In the process from "Before" to lovely "After" comes a stage I call the Very Scary Between. That's what's up today folks. So if you like to see progressions, stick around, and if you just prefer pretty pictures, then you'd better check back later. 'Cause it ain't gonna be pretty!
We came up with a couple of cost effective ways to expand our work areas and our storage space. (I say "we" loosely, because all the good ideas came from my parents and a handy friend!) First, we replaced the long window with a shorter one and had some cabinetry built to match the existing stuff. This allowed us to turn what used to be a corner oriented kitchen into a long "L" setup, and gained us another work station and more storage without loosing the western light. The old freestanding cabinet that used to be in the corner got moved into the dining room for school storage. (More storage - happy, happy!)
Here is the new cabinetry and counter top we had put in. While the counter top pattern isn't what I would have picked, I just couldn't see replacing perfectly good, new materials because it's not my top choice. So I had the new piece matched to what was already there. I'm really glad I did - it almost never looks dirty! A totally unanticipated bonus. :-)
Another change was to take out the old window onto the mudroom, move the door with a window from the dining room to the kitchen, and patch up the dining room wall which gave us . . .
. . . a place in the mud room to build a coat closet! Yea!
Still plenty of room to enter from the outside.
Using the old, windowed door from the dining room allowed us to still get that indirect light from the south into the kitchen, which fit with my "lighten and brighten" goal.
And odd as it may sound, I was glad to get one solid wall in the dining room. I love all the windows and natural light in our house, but as a bibliophile and a homeschooling mom, I couldn't help but wonder, "Where am I going to put all the bookshelves we'll need?" Now we've got room for the book collection to grow. *Happy Sigh*
Our other kitchen trick was to replace the small, angled island with a large rectangular one. We picked up two freestanding pieces from a nearby discount cabinetry place. One piece has a place for the garbage and a silverware drawer, and the other is drawers all the way down. So that helpped us address the drawer problem for less moulah. The island is in shaker style to match the exsisting cabinets, and I plan to paint the island eventually, so the color doesn't really matter. When I get the painting done it will look a little like this:
I've always liked the painted counter look, and it breaks up some of the heavy woody-ness. Lighten and brighten! (The lone pretty picture is from here.)
Last of all, we replaced the pot rack light fixture with three smaller lights. I made sure to pick something with a high wattage that allowed light to shine up onto the ceiling. I was, quite frankly, shocked by what a difference this one change made, not only to the amount of light, but also the feel of the room! I guess I hadn't realized how much visual space the old light fixture took up, but as soon as I saw the room without it, I could hardly believe how HUGE the kitchen looked!
While we had everything ripped apart, my sister and I also took off the old wall paper and border. That was scary looking. I was really afraid I had made a big mistake! There were scraps of at least five different papers on the wall, from about 1910 to the 1980s, and they were not going to come off nicely. Interesting for the historian, but it presented a bit of a challenge to get from there to nice, clean looking walls again. But we did it, and we'll go into that with our pretty "After" pictures.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go peek in my kitchen just to remind myself that it's all better now . . .