Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kitchen: part 3 the big reveal (gah!)

i left off with us going crazy. more crazy than normal. my window idea had been shut down and i had to come up with a new way to open up the kitchen. i just couldn't go back to the isolated space that it had been.

i usually prepped food where the big pile of junk is sitting on the counter. if the boys were at the table, the top right edge of the picture, i obviously couldn't see them, and couldn't really hear them very well either. it was also very awkward when we had friends over for dinner, as i was basically cut off from everyone else as i finished up cooking in the kitchen.

the most logical idea seemed to be to knock down that dividing wall, opening up the kitchen to the dining room. i have always wanted an island/bar and here was my opportunity. there were just a few little facts that made that idea a problem. 1.) the wall is load bearing. 2.) the other side of that wall is the only thoroughfare to the family room-putting a bar/island there would make traffic awkward. 3.) we would lose a lot of upper cabinet space. 4.) as soon as you walked in our front door, you would be able to see into our (not always spotless) kitchen. 4. that project would add way more time onto the project than we had to work with.

so, while it was a wonderful fantasy, it really wasn't going to work to tear down the wall. i just had to let the whole kitchen expansion dream go.

what i needed to focus on was counter top. on friday morning, my mother-in-law and i went with my boys to a place that could have our c-tops ready by tuesday IF we picked something they had in stock. we picked one that we thought might work, but then after going back into the warehouse and seeing a whole eight foot sheet of it, realized it would NOT work. then the very nice sales girl showed us another sheet, one that we had really disliked the two inch sample tile of, and it turned out, we really liked the actual counter top. while the sample tile made the color look like a beige alligator skin, the actual sheet of laminate was a nice white-grey marble. i was in a little bit of disbelief that we had actually found something we really liked, but i was really excited and so thankful to have my mother-in-law along to affirm my decision. as we left, we joked about how misleading those little sample tiles can be! (remember this point.)

to some it might not seem like picking your counter top color would be such a major decision, but for me it was. i really wanted to get it right and be happy with what i picked for a long, long time. having that decision done was a huge relief. i just needed to have my nephew call in the measurements and we would be set.

but once again, my happy bubble of having a decision made was burst. my nephew had relayed the plan to his dad (again, his dad is my brother who did a lot of the work building our house) and my brother called me to explain why we couldn't use the counter top from that place. because the counter top was the prefabricated sheets that had the rise in the back, we would be repeating the same disaster of having a million seams that didn't match up because our kitchen has weird angles. thank goodness for my wise brother, but of my goodness, i about lost it. i was resigned to having to wait two+ weeks for custom counter tops, but then my oh so sweet brother offered to build me the counter top. yes, that's right-build it himself.

how? how are you going to build me the counter top, i asked. he had worked in a cabinet shop while in college and sometimes they made counter tops. i knew he was capable-i mean the guy can build a whole house. but how would we get the needed supplies? we didn't exactly have a cabinet shop at our ready like he did back in the day. he reassured me that lowe's and home depot both carry the laminate sheets and all the other needed supplies. i just needed to pick a color and he would work on building it the next day-saturday. (now, please take into account that this conversation took place at about 7 pm. so i need to track down and pick an in-stock color before those stores closed at 10pm. i also needed to pick out the sink i wanted and the faucet, so he could take those sizes into account. and remember that i hate making fast decisions on major things. double blurg!)

after putting the boys to bed, off i went. i think i called my mom as i drove across town, whining about how my head was going to explode. she reassured me that it would all work out and promised to pray for me.

at lowe's i stood there, staring at my options, trying with all my being to will what i wanted into existence. but absolutely none of the five options would work. they were either really, really dark brown granite styles or totally plain-white and almond. so help me Jesus, i was not going to go through this whole ordeal and end up with almond counter top again! my last hope was home depot. i didn't have time to make it to the store, so i had tim call them and double check if they had sheets of laminate in stock and if so, what were the colors. i had the brochures for every possible laminate company, so if i had the names of the colors, i could look them up. heck, i knew half the colors off the top of my head from looking at the brochures so much! when i got back to the house, i searched and studied the brochures, but there were two colors that i couldn't find. the other colors were all dark options and wouldn't work. i went to bed holding out hope that one of those two colors would be the magic solution. i really wish i could remember their names-they were totally vague and gave no clues to what the color might be. we'll call them tumbled rocca and grecian glaze.

early saturday morning, tim and i loaded up the boys and went to home depot. when i asked were the sheets of laminate were, they directed me to the prefabricated, devil counter top with the back rise that we couldn't use in our kitchen. when i clarified to them that i just needed sheets of laminate, they told me they didn't have any. daggers were shot at tim. this was my last hope, MY LAST HOPE, and they didn't even have any sheets of laminate. it didn't matter if tumbled rocca was the most beautiful counter top in the world-i couldn't use it in my freak kitchen!!!!!!!

we went back out to the car and i literally almost started crying. i was so exhausted and sleep deprived. what the flippidy flip were we going to do. my sweet brother was willing to give up a saturday to help us, but we had nothing to work with. again, i think i called my mom. i was just so defeated. it seemed like every time we made a decision, it was undone, or something would fall through. she suggested we try some local places and gave us the phone numbers.

the first place said that yes, they had some laminate sheets- in gold, almond, and a few pieces of dark purple. oh yes please. that would be lovely. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! DARK PURPLE!? the next place said that they had a little in stock, but they weren't sure on the colors. but they also said that they could order a specific color for us and it would be in on monday. if nothing else, monday was way better than several weeks, so we headed to farha's building supply. when the guy showed us the odds and ends pieces that they had i would have lost it, because there was certainly some dark purple in the group, but i remembered the whole ordering thing and pressed him on that, explaining our situation and practically begging if there was any way they could get it for us that day. while the super helpful guy called the supplier we looked at colors.

remember how i said you shouldn't pick your color based on the tiny two inch tile that's a pretty poor representation of the real color. well, that's exactly what we were doing. we could have gotten the color that i originally picked with my MIL, the color i knew i really liked, but we would have had to wait, because that color came from a different supplier/manufacturer. if we went with a different brand, we could in fact pick up our laminate, directly from the warehouse, that morning!! banking on all the prayers my mom was praying for us, we picked a color we hoped would work. yay for local businesses. i was really impressed with farha's. although it's really small and kinda rough looking, the service was great, the price was great, and they actually were able to get us what we wanted and needed better than the huge chain store with the supposed endless selection.

we had to high tail it out of there because we had to get our truck and get back to the warehouse before they closed early since it was saturday. plus, we had two very restless, very cranky little boys who had had enough of all the shenanigans.

after the whole counter top ordeal was settled, the rest of the kitchen came together pretty smoothly. (or maybe i'm too tired to write about the project any more and have blathered on way toooooooo long as it is.) my brother, nephew, and tim built a gorgeous counter top-when they brought over the particle board base to check the size, my eyes welled with tears. my brother rolled his eyes and requested that i not cry. i'm pretty certain he made a mental note not to be around when i saw the finished product.

after the counter top was in place, i had the divine inspiration to just switch the stove and the fridge to open up the kitchen. thank you Holy Spirit. i really debated, but in end, we bought a new stove-a flat surface, black one. our other stove worked fine, but it was our last almond appliance and had regular burners and just didn't look very pretty. i'm soo glad we splurged on the new stove. the kitchen just wouldn't have seemed "done" with the old stove. thank you to a different amazing brother who did some rewiring for us, making the switch possible.

i have the most amazing family. without my brothers and my nephew, there's no way we could have accomplished this project. i can't imagine how much it would have cost to have contractors do the work for us. thank you, thank you, thank you guys. (although they'll never read this.)

so without further delay.....

to refresh your memory: isolated, crappy counter kitchen.

and AFTER!!!!!!!!!!!

happy kitchen.

in the old kitchen, this would have just been a picture of the side of the fridge. soooo much more open.

look ma, no seams or ledges!

again, in the old kitchen this would have been a picture of the fridge. big blocky mcblockerson fridge. now, i can stand at the stove and visit with guests at the table.

there are still things that need to be finished. the curtain is actually a pillow case that i thrifted and i need to rework it into a curtain. or take down the curtain rod completely. the drawers have no pulls on them and probably won't for a long time. a rug covers the area in the floor that lacks hardwood, there next to the fridge, were the huge pantry cabinet was that we decided to leave out.

i'm sure you were expecting something much more drastic after this whole saga that i have written. the changes were pretty simple. but for me, they were pretty major. i really hated our kitchen before. i love my new kitchen and am so thankful for it. and we got most of project done in time to see my nephew off to college!

what do you think?

now i think i'll work on some writing exercises that force me to be more brief. cause, dang! those posts were way too long.


  1. It's not nice to tease. I was all ready to avoid going to bed to read this, but apparently not.

  2. i was confused for a minute when there was instantly comments on my post. then i forgot that after i wrote the title and hit enter, the post was "published". the whole time i wrote the post, i forgot that i was just "editing" it ; )

    sorry monica and elizabeth. i did not intend to tease. i'm just a little slow when it comes to technology.

  3. just look at the time stamp on my comment and you can see how long it took me to write the post : (

  4. very nice! two enthusiastic thumbs up from the peanut gallery!! i enjoy your long-winded posts and you'll never catch me complaining. it's almost like actually getting to have a conversation with you! agreed - the changes really do brighten up the kitchen tremendously, and i really like the touches of red, especially the frames above the stove. HORAY!

  5. Well, I must say, I sat here and read this whole post while my youngest whined from the floor (cause he backed himself into the wall, or he is just grouchy that he is still on the floor and not being carried around - who really knows). In any case I found it most entertaining and I like the more details. It makes me really feel your frustration. I'm glad you like the finished product. It looks good to me :)

    Kuddos to your amazing family (especially the nephew) for being ABSOLUTELY AMAZING :)

  6. Haha, thank you for not taking offense to my witty cynicism. It was late, I've been cooped up in the house all week with two sick little monkeys I and I think I might be losing my mind. But that is utterly and completely beside the point. The kitchen looks great! So much brighter and happier, wow! It's no wonder you love it, I'm very happy for you. God bless!

  7. Mary, it turned out wonderful! I have to laugh our fridge is in the exact same spot...and I plan to move that thing...someday. I love your use of beadboard,we have been using that stuff like crazy at our house.

  8. And now THIS talented brother will offer MY skillz to finally complete the whole process. That's right, I'm the brother that's really good at reading blogs and leaving comments. So here goes:

    Mary, this has been your Lord of the Rings.

  9. The kitchen looks great. Brilliant idea switching the stove and the fridge around.

  10. Wow! I'm always immensely impressed with renovation projects that people are able to pull off on their own... and this is GREAT! I was not blessed with a handy husband... or brother... of father, so really, I stand in awe of people who can do this on their own! Love the bead board (am a fan myself!) and I have to comment on the cute vintage red chair in the corner (is that a highchair?) - LOVE! Congrats on a lovely new kitchen... now if that only made cooking more fun, huh?