To make our house move-in ready, we were able to apply a fresh coat of paint and call it a day. However, the kitchen needed a little more TLC – it needed a full on makeover!
The house was built in 1948, and somewhere along the way, the kitchen was renovated a bit. The original floor we came to find out, was faux wood linoleum, but that flooring had been covered up with a white tile linoleum that was already starting to peel in high traffic areas. The day we started cleaning the house, Jesse went to clean the floors then pulled it all up as it was already starting to peel.
Here was the view when you walked in the back door:
As you ran away to leave all the brown behind you:
We started by removing the cabinet doors and painting the walls white. (When I say we, I mean, Jesse and his mom, who painted. I was at the other house keeping the baby most of the time!) Just getting some of the brown gone helped the room feel lighter and brighter! And made us realize how dingy everything else felt!
Jesse’s mom painted every inch of this room. She painted the cabinets white; she painted the countertop black using a special enamel paint that doesn’t chip; and she painting the walls white. Oh yeah, and she also tiled the subway tile backsplash. Super woman!
We also changed out the hardware on the cabinets to be a nickel finish handle. They also correspond nicely with the kitchen carts we added on either side of the stove.
Once all the paint was finished, my dad helped Jesse lay the tile in the room. They initially planned to pull up the brown linoleum, but it was securely glued to the plywood (is that the right word to use?!) underneath so they ended up leaving it in place and setting the tile on top of the linoleum.
We chose this hexagonal penny tile for a few different reasons. First, we were inspired to incorporate a more vintage feel into the room. We didn’t want the kitchen to feel dated; but we did want it to feel as if it had existed since 1948. So, we chose to incorporate a classic tile from another era. Secondly, we chose a small tile since the smaller tile would help the room feel larger than it really is. And lastly, we wanted to keep things neutral and bright with the black and white. Our goal with the kitchen was a clean industrial look with a nod to the past.
We went with a gray grout that finished really well and gave definition to the shape of the tiles without being too much. Thankfully, small penny tile like this comes on net sheets that make the process much easier than back in the day when people laid each tile individually! It’s so pretty!
And now, let’s remember where we started before I share pictures of the completed work:
Wow! I’m so thankful for a clean and bright place to prepare meals, clean dishes, and welcome guests. It’s truly a blessing to think of all the hands that went into making this kitchen all we hoped it would be!
When we first were deciding what to do in the kitchen update, we thought we might keep the wood cabinets. At another point, we thought we might keep the faux wood linoleum for the time being. However, now I am really glad we could do it all and get a completely fresh look, mostly thanks to the power of paint!
One of the main problems we had to solve in the kitchen was the countertops on either side of the stove. I’m not sure what the previous owners did, whether they had a similar solution or not, but there are no lower cabinets on either side of the stove. We decided on kitchen carts to help us solve the problem.
These stainless steel kitchen carts are from IKEA and have worked beautifully! They provide that more industrial look we were going for while also displaying our pots and pans. We store spices in the drawer in the left cart and then wooden utensils and pot holders are in the drawer in the right cart. One day, we think we might put up a magnet strip to hang the knives rather than need counter space for the knife block.
One negative about the carts is that the pots and pans are accessible for little babies to pull off the shelves. I suppose I could have kept Benji from pulling the pots and pans off the shelves. But, I didn’t consider that until it’s too late. Now he is used to playing with them while I cook or wash dishes. Mostly, he likes to pull them down to hear the loud crash then move on to other explorations.
Another con would be since they are open shelving they do accumulate dust more easily. I suppose this is true with any open shelving. But this is the first time I’ve used storage like this in a kitchen. Of course, I am using it all very frequently so not that much dust accumulates on the actual pots and pans. But it does gather in the baskets and on the shelves themselves.
However, despite all of that, I am still a big fan mostly because they achieve the look we wanted without spending too terribly much!
The kitchen was the most labor intensive project we undertook to get the house move-in ready! But, Jesse and I agree it was worth every penny and ounce of hard work. It is the most used room in the house. And so it was all the more important that it work for us now.
We dream of replacing the appliances some day and adding more subway tile behind the stove and kitchen carts. But for now, this is our kitchen. We are content to prepare meals, wash dishes, and savor the sweetness of life lived together right where we are.