A story of my kitchen (dreams made reality)

Don't think for a second that because I like to dabble in a variety of things, don't mind putting in a little work and getting my hands dirty, and love to learn new things that taking on a big project like a kitchen remodel doesn't still have a large level of intimidation. It definitely did, and I think I'd be a fool to say otherwise because just dipping that new paint brush in the paint and taking that first stroke on the wood almost caused me to hyperventilate, and I've painted more than my fair share in my life! Having the confidence to try something by no means is equivalent to not being terrified that you could mess everything up. As with most things in life, I feel a little bit of fear and intimidation is a healthy thing and if you didn't feel any trepidation, I'd think that was very unusual. Taking the time to just leave the house to look at paint samples, flooring (I took at least half a dozen trips to look at and borrow floor samples), granite (a storefront and 2 HUGE warehouses of slabs), then finalizing all of the above and paying for it all while setting up visits for the granite to be measured and later installed and the flooring to be installed and details all coordinated on my minimal days off was a bit of a leap of faith. I was flying blind, charting a course I'd never been on, but I don't regret it for one second.  Let me hit on what I did and show you what was used. (& for more before pics, check out my previous blog entry)


I get asked frequently if I sanded first and did I take my cabinets down. No and no. I've had issues with the hardware that connects some of the cabinet doors to the cabinets so decided that there was no way on God's green Earth that I was going to take those down.  I will say I was VERY torn on whether to sand or not and knew it was too much of a mess to use my electric sander in the house so knew my poor wrists would have to endure manual sanding or (my preferred method) we'd have to find a better, more efficient way.  Almost everywhere I read said to clean the cabinets really good to remove grease, dirt, dust, and buildup and almost just as many sites said that avoiding sanding wasn't an option so at that point it was kind of a reverse witch hunt to find the person that told me I didn't have to sand.  It took some diligence but I finally found him on a random blog post from 9 years before. He named the Sherwin-Williams products he used, so off to the store I went.  I found my Snowbound swatch and while I was waiting to talk to the 1 man working on the second to last day of a 40% off sale, a man in line beside me asked me what I was getting paint for.  I told him what I was doing and what products I was planning to use it on. He very quickly told me that those were great products and (without my mentioning sanding) that I wouldn't need to sand because that product sealed and secured itself so well to cabinets that it wasn't necessary.  He was just the confirmation I needed!!  I used Premium Wall and Wood Primer followed by Pro Classic Interior Acrylic Enamel Satin Paint. Here are the drawer pulls and the cabinet pulls that I got for so much cheaper than buying them individually at big box stores.


I took down a worn out ceiling fan from above the table and wanted something that could serve as a fan but also give off good lighting. While looking at local big box stores, I fell in love with this drum ceiling fan and light even though it cost a bit more than what I'd planned to spend. I took down the old one and had it replaced with this new one all in under an hour. This one has a dimmable LED light and 3 speeds for the fan. I also managed to somehow choose a random number sequence for the remote code that corresponds with a remote of one of my neighbors 😂

For the main portion of the kitchen, I took down what can only be called a dated and dust laden wooden box that had fluorescent tube lights under it or light (singular) as one of the sides stopped working years ago. The light's electrical box was much more off center than I dreamed it would be so I did a quick run to Home Depot and bought a new box, drilled a hole in the wood to pull the wires through and made the opening slightly more centered and salvaged a piece of drywall I had cut out at the location where I was placing the new light and managed by some act of God to be able to use some gum and pixie dust to get it to fit over the old hole and made it look like it was part of the original drywall.This is the LED light  that I hung in the kitchen. Can you say "bright light, bright light"?! LED lights definitely beat fluorescent bulbs in my book!

The sink is stainless steel and faucet 
is a reused one & is brushed nickel.

Anytime somebody compliments me on my backsplash, I think of Lightning McQueen in Cars. As you can see, my backsplash is not red nor does it ride in circles around a track, but Lightning is often referred to as "Stickers" by Sally because his headlights are just stickers. In the same way,  my backsplash is just a glass-tile-wannabe set of premium stickers. This is what I used. My priority during my makeover was to give the kitchen a clean look, and I definitely always wanted a backsplash, but I wanted to spend the majority of my budget on my flooring and my countertops so I opted to go with a backsplash that was relatively inexpensive, easy to clean and install, and added a splash of color without breaking the bank.  Most wouldn't know that they're my stickers if I didn't tell them. 




For my kitchen, I decided to go with a flooring that was luxury vinyl but with a look of tile and with a synthetic grout substance. This involved gluing down the flooring and the kitchen has many nooks and crannies so I paid installers to come and get it done right.  This is a link to the tile I used. Like everything else I decided on, this is a great choice and it has held up well to 4 humans and 2 dogs over the last year with a lot of traffic. 

I highly encourage anyone with new flooring to look into products that keep the floors from getting scratched.  I tried the adhesive felt pads first. I knew within a day that that wasn't going to be a good fit.  So next I went with these screw on felt pads and they've held up very nicely over the last year and fit perfectly into the holes already in the bottom of my kitchen chairs. 

Left is old paint and vinyl
Right is new paint and after vinyl painted over and removed. 

As I mentioned before, Sherwin Williams was having a paint sale and I love their no VOC paint, so that is what I used on the walls in the shade of blithe blue. I had to paint over an area where I had art on the wall and vinyl letters.  I will tell you that I had lost sleep over what I was going to do and had just resigned myself to the fact that I would have to scrape off the vinyl letters and start all over with another Etsy purchase.  Fast forward to painting day.  I tried to use a small brush to paint around the letters but quickly learned that wasn't going to work.  On a whim I painted over a couple of letters and pulled up a corner of the vinyl and it left a perfect stencil of the vinyl behind.  I was so excited and it looks splendid.  As for the ceiling, I bought ceiling paint and it matched the paint (not planned) that was already there perfectly so I just touched up the area near the light where I had moved a piece of drywall around and where the previous owner had apparently had a food mishap on the ceiling and it looked like new without having to put white splatters all over my kitchen!!  

The one granite shop that was open in my community the weekend day that I had time to look at granite was the one I ended up going with.  Their brick and mortar store was helpful but didn't have the prices and the nitty gritty info that I needed to get my project going. They required an appointment for a fee to come out and get laser measurements of your space to get precise measurements for the granite and had 2 warehouses I could go to to find a slab that I wanted.  I went to the first one on the outskirts of town after work one night.  It had a large selection but nothing screamed at me.  And have I mentioned that I'm not indecisive but sometimes it's tough to make such decisions without an extra brain to conspire with? I left feeling a bit down.  I hit the second warehouse the next day in another end of town and that one had twice the selection and much more practical slabs. I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 and quickly decided (using pics of the paint colors and the flooring samples on my phone to help me) which I ended up choosing and having installed a few weeks later after I finished painting. I've been asked price. I went with one of the more common types of slabs (not rare) and paid a bit over $4,000 installed for my counters, a new stainless steel sink, and my desktop. I did not pay for a plumber.  I hooked up the garbage disposal, puttied and connected the pipes and drainage at the bottom of the sink, and reinstalled the sprayer that was only a few years old from the previous sink. 

Glimpse of the 20 year old flooring

Disclaimer and lots of words of encouragement: 
Just because you've never done something or don't know how to do it doesn't always mean that you shouldn't do it.  There's a whole world of blogs and vlogs and youtube out there of people that would love nothing more than for you to click on their video to learn a new skill. Won't you allow them to walk you through the process and then you can decide with a bit of wisdom whether that project is a can do or a hire out/ask for help project.  Neither is admitting defeat.  I've done my share of asking for help but by doing so I now know how to change a tire and change my breaks and I can make a mean meal in the Instant pot. Dabble away and enjoy the projects before you! 💛


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