Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Home makeover -- Jen style

Our house was built in 1974, back when harvest gold and avocado green were still very much in vogue. Dark kitchen cabinets were also quite popular.

Oh, and back then? Good storage was a non-issue because no one had good storage in the old days. We have no garage and only a small utility room in the basement. Remember this point for later.

We bought our house in 1999 from the original owner, who had never once redecorated in all that time.

Guess what our kitchen looked like?

Dreadful, I know.

That huge old harvest gold fridge? The previous owner had it painted to match the kitchen. Only, it didn't match the various other harvest golds in there.

Let me give you a close up of the floor, because that was really quite special:

Before we even moved in, we had the walls painted white and white laminate counters installed. Within a couple of months, we had replaced all of the harvest gold appliances, the harvest gold cabinet knobs, and that fabulous floor.

So this is how the kitchen looked for several years:

Kind of lame, I know. (The kitchen, not the kids. They're really quite fabulous, but that's another story for another time.) But at least all that gold is gone and things have lightened up a bit.

In January I decided I'd had it UP TO HERE with the dark brown cabinets in my kitchen and finally got off my ass and started painting them. White. Glossy white. Sleek glossy white. Two things helped drive this decision: 1) We were planning to put our house on the market and felt it would sell better with a shiny white kitchen, instead of a shit brown one. 2) We were planning to put white cabinets in the new house and wanted to test drive the idea here first. (As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, we have decided to postpone this construction project for the time being.)

So I started painting. And painting and painting and painting. It took two entire weekends just to do the wall and base cabinets. I worked on the drawers at the same time. I finished the cabinets and, a couple of weeks later, the drawers. It was then that I embarked on the cabinet doors.

There are eighteen doors on our cabinets. EIGHTEEN. Let me count 'em: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18.

Do you know what's involved with painting eighteen cabinet doors? No? Well let me enlighten you. Each door had to have its old hardware removed. Then the door was cleaned. Then sanded and wiped down again. Then each door had to be primed, followed by four, five, or even six coats of paint. Two coats of poly-u to seal and protect the paint were the last steps.

Whew. Done.

Oh, wait. No I'm not.

Now I have to flip the door over and do the OTHER SIDE.

Now multiply those steps by eighteen doors with fronts and backs.

Oh, and remember how I only have one small utility room in the basement? That meant I could only work on the doors two or three at at time.

I also replaced all of the hardware on the drawers and doors before reinstalling them. I cannot even remember how many trips I've made to the hardware store in the past few months and I'm definitely not going to tally up how much money I've spent so far.

I cussed so much during this project that I simply can't believe that Elegant doesn't walk around saying things like, "I have to do my fucking homework" or "Why do I fucking have to go to fucking school?" all the time. It used to be that if I was doing something and said "shit" or "fuck" Pete would come check on me to make sure I was okay, because clearly something had just happened. Now? He doesn't even hear it.

It took a really long time to paint those doors. In fact, I just finished this week and hung the last three doors yesterday. In the meantime, we've replaced a light fixture, the floor, and random other things.

Here's what the kitchen looks like now.

Pretty awesome, right?

Oh, and check out the rug by the door. I'm just digging it.

If I had to do it again, I'm not sure I would have done the work myself. Yes, I saved thousands of dollars, but it took three months and the cabinets are not perfect or even close to it.

But my kitchen just rocks now. I love it. It's so light and airy. Luminous, as one of my neighbors said. We're planning to close off the doorway next to the fridge (not visible in the photo but next to the side with all the photos) and building a pantry there.

So anyway, that's our version of Extreme Home Makeover. More soon, I promise.


Happy Working Mom said...

Wow, that gold was UGLY! Your kitchen looks fabulous now! When I see the people on HGTV painting cabinet doors I think "no way, not for me." Good for you for getting it all done though! It definitely paid off and looks great! Although I do love dark cabinets, hence the multitude of them in my new house :)

anne-sophie said...

the little girl are too cute!!!