The kitchen is in pretty good shape, but it's not as functional as I'd like and much uglier than I'd like. When we moved into our house eight years ago, Dan and I had decided we wouldn't do anything to (read, spend money on) the kitchen until we could do it all and do it right. That worked for a while until a couple years ago, when I resigned from my 9 to 5 job to work from home as a full-time artist. This change in lifestyle has entailed that I spend a lot more time in the kitchen because, now that I work from home, I can work cooking and baking into my schedule pretty easily. And I love it. One of the best changes of my new lifestyle has been my ability to have time to cook and bake.
Now that I spend more time there, the kitchen's flaws irk me all the more. The biggest problem is that it is dark. The other issue is the poor use of space. Oh, and it is ugly. 80's big hair ugly.
This past summer, I used scrap materials, like old pallets and cupboard doors, to build a few things. All it cost me was time and a bit of money for paint and some wood screws. So I got to thinking I could apply the same tactics to my kitchen, just to give it a facelift and make it a nicer place to be until we can afford to make it exactly what we want. And I can do it for free (almost), using scrap materials and stuff I already have around the house. I know I'll need to spend a bit of money on some essentials, but otherwise, I won't spend anything but my time.
Kitchen Update Priorities
- Brighten it up
- Improve the use of space
The first thing I'll do to brighten up the room is to uncover a window that was sealed up by cabinets when the kitchen was updated in the 1980's. In the original 1940's layout, this wall of cabinets was actually the front hall, separated from the kitchen by a wall.
I will take down all the cabinets on this front wall and replace them with open shelving. The window will be free - hooray! - and open shelves and storage will make the room feel bigger and brighter.
The other thing I will do to brighten up the kitchen is to paint over that awful forest green backsplash, which wraps all the way around the kitchen and even covers the entire wall behind our fridge. It's the black hole of backsplashes: it obliterates all light. (I'm not sure if that's how black holes work, but that's how my backsplash works.)
Improve the use of space
Believe it or not, taking down some cabinets will actually make a better use of the space in my kitchen, I think. There are two reasons I think so:
- We have a ridiculously high backsplash. It's 20" high. A standard backsplash is 15 to 18" high. Taking down cabinets will free up the backsplash for me to do what I want with that space.
- Corner cabinets are a pain in the butt for storage, in my opinion. It is so hard to reach to the back of the cupboard especially on the top shelf, and the cabinet hovers over a lot of the counter top, which takes away workspace. I'm taking out one of the corner cabinets in my kitchen. So there. And with that corner space free, I can customize the space for what I need to store.
Painting the forest green backsplash will be a giant leap forward in de-uglifying my kitchen. What I also hope to do is replace or reface the unattractive 1980's laminate-with-weird-oak-trimmy-handles cupboard doors. The doors are made from particle board, so if I don't keep them, they'll have to be thrown away, and I don't necessarily like that idea. So I've been combing through Pinterest for clever refacing ideas. I might do a combination of refacing and replacing . . . whatever is free!
Where to Start?
So I'm going to pick away at it, bit by bit. I'll start by taking down the cabinets and seeing what repairs to the walls and window might be required. Meanwhile, I've started looking for free building and decorating materials. I'm keeping my eye on Kijiji's Free section, driving around on garbage days, and keeping my eye out for accessible dumpsters at renovation sites. I'm like a garbage ninja. I have no idea what my "new" kitchen will look like. I just know it will be better than it is now. Stay tuned . . .