BEGIN April 2015 | Corina's Corner

Kitchen Renovation on a Budget


Jordan and I recently redid our kitchen. From the day we bought this house, we planned on redoing the kitchen. We've been slowly fixing things up as we can, which for financial purposes has been really nice. We aren't 100% finished, but this phase of the redo is just about complete, so I thought I'd share some pictures.

Here is where we started (photos from March 2014):

Some of my least favorite parts of the kitchen when we moved in were the orange countertops, dark cabinets with handles in the middle of the door, and carpet in the dining room.

Some of our previous renovation phases included taking down the obstructive cabinets, ripping out the old soffit, and extending new soffit (photos from Summer 2014):

We also built the desk last fall (photo from January 2015):

It was definitely time to tackle the actual kitchen. We had two reasons for starting this major project when we did (with me 35 weeks pregnant). We did most of it the first weekend in April because Jordan has Good Friday off work. He also took two additional days off work to finish things up. It was also really nice that my family was in town that weekend. We definitely took advantage of their help, as well as the help of Jordan's family.  Another reason why we decided to do all of this now was because we purchased the butcher block months ago (before we built the desk) and were getting nervous about it warping while it just sat in the garage. So some extra time off work, plus our nervousness meant, it was time to get started!

First we packed up all of the cabinets, and moved everything into the living room (and this is how we lived for a few days! Yikes!):

Then we ripped up the carpet, took off the countertops, ripped out the tile, took the cabinets off the center wall and then reconfigured the cabinets (getting rid of the lazy-susan, and one cabinet from the center wall) (Saying it all in a short list like that makes it seem like it wasn't 1 full days worth of work).

^^We caught a glimpse of the original linoleum when we moved the dishwasher. Wouldn't that have looked so nice with the orange countertops?^^

Once we got all of the carpet, tile, and extra cabinets out, and also ripped out the soffit on the wall where the fridge used to be, we laid down new flooring (after lots of sweeping and coloring on the subfloor with some sidewalk chalk).

After the floors were done we worked on the countertops (Ok, actually the countertop process started WAY before this. We wanted to do 5 coats of Waterlox, and you're supposed to wait 24 hours between coats. So leading up to this initial day of demolition and construction, Jordan had already spent many hours in the garage sanding and sealing the butcher blocks). We couldn't precut them because we needed to know the exact dimensions, so at this point they measured and then cut those.

After ALL of this, Jordan spent LOTS of time working on the hole where our new sink would be going in our butcher block countertops. (The above picture was before there was a sink hole). We didn't have a template for the sink (because we found it at Overstock), so they had to make one, and then it took lots of different tools to make the cut: a circular saw for the long parts, a jigsaw for the corners and then we routed out a bevel on the top edge. Following that there was LOTS and LOTS of sanding. He used a belt sander, a vibrator sander, and even did some hand sanding. (It definitely paid off though because it looks fantastic!)

This landed us here for a little while. We lived without a sink and a dishwasher for about a week and a half.

Then we made one of our better decisions in life and paid someone to paint our kitchen cabinets. It took the painter about 5.5 hours and we couldn't be more pleased with the quality of his work. (For those of you in Utah, here is who we hired.) If we would have done it ourselves, I think there is a good possibility we could still be painting and it definitely wouldn't have turned out quite so nice. Oh yeah, before the cabinets were painted we had to fill the holes where the old handles used to be in the center of the doors and then sand those smooth.

After the painting, we installed all new baseboards, as well as trim around the pantry door. We officially installed the countertops and secured them down. We added some 1x6's as a backsplash and drilled holes and added the new hardware. Somewhere around this point Jordan also did all of the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher. Oh and we switched the handles on our fridge to the other side. (Sidenote: Our fridge is ancient. It is older than Jordan. It was here when we bought the house, and it still works great. We want to buy a new one but haven't gotten around to it yet.)

Hopefully pretty soon we will build an island. We lost some good storage space in our reconfiguration, and could use some additional cabinets in an island (and also because we also already have the butcher block, sitting in the garage, and again are slightly worried about warping).

So above is where we stand today. For now we have turned our table the other direction, but aren't sure that we are in love with the arrangement. I still need to hang some pictures, and buy some rugs (and a fridge), but I knew that if I didn't blog about this now, I might be waiting forever.

After the island goes in we are also going to add another one of the globe lights above it, as well as some more can lights all around the kitchen area. And we do still have plans to take down the wall between the kitchen and the living room, but again, we're saving up for that day. For now though, I'm in love with our "new" kitchen. Here are a few close-up shots of some of my favorite parts:

^^From the beginning I knew I wanted an under-mount sink. And I mentioned above all of the time and work that Jordan put into making this sink look perfect, and I just have to say that I LOVE how it turned out.

^^I love our new hardware. I think it looks so sleek and adds a lot to the kitchen as a whole. When we put it in we could really tell how much more "finished" it looked.

^^...and I love that we were able to talk the painter into also painting the insides of the cabinets (for the cost he wanted for just the outsides). They look so fresh and so clean. Can you imagine how sad it would look to have nice, new, clean, outsides and old, dark insides? I love how bright it is inside the cabinets. (P.S. I might have a slight colored bowl obsession).

^^I love the two tone cabinets. I think it adds a lot of dimension to our kitchen, and if you know me at all, you know I love color, so it's fun to have both the clean look of the white on top, but the fun pop of color on the bottom.

^^The butcher block is definitely also one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. I love the color and warmth it adds. I think it looks really nice and it didn't break the bank.

^^And lastly, I have to say that I love the new floors. The dark wood is hard to keep clean, but when it is clean it looks SO pretty. And I actually retract the cleaning comment because I'd much rather sweep the kitchen floor than vacuum up anymore scrambled eggs (or mac'n'cheese, or whatever else Reagan spills), like I've been doing with the carpet under our table for the past year. (And I also think the desk looks so much cooler with the new flooring than it did with the carpet)

And just because I LOVE when people include budget breakdowns in their blog posts, here is ours:

Flooring, about 250 sqft of Brazilian Walnut from RC Willey: $250 (although we bought enough for our entire upstairs, so it was actually much more than that. Originally, we were planning on doing a light colored floor, but this was the right price and had wide planks and grooves which were just as important to us as the color.)

Birch Butcher Block Countertops from IKEA: $205 for the counters (and another $166 for the eventual island but I'm not counting that cost right now) We got super lucky and found four 8ft pieces in the "As Is" section in a few different trips. (We still have 2 we haven't used and will probably sell)

Sink from Overstock: $75 (it is a Water Creation sink, selling for $266 at Home Depot)

Hardware from $60 (we purchased the 3" Steel Bar Pulls in Satin Nickel)

Trim and Backsplash: $98

And lastly, the most expensive part...

Painting (Benjamin Moore Intense White on top and Benjamin Moore Whale Gray on bottom): $85 for the paint and $700 for the painter.

Total: $1,473

Pretty great if you ask me, considering some people spend like $20,000 on kitchen redo's. Again, we still have to buy new appliances which can cost a pretty penny, and we saved a lot by reusing our old cabinets. I know both of those really cost a ton in a kitchen renovation. We did almost all of the work ourselves though (and if we would have painted the cabinets ourselves we would be at $773), so our numbers are a little different than most kitchen budgets. Overall, I'm so happy with our new kitchen!

Benihana and the Ballet

I mentioned here that we like to sign up to receive emails from all of our favorite places, in hopes that they'll mention a sweet deal they might be having. In one of the recent Benihana emails they said they were having a contest for an exclusive opportunity to win dinner for two at Benihana paired with tickets to the performance of Almost Tango performed at the Capitol Theatre. I missed this particular email (and sometimes overlook "junk" emails in my rush), but Jordan didn't! And he entered! And he won! So last night we dropped Reagan off with some loving grandparents and headed out for our night on the town.

We had so much fun. Seriously, what's better than $67 worth of free dinner and tickets to a fun cultural event? Neither of us know anything about ballet, but we had a great time watching in awe at all of the amazing things those dancers can do with their bodies. Incredible. Such a great date night, thanks to my wonderful husband and his contest winning abilities!

Easter 2015


We had a great Easter weekend. Good Friday is a company holiday for Jordan's work, so it's always fun when that day rolls around. My family also came to town this weekend, and were able to go to my dad's mission reunion (it was fun for me to meet my dad's mission president). Thursday night we went to a session at the Salt Lake Temple with them, which I always love, and then we had a delicious dinner at Buca di Beppo. Friday we spent the entire day demolishing our kitchen (lots of pictures to come, but one sneak peak at the bottom)! And then we spent the rest of the weekend, slowly putting it back together, with lots of help from our families (while trying to listen to as much General Conference as we could). Sunday morning we had a little Easter Egg hunt for Reagan. She loved it!

She sure loves when her uncles are in town. She calls them both Lolo. Lolo originally meant Logan but it has since transitioned to mean both Dylan and Logan. All weekend she was playing and dragging her Lolo's all around. (After they left, she was asking for "More Lolo!")

^^Loot from her Easter Basket. She loves "bebes" so we got her another doll, she loves "pretties," so we got her some bracelets and necklaces, and she loves coloring, so she got some new coloring supplies.

^^And a sneak peak of the beginning of our demolition. Can't wait until we're all put back together. I'd say we're about 75-80% complete. I'm loving how it's looking so far!
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