Before you say, “FINALLY, about dang time!”, it’s actually been about 5 weeks since we finished the kitchen.
It was hard to find time to take pictures because we were spending so much more time cooking and baking in our new setup. Ironically, I really hit my cooking stride while we were renovating and cooking in a makeshift kitchen upstairs. I feel like it was a combination of having to work within limited constraints, getting excited about the potential of our new kitchen, and spending months zoned out flipping through my cookbooks and daydreaming of a kitchen. It’s been such a joy to finally having a space where we can have more than one person in the kitchen at once. In fact, at our kitchen-warming party last month, there was probably close to 20!
This post is going to be a massive retrospective before and after, so brace yourself for many, many photos.
First: a view of the kitchen looking into the dining room before. You’ll remember that awful white flooring, the peeling laminate countertop and, who could forget those 45-degree angle handles!
After: (I don’t store my bike in the dining room anymore):
Before: The kitchen cart by the fridge used to be where I did most of my food prep, because we had such little counter space by the sink.
After: Now there is so much counter space that the wood counter is basically the “breakfast counter” because it’s where we make toast and cereal.
Looking back at the old photos, it’s hard to recognize it as even the same house. The beam is definitely what people on TV would call “a showstopper”. Sometimes I look at post-renovation pictures and think I’m watching an episode of Property Brothers so I would say we’ve accomplished our mission here.
Before: Our kitchen used to feel like the walls were closing in on you. Because the space is so small, the previous owner made the cupboards ginormous to maximize storage. Also, the stove was way too close to the cabinets. I once totally wrecked the circuit board on our brand new stove when I was boiling potatoes and not noticing that the steam had nowhere to go but build up in that little space and create it’s own little raincloud.
After: Now that area is much more open and actually meets building code by having a range hood.
Sidenote to talk about lighting: I love the sconces above the windows. I was pretty obsessed with getting the lighting perfect because there’s nothing more frustrating than not having enough light in your kitchen when you’re trying to cook. I am so pleased with how all the lighting worked out in the end. I mean, MAYBE we went a bit overboard on the number of lights (at least 10), however, it really allows us to change the mood of the room, which is key. For instance, because we don’t have a dining room, I like to dim the lights over the counters and just use the pendant lights when we’re eating dinner, so that there’s less emphasis on the mess on the counter and I can focus on the table.
SEE?! Obsessed with lighting.
Before: Our old dining room was so small that our six-person table felt enormous in the space. We had 10 people over for brunch last Christmas and we could hardly all fit in without spilling over into the living room. We’re also crazy coffee people, and our coffee station felt cluttered and overwhelming.
After: The dining table now sits where the wall once was beneath two pendant lights we got secondhand for 50 bucks and then spray painted to match the brass sconces above the windows. For everyday use, we keep the table against the wall but if we have more guests we can move it out into the middle of the room fit a few more people.
Before: The little spice cabinet by the door was a fun feature of the house, but we scrapped it in favour of better insulation in that area.
After: The fridge sits where the stove was. It’s so nice having a counter right next to the fridge, it makes groceries and food prep 100x more efficient.
Before: I love having guests over and the previous layout of the kitchen made the “flow” of the space really difficult.
After: Moving around the house feels so much more natural now, you can be cooking in the kitchen and still able to carry on a conversation with someone in the living room.
It’s been so fun to put the finishing touches on the space like hanging artwork and styling the open shelves. I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this time to specifically call out Ryan who is the true hero of this whole thing and somehow managed to remain very calm for 6 months when our house was in shambles and I was a nervous wreck.
It looks amazing now, but it took us a long time to get here. I’m glad we took our time and I think the end result really works with our needs and personalities. A few people have asked me if I have any regrets and I think the ONLY thing I would say is that I wish I had talked to some folks who had experience with DIY-ing a big renovation like this before we got started. Our expectations were pretty unrealistic in the beginning and it caused some pretty dramatic moments that we could have easily avoided. Property Brothers can make renovations look speedy and easy, but it’s so entirely different when you’re actually doing it yourself!
Thanks so much for following along for the last several months! We have a few project ideas in mind for the new year (although nothing of this scale!), so I’ll be back posting again soon. 😉