Back in 2014, my family had just returned from one of our Christmas getaways to Franklin, Tennessee. When I came into the kitchen I noticed our wood floor looked a little darker in an area by our refrigerator. The next day we called our home insurance company, and they had someone come to check it out. What we learned was that the ice maker on our fridge had leaked and damaged a small part of our floor. That is when we said it’s time to do a kitchen renovation DIY and customize it to get what we have been wanting for a while.
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Time To Plan
My husband and I wanted a different layout and decided to add a few things we did not have at the time. One place I headed was to Pinterest to check out other kitchen renovation DIY projects to gather ideas!
Not only did we get ideas from Pinterest and magazines, but my sister, who has been an interior designer for over 35 years and specializes in kitchen and bath design among other areas, helped us tremendously! If you ever need her help, feel free to reach out to me.
Kitchen Remodel in Your Existing Home
We built our home in a planned community and though they gave us some choices when we bought it, it was not custom-built. This was the second new home we purchased. The first one was the model home for a neighborhood in Iowa, so it was pretty much done, not many choices to make on our part; but this was our chance to customize our kitchen in our existing home. Time to do a kitchen renovation… DIY style!
I am blessed, some say I am lucky to have a husband who is a little more than a handyman. He always has had an interest in woodworking, so when redoing our kitchen it came in handy. And, yes, I am blessed because he has talents other than woodworking that has come in handy over the years.
While my husband Jon worked on several areas, he did not install the wooden floors, although I am sure he could; so we hired a company to do the floors. We decided to go with larger oak planks and a little darker than we had before.
The first thing that took place was ripping out all of the existing floors. That was a bit messy, but we hung protectors blocking our family room so everything would not get so dusty; the room still did, but not as bad.
Before the installers put the new wooden floors in, we got busy removing cabinets, taking out appliances, and taking down the small pantry. That was actually fun! When you are doing your own kitchen renovation DIY, you get to smash things you normally do not get to smash! Now I get it when watching shows like ‘Property Brothers’ or ‘Fixer Upper’ with Chip and Joanna Gaines, who, when demolition starts, they say ‘now for the fun part’ as they take a big hammer and start tearing it down!
Pantries and Built-Ins
Our home had two pantries, one was pretty large, the other was smaller; so we decided to knock down the smaller one and make custom cabinets. I wanted a cabinet that was up high for large platters that I don’t use often.
I wanted a nook that would hold all my cookbooks and a nook for all my pitchers as well as a cabinet to hold most of my everyday appliances. I wanted three drawers, two being deep: one to hold all my Tupperware, another for all my paper goods, like napkins, paper plates, plasticware, straws, etc. The other drawer, well, I wanted a drawer for this, and that aka – a junk drawer. But it has actually turned into my vitamin drawer because I am trying not to have junk drawers any longer!
Appliances, Wine Rack and Trash Bin
We decided to move the refrigerator to another wall; we bought a new one that I had had my eye on for some time, an LG that had French Doors with the freezer on the bottom. It also had the water and ice maker on the outside of the door. We drink lots of water in our household and we thought it would come in extra handy, and it has! I also liked the double doors; we have been very happy with this feature. We have had a few issues with the ice maker, but we are happy that we bought the extra warranty when we purchased it through Best Buy. The Geek Squad has always been swift to come out and go over and above in repairing or replacing a part.
We relocated a base and wall cabinet to the previous location of our refrigerator. When doing so, it left a 1-foot wide gap between the upper and lower cabinets, and my husband surprised me by filling the gap with a custom wine rack and pull-out trash bin. The pull-out trash bin is my husband’s favorite part, go figure.
Jon removed the microwave that was above our stove and replaced it with a stainless steel vent hood. We were given a new Frigidaire Electrolux stainless steel microwave by my sister and brother-in-law, so my husband made a built-in for it and installed it on the far wall. Below the microwave, I made my coffee station. I have a beautiful collection of pitchers that I have collected over the years, so he made a nook for them over the microwave. They look stunning.
A few years back, we bought a new Whirlpool oven range when our oven decided to die the day before Thanksgiving. Now I have my eye on a few all stainless steel ranges, but I’m not quite ready to go for it yet.
We also purchased a Whirlpool dishwasher that had some great features, but before they took our old one away, I kept the silverware rack; now I have two in my dishwasher! Genius… I know!
I had always wanted kitchen cabinets that are of a different color than the island. One morning I woke up and my husband had transformed our kitchen island. He decided to put wainscoting on it, with extra detailed trim and painted it espresso brown which matched our kitchen table base. Love it!
My husband painted the kitchen island and the kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. You can buy it already made or make it yourself, which Jon did. The formula can be found on YouTube or Pinterest. You add Calcium Carbonate to your paint: here is the recipe we used and found it to work perfectly.
One Quart of Chalk Paint
16 tbsp of Calcium Carbonate
4 tbsp of water
1 quart of latex paint
One Cup of Chalk Paint
4 tbsp of Calcium Carbonate
2 tbsp of water
1 cup of latex paint
Other Tools to Have
It’s helpful to have an immersion mixer. I put it in a glass jar with a lid to use later if I need to do a touch up later. *Note: some recipes don’t require water, but we felt using it made the chalk paint a little smoother and a little thinner, making it more manageable.
Mix the water with the Calcium Carbonate first until smooth; break up any lumps using a fork, then add it to the paint in a jar or container that you can cover tightly. Scrape all the Calcium Carbonate out of your container to get every last bit. Mix well and you are ready to go! The finer the Calcium Carbonate, the smoother your paint will be. My suggestion for which to buy is here, it has very fine powder with great reviews.
If you want to buy chalk paint ready to go, here are some great choices.
We added handles on all our cabinets and our island. They are the same style, but we chose to go oil rubbed bronze on our espresso island and satin nickel on our white cabinets.
Jon added lots of details to the base of the cabinets and to the sides, including some molding and matched the wainscotting on the kitchen island on the ends of our cabinets…simply beautiful!
Granite Counter Tops and Subway Tiles
The granite countertop we chose is White Ice Granite from Brazil. This granite is good for both indoor and outdoor use and can sustain freezing temperatures. White Ice features gold and whites with dramatic darker veins of charcoal and chocolate that go well with my white and espresso cabinets. It has beautiful veins of crystal in it too, and when the light hits it, they pop out so gorgeously!
We decided to go with white subway tiles for the backsplash because they are timeless! The gentleman who installed our subway tiles also did me a huge favor and made some pivots out of the leftover pieces of granite; they are very useful!
We enjoyed this project so much that I started a ‘honey to-do list’ for other woodworking projects that I will share with you in later posts!
Tell me if you have ever done a Kitchen Renovation DIY or other projects in your home!