Saturday, July 4, 2009

Kitchen: Before

I would really love to have a design consult with John and Sherry of This Young House, but I really can't afford their rates - something house related always crops up to spend money on instead. I really admire their style and advice, and I think the kitchen would make a very dramatic before/after. So this is what I would write them, if I was discussing a consult.

We have had our house for 1 year. We got it as an almost-foreclosure - the previous owners were days away from foreclosure. Last year, we focused on painting and fixing electricity, the water heater that exploded in the basement, etc.

This year, we are focusing on replacing the roof, carpentry repairs, and minor cosmetic improvements through the rest of the house.

We are looking to refresh our kitchen, at a low cost. In order to sell our house (eventually!) we will have to expand the kitchen, replace some wiring, and add a second bathroom off the kitchen. So we don't want anything we do now to cost too much, if we will be changing everything in a few years anyway. We would be doing this sooner, but for the economy, a new job that fell through, etc. However, I'm not sure if I can handle this color and style for much longer! I need at least a cosmetic update!

Our house was built in 1949 and has had several owners. The original owners took great care of the house. Improvements were made and new appliances installed before the house was sold to the previous owners in 2000. The previous owners did not maintain the house at all in their time there, and cut a lot of corners when they attempted do-it-yourself improvements, which are causing us many headaches.

The floors were originally hardwood. There was a swinging door between the kitchen and dining room, and a door on hinges between the kitchen and the living room. We still have these doors up in the attic, although they would require new hardware and repainting.

In 1969, the cabinets, backsplash and floor were replaced. A layer of linoleum (maybe asbestos? maybe not?) was added over the hardwood floors. The present cabinets were added. Aluminum wiring was installed.

Prior to 2000, new windows were put in and new appliances installed.

Between 2000 - 2008 the kitchen was painted red and the apple theme was added. The floor had some stick-on tiles installed sloppily over the (maybe asbestos? maybe not?) linoleum. The baseboards were ripped out and replaced with sheets of plastic. The back door was replaced along with a poorly installed doorframe, which cracked the window frame. The back door step and frame is rotting through due to the poor installation.

The cabinets are okay, but the way the doors overlap is very inconvenient for practical purposes. We looked into taking off the overlapping piece, but the doors would not close completely if it was removed. We put on the silver knobs.

Previous knobs vs new knobs

The counter is stained and faded. The stove was replaced poorly, the counter cut unevenly, and the wall next to it is in poor shape.

We have a 2x4 under the sink because a HVAC vent is located there. Some of the slats on the vent broke off, and the previous owners solved this problem by stapling brillo pads to the inside of the vent. We discovered this when our puppy pulled them out and ate them. (She stays in the kitchen during the day while we are at work.) The board is there so she can't put things in the vent. It would be difficult to replace the vent without ripping out some of the plastic baseboard and some of the stick-on tile floor.

I hate the ceiling fan. I would rather have a fixture that is more flush with the ceiling.

I think the corner sink is an interesting design feature, but it is very inconvenient to wash dishes in. The dishwasher is currently broken - if you attempt to run it, it gushes water into the basement due to a hole the previous owners melted through the plastic lining and then repaired using duct tape. We filled the hole with some extra silicone grout we had leftover from the bathroom, to prevent further leaks.

I hate the wall color. I hate the plastic baseboards. I hate how poorly the back door fits in. I hate the backsplash. I hate the stick-on tile floor. We cannot add another layer on top of the stick-on tiles, it would make the floor too high. I am not enamored of the cabinet color. I am investigating painting the cabinets. The room is very dark right now compared to the rest of the house, which is airy and bright, with many natural fabrics and textures.

The living room is Valspar Wicker (tan). The dining room is Valspar Forest 3 (green). The front hall is Valspar Jekyll Club Veranda Ivory. (There were a lot of rebates for Valspar last year.) I would like the kitchen to blend in with the flow, especially since there are no doors between rooms on the first floor.

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