Guys, can you guess which room in our house that was almost the cause of us not purchasing it? I think I probably already gave it away by the title of this post, but it was our kitchen! So many aspects of this 1950s Tudor bucked the trend of the time, with spacious rooms and even an attached garage, but the kitchen wasn’t one of them.
It’s tiny! The entry hallway, breakfast nook, and kitchen are all crammed into a space a little longer than the dimensions of our dining room. The doorways into the space are narrow because up until the time we purchased it, had two doors to enclose it – one being a swinging door.
Even though it’s narrow, we’re so thankful for our little kitchen – the spot that meals are made and life is shared. It’s come a long way since our eyes set sight on it and I’m excited to share the progress we’ve made over the last 3 years!
Three years ago, this house was purchased with the intent of it being a rental home – with the hopes that one day I would perhaps purchase it (read more about that story here). We knew the kitchen needed some work and thinking through that can be overwhelming. Where do we start? Something that helped narrow it down from all the possibilities is that we had to remember the budget and that it was a rental property.
Obviously we didn’t know then how the story would unfold, but we wouldn’t have changed a thing! This was by far the largest undertaking for the house and we hired a contractor to complete the renovations.
The Design Process
As I scrolled through kitchen inspiration three years ago, white cabinets were everywhere and that still remains a top trend! I desperately wanted to paint the cabinets, but they were custom Amish-made wood cabinets and still in very good condition.
As I mentioned in our garage entryway series, the original owners renovated the kitchen at some point and moved the original cabinets to the garage for extra storage (brilliant). We still use them today!
Immediately, our “limitless possibilities” of taking a wall down or painting the cabinets were removed and we had our starting point: design this kitchen around the wood cabinets.
A side note to say: When designing a room, while you might have your “dream insert-room-here” out there, look at what you already have to work with. Most people don’t have $50,000+ to renovate a home or money to invest in taking a wall down and redesigning the entire flow of a space. I like to think of it almost as a hand-me-down (check out the entire series here).
Sometimes what’s in our budget or already in our home wouldn’t be considered “our style,” but we can still use it to bring out “us” and our story. My tip is to design with what will look good overall with the item that isn’t our style – see this example to follow.
The Current (aka After)
The cabinet decision simplified our decisions moving forward. While I was given creative control, the property owners also had the wisdom to encourage me in making the space timeless – since at the time, it was just a rental property. While we loved the outcome and it absolutely remains in style, it’s not full of the latest trends – and that’s okay!
The first design decision I made was the countertops. To save on cost we chose laminate, but I’ve got to be honest – they don’t make laminate like they used to! I was royally surprised at the quality now available. Since our kitchen layout is unique, Lowe’s came out to measure and create the countertops custom to fit our space.
The flooring looked like it was the original – a faux brick laminate sheet – and it was definitely showing its age! We chose rectangular grey floor tiles with subtle hints of beige and creams in the design. Instead of bright white subway tiles (though, I think those would look great with the cabinets), I chose a backsplash tile that really complemented the cabinets and brought in some grays – which were more on-trend than beiges in 2015.
The rest flowed from there! We replaced the sink, faucet, garbage disposal, and all of our appliances. The counter-depth refrigerator made a huge impact, making our already narrow kitchen feel more spacious. The original fridge was the typical depth and ended up in our garage for extra space – we love having it!
Other things we replaced: baseboards, wall vents, electrical outlets and covers, and lighting. We added two pendants instead of one light above the sink, a new over-the-stove light, and my favorite: the beautiful orb chandelier above the breakfast nook that you’ll get to see in next week’s post (which we still need to swag over to be centered above the table 😉 ).
Last but not least – the walls! I sampled multiple paint swatches, but Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige was the winner! It might not have been my first pick for my “dream kitchen”, but it beautifully ties in everything in the space and that’s why I love it!
Our kitchen has been the biggest project we’ve taken on so far. It’s not perfect; it’s not exactly how we want it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it. It’s actually the perfect kitchen for newlyweds; it’s so narrow and we’re always bumping into each other! 😉 It is MUCH better than it was before and taken on an entirely new life. Just like any kitchen, it’s the space where everyone hangs out and sometimes it’s not enough space, but we’re thankful that it’s home to us and is a comfortable space to gather for so many others.
Read Our Kitchen: PART 2 to see the transformation of this space: our breakfast nook and wall shelves. Plus, our dreams for the future of our kitchen! Subscribe to the Redeeming Hampton community and you’ll receive an email each time a new post goes live – so you’ll always be in the know! Sign up here.