What If the First Phase Is the Whole Shebang?

You’ve done it yourself.  I know you have.  You’ve taken a look at your home and decided you needed to update it or change it in some way.  You started by dreaming big.  Really big.  You think about getting a contractor and tearing down a wall or two, putting in heated tile floors in the bathroom and a jacuzzi, the Viking stove in the kitchen, even though you don’t have gas (how much could it cost to have gas lines installed.  Is that even possible?).  And then you start estimating the cost.  You look in your piggy bank, and your dreams shrink.  It’s like you want the Mercedes CLS 550, but you buy the Hyundai Sonata.

For us, it is our kitchen.  We had a huge kitchen when we lived in San Antonio, and I had one of those gourmet, stainless steel, 46-inch dual fuel stoves with side-by-side double ovens.  Now I have a little galley kitchen and we don’t have gas.  We started dreaming how we could turn this into as close to a dream kitchen as we could, working with its limited size.  Our plans included knocking out one portion of a wall, reconfiguring one of the counters, which would have necessitated also knocking out the fireplace in the family room and replacing it with a wall so we could move the couch to another wall, tearing out the cabinets and replacing them with new ones, one of those beautiful farmhouse sinks, granite countertops, new dishwasher and new stove.  For starters.

Last weekend we began by pulling off the dated wallpaper and scrubbing the walls down to remove the wallpaper paste.  During the week, my husband taped and floated and put layers upon layers of spackle on the walls.  This past weekend we sanded, put primer on the walls, and finally painted the walls with a soft yellow.  It has been exhausting, but already the kitchen looks so much better.

I think we’re done.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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38 Responses to What If the First Phase Is the Whole Shebang?

  1. I wish my kitchen would be finished! You’re so right, sometimes we have to scale down our dreams. 🙂

  2. Leah says:

    I hear ya! I always want to redo the house. But I’m so not a DIY girl at all. That’s my husband’s department. So usually when I get the urge to redo the house, I clean, rearrange and find new wall decor.

    • Coming East says:

      I’m not fond of doing the work ourselves either, Leah, but money dictates a lot of things, doesn’t it? Just removing the wallpaper and painting has made me like my little kitchen more. This weekend we’re getting new lights. Can’t wait to put them up.

  3. pattisj says:

    LOL “I think we’re done.” I feel the same way, sometimes, just want it to be done. Knobs and drawer handles made such a difference in our cabinetry, like accessories to an outfit. Now if I could get that gap filled where the dishwasher goes…

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for commenting, Patti. Our dishwasher looks awful. Very old. But it works fine, so it’s hard to justify buying a new one right now. Yes, the knobs and drawer pulls will really dress up these cabinets. I’m putting Liquid Gold on them today, and that will help, too.

      • I’ve recently seen in one of our DIY places some special paint that you can use on ‘whites’ like fridges and dishwashers to give them a new lease of life. Maybe that’s an idea? 🙂

      • Coming East says:

        Luckily, we have a three-year-old fridge and stove, but nothing will help the appearance of our old dishwasher. We’re waiting for sales.

  4. E.C. says:

    You two did a wonderful job. Your kitchen looks to be the cozy and welcoming heart of your home. Well done! 🙂

  5. judithhb says:

    Well done Susan. Isn’t it amazing that something like just changing the colours of the walls make such a difference. Enjoy your sunshine yellow kitchen.

  6. I love yellow in the kitchen — cheery and happy, and isn’t that what a kitchen should be. Sounds like you’re off to a great start. But I’m with you, I’d rather put money on a Cape Cod rental and family visits too than a remodel job. Alas, there will be no remodeling soon at my house — all our money will go to weddings this year!

  7. Curly Carly says:

    Looks good! I recently bought a house, and even though it’s not old, I’ve discovered how exhausting even the simplest projects can be. The house was new when I bought it, so I had a blank canvas inside to work with when I decided to paint. It was great that I didn’t have to paint over old colors, but after painting two rooms, it’s daunting to think about painting the rest. Plenty of opportunity for practice, I suppose!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for visiting, Curly. The best part of painting is when you put the color on the walls and see the room transformed. What I hate is all the prep work, the spackling, the sanding, the taping, the trim, etc.

  8. Love your yellow. Painting and taking down the wallpaper can make such a difference. We did a creamy buttery yellow too, by Martha Stewart. Everyone loves it and it sure updated things over the wallpaper. We also replaced the ovens, stove top and frig all in black…I’d like to do more but that would mean other parts of the house would not be able to keep up with the new kitchen look…just so much we can do. Congratulations! If you and your husband painted all that, that was quite a job!

    • Coming East says:

      Thank you, Georgette. I think I’d rather spend the money on Cape Cod rentals and visiting the children than doing big remodeling projects. We’ll probably do the counters, sink, and dishwasher next year, and that will be all. We are getting new lights this weekend, and George is going to put knobs on all the cabinets. That won’t break the bank.

  9. Margie says:

    It looks like you are off to a wonderful start!
    When I decided to replace my 30 year old Jenn-Air cook top, my husband wanted a gas range. After a bunch of research, we settled on an Induction cook top. It is as fast and responsive as gas, and wipes clean as easily as my counter top. I had to buy new magnetic pots, but I needed new pots anyhow! We also replaced the counter tops – we chose the granite ones from Granite Transformations so that we didn’t have to tear out our old ones. While we were doing those, we got a granite undermount sink installed. I have yet to attack the cabinets with Liquid Gold, but that will really finish the job!
    Not only did my kitchen get a face-lift, I got some good blog posts!

    • Coming East says:

      I did look at the induction stoves, Margie, but they were too expensive, considering I do not need new pots. I have wonderful le Cruset and Calphalon cookware and couldn’t afford to replace them. I think the new countertops will be an amazing facelift when we get to it next year.

  10. Amy says:

    I like the refreshing looking of your kitchen corner. I must say that they build nice kitchens in San Antonio. The stainless steel, 46-inch dual fuel stoves with side-by-side double ovens that you had is like the “Mercedes CLS 550”.

    • Coming East says:

      Amy, I waited nearly 35 years of marriage before I bought that stove, and I only had it two years when we moved and had to leave it behind. I think it sold our house!

  11. Shary Hover says:

    I love how a fresh coat of paint livens things up. It is a lot of work, but not very expensive. I’ve been thinking about painting my living room a soft yellow. What color did you use?

    • Coming East says:

      I love that yellow, Amy. It’s so hard to find just the right shade of yellow, but we hit this one dead on. It went on a little darker, but when it dried, it was perfect. It is Behr (Home Depot sells it), and the shade is Bavarian Creme

  12. I say get rid of the fireplace!! It’s about as useful as that corner tub in my bathroom and that is DEFINITELY going…soon. I was just thinking it would be nice to open up the kitchen to the dining room and make it all one big room. What do you think? Love the yellow.

  13. KarenAnita says:

    Whta a lovely colour! Looks so much better already 🙂

  14. adela says:

    Oh my! No gas? That’s like learning to cook all over again. I love the buttery yellow you picked for your ‘new’ kitchen. My daughter believes every kitchen should be some shade of yellow. It does bring sunshine into the room.

  15. That little sneak peak of a picture looks wonderful. I’m loving your kitchen chairs and would love to see more of the room. We have been working on our kitchen for two years. Yes, two. Some days I think I hate the whole thing, but I don’t ever care anymore. I just want it done. Happy remodeling.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, DF. I’m embarrassed to show the whole kitchen. What you saw was just a piece of a huge work table that is WAY too big for this tiny kitchen, but I could bear to part with it and dragged it here from Texas. I think it looks ridiculous, but it’s staying.

  16. That’s my kind of reno… Thoreauvian… Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. Sometimes the color is enough to make you feel better. What a warm and lovely place to dine!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Carol. Plus just doing that small thing wasn’t such a small thing. Because we had to move everything out of the kitchen, the whole downstairs was a wreck for two weeks. I still haven’t had a chance to put things back together since we just finished yesterday.

  17. Dor says:

    Your kitchen looks so fresh and new! We are on approximately the same wavelength since I have a post-in-waiting about our “house”. Different approach though. As always, I so enjoy your writing and in fact, I put you down for the Candle Lighter award. It’s in one of my posts. You probably already have that award, but they say it can be given more than once. Dor

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks so much for the award, Dor! I’m so far behind in my blog reading, I missed it. Yes, I did get that award, but I can’t remember who gave it to me. I’m so bad at remembering things, it’s embarrassing. Can’t wait to read that post of yours when it’s ready.

  18. Huffygirl says:

    Done already Susan? Are you sure 😉 We did a big kitchen remodel a couple years ago – tore out a wall, added on. It turned out great and was definitely worth it.

    • Coming East says:

      Our pocketbook says we’re done, HG! LOL. Seriously, we decided that it wouldn’t be worth it to put so much money into this place. Next year at this time, we should be able to afford granite countertops, a stainless steel sink, a new dishwasher, and possibly a new stove. The fireplace idea is done forever. People seem to like fireplaces, even if they don’t use them, so we’d lose a good selling point if we took it out. And the cabinets are in nice shape, just dry. A ton of Liquid Gold and adding knobs will make them look really nice.

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