Renovation Motivation

So I was feeling a tad sorry for myself last week, which may have led to even more infrequent posts than usual.

I was thinking that I’ve got all these big plans in my head, yet all I’ve accomplished recently is purchasing some kitchen canisters  and sink organizers.

Not that the updates weren’t absolutely necessary, of course. I mean, we’d been using the same soap jars since we moved in together. 

I’d like to think the end results are somewhat more sophisticated than the straw-hugging panda and his Softsoap tiger brother, who resided in the kitchen.

I might add a glass soap jar in the kitchen, too, but for now a cute Mrs. Meyers bottle in a white dish will do the trick.

 But a few days into my wallowing, I got some news that changed my outlook. After more than 10 years in their current house, my parents are finally remodeling their kitchen.

To appreciate the significance of this situation, you’ve got to understand something about my family. They have not completed a single renovation project in my 27 years of life. When we moved out of our first house, it was half green and half white because we’d started painting once and never finished. It’s been all downhill since.

Yet, they’ve hired the contractor, they’ve ordered the cabinets – they’ve even (perhaps a bit prematurely) torn out their inherited mustard and deep brown 1970s kitchen. It’s really happening. But the part that impressed me the most? The way my parents held their ground when their contractor suggested they rethink their dream of white Shaker cabinets and subway tiles and instead consider knotty pine and stainless steel, which he thought would have better resale value.

We went through almost the exact same thing when my boyfriend’s family, who was very kindly (and thankfully) helping us with the work, couldn’t understand why we didn’t want Corian counters and Tuscan-style cabinets from Home Depot. Then again, they also didn’t understand why we didn’t want a house built after 1990.

I get that we all have different tastes. I even appreciate it – it keeps things interesting. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have light birch cabinets and a recycled glass backsplash, or colored cabinets (like the cover photo on September’s This Old House) and a checkered floor.

But we wanted white cabinets, white subway tiles (apparently I really am my parents’ daughter) and a warm wood floor. We wanted to go from this…

To this! How-we-did-it post to follow sometime in the future. Please ignore the odd tiki display-turned-clutter above the sink.

Yes, in hindsight there are some things that I wish I had done differently…and there are many, many things that still need to be done. But my point is, we had a vision once, we stuck to it, and we made it a reality – and we can do it again. Any time I doubt that, all I have to do is look at our before and after photos. Two years later, I still smile every time I do.



Filed under interiors, kitchens, organization, renovation

13 responses to “Renovation Motivation

  1. What is with all of those people that try to talk you out of what you want!?!?!

    I can’t even count on one hand the number of people that have told me that white shaker cabinetry in our kitchen will be a mistake. But, I love what I love and when we do get around to remodeling our kitchen….. white shaker cabinets it will be.


    • Isn’t it crazy? I always thought of simple white cabinets as classic and traditional – but apparently they’re trendy/eclectic?!

      Good for you for sticking to your guns, though…you’ll be glad you did 🙂

  2. Nadia

    Fantastic Kitchen! It is truly timeless. For all those who think otherwise. Notice all the commercials that use old houses as the house in the commercial. All of the timeless ( and top notch style) kithchens have white Shaker cabinets and Subway tile. You made a perfect choice! I know you will enoy it for the rest of the time you spend in your home. Not to mention, it won’t hurt resale long down the line. Great job! 🙂

    • Thanks! We’re sooo glad we did it.

      We’ve made the same point, mentioning all the commercials, magazine ads and movies with old houses. I think it helped but some people still don’t quite get it. Oh well 🙂

  3. I love your new and improved kitchen. It’s beautiful! It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would prefer the Tuscan look over that but, as you said, everybody’s different. 🙂

  4. Nadia

    Oooh, even better,I had to zoom in on your photo. You have used my favorite latches on the cabinets. We have them in our kitchen too! I love them and they make your kitchen really stand out. With that said, I do know you must have put alot into the cabinets because contrary to what many think, only custum cabinets can handle the use of the latches. I know the latches took some getting used to, but as of now I would always want them on my cabinets. I love you kitchen even more… fabulous job! 🙂

  5. Emily M

    did you throw away the panda and the tiger? Please say you DIDNT! I collect them and I’d love to have them 🙂

    btw your updated kitchen looks fabulous!

    • Don’t worry, I’m way too attached to toss them (or anything else, really…major packrat tendencies here). Panda and tiger now live under the sink rather than next to it.

      Just out of curiosity, how many animals do you have in your collection?

      • Emily M

        I have two, the parrot and the monkey. The collection is rumored to also have ladybug and possibly koala. But I’ve never seen the koala….

        Anyhow, hit me up if you decide to ‘part ways’ with the panda and/or tiger 🙂

  6. Lizzy

    So… what would you have done differently?

    And is that your microwave on the far wall, built in? Do you like having it there? We just bought a house and did a little work on the kitchen – replacing a microwave/wall oven unit with a double oven unit, but now the microwave is on the counter and I HATE it. I’m thinking we MIGHT have a spot where we could build it in, but it’s not right IN the kitchen. Hmmmmmmm

    • Really, I guess we only would have done a few things differently. I’d probably eliminate some/all of the open shelving over the sink because, for us, it invites clutter – we really need to use every inch of space. Not sure if you can tell, but the bottom drawer to the right of the sink is our dishwasher. I like that it’s hidden, but I wish we would have had the full two-door system installed – apparently we cook more than I thought, because that drawer is always full with dishes still left in the sink. And it doesn’t look too bad in the photos, but the top of the subway backsplash could use some kind of border, even if just a row of thinner tiles along the edge – it just doesn’t look “finished” to me.

      The microwave looks like a built-in, but actually it just sits on a shelf (same size as the bookshelf to the left). We love having it there rather than on the counter or over the stove. With the nearby toaster and coffeepot, it makes a perfect little breakfast zone. I think if you don’t use your microwave for every meal, it wouldn’t be a big deal to walk a few extra steps away from the main kitchen. But if we could do it again, we would have had one built in. Our particular slot is only big enough to fit the skinniest microwave available – a GE Profile. It’s kind of flimsy, has already required a repair, and if GE stops making them, we’re sort of screwed.

      Then there’s a lot of repair work you can’t see – mud that we laid on too thick on a rebuilt wall because we were (unsuccessfully) trying to mimic nearby plaster, cracks because the mud was so thick, etc.

      Anyway, sorry for the book…hope it at least offered you some distraction from your job… 🙂

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