HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR BUILDER BASIC KITCHEN
Back in December I thought it was a brilliant idea to use my week-long Christmas/New Years vacation to renovate our builder basic kitchen. My fiancé and I naively presumed it would only take the week, that I would come back to work with beautiful pictures of my new and improved kitchen. Boy were we wrong!
Start Date: December 26th 2016
Our home is only about 6 years old, so the kitchen in and of itself wasn’t in bad condition. It was your typical builder-basic Oak with poorly coordinated laminate counter top, and cheap appliances, fixtures and hardware. While this may be fine for some, I wanted to infuse my personal touch into the space. Unfortunately, when we purchased the house we didn’t have it in the budget to tear out the cabinets or even add a simple backslash. It took two years of living with this before I decided it was time for a change:
On Boxing Day we went to Home Depot and purchased all the necessary supplies to begin our project. Long story short, by the time I was back to work I had barely scratched the surface of the painting process alone. The progress continued to be slow and steady for a few weeks before we began to feel defeated and eventually temporarily gave up on the project. I had hit a roadblock – I wasn’t sure if I was happy with the path I had chosen. The trouble sometimes with being a designer is that we’re constantly seeing perfection and inspiration from every angle. I think I can speak for many of us when I say we become super critical of our work, but on an inconceivably insane level when it comes to our own spaces!
Eventually I felt the need to recapture our space. We had no inclination to prepare food in the midst of an abandoned construction zone and this was a real problem because your girl loves to eat. This website, truth be told, was my real motivator to finish the kitchen. I promptly had our new laminate counter tops installed and replaced our cheap sink. I became Home Depot’s favorite customer with 8 visits in 2 weeks (still waiting for my Certificate of Achievement in the mail…). With the tiles, drill bits and saws purchased I let my fiance go to town pulling the final pieces together.
End Date: June 4th 2017
Every day since this project was officially wrapped up I find myself stopping to admire how different our kitchen feels. It’s 100 times brighter which makes it feel like it’s doubled in size. It feels like a nice combination of mine and Jeremy’s taste (although admittedly more mine lol). Originally I was going to opt for the more universally accepted dark grey paint, but once I began seeing how beautiful navy lowers could be I had to take the chance! I hope you agree that I made the right decision.
One of my favorite improvements was the addition of crown moulding, it elongates the upper cabinets and really finishes them off. From here you can also see a glimpse of the beautiful glass dining table and grey velvet tufted chairs I scored from Homesense. The chairs have sturdy brass circular handles and nail head detail around the perimeter. I replaced the existing boob light with a simple and discrete shade from IKEA. I’m always on the hunt for beautiful boob light replacements (expect a future post on the subject in the near future) so this light will likely be temporary, but it perfectly serves its purpose for the time being.
We were on a strict budget so we couldn’t afford to replace the flooring. I was very excited when I came across this wonderful Homesense rug that perfectly married the navy from the cabinets with the cream/grey undertone in the floor and wall colours.
Gold hardware was always on the agenda, but it was tricky sourcing simple yet affordable pulls. I lucked out and stumbled upon these super affordable Richelieu pulls. They’re simple and transitional which pairs well with many door styles.
The brass Delta Trinsic was and still is on my wish list, but I couldn’t justify replacing this year-old Cuisinart faucet when it works perfectly fine. I was also trying to remain cognizant of the amount of brass in the space – even I think there’s such a thing as too much brass (hard to believe coming from me – I know).
Many of you may already know but I love the look of marble, it has a way of making anything look classic and refined. I went with this realistic looking Formica Carrara Bianco pattern in a matte finish. We paired it with a simple and affordable 4×16 white ceramic backsplash tile from Home Depot.
In every space I love playing with colours and materials – it’s a fun way to add a bit of drama and helps breaks up a monotonous colour scheme. Here I introduced several items within a complementary colour scheme, but mixed together different patterns and some added texture.
Silas, curious as ever, helped the most when he took no interest in the project and left us alone to chirp at the birds through the patio door. I think he appreciates having his bird watching spot all to himself.
While there are still a few things I would like to work on, I am grateful for the time and effort that has gone into the re-imagination of this space. A word of advice for anyone who may be in the middle of the same hell we went through; trust the process. Trust that your vision, or the guidance of your trusted designer, will result in a space you want to show off to the world. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this kitchen wasn’t finished in a week.
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