I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t randomly fall of the blogosphere for months at a time with no explanation! I wish I could say that it’s because we were having so much fun communing with nature and enjoying the slow pace of life, but alas the search for simplicity has resulted in the most hectic, stressful year of my life. Isn’t it funny how that works? I say funny because if I don’t choose to laugh, I’ll definitely cry.
Since my last update I have started a new job with a great company, almost completely healed from my hip surgery and got the Covid vaccine. We “skipped” the holidays last year as cases were rising and the house was torn apart. No travel, no family gatherings, no decorations. It was a bit of a lonely time so I look forward to going all out for the holidays this year in our beautifully redone house! We made the best of it, and despite all the stress of a pandemic and remodeling we did manage to enjoy our first winter here. We even got 14″ of snow on Valentine’s Day!
Now, for the nitty gritty of remodeling: the house needs a LOT more work than we bargained for. Literally, I wish we had talked the price down significantly! In my previous post about how we wanted to design the house, a lot was still unknown as we hadn’t quite broken into the projects yet and most of the updates were purely cosmetic. But that has since given way to serious upgrades like replacing rotted subfloor and shoddy DIY electrical. To directly quote the electrician we finally caved and hired because we had no electricity on the second floor, “You’re lucky you didn’t have a fire in your walls!” So, yeah. We’re having lots of fun over here.
I shouldn’t complain because even if it was the worst house in Washington, it’s still in Washington. We still wake up surrounded by green trees and fall asleep to the sound of the frogs in our pond – it’s like nature’s white noise machine, and I absolutely love it. It’s just been so much more difficult than I ever imagined. What we thought would be a few months of cosmetic updates has turned into pretty much a whole-home remodel that is coming up on its one year anniversary. We are tired, and we are sore. But we see the finish line! It’s just up ahead.
I will do a home tour when we’re completely done, but for now I will focus on our current project, and the last “big one” (for the interior, anyway): the kitchen!
Remember when I thought we were just going to paint the cabinets and replace the countertops? Ahh, those were the days. We have now ripped our little kitchen completely down to the studs. I’ve often heard the advice: “Live with it for a while,” to new homeowners in an effort to stop them from potentially ripping into projects that aren’t necessary. Well, living with it had the exact opposite effect on us. After several months we realized that the kitchen layout was absolutely horrible and throwing off the whole flow of the first floor. It seemed silly to spend so much time and money updating things like the spiral staircase and the fireplace and the floors only to slap some paint on the poor kitchen and call it good.
BEFORE: The kitchen was crammed, dark and heavy with a lot of wood and dark laminate countertops and floors. The “island” contained the dishwasher and did not drain properly due to bad DIY shortcuts, something this house has in spades. The stove was in the peninsula with no overhead venting, so it was not ideal for clearing smoke, grease and smells when cooking. The low-hanging glass cabinets and the thick peninsula cut the small kitchen off from the dining room and rest of the main floor. The lighting was poorly placed and the switches (there were two in separate places) were both at the back of the kitchen, so we had to walk all the way through the kitchen before we could turn any lights on.
THE NEW DESIGN: With any luck, the new kitchen will be lighter, brighter and 10x more functional. We moved the stove over to the wall with the fridge, separated by a small cabinet. The sink will remain under the window but will have the dishwasher next to it (as it should be!) as well as a bank of cabinets. The peninsula is removed and instead there will be a small but functional island with tons of storage and even space for a few barstools. We moved the recessed lighting so it actually made sense and added a pendant over the island for additional ambient light. We also moved both light switches next to the pantry (out of frame) so that we didn’t have to walk to the furthest corner of the kitchen to turn the lights on.
We uncovered the beautiful paneled wood ceiling that also graces the rest of the house, so now it feels like one big cohesive space. The beams are painted the same Cracked Pepper as the rest of the house and the whole kitchen has gotten a new coat of fresh white paint. The backsplash behind the stove will be the same tile we used on the fireplace to tie it all together and the laminate floors will run throughout. In the beginning, one of my biggest qualms with the house was that it had a hundred different elements when it came to paint, trim, floors, etc. and none of them matched. Happily I can say that we finally have a clear design that flows through the whole house!
We have gotten a little further since these photos were taken (I can hear Jacob downstairs installing cabinets as I type this) but I will save the next update for a hopefully completed kitchen!