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Kitchen Reno Part 1: The Before

My absolute favorite room in my entire house is my kitchen. I looooooove my kitchen. It's not some high-end, huge, pinterest-worthy kitchen, but it's the kitchen I've always dreamed of for this house. It's gives me all the storage and space I need to cook, and I just feel so happy and relaxed when I'm in there. It wasn't always this way though!

When we first purchased our house, the kitchen was my least favorite room. It was dark, very brown, poorly constructed, and sticky. Yes, I said sticky!!! It never ever felt clean, no matter how hard I tried. The cabinets, counters, backsplash and appliances always felt grimy and gross when I touched them. I swear my food never tasted that good either just because I was making it in that gross kitchen.

We knew when we bought the house that the kitchen would be one of the first big projects we'd tackle. After (im)patiently waiting a few years, we finally reached a point where we knew it was time to start this huge project.

This is a topic I've been meaning to write about for quite some time, I just wasn't quite sure how to tackle it. I read so many blog posts about kitchen renos before we did our kitchen over, so I thought I'd share my experience with the internet as well. There's just a lot to say about the whole process!

I've decided to divide my posts on the kitchen renovation into four parts. Today, I'll talk about the before and why we decided we needed a new kitchen in the first place. In the next post, I'll focus on the pre-reno stage and the steps we took to prepare for a kitchen renovation. In the third post, I'll talk about the actual renovation itself and what it entailed, the problems we ran into, etc. In my final post I'll share the best part - the end result! I'll include pictures of the finished ktichen, and I'll also give you an update now that we've had this kitchen for two years.

So, let me talk about what was wrong with this kitchen. The most noticeable issue when you first walked in was that everything in the entire room was brown. The floor, cabinets, counters, and backsplash were all brown. The paint was beige, which is just a lighter version of brown. I don't particularly like brown, so it drove me nuts every single day when I walked in there.

You could very clearly see that the kitchen was a quickly done DIY job. The backsplash (which by the way is almost the same tile that's on our bathroom floor....) was crooked and poorly grouted. There was also a 1-inch gap between the cabinets and the wall. How the heck does that happen??? Instead of crown molding, the walls along the floor were lined with this industrial rubber material that looked like it would be in a school or prison.

The cabinets were refinished at some point before we bought the house using a rust-oleum cabinet transformations kit. I'm sure it was an improvement over whatever it used to look like, but it just wasn't my taste. The cabinets were also very short, so we had very little storage.

There was a soffit above the cabinets which made the room feel very closed-in and short. It partially covered the window over the sink which I thought was odd, and made the room feel even more dreary. I wanted to remove it if we could, but we had no idea what was behind it (electrical? pipes?) There was a very bland light fixture built into the soffit over the sink as well. It emitted a creepy orange light that just added to the bad feeling all the beige and brown gave me.

The dishwasher opened directly into the area where you needed to stand to use the sink, so it was very difficult to rinse dishes and load the dishwasher. It also totally blocked the cabinets we kept the dishes in when it was open, so we couldn't put the dishes away very easily.

The fridge was actually located outside the kitchen, which is common for older houses. It was set into a little tiny nook by the basement stairs, and had a huge cabinet space built in above it. The cabinet was very wide and deep though, and I always lost things at the back of it.

We ended up moving the fridge into our kitchen eventually and putting it on the blank wall that bordered the dining room. It was easier to access that way, but the fridge was quite bulky and stuck out into the walkway pretty far.

We turned the fridge-nook into a pantry of sorts, and also kept our Keurig and toaster in there so we didn't take up our very limited counter space. It also gave us a little bit of extra storage, which we desperately needed. It worked great for us for a few years.

Perhaps my least favorite thing about the old kitchen was the smell. I have no idea why it smelled. Maybe there was something stuck in that one-inch gap behind the cabinets? Maybe there was something gross in the soffit? Whatever it was, I just hoped that redoing the kitchen entirely would fix it.

So, you get the point. The existing kitchen was a mess and it desperately needed to be updated, and I could probably go on about it forever. Let's move on to the good stuff! In the next Kitchen Reno post (in two weeks!) I'll talk about all the prep work we did, including how we found our contractor and appliances, and what we did to prepare the kitchen for demo.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

Update! 7/29/2018 - Part II of my Kitchen Reno Series is up! Check it out here.

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