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Dreamy kitchen remodel

I dream of the beach frequently. Whether in daydreams or night dreams, I am often thinking of those turquoise waves in the Caribbean. So when I got the opportunity to remodel my kitchen following a water faucet breakdown, the beach and sea were the obvious choices for inspiration in my new kitchen.

I’ve previously posted the “before” pictures here, and showed you the horrible tile floor being removed. Once the new cabinets were in place, I could finally clean the house up a bit and empty out boxes that were taking up room everywhere. Another month has passed, and I am down to tiny touchups left. It’s finally time for the “after” photos!

To give you the maximum shock value, I’ll post the “before” pictures again, along with a shot from a similar angle of the new kitchen. I wonder if you’ll be as shocked as I am when you see it?

The old kitchen, with the horrible tile floor, ancient cabinets, stained formica and rotting out fixtures

The old kitchen, with the horrible tile floor, ancient cabinets, stained formica and rotting out fixtures

What can I say? Can you believe this is the same place?

What can I say? Can you believe this is the same place?

The broken Saltillo tiles with inch-wide grout are gone (some made it into the garden path), replaced by a Teak hardwood floor (you know, Teak, like they use on sailboats). The stained formica that ran up the wall to also become the backsplash has been replaced by glass subway tiles in the colors of my beloved Caribbean Sea and Granite countertops that remind me of sand dunes. While the refrigerator is in the identical place in the room as it was previously, it now has a context by being contained by a new walk-in pantry on one side, and overhead cabinets above. The sink and dishwasher traded places, to give me a long working countertop space. And while I lost a bank of upper cabinets by taking out the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, I gained it back with the tall upper cabinets, lower drawers, and oversized pantry. I’m not missing that bank of cabinets at all, believe me!

The old view of the kitchen, looking at it while standing in the living room. The old seventies style pass-thru window definitely aged the house.

The old view of the kitchen, looking at it while standing in the living room. The old seventies style pass-thru window definitely aged the house.

Instant modernization happened when I created a "great room" concept by opening up that wall.

Instant modernization happened when I created a "great room" concept by opening up that wall.

I haven’t yet found the right piece of art for the wall in the dining area to the left, but I have some ideas brewing. If you can imagine it, when I bought this home 9 years ago, there was a 7′ ceiling in the dining and kitchen area, with drop down fluorescent lighting. The pony wall to the left was topped with those twirly-wood posts that ran from the top of the half-wall to the 7′ ceiling. It was a cave! I wish I had pictures to compare to, but I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of it back then.

I never liked eating at the table, because it felt so claustrophobic to me.

I never liked eating at the table, because it felt so claustrophobic to me.

It doesn't feel claustrophobic now! And yes, that's the same light fixture. I painted it turquoise (of course) and gave it a new life.

It doesn't feel claustrophobic now! And yes, that's the same light fixture. I painted it turquoise (of course) and gave it a new life.

I love the wood floors and the feel that it adds to a space. By using all natural products, the kitchen and dining room has an energy that it lacked previously. While it’s not my usual style to stick with off-white walls, I like how it opened up the space this time. I hope to get new dining chairs that are less busy, but all things in due time, right?

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I’ve been wanting a Margaritaville machine that shaves ice, not only for the requisite Margaritas, but for smoothies as well. I found a display model on sale for half price, and I snatched it up. It’s now in a place of honor on top of that gorgeous exotic granite.

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Now while standing at the sink, I can look directly out into the garden and deck. Okay, and yes, I can watch TV, too.

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It feels like the beach, doesn’t it?

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I wonder how long I can keep it looking so new and shiny?

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And the under-cabinet lighting makes it look pretty at night as well.

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And my first ever Ranunculus bloom from my garden!

New kitchen cabinets are in

I wish I had a beautiful flower picture to insert here, but I just don’t. As the light improves today outdoors, I’ll check things out and see if I can add something a bit more pleasing to the eye.

This however, is pleasing to my eye, and even more, my psyche. My new cabinets are installed!

The new pantry door is to the far left here. The ceiling height cabinets, lower drawers, corner lazy susan, and large pantry are doubling my functional storage.

The new pantry door is to the far left here. The ceiling height cabinets, lower drawers, corner lazy susan, and large pantry are doubling my functional storage.

I love the light spilling into the new kitchen by opening up this wall to the living room. I now have the “great room”  style of living space, which I adore. Though you can’t tell from this shot, I can also now see outside into the garden while standing at the sink.

I have to wait two weeks now for the granite countertops to be installed. Not much can happen before that point, other than paint the walls.

Now I have to wait two weeks for the granite countertops to be installed. Not much can happen before that time other than painting the walls.

With this wall opened up, people in the living room can talk to me while I’m in the kitchen, and I feel more connected to the rest of the space. This is such a dramatic change, I  feel like I’m standing in someone else’s home.

Standing in the living room, looking into the kitchen with the wall opened up. That short wall you see will have a granite cap on it soon, and the wall will be repainted.

Standing in the living room, looking into the kitchen with the wall opened up. That short wall will have a granite cap on it soon and the wall will be repainted.

Hardware goes on the cabinets on Monday, and the paint will soon dry inside the pantry so that I can begin to use it as well. Then I will be able to have all of the boxes stacked throughout the rest of the house put away. Now that I can find a few things, at least, we will be grilling tonight. Finally something other than a microwave meal!

Lookie, no plastic!

Today was a joyous day. The worst of the dusty, grimy, messy, sloppy jobs are done. I was able to take down the plastic that covered everything and made life extremely challenging in the living room. The sheetrock is finished, and here’s the new wall.

I'm standing in the living room, admiring the wide open kitchen area I'll soon have. No more pass through window! And natural light can now reach the kitchen.

I'm standing in the living room, admiring the wide open kitchen area I'll soon have. No more pass through window! And natural light can now reach the kitchen.

Here’s what it looked like before this process started:

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The cabinets go in on Friday. I can’t wait for that day to come, because then I can load them up and get rid of the dozens of boxes crowding me out of the rest of my home. So far, so good!

Sweet Fragrance and one fine mess

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No, this gorgeous fully-in-bloom fragrant Mountain Laurel is not in my yard. My Mountain Laurel has ample bud spikes, but no blooms yet. This bursting-with-blooms 12′ shrub (small tree?) was near my home at a shopping center, planted side by side with another identical tree of the same size that had absolutely no blooms on it at all. What is the difference? Why did this one bloom early in full glory, and the one 3 feet away didn’t? Does anyone have any clues? They appeared to have the same sun, but I could be wrong. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed this grapette-scented display as I walked into the store.

The Mountain Laurel in bloom is a long way from what it is looking like around my house these days. Demolition has progressed on the kitchen, and the upper wall between the living room and kitchen was opened up. This not only updates the rooms to the 21st century, it allows much needed light from the living room southern-facing French doors to enter the formerly dark kitchen. To give you a little perspective, this photo was taken while standing in the living room, looking at the kitchen wall. On the right, that small notch in the opening is the edge of the former passthru window over the old sink. It is now modernized to open up entirely to the living room.

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Because I lost many important upper cabinets by removing this wall, I enlarged my pantry to be a full 3′ x 6′ walk-in storage pantry. Joy! My new cabinetry will also extend to ceiling height, giving me upper shelf storage for china and occasional items. I’m also getting large drawers on the bottom cabinetry instead of the standard shelving with door fronts, which are so awkward to utilize fully. You can see construction of the new pantry in the edge of the left side of this picture. This is my current kitchen (ha!)

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I’m getting excited now; the visual imagery is easier to see with that wall gone. Finishing the new drywall and installing the new cabinets is next. One small setback is this large hole in the ceiling where the electrician fell through it yesterday while working in the attic. Fortunately, he was a big strong guy, and he caught himself before he fell all the way through. Unfortunately, all of the loose-blown insulation from the attic came crashing down with this piece of sheetrock and covered his working partner down below. What a mess it was!

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