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Mini Kitchen Redo

My kitchen has probably been the one room I have posted about the most, and it is definitely the place where I spend most of my time.  I love it, however, not so much when we moved in.  Today I want to show you how a little Mini-Remodel totally changed a plain builder basic into a kitchen I really enjoy. If you are new here this has a few tips you might use.

First let's take a look at the after and get a view of the entire space.  Our kitchen is truly the center of our home.


It joins the family/breakfast rooms and open to the living/dining area through the large opening, plus the opening to the bedroom hallway in the back.  So as you can see, it really is literally the center of our home.

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Before our Mini-Remodel
The kitchen had good bones and nice maple cabinets, but that was all.  The walls were painted white as you can see in the sliver of wall on the right, the cabinets were a blonde color and very flat looking and the counter tops were a beige leather textured formica.  Put all that together with white appliances, sink and faucet and this was a really bland kitchen with zero personality.  The minute the boxes were unpacked, I bought a gallon of Ralph Lauren Soul Chocolate and painted the kitchen walls.  I wasn't blogging then so I don't have a picture of the white walls.  This at least toned it down some so you weren't blinded as you walked in since there is a ton of light from all those huge track lights.  (Sorry, this pic was taken at night and with a flash, so really bad.)


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 After painting the walls, I wanted to darken the color of the cabinets a bit, but I didn't want to have to strip them and refinish.  I knew that Brie wax was used to darken the color of furniture, so I bought the darkest shade I could find and used it on all the cabinets.  Immediately they looked 100 percent better and about 3 shades darker, plus the wax gave them some depth and personality.  So much better.  I have been asked about the wax a million times and I always tell everyone that has some grain in their cabinets, the grain will stand out much more with the wax, so try the inside of a door first to make sure that you like the results.  There is no going back once you start unless you really do want to strip and start all over or paint. My cabinets are maple and very little grain, if you have oak it will definitely show all of the grain and sometimes that really isn't pretty.
 Next we added undercounter lights and drawer and door pulls.  I stuck to a simple brushed chrome style for everything.



I looked at several magazines and toured model homes to see how they installed their hardware and decided to center mine on the drawers and place the door pulls on the edge.    I discovered that the custom homes paid special attention to the sizes they used on various cabinets and drawers, so I did too.   This section has 6" on the drawers and 8" on the doors.  This makes the scale of each pull look proportional to the size of the drawer or door.



 On the doors under the sink I put two 8" inch pulls at the top so I could hang some kitchen towels in a handy easy to reach place.

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The remodel was mainly confined to the island since it was the center of attention.  (Remember how bad this looked with all the white, and that counter, sink and faucet couldn't be any uglier.)


 My daughter had all of her counters changed to granite and surprised me with a remnant piece that her installers had.  It was just large enough to have fitted to the island.  Talk about a happy dance, I was so thrilled.  This is a pic taken as the installers were finishing up the installation.  Every stone yard has remnant pieces left over from other jobs and they sell them at a fraction of the original cost because there isn't enough to do a whole kitchen, so you can find something really reasonably.

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 I wanted the island to have a larger overhang to allow more leg room for bar stools.  Since the depth of the overhang is 14", the installers suggested that I place some corbels under to help support the granite.  I found these wood ones online and they were screwed into the side studs of the base of the island before the granite was installed, so they really do support it.  I painted them the same color I painted the island ( a soft camel color ) and then glazed them to show the carved details.

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We replaced the really cheap white shallow sink with a wonderful deep heavy stainless one that we had under mounted.


I found the faucet, soap dispenser and sink all on line at really fabulous prices.  While we were at it we decided to replace the garbage disposer with a new heavy duty one.  We took the old counter off with the sink, faucet and garbage disposer all in tact and it was given to Habitat.  When the driver came to pick it up he said he wanted it desperately, he was redoing a house and this would be perfect for the island he was building.  So, it worked out to be a blessing for someone else.

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Now I love my kitchen and it doesn't look builder basic bland to me anymore.

This is also the place that I play the most, changing vignettes constantly.

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This side and even the top of the fridge is part of my playground.

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Before


After. It really doesn't look like the same kitchen does it?  ( I thought about repainting recently, but after testing several different colors on poster board, I really think the chocolate is best.)  I still want to change out those huge track lights for canned lights, but that is not at the top of my list yet.

Cost Breakdown of the remodel

Paint - Ralph Lauren Soul Chocolate $30
Corbels - Osborne Wood Products ( on line )  $29.99 ea.
Cabinet Hardware - Contempo Living ( on line )  $103.60
Stainless Sink - Contempo Living ( on line ) $130
(18 guage brushed finish, thick undercoated and rubber pad added for noise control)
Faucet - Overstock.com $89.99
Garbage Disposer - PlumberSurplus.com $159.99
(We decided to upgrade the tiny builder one to a Waste King 8000 1 horsepower)

Total $573.56  (Replacing the garbage disposal wasn't necessary, so we could have actually done this whole thing for a little over $400)

Since the granite was a gift, this was a really inexpensive remodel,   Fabulous gift that made all the difference in my kitchen.



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