I just love happy endings — don’t you?
Now that our kitchen is done and we’re settled in again, I want to share some telling images that define our story. After four months and a lot of work we took a shabby, run-down space and turned it into our “dream-kitchen” — and in spite of what was for all intents and purposes a shoestring budget by today’s overblown kitchen-reno cost standards.
Let’s start with some before pics, shall we?
As if the ‘before’ pictures weren’t bad enough, let’s take another look at some highlights from the construction phase…
And now for the good stuff…
Pre-reno, our breakfast nook is closed off by the “L” shape layout and the space is remarkably dingy and cramped. As the after pictures suggest, we now we have continuity between the kitchen and breakfast areas for a better, more functional layout.
Another fault with the old kitchen: The monster fridge jutting awkwardly into the room from a too-shallow recess. We bought a smaller fridge and moved it into the laundry nook (catty-corner to where it was in the old kitchen). Then we put a rustic pantry cabinet into the shallow space where the fridge used to be — next to the brick chimney we exposed when we dismantled the odd shelving unit someone had built over it to hide it some years ago (visible in the before picture’s foreground above).
Now, a few quick notes: We went with Ikea cabinets and are really happy with them — but Ikea doesn’t make it easy to place a dishwasher at the end. I purchased a dishwasher end panel from Home Depot in order to accommodate our desired layout. It blends in perfectly well with the Ikea cabinets and did the trick.
Also, I had purchased four Ikea cover panels for the ends of the cabinet rows, but in the end we decided not to use them (a major bummer since they’re nearly forty bucks a piece). Part of me had assumed we could use one for the outside of the dishwasher, but you really need to order an actual dishwasher end panel. The Ikea panels are too thin and too short.
In addition to removing the old office-style acoustic ceiling, we raised profile of the laundry nook. (I.e., there was a weird overhang we took out, replacing it with a support beam.) We also removed the cabinets that were blocking what little light enters through that far window beside the laundry. A bulletin board there now will get filled up eventually with fun stuff.
On the exterior wall, we left the gas line for the oven in the same place, so in a sense little has changed. But the new cabinetry and open shelving is proving really functional. The new layout also lets Manny and I cook together, since with the old layout only one person could stand in the oven / sink area at a time.
Lastly, and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the old kitchen had two entrances to a single space (side by side doorways entering from the dining room):
Because of this, we inherited an “L” shaped design resulting in a corner sink and very little usable prep space. We turned one of the doorways into a pass-through so we could have a galley-style kitchen layout. The result is a huge improvement:
See what I mean? By blocking in one of the former doorways and turning it into the pass-through, we made it possible to add a new sink and dishwasher area. Thank goodness Ikea makes a 25″ apron front sink. It totally fit the bill. And it’s lovely to be able to see into the rest of our little house when standing there doing dishes.
To celebrate the kitchen’s completion, I gave it a little present that doubles as a present for Manny and me — an herb garden! Here’s a close up of one of the two window boxes with our chives, dill, and mint. The dill is our favorite so far!
Cheers, everyone, to the end of kitchen-renovation madness!
If you’re interested in reading the renovation story, here are some quick links for you:
- Kitchen Demo. Or, Welcome Chaos My Old Friend
- Kitchen Inspiration: Scandinavian-Meets-Craftsman
- The Awkward Nook
- Kitchen Update: Where Are We Now?
- DIY Kitchen Floor Refinishing: Perfectly Imperfect
- The Faux Beams Are In!
- Habemus Walls!
- Kitchen Pass-Through First Look
- ‘Bad Kitchen’ Envy
- IKEA SEKTION Kitchen Cabinet and Counter Installation
- DIY Open Shelving Reveal
- How Much Does a Total Kitchen Renovation Cost?