Friday, March 20, 2015

We took a wall out!

I finally talked Mr. B into taking our entryway wall out!!
We always wanted to, but after 5 years of other renovations it was forgotten about. Recently I have been reminded how much I disliked the close quarters that our entryway wall caused, it was especially bad when company came over. They would walk into this small, low ceiling room where I was standing, and immediately we would all need to go left or right. It was always pretty awkward. 

I did like the decor in there, the lighting and wall were a perfect space for my painting, and the entryway table held my absolutely favorite birthday present ever, the cobalt and white chevron striped Ginger jar, hand made from Mexico, Mr. B got it for me years ago. It was quite a way to showcase those pieces.
But....the ceiling was literally almost 9" lower than the rest of the house in there, and you had to walk through a narrow area to walk into our house to the right, or step left into our sunken living room.
The space was just not very comfortable to be in.

Entryway with wall

Here is the view of the back of the wall, from the family room. We never really used that couch, it didn't lend itself to a nice place to sit. Bye bye wall!

Here is a view of the wall from our bedroom hallway (this was mid kitchen cabinet remodel)

Our framer was telling me that we may have to keep this small 18" part of the wall depending on the load bearing issues we would face once they tore into the drywall. I was really hoping that wouldn't be the case, having a weird vertical little wall would have been so hard to decorate around, let alone walk around.
Demo day! The guys found a large load bearing beam running along the ceiling, and it had to stay, but the whole wall was able to be removed. Yay!

We also had our guys rip the drywall off the ceiling in the entry way and raise it up 9" to match the ceiling in the family room. It was then covered in the same tongue and groove wood and beams to match as well.  

What a mess!!! But it was looking better already :) So open!

The ceiling being elevated was a huge help, you can see it here just slightly, but in person the feel is really quite a difference.
You can see here where the ceiling started in the entryway (the yellow drywall stopped where the ceiling was). Bringing it up to match was a great help. But like I said, that giant beam running through the room had to stay, I would have preferred it gone, but we plan to paint it all white to blend in.

The craziest thing about this wall removal, is that we discovered the wall was at some point an addition! Must have been added sometime in the late 1980's. I thought for sure it was part of the original 1970's cavernous design, but in this photo you can see the original tongue and groove is painted brown, showing that the room was once all opened up, just as we would have liked it (well aside from the color scheme, who paints a ceiling dark brown?).

Here is a view from the kitchen to our front doors. It's so much brighter in our family room, I just love it! Now we just need, drywall, tile, and then paint.

The drywall guy did a fast and a great job matching our texture. Our Saltillo tile floor was in need of some patching. Our tile guys popped out the partial tiles and matched (as well as possible) the older tiles.

You can see the newly laid tile here, before sealer. They should darken up to match the older ones, with a few coats of glossy seal. Mr. B got right on paint, here is a shot of the first coat on the ceiling and beam, the walls are done. 

Mr. B also cut in the holes for our can lights to go back in for the entryway. Looking better with paint!

• • • 

All done!!!
Here is our new entryway/family room! One step closer to an open concept home. I think it's made a HUGE improvement. It has brightened the whole living space up. The flow of the house just feels better, and certainly makes more sense. We are actually using the room, where before we just used it as a walkway to the kitchen. Its so much more inviting and comfortable, it's one of my new favorite rooms to hangout in now.

Every time I walk in the front door, I'm pleasantly shocked at how open it is.

 Just a little fun before and after, I think its like having a new house!

Till the next project!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kitchen Cabinet Reface!

I never blog anymore.. I'm a bad, boring Mrs. B
But in reality I have been doing blog worthy things, just never taking the time to record them on the interwebs anymore.
So here is my attempt at getting our recent remodel permanently out to the world wide web.

Mainly I wanted to post about our very recently completed (today actually was the last day in this month long journey) kitchen cabinet refacing we had done, because when searching for inspiration I couldn't find many blog posts about it. I was nervous to invest time, money, and emotion in a refacing not knowing if it would be enough of a change, and concerned that a complete gut and all new cabinets may have been a better choice, eeek!

Well in the end I am really glad we went with a refacing, it was a huge improvement and a big money saver too! We got to keep our concrete counters that Mr. B built in 2009 before we moved in. 
The cabinets we had in our kitchen I imagine were installed around the late 80's to early 90's, so they were somewhere in the 20-25 year old range, and for particle board, painted cabinets, they had some major wear starting to show. I had thought about just repainting them, but I hated to put that kind of money into a style door I didn't like, and with the doors and hinges that didn't well I decided to go for it.

Here are our before and after photos of the kitchen cabinets. (we also did our laundry and hall cabinets doors to match)

First major change we removed the hanging cabinet above the large peninsula, to give the flow from kitchen to dining room a more open feel.
I love the removal of the hanging cabinets, yes I lost some storage, but those polls holding it up drove me crazy! Good grief, who designed that?

We also had about 4 sections of cabinet doors converted into large drawers, you'll see lots of drawers in this kitchen now, but its a look I wanted and a functionality Mr. B really pushed for. 
Oh we also deleted the two pull out cutting boards, because eew. Those things gross me out, and they killed the clean lines of the cabinets, so bye bye!

The original cabinet boxes all stayed, we removed all the old arched topped doors and drawers, hinges and slides. The remaining boxes patched sanded and were spray primed and painted in Dunn Edwards Swan White in a low sheen finish. 
Worst part about that was the spray primer smell, although our painters did a great job plasticine off the kitchen like a spray booth the smell was super overwhelming for a couple days. We had to camp out at my moms, (thank you mom) and when we came back the smell lingered for a couple weeks!

The style door we picked is a standard "shaker" door. We upgraded all the interior drawer boxes to pre-finished maple, all the interior shelves were remade, and all the hinges and drawer slides are soft closure Blum hardware all hidden. That upgrade really made a huge difference with it feeling like a total new cabinet remodel, for just a bit more cost. I highly recommend that if you are thinking of refacing your cabinets instead of getting all new.

The cup pulls and knobs are by Top Knobs, and I L-O-V-E them!
m1211 cup pull 
m25 knob

I christened our beautiful new kitchen with a marvelous new baked good that I plan to keep in my permanent recipe book.

My mom has a very giving kumquat tree on the property, that always graces us with a bounty of these amazing fruits. I looked up some inspiration online for something to do with them, other than marmalade. I saw a post on kumquat upside down cake! I used my go to recipe from my red and white Better Homes and Garden book, and I subbed out the pineapple for kumquats, increased the brown sugar in the topping a bit to help with the sourness of the fruit. I added a little clove and cardamom to the cake to add a little spice to go with that burst of citrus, so the cake wouldn't get lost, and it was almost too good.

From now on I'll know exactly what to do with all those kumquats, and I will have a beautiful kitchen to cook them in for years to come!

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