When we bought our house in spring 2015, something we felt good about was that while our home was essentially turn-key, there were many areas that could use improvement aesthetically. The boring stuff that kills you to spend money on was all in good shape: the roof, the plumbing, the furnace. The second floor bathroom was in good shape, albeit not our style. The garage was fairly new, and there was a new and finished bathroom in the basement. What was left were many projects that we could take on as we felt we had the time, passion, and resources, but nothing had to be fixed immediately.
One of the biggest eyesores we tackled in the first year were the popcorn ceilings on the second floor (the house had popcorn ceilings in every. single. room. except for one). While the first floor ceilings didn't bother me much because they were so high, the second floor ceilings are low and sloped, and that ceiling texture was staring me in the face every night as I lie in bed. My parents helped us tackle that (something I can discuss in a future post) and I love how the second floor looks now.
We've made several other improvements that I plan to document, but one major issue for me has been the kitchen. While functionally it works well, and it's plenty big enough for our family, there is much to be desired in its appearance. The walls are a moss green color that looks awkwardly juvenile next to our navy blue dining room. The cabinets are dated with exposed hinges, curved grooves, and a dark finish. The countertops are 12x12" dark stone tiles that were likely intended to look like dark granite, and they camouflages all crumbs (which I consequently forget to wipe away). The backsplash, 2x2" white tiles, is not terribly offensive aside from three strange, fossil-like tiles above the stove. The floors, which we replaced in the fall, were a cheap, basic white linoleum.
In the fall we installed 12x24" grey porcelain tiles that have made a huge difference. Our next step is the countertops. We're waiting to schedule installation of bright white, solid surface countertops (acrylic). It's not quartz and it's not granite (which is getting dated now anyway, no?), but it's an affordable option (relatively speaking) that provides durability and the bright, clean surface we want. We're swapping out the backsplash for classic 2x4" subway tile which we purchased last weekend. We're putting in a new under-mount, single-bowl sink with the countertop installation along with a new black/antique bronze sink. That leaves the cabinets.
We don't intend to live in our home forever, nor do we even have the budget for all new cabinets. Like I said, our kitchen is functioning fine. We added a pantry size cabinet in the fall which added the storage we need, so we're leaving the cabinets for now. They're not my style and I really wish they went up to the ceiling, but since they're working, we're going to brighten them with new paint. The plan is for a soft sage green on the bottom and white on the top, and replacing the hardware with either gold or black knobs.
As far as appliances go, our stainless steel fridge is in good shape, as is our dishwasher (which is a small, narrow dishwasher which I love for our small family). We purchased a new stainless steel range to replace our apartment-style white one. A trendy black stainless steel range was tempting but we went with the classic stainless steel to match our fridge. Our countertop white microwave will go, too, replaced by a microwave above the range.
My dad is a huge resource for us with this project, as the only installation we're having done professionally is the countertop and sink. I'm excited to get started and share the progress here. In the meantime, here are some looks I'm hoping to channel.