Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bathroom Dreams Come True

My Bathroom Nightmares have come to an end!

Since we last visited this room, we’ve added a fresh medicine cabinet and vanity from Ikea, as well as all of the necessary trimmings.

At the end of the day, we created a bold new bathroom for about $600-$700 – including: new toilet, new vanity and sink, new medicine cabinet, paint and décor (this did not include the electrical work of moving/rewiring the outlet, since we had a LOT of electrical upgrades done besides just this one room).

Ooooh...brushed nickel fixtures!

Ooooh…brushed nickel fixtures!

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Finally, we added in the other bathroom necessities (shower curtain, towels, etc).

All done! (Sorry the shower curtain one is a little fuzzy... hard to tell on a phone camera! :)

All done! (Sorry the shower curtain one is a little fuzzy… hard to tell on a phone camera! 🙂

All done! (Sorry the shower curtain one is a little fuzzy...but, you get the gist!) :)

I don’t believe a room is ever truly finished, because a home is a dynamic place filled with constant change. But I can safely say that we can shift our focus to other rooms and projects… for now. Overall, it just feels great to say that we are satisfied with another room! All of our hard work is starting to pay off.

So, what do you think? Would you have saved the pink?

Kitchen Capers

The kitchen has been an interesting space from the very beginning of this journey.

I just wasn’t sure how I would like a kitchen that is part of the dining area and not it’s own separate room, but that’s what I got, and so we had to do some quick thinking about how to make it work for us.

Here’s what we started out with:

The original kitchen (Notice the three different shades of cabinets...)

The original kitchen (Notice the three different shades of cabinets…)

We pretty much knew from the start that these cabinets had to go. They were sticky with years of cooking grease, cigarette smoke residue and storing not-totally-clean dishes.

Since we inherited allllllll of the contents of this kitchen (and the whole house… a story for another time) when we bought it, I did find a few useful items – including a nice set of Corningware and a few pieces of Pyrex that are in great shape! Definite win.

As we dismantled the kitchen, we uncovered some interesting drawings and layers of  wallpaper that I am sure was the bees knees at the time it was applied.

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Anyway, here is what our naked kitchen looked like:

All of the dark spots are dried blobs of glue that the former owners used to make *extra* sure that the cabinets wouldn't fall off the wall...

All of the dark spots are dried blobs of glue that the former owners used to make *extra* sure that the cabinets wouldn’t fall off the wall…

We also took down the weird box-like alcove made of paneling that housed the refrigerator and turned the fridge to face the back door. The aim here was to create a flow from back-to-front and minimize walls and obstacles. When you have a small house (like ours at 15′ x 30′) you’ve got to try to keep things light and open!

See the floating light switch? You better believe I've already walked into it...more than once... time for that hazard to GO!

See the floating light switch? You better believe I’ve already walked into it…more than once… time for that hazard to GO!

Because the walls of our house are actually poured concrete, moving outlets around is no easy task… Thankfully, my dad is very handy and knew just what to do. He installed thin studs along the concrete wall which would allow the electrician to run new wires for outlets, which we could then cover with drywall and hang the cabinets.

So smooth! Like a real wall!

So smooth! Like a real wall!

This had the added benefit of giving us a smooth surface to work with (as opposed to having to smooth out the glue that had held the tile (plastic tile! why?!?) in place and fill in any large screw and nail holes from the previous cabinets).

As for the cabinets, we chose white cabinets and doors in LIDINGO White – from our favorite Swedish megastore. 🙂

In the beginning I made a hard push for grey cabinets (They just looked so sexy in the Ikea display! Can cabinets be sexy? I say yes.) but Pete made a good argument, citing that the white would help bring more light into the room – a BIG priority for us since the wood paneling had made everything so dark and claustrophobic before.

The nice thing about getting a kitchen from Ikea is that they have a free online kitchen design program that you can use to create a 3D template of your kitchen and then place their cabinets in different formats to see what works best for your space. I came up with three or four different combinations before I came up with one that we both liked (and even that changed slightly when we went to the store to place the order… sometimes you just need to see things in person).

Ikea has an awesome 3D kitchen design program - and it's Free!

Ikea has an awesome 3D kitchen design program – and it’s Free!

Finally, it was time to paint and install the cabinets. We hung the top cabinets first, and then we laid the floor tile. We got laminate tile from Home Depot that was super easy to install because it sticks together… only took about an hour!

Helloooo 39" cabinets!

Helloooo 39″ cabinets!

Peel-and-stick laminate floor tiles... you'd never know!

Peel-and-stick laminate floor tiles… you’d never know!

Finally, it was time for the bottom cabinets.

Bottom's up!

Bottom’s up!

And then… the countertop.

Shiny!

Shiny!

Sidebar: You know you’re a grown up when the anticipation over getting a counter installed in your kitchen is the highlight of your month. Despite the cost, it was a very gratifying experience to see this project come to fruition. And now I get to use it!

Just one week later, with some help from my dad, we had the stove back in place, handles on the cabinets and drawers, and a working faucet!

Behold, a kitchen masterpiece:

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And to think it all started with this…

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So, what do you think? Yay or Nay on the white cabinets?

Have you ever designed/installed an Ikea kitchen?