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  • Writer's pictureAmanda

Kitchen Makeover

An old friend used to say that it wouldn't be our house if there wasn't something in progress. It seems that we are always changing something to make our home work better for us. Even now as I type this, we are working on rearranging different areas to make it function better with a mobile tiny human in the mix.

As I have mentioned previously in the before tour, when we purchased this house in 2016 we had a very quick turnaround time from the day we picked up the keys to the day we had to be out of our last house. Decisions needed to be made quickly, and without us living in the home yet- which is hard to do as I find I don't know how a space really works for me until I am living in it. Four years later, and there are some things we just wouldn't use or do if we were renovating this house now; whether that is because we are four years older, our family has grown, or our style has changed, certain decisions we made in the past just don't work for us anymore. Luckily, neither of us see anything in our home as permanent. Some things are loved more than others (I fight to keep certain items as if they were part of our family), but the fixtures and room layouts for the most part can change as we need them to.

A little background on our kitchen decisions:

Since we were renovating our entire home, we were also replacing all of the windows in the house at once. The kitchen window was just as much as an after thought as the bedroom windows were, as we were more focused on what the windows would look like from outside of the home than they did from the inside. It was a quick decision, that neither of us spent much time on. Split in half? Sure! What difference does it make? (mistake number one)

When we were first designing this kitchen, I wanted it to be all white. White cabinets, white countertop, white backsplash. Matt thought we needed some contrast in there somewhere, and after a lot of back and forth, we decided to use the same backsplash we had at our last house: grey subway tile. It wasn't a "win" for either of us, but it was what we knew and we were happy with that decision. We didn't want the backsplash to be a focal point, or darken the area, so we made mistake number two and decided to end it partially up the wall.

The open shelving was one of my biggest wants. To be honest, I would have loved open shelving instead of upper cabinets everywhere, but this kitchen isn't very big, and we needed to maximize our storage space. I was very excited to get the shelves beside the window, but we made the mistake of using small brackets that you would only slightly see. The shelves themselves didn't have any weight to them (we thought we were keeping it minimal in a good way), and they suited us just fine for a few years.

Time For Change

Something you should know about Matt is that when he gets an idea in his head, he never stops telling you about it until you give him the go ahead to try his idea. Case in point: the kitchen window. I personally never had a problem with our kitchen window- it let the light in, and was right over top of our kitchen sink where I like it to be. Zero issues. Matt however, had a lot of problems with our kitchen window, the main being that it had a partition going down the middle of it: "Don't you want to just see the glass without your view obstructed?" "why would we order a window with a partition there?" "we never even open this window" I heard it all for months until I finally said "Ok! Change the window if you need to change the window!" We sold our existing window on kijiji, I took our 4 month old baby to a friend's house (pre covid), and Matt and his dad replaced the old window with a picture window. Don't tell Matt, but after all is said and done, I am so glad we changed the window. It is the exact same size as the old one, but without that partition down the middle of it, it really does look so much bigger than the other one did.

When we replaced the window, we also decided to not add the trim around it. We left it bare for a few weeks to make sure we liked it, but it seemed to make the window appear that much bigger without the trim. That turned into it being a great time to replace our backsplash.

Remember when we first did our kitchen and I begged for white backsplash? Matt came around to the idea! After a lot of back and forth picking a tile, we decided to go with 2x8 subway tile in a stacked pattern all the way to the ceiling. I still cannot get over the difference this made to the kitchen- it just made the small space appear so much bigger, the ceilings seem taller, and everything flows together in a much better way than it did before.

Now that tile covered the entire wall, we were forced to really care about what shelves would go on top of it. Replacing shelves that are drilled into tile is a much bigger job than replacing shelves that are drilled into drywall. I was against using small brackets again, and wanted something that made a statement. For the same reason, I also wanted the shelves to be more substantial than the original ones were (we replaced the pine shelves with oak). It turned out that like most things that we think are going to be easy to find and purchase, we could not find the brackets we wanted without making them ourselves. Matt had to order the steel from a local metal shop, get the pieces welded and drilled, and when that was all done, brought them home and sprayed them black. The brackets had a lot of moving parts to get them made, but I am so happy with how they turned out! Styling the shelves will always be a work in progress, but that's part of the fun!

What's Next?

Matt and I have been talking about potentially adding a front addition to our home one day. If that happened, we would gain a front porch that we could hang out on, an actual entrance area with tons of storage, and possibly a little office nook. Doing all of that would also let us change our current front closet that is attached to the kitchen into a larger pantry (right now our pantry is in a small linen closet in the hallway). We've been having a bit of a "love it or list it" moment over here (where is Jillian Harris when you need her?!) and are currently just trying to maximize every area in our house to it's full potential. Stay tuned!

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