Our Kitchen and Dining Remodel

Hey y’all!

Things have been kinda crazy lately, right? Sometimes I swear, if I hear, “We’re all in this together” one more time, I’m gonna scream! Seriously though, I hope you and yours are well. LeAnn and I have had a bout of something, but we’re better and LeAnn is starting to smell and taste again. (I should clarify that she is regaining her sense of smell)

In this post, I thought I’d give y’all a little tour of some remodeling and repairing we’ve done here at our house.

The first thing we knew we had to tackle, was the floors in the kitchen/dining area. There was carpet in the dining area, and as we found out, it was all that was holding up a large, loaded buffet. In the kitchen area, there was vinyl flooring that had buckled up in front of the fridge.

We started by removing all of the carpet and carpet pad. We cut it all into about four foot strips to make it easier to take out of the house.

We found that much of the subflooring was in terrible shape. Next, we removed the vinyl floor in the kitchen and we found why it was buckled, so I started tearing it out.

At that time, Dad was still with us and he helped by hauling out the debris. While LeAnn had constant cleaning up to do behind us.

Some rotten joists needed to be replaced so I worked in the hole while Dad brought me tools and materials. We added the needed joists with treated two by sixes and then two layers of three-quarter inch treated plywood.

Then we removed the window seats and TV cabinet which made the room feel much bigger.

Next, we started tearing out the flooring in the rest of the room, hoping it would just be one little spot that needed repairing. It was not.

We  ended up adding twenty-six new joists (some of which were under parts of the room that weren’t opened up) and twelve new sills. Not sure how many cinderblocks.

Then, as before, we covered it with two layers of plywood seperated by thirty pound roofing felt (tar paper) as a moisture barrier. After the holes in the floor were covered up, LeAnn started a project that we were excited to see completed.

Our orange fireplace and mantle made the room feel dated, and since we’re going for a shabby chic cottage feel, it just didn’t fit. So we decided it should be painted.

LeAnn started by covering up the stove insert, (which we love) cleaned the mantle really well and used her own chalky mix of antique white paint to cover it. After a couple of coats, she lightly distressed it and sealed it with dark wax.

She put two or three coats of Valspar semi gloss with paint and primer in one on the fireplace, and the only prep work she had to do was dust it really well and clean off some soot that accumulated around the stove. As you can see, it was an amazing transformation!

Our goal was to lay new bamboo laminate flooring over the entire area, so I needed to level some areas, especially in the “breakfast nook” and under the fridge. That area used to be a little front porch when the house was only four rooms, probably built in the Twenties.

I needed to make up about an inch and a half of drop in that area, so I used what I had at hand, which was asphalt roofing shingles and wood strips, that I used as shims to level it all out.

Since we could walk on the floors, LeAnn was able to begin refinshing our kitchen cabinets, that my parents had installed themselves back in the 90’s. And there is a LOT of them. Fortunately, they had chosen doors that did not show any of the cabinet stiles, (the vertical parts of the front of cabinet frames) so all that really needed to be painted to change the whole look was the doors.

We wanted to refinish them because the golden oak felt dark and didn’t fit in with the cottagey feel we envishioned for the space, so we decided to paint them. LeAnn began the massive job by working on only four doors at a time, and the first step was cleaning and deglossing them. She used TSP to clean and degrease them, and Liquid Sander to remove the top gloss.

She then repainted them with her own chalk type paint using Valspar White for the base. Lastly, she lightly distressed them for a vintage feel and sealed them with multiple coats of polycrylic for durability. (In fact, the paint has held up very well with only a couple of scratches behind a couple of pulls that gets scratched by fingernails, which I say is part of the natural distressing of cabinets.

We found the pulls at Custom Service Hardware for seventy-one cents!

LeAnn also attached some appliqués to the valances (valances? Not sure what you called them over the sink and window that kinda matched the design on the sink.

While she was working on the cabinets, I installed our new farmhouse sink. If you’ve shopped for farmhouse sinks, you know they are quite pricy, but after a lot of surfing, I found a fiberglass one on Wayfair that was MUCH less expensive that the cast iron and porcilan ones.

I removed the old sink and cut out the countertop in front for the apron of the new sink. The cabinets below were too tall so I cut a slice out of the middle of each one and biscuit joined and glued the top and bottom back together.

It turned out that the new sink didn’t go back as far as the old one, leaving a big gap in the back and I said, “OH SHOOT!!!” or something like that. After a few breaths I came up with a fix. So, I took the piece of counter that I’d cut from the front and fit and glued it to the countertop behind the sink. Then I was able to finish the install with a new faucet and all new plumbing below.

Next, was to install a new stove with backsplash and a microwave vent hood above it. We wanted a retro looking stove, but the only ones in our budget had been discontinued a couple years ago, so we settled on a large capacity Samsung that had big white and red knobs and that was the most retro-ish we could find.

Our last stove didnt go all the way to the wall, but the new one did, so I cut out the countertop all the rest of the way to the back wall.

Then came the microwave above the stove. Since the old stove had its own vents, there was only a small cabinet unit above it. I removed it and it now happily resides in our master bathroom. Using the brackets that came with it, I hung the microwave on the wall. An empty space was left above the microwave, so using leftover beadboard from the windowseats I simply closed it in.

On to the ceramic tile backsplash… I’d only ever done one tile job before and that was using subway tiles. Assuming I was an expert at this point, LeAnn picked out the most complex shaped tile Home Depot had. Special order stuff… No pressure, right?

So, in typical fashion, I used that opportunity to get a new tool. A new little tile table saw, WooHoo!

I wanted to lay it all out before I started, but I couldnt find a piece of cardboard large enough. So, I just drew it on the old floor with a Sharpie, which allowed us to see where I should start with the first tile. Using the new saw, it was actually a lot easier than I thought it would. And, I realized how rewarding laying tile can be!!

By this time, LeAnn had finished painting the cabinets and we installed lighting under the cabinets.

Now, having a beautiful, yellow and white kitchen, the big, black refridgerator looked awful, but I knew what to do. For the third time in my life, I was going to paint a fridge. (Although the old avacado fridge I repainted when we first got married would be totally in style here now.) So we ordered what turned out to be WAY more appliance paint than we needed it and I painted it white.

We also had a black dishwasher. And guess what?! It suddenly stopped working. hmmm…and…we got a cheap, white dishwasher. That really pulled it all together and all we had left to do was install our new flooring!

Unfortunatley, new flooring would have to wait for a while, until the remodeling budget had recovered. Read about that next time!!

Thanks so much for stopping by,

See y’later,



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