Works in Progress

Kitchen Remodel: It Begins!

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Last week we placed the order for our kitchen cabinets for the Las Vegas fixer and we’re now in the process of picking appliances and the backsplash tile. We gutted the kitchen in November now it sits empty with no cabinets or appliances until the end of December when the new ones arrive.

Ordering new kitchen cabinets is always a huge deal, one that requires a lot of research – it’s not like a quick refresh with paint or toss pillows ha! No, the decisions are so FINAL so you’ve got to think it through. We spent many months considering our options and I decided instead of repainting the 25 year old cabinets, to upgrade and replace them with a classic yet contemporary Shaker style. For this remodeling project I’m partnering with Cliq Studios, this post is part one of a four part series where we’ll be documenting the kitchen remodel from demo to completion in February.

First, some details about the kitchen itself. When we bought the house the kitchen was my least favorite space. I’ll come right out and say it, I hated it at first. It has no window, so it must get all its light from adjacent spaces. I’m a big believer in the idea that a kitchen of all spaces should have a window so that little detail was disappointing. Also the kitchen sits right in the middle of the home so it acts as a pass through and as a result will see extra traffic from kids and pets and visitors. As a cook I prefer kitchens that are tucked away, especially when I’m simmering sauces while drinking wine :) It also has an awkward angled peninsula and I prefer the classic U or L shape with a window above the sink so this kitchen’s layout was almost a deal breaker, but I concluded since I liked the rest of the house so much it was a space that if modernized could be really nice!

Here are pictures of the old kitchen cabinets before we removed them, it will give you an idea of the layout since the new cabinets have a similar elevation.The first thing we did over the summer was remove the *lovely* wallpaper which was everywhere and we replaced the tile floors (full details of the new porcelain wood tile here).

kitchen before range wall

Same view a few months later, but that big ugly box florescent light above has been replaced with four recessed lights and we added three pendants over the peninsula which is already a huge improvement.

range wall

The adjacent wall and old pantry…

cabinet wall


When we pulled out the cabinets they were in pretty bad shape, so we had no regrets replacing them. Pulling out the backsplash destroyed the sheetrock so we replaced that too. Here it is today, our blank slate!

kitchen before


Instead of an all white kitchen we opted for gray bases and white cabinets above. After our samples arrived, we chose the basic White and the very pretty Harbor hue.

cliq studios painted cabinets

The new cabinets will look much more modern thanks to the elevation drawn up by the kitchen cabinet designer at Cliq Studios. We’re not moving any appliances but we are upgrading with details like drawers and lazy Susan cabinets in the corner.

To the range wall we added drawers on the left for cookware, and to the adjacent wall we included a few glass cabinets in the new design. We are not adding a microwave, only a hood. We may build a chimney hood ourselves and paint it to match, we will share the step by step if so!

new kitchen cabinets cliq studios


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Grandma’s Kitchen Remodel: Cabinets + Fixtures

Monday, October 27th, 2014

What a weekend! With the help of some volunteers, many of them teens from the local high school, on Saturday we were able to paint 2,200 square feet of walls and ceilings for the work clothes closet project. I spent my weekend evening hours enjoying each and every inning of the World Series games, it continues on Tuesday, c’mon Giants!

Last week, we made some final decisions on Grandma’s kitchen remodel and placed orders on cabinets, tile, and fixtures. Our goal is to keep costs down and make timeless choices for finishes and fixtures, especially since this kitchen remodel is for resale.

Our first step was to evaluate whether we should replace or reface the kitchen cabinets, we went back and forth, and discovered it was more convenient but more costly to reface the cabinets, which was initially appealing because it meant repurposing the old frames but we were limited by finish choices and deterred by the cost for just a cabinet facelift (over $12,000!). In the end, we decided to replace the cabinets instead of reface them, especially because new cabinets include modern amenities like lazy Susan corners and soft close drawers and with a promotional discount they fit our budget.

Kitchens require a lot of thought but eventually you’ve just got to make a decision, trust your gut, and go with it so that’s what I did! Here’s a reminder of what the kitchen looks like now, the cabinets are 40 years old and the appliances are decades old too. All the cabinets and the flooring will be removed in the next two weeks.

grandmas kitchen before

Matt met with a few neighbors with the same floor plan about their kitchens and also a contractor who has remodeled over a dozen of the same in this retirement community. He toured a few upgraded kitchens with the same layout, here’s an example of one recently renovated with all wood cabinets.

wood cabinets same kitchen

In this kitchen, they moved the refrigerator and pantry to the far wall which we’re not doing. We’re keeping the same layout for appliances, I prefer the range as a focal point on that far wall and the fridge/pantry on the far right side of the kitchen (see sketch below). Also I think the recessed lights should be more centered, but the thing we really liked was how the contractor raised the ceiling and took down the wall between the family room and kitchen (bottom right of above photo) and created a peninsula, so we decided to do that too so the kitchen is open to the family room.

We discovered that all the electrical panels and outlets need to be upgraded so with that in mind, we opted for a range instead of a cooktop/wall oven combo to create more counter space. This is the latest cabinet plan for the range wall with closed cabinet storage above, the bottom plan shows how we tweaked it a little more to include a cookie tray cabinet to the right of the range.

new range view

gma revised 1

Replacing the cabinets meant I had to go shopping for new ones, I considered IKEA but since I’ve worked with my local Home Depot’s kitchen designer before with great success for our previous COTS projects (this kitchen and this kitchen) it was an easy decision to work with Christine again and we met several times.

kitchen design

I love designing with someone who will sit with you for hours and discuss with you about choices and finishes, suggest half a dozen different layouts, and not get upset when you say “Okay let’s go back to the original plan.” Which totally happened. :)

With this kitchen, I purposefully chose a neutral palette; I’m mixing warm wood tones with cool chrome fixtures and a marble lookalike laminate countertop. I’m going for contemporary but not cold, modern but not trendy, mixing pale gray, white, and wood tones.

gma kitchen finishes

I agonized over the cabinets at first, I really liked a wood and white mix I mentioned here but with the simple layout of this L shaped kitchen I decided to add dark and light contrast between the wood vinyl plank flooring and white marble lookalike countertops instead.

The backsplash is Jeffrey Court (source below) combining pieces of glass and shell and some iridescent dark tones too, it’s so pretty in person and will add an elegant touch.

backsplash up close


The cabinets will be a shaker style in the new Chai color by Kraftmaid but with no glaze. The hue is very close to Martha’s Sharkey Gray but a hint warmer. Taupe and gray are a sophisticated and a warmer neutral than white and a kitchen cabinet finish that is here to stay. I love a white kitchen but want to try something different in here especially with white countertops and a mostly white backsplash. Here’s a look at the old kitchen cabinets now.

side view

The new sink/refrigerator wall will include a tall pantry and a refrigerator cabinet with a panel to hide the gap (not shown) so we can reuse the existing shorter refrigerator but it allows for a future homeowner to purchase a taller one if they wish. The tile will go up to the ceiling behind the wood shelves which are the same stain as the vinyl plank floor. The opened up wall will connect the family room to the kitchen with a peninsula with a countertop (not shown) and counter height stools on the other side. We’re also adding glass front upper cabinets to this wall.

gma new kitchen plan

We’re purchasing a new white hood, dishwasher, and range, I love the double ovens they fit inside a standard size range now, my sister in law has one and loves it. Below are the links to the products were using for this project.

gma kitchen remodel plan

double oven range / chai painted cabinets / mosaic backsplash / polished chrome pulls / vinyl plank flooring / marble laminate / polished chrome faucet / chrome pendants over peninsula

I watched the Home Depot crew and their method for installing a vinyl plank floor last Friday so I feel we can tackle it ourselves after the cabinets are installed in a few weeks. This kitchen won’t be finished until January but we’re excited that the remodel is underway, and I can’t wait to share the final reveal!