campbell's logo over the table but she declined.

It was pretty much all her idea, the color scheme and all. I helped on a few things (the shade of red, etc.), and suggested the flooring, the cabinet hardware, etc. And the two-seater black casual pub table was my idea. Mainly just the grandkids show up and eat there now, but it's also a good sitting place if you're just visiting. But a full four-seater table was just overkill (and a space-zapper) at this point.

If left up to her, she would've just painted the walls (over the wallpaper, probably) and called it done. I'd like to think I put a bit more effort and smarts into it, and tried to do it right. If I'd gone on with the paint over the old cabinets, as is, it would've peeled or flaked off in time (because the old paint already was). Pain that it was, taking 30 years of paint off, and going back down to the raw wood, probably makes for a better final product. I've got two coats of Kilz primer on there and two coats of Behr pure white. If that ever chips off, you'll only see more white, or, at worst, the brown bare wood. Not the country blue and cream as before.

It's not perfect, and, looking back, there are things I could do better. But considering the fact that I don't do this for a living (and I'm "learning as I go" on much of it...the flooring and cabinets, in particular), and I've only dabbled in it a handful of times in the past, it's not bad. I'm happy (and proud enough to show it here). The main thing is, she's happy and using her kitchen more now than ever (and with more ease and comfort). So that, alone, is worth it to me.

And when I go over there, I don't feel like I'm going to be attacked by clutter and junk. There's actually a place for me to sit now, put my drink down somewhere, help slice vegetables, etc. That wasn't the case me. There were no clean/open horizontal surfaces to speak off!

Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hmm?
2009-09-03, 17:31

That's so cool Pscates. The Carnation clock and truck really accentuate the trim. I like that even the utensils you can see in this photo match it. Awesome attention to detail, well done!

I'm Joseph Fritzl, and no windows was my idea.
Mr. Anderson
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
2009-09-03, 17:36

She actually had all those before.

She did buy some new plates and glasses. She had some country blue plates before, and now just some simple white ones, and some nice pub glasses (vs. the mish-mash of ones she had before). So even when you open up the plate/glass cabinet, it looks better and more organized.

She's pared way down in the "stuff" department, as well. And that's helping more than anything. She's slowly breaking out of her hoarding and "not throwing stuff" away tendencies (only because she sees how much better it looks without shit stacked everywhere, on every surface).

Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2009-09-03, 18:11

Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
It's a brand new house, but my kitchen isn't nearly that charming.
Charming, that's the word! Charming. Charming in a way that a more modern, stainless-steel kitchen could never be (I adore that look, but I'd never give it to my mother).

It's good that she picked out the colors, Pscates. They're pretty bold, and not for everybody, but I think the space wears them well.

I obviously have no way of knowing if this is true or not in your case, Pscates, but in my experience, finishing projects that were put on hold by the death or departure of a loved one is sometimes instrumental in providing "closure" and helping people move on with their lives. Homes always have a strong emotional element; a room is never just a room. To get all Hallmark on you all, they're where memories happen. Sometimes happy ones, sometimes not, but either way, a memory can never become a memory if it's perpetually in the present, no?

Again, I'm just talking from my experience here - I have no clue about what's true in your case. But you might have done good work in more ways then one.

Plus, you learned skills that you'll have with you for the rest of your life - $500 is a small price to pay for those, even if the room ended up being a disaster (it's not). You could have spent double that on classes and learned half as much.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: United Chavdom of Little Britain
2009-09-04, 02:21

The black hinges and handles on the pure white cupboards against the striking red background look really really cool. It looks crisp and fresh without looking cold and unfriendly.
Not sayin', just sayin'
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-09-04, 08:40

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that the red isn't orange!

The house we're under contract for will need a kitchen as well. It's nice to see someone else go through what we are about to do and be successful. Sure, if Scates can do it, so can we, right? Hello?

Mr. Anderson
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
2009-09-04, 09:33

It's just a bit of work. It gets bad and messy before it gets better. As long as you know that, going in, you're fine. I underestimated my time on a few dozen things but, in the end, it all came out okay. I'd originally planned/budgeted for about two weeks. Wound up being just over three (and that was with a couple of all-day Saturdays which were not in the original plan.

You always discover more things as you go along...this needs to be patched, this needs to be fixed, etc. And when you get into things like drywall compound, wood putty and priming/painting, those things come with their own timetables (drying times and so forth), so you might take a few unexpected detours, and find yourself waist-deep in a couple of tasks that you hadn't counted on.

But, yeah...if I can do it, anyone can.

And if it were my kitchen, yeah...there would be some nice burnt orange action going on (lasagna orange, I call it...tomato sauce with some ricotta cheese stirred in).

I'm probably a 3-6 months away from doing my own, so...

Originally Posted by Unch View Post
The black hinges and handles on the pure white cupboards against the striking red background look really really cool. It looks crisp and fresh without looking cold and unfriendly.
The neat thing is that the pics don't really do the hardware and hinges justice. They appear solid black in the pics, but they're an oil-rubbed bronze, with is more of a dark, dark brown/black, but with burnished, worn edges with just the slightest hint of dark bronze showing through. Just has a nice "been around and used" (no jokes, please) look to it. It's a matte finish, and I just thought it looked nice.

Here they are, from Home Depot. They sell them individually, but you can buy them in a slightly discounted 10-pack as well. I needed 12 pulls and six round knobs.

The fact that I found a can of Krylon that matched perfectly the Home Depot-purchased knobs and pulls was icing on the cake. I used that to spray the hinges and AC floor vents. But they all look like they came from the same carton. A nice "warm black" (if that makes sense).

Some close-up pics:

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2009-09-04 at 10:16.
geri to my friends
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Heaven
2009-09-07, 20:55

Nice job Paul, I bet your mom is real pleased.
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
2009-09-07, 23:00

It looks really nice. Good work!
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2009-09-08, 03:43

Do NOT microwave your iPhone. It will seriously degrade your WiFi and void the warranty.

Otherwise, pretty cool.
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