November 3, 2012

Kitchen Remodel Announcement: DONE!!!!!

Welcome to my new kitchen! Come on in & I'll show you around.

At long last, the kitchen remodeling project is done. As promised, here are before and after photos, lots of them. Because there are so many, they are smaller than I usually put on my blog. You can click or double click for a larger version. With each set of photos, I've included pertinent links to my remodeling posts. You'll find close-ups and project details in these.

The before photos in this post are not of the kitchen as I first saw it. You can see that here. It was the worst kitchen I'd ever seen. To make it functional we moved the stove and fridge, and added a cabinet as a peninsula. We lived with that for over two years. Dan was willing to make the kitchen the first project, but I needed to live with the layout and think about what I wanted:

Aug 2009 - Analyzing my kitchen - what I liked, what I didn't
Jan. 2011 - Proposed floor plan & notes
April 2011 - Working out some details
Oct. 2011 - Designing storage space

Since this is a 92 year old house, you may be curious as to what we left original. The floor plan remains the same; we did not add any square footage (though we thought about it). The tongue and groove boards on the ceiling and inner walls are original. Everything else we added, replaced, or changed.

So. After that long introduction, let's start our tour with the back door.

Before. Shot taken Summer 2009
All photos can be enlarged




The tin ceiling was our splurge, but affordable for such a small area. The larger window and windowed back door add much needed light to the room. The door and both windows are energy efficient ones, which really makes a definite difference in the room's temperature.

The biggest problems here were structural. One was the post in the middle of the room. It was left after a previous owner tore out a load bearing wall to enlarge the original kitchen. The second problem was water damage under the window. This was seen initially in the tongue & groove boards in that corner. Further investigation revealed that the rim joist under the window was badly rotted as well. It had to be replaced.

The idea to move the door came about while trying to figure out how to include a dining area in the plan. Once we knew where the wood cook stove would go, there wasn't enough room in the window corner. Moving the door gave us just enough room for a small table and two chairs. Plus it gives us a straight shot into the kitchen from the back porch door.

My little dining nook

The dining area is snug, but allows for good clearance between the corner of the table and the corner of the cookstove. We have enough room for a meal or a coffee break, yet remain out of the traffic pattern to and from the back door. The little cabinet above the table was in my grandmother's pantry when I was a little girl. I use it now to store salt, pepper, toothpicks, cat snacks, napkin rings, etc.

Close-ups, details, and project photos for all the above can be found in the following posts:

Feb. 2011 - tore out the built-in wall cabinet
Aug. 2011 - milled ceiling beam to replace post
Aug. 2011 - removed floor tiles & replaced post with beam
Aug. 2011 - added support posts for the beam
Sept. 2011 - installed new back door
Sept. 2011 - replaced the rotted rim joist
Sept. 2011 - replaced the window
Sept. 2011 - insulated the outer walls
Oct. 2011 - new window meant new siding & painting
Dec. 2011 - wallpapered the dining nook
Jan. 2012 - installed the tin ceiling
Jan. 2012 - alcove lighting, phone jack, painted back door
Oct. 2012 - started on the dining table and chairs

Moving to our right...


2 years later. I know it still looks
crookedy, but that's my camera!

Originally, we were going to put the wood cookstove where the back door now is. This is a much better location because heat can radiate into the dining room. The ceiling fan helps with that. The stove also keeps the bathroom behind it nicely warm. The pot rack with light is very handy. Because the kitchen floor dipped and sloped so badly, more structural repair was needed before we could install the wood cookstove.

Dec. 2011 - making a level, noncombustible base for the cookstove
Jan. 2012 - wood cookstove chimney installation
Jan. 2012 - installed pot rack (among other things)
March 2012 - problems with the original kitchen floor
March 2012 - preparing the old floor for the new floor
March 2012 - installing the plank floor
April 2012 - staining the new floor
April 2012 - applying the polyurethane
April 2012 - new floor finished
June 2012 - cast iron pot rack (& other odds & ends)

If you're wondering if I cook with wood all year long, the answer is no. The cookstove is used only during cold weather for heat, as well as cooking. My summer cooking and canning are done on my back porch, which also serves as my laundry room....

My summer-canning kitchen & laundry room. It was
originally set up as my remodeler's temporary kitchen.

If this sounds inconvenient, it really isn't. My kitchen, dining nook, and back porch together total 266 square feet, which is smaller than today's average American kitchen (said to be 300 sq. ft.) Being able to keep the heat and humidity (especially from canning) out of the house in summertime is well worth it. I have everything out here that I need for summer cooking, canning, and cheese making. The washing machine lid makes an acceptable workspace and the utility sink is handy.

Moving again to our right...

The French door opened to "the addition"

Pantry door was moved back into the hallway

The original kitchen was 11.5 by 11.5 feet. At some point in time, someone built on a 12 by 14 foot addition (photos here). It contained a small pantry, bathroom (before and after photos of that here), and office/study. The French door was installed then. We converted the tiny pantry into a utility room, and the study into a new pantry.

The French door was in the way unless closed. Because there is no ductwork to the bathroom however, the door had to be left open to heat and cool the room. We considered removing the door altogether, but I wanted to keep the pantry unheated. We decided to move the French door farther back into the hallway, as the pantry door. That left the utility room and bathroom more easily accessible. To tie the hallway into the kitchen, we gave it the same wide plank flooring.

Nov. 2011 - relocating the pantry door
May 2012 - added shelf above the door

Kitchen corner before

Kitchen corner after

This is a much more convenient place for the fridge. I allowed enough counter space to set things going in and out of it. And do you see the framed out square in the ceiling above? That was a stove pipe hole, so we know that this corner was where the original cookstove resided. One thing that couldn't be changed, was the location of Riley's food bowl. He was very particular about that.


What a difference, eh?

You can click (or is it double-click) to enlarge

I love everything about the new set-up. Dishes, silverware, glasses, etc., go to the left of the sink, coffee and tea making supplies on the right. I especially love the longer window, with it's better view. Details for these before and after photos:

Oct. 2011 - moving breaker box & installing new meter
Nov. 2011 - installing the decorative ceiling beams
Nov. 2011 - Hemming my handwoven dishtowels
Dec. 2011 - tearing out the base cabinets, T&G wall, & insulation
Dec. 2011 - New window, insulation, and drywall
Jan. 2012 - Modified the kitchen cabinets to fit the wall
Feb 2012 - leftover tin ceiling panels as cabinet door panels
April 2012 - installing the base cabinets
May 2012 - installing sink & plumbing
June 2012 - trim for the sink window (& a bit about peaches)
June 2012 - making a kitchen utensil rack
Aug. 2012 - Installing the dish rack


My utensil rack has worked out really well. The corner cabinet has taken some getting used to as storage, because of it's odd shape.

My workstation. Everything is handy.

This is my workstation. It's out of the traffic pattern and everything I might need is close at hand. All my baking supplies are in the wall cabinet, knives in a drawer on the left. Dan woodburned the doors on the wall cabinet for me; for some close-ups of that, click here. The shelves and baskets are very convenient. The stool under the peninsula is a life saver when it comes to preparing foods for canning. My cutting board hangs under there as well. The peninsula is 36 inches wide, so I have plenty of room for every project. Cookbooks are centered on the shelf above, making them convenient from either side.

From the coming-into-the-kitchen side.

On the other side of the peninsula, I store everything we need for breakfast or lunch: cereals, chips, crackers, napkins, etc. Also bread baskets, cooling racks and pans for the toaster oven. Very convenient.

Nov. 2011 - Tearing out the old wall cabinets
May 2012 - new kitchen wall cabinets
May 2012 - lining cabinet shelves without shelf paper
May 2012 - building the kitchen peninsula
May 2012 - more shelves for the kitchen
June 2012 - lightening and painting trims
June 2012 - adding the pull-out spice rack

And the last set of photos...


Jan. 2012 - new inset for key holder door

I know that was a ton of photos (I admit I was tempted to add lots of detail close-ups but refrained!) Also a lot of links (lots of close-ups of details there). I won't pretend that our remodel could pass for being professionally designed and done. I'll also confess that there are a few spots that still need trimwork. But it's done, it's comfortable, it's functional, it's welcoming, it's pretty. In a nutshell, we're very happy with it.

November 2012 by Leigh at


Simple-Thrift Mom said...

Beautiful remodeling job! I love the green--it is so cheery and colorful.

Michelle said...

Oh Leigh, it looks like HOME now - a very cozy, friendly welcoming home at that! Beautiful job, you guys!

The Cranky said...

Well thought out, convenient, and pretty; what a fantastic job!

Sue said...

In a word, GORGEOUS! You and Dan should be so proud of how it turned out. So jealous!

Dani said...

Stunning Leigh :) Congrats on your new heart of the home. You and Dan can feel really proud of what you have accomplished.

Worth the wait:)

Judy said...

Looking Good! What's on your radar for this winter?

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Lovely remodel! Putting all that thought into the what and how makes for a beautiful and functional kitchen you'll love for a long, long time.

Leigh said...

Simple-Thrift Mom, thanks! I love the green but it is impossible to photograph accurately. The flash seems to lighten it up quite a bit. The shots of the sink cabinets are probably closest to the true color.

Michelle, Thanks! It seemed to take forever. Probably one of the hugest jobs we'll have to do on the house. Dan says the front porch will likely be it's rival.

Jacqueline, it took awhile to get to the thought out part, LOL. Living with it for two years really helped pull it together. That's and lots of kitchen remodeling books from the library.

Sue, we are please and relived to have the job done. :)

Dani, thank you. So true about the kitchen being the heart of the home. Everything we do comes back to this room.

Judy, thanks! This winter will be the hall bathroom and master suite. More on that soon, though I don't mind saying we won't go all out on that one!

Sandra, it seemed so impossible when we first saw it: the odd shape, two windows and three doors, and in such a small footprint. Now I think my brain needs a long rest, LOL

Susan said...

What an amazing job you two have done! Your careful thought and good planning sure is apparent in the final results. It must be such a pleasure to know it's finished and just how you wanted it. Looking forward to Part 2!

Woody said...

Nice job and a great presentation with your post.

DFW said...

Lovely. What a great job. I know it was a lot of work & inconveient at times but you did it! And, just in time for old man winter. Congratulations!

Woolly Bits said...

I agree with everyone - before it looked cold and kind of bare - and now it looks warm and inviting! great job - to both of you:) and I think professionals could never put that much love and detail into a work like that! for them it's a kitchen - but for you it's your home!

SmithGang said...

Beautiful!!! Just Beautiful:) Blessings to yalls new kitchen, every step and stitch holds a loving memory for you both. Enjoy.

Leigh said...

Susan, part 2? LOL. It is a great pleasure to have it done. I know I drove Dan a bit nuts at times with my requests and constant changes, but he was a real gem and took it all in stride. Best of all, he did it!

Woody, thank you so much, (from one house remodeler to another). :)

Debbie, I was mentally prepared for the inconvenience, but confess it got really tiresome toward the end. This is the room we use most, so it's a relief to have it done.

Bettina, when I was looking at house remodeling books and websites, it amazed me at how many kitchens were in all white. It's the rage! That and blah neutrals. I suppose it comes from being a spinner - weaver - dyer - knitter, but I need color in my life!

I think there's truth in what you say about professional designers and remodelers too. Mostly they deal with a set of fixed choices, with some variation. Folks like rarely think outside the box, because the standard choices are more cost effective for them.

SmithGang, thanks! And this is what I love about blogging, it's a record of all these things. :)

Mama Pea said...

I'm at a loss for words. Enough praise and congratulations cannot be given for the magnificent job you and Dan have done. To see the before and after pictures and know the forethought and million hours of just planning that went into your finished kitchen boggles the mind. You are some kind of a patient homesteading saint to have endured the long time your kitchen was in getting to this point! But now you will have and enjoy it forever. I absolutely love the individualistic coziness of it all!

Anonymous said...

Leigh, I don't know where to begin so I will just say it with one word. Perfect.

Renee Nefe said...

I can't believe how much you did. Wow it looks so good! I think working on it for the amount of time that you did, gave you a better idea of where everything needs to go. I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

Beautiful! I LOVE it. And the best part is, it is practical. A job well done.

Sandy Livesay said...


Okay, I'm ready to trade kitchens with you :-)

I love all the changes you made to the old kitchen. The extra work space is my favorite part. I would give anything to have a space to be able to work on.

Enjoy your new kitchen. I can see you cooking, baking, canning and making cheese in your beautiful kitchen.

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, if anybody can appreciate it, you can! I'm so glad it's done, and I'm glad we took the time to do it the way we wanted. The garden suffered for it I'm afraid, but that will be remedied next year. :)

Martha, thanks!

Renee, that's a very true statement. Several times we thought the same thing and I can see how many modifications we made along the way, as we tried to think through it all. Worth it in the end.

MTS&M, thanks!

Sandy, the workspace was a must! Especially for those of us who do any cooking, baking, and canning. My old kitchen had about 3 feet of counterspace, which is why we added the cabinet as peninsula. I like the wider peninsula though. Thank you for your kind compliments~

Unknown said...

Your kitchen is lovely! Looks like the perfect place to sit down and have a cup of tea. Beautiful and homey!

Meg said...

Wow, it looks amazing! You did a wonderful, beautiful job!

Kathy said...

Absolutely beautiful! You should be proud of yourselves, Leigh! (I would kill for that woodstove!) :)
Put me on the list to have you do mine, too....

Well, done! Now sit back, have tea - or better yet, champagne!

Unknown said...

Nice paint and use of space! I love the BIG window!!!

sista said...

Very inviting. I can't wait for our remodel to be completely finished. We have started so many projects and finished none so far. They are just finished enough so the bath is going to be the first one to be complete. Lucky you. And the art work in so detailed.

Paula said...

Nice job, Leigh! Looks really cozy and convenient.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my gosh, Leigh . . . this really calls for a bottle of champagne! Let's uncork the bottle and celebrate a job well done. Your new kitchen with the before and after pictures should be in a magazine. It's just stunning!

I so appreciate this posting and know how much work it was to put it all together. I'm sure your loyal fans appreciate it too!

Ngo Family Farm said...

It is amazing! So functional, yet so warm and beautiful as well! It must be such a joy to cook in that space!

Carolyn said...

Wow, that's a beautiful finally-finished-bet-your-glad-it's-over-with!

And that first picture belongs in a glossy magazine!!

Leigh said...

Jaclyn, I just love being in my kitchen now. It's truly "my" space.

Meg, thanks!

Kathy, the woodstove was the jewel in the crown. That's another reason why we placed it where it is, so it would be the showpiece for anyone looking into the kitchen from the dining or living room. :)

Nancy thanks! I only wish the green photographed more true. Oh well, you all get the idea. :)

Sista, I know you can relate! Our bathroom is our very next project, coming up soon.

Paula, thanks!

Janice, funny but we haven't even thought to celebrate. It's just on to the next project. :)

Jaime, it truly is. I even like doing dishes and keeping it clean, LOL

Carolyn, definitely glad it's over. It's a major part of the whole house re-do.

Tina T-P said...

It's absolutely wonderful - you must be so pleased! T.

Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick said...

WOW well done you guys!! Looks amazing. I bet you can't stop looking at it and grinning!! Enjoy M xx

Kids and Canning Jars said...

Nice job! I love the very first photo you have up. So inviting...

Michelle said...

It's beautiful! I'm so happy for you. I know you are just thrilled to be able to say those words. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a transformation it looks so warm, comfortable and very welcoming. Whilst it's not 'professionally' done it was done with a lot of thought which doesn't happen when other people do it for you.

It does work out best to live in it for a while and then you can do as you have done and make it just right with everything where it should be.

Congratulations to you both you have done an amazing job.


Michelle said...

What a wonderful job! I adore the cookstove!

Florida Farm Girl said...

That first photo is so inviting!!! What a warm, cozy place to prepare a meal. Wonderful job all around.

A Wild Thing said...

Absolutely adorable, what a transformation, I too survived a kitchen remodel, it's great having a live-in carpenter, sure miss mine!'s truly the heart of the home!

DebbieB said...

Oh, Leigh, it's PERFECT. I adore all the personal touches and customization. Well done, you and Dan!!!

bspinner said...

You and Dan should be happy with your new kitchen it's beautiful! I love the first photo. So warm and cozy looking.

andrea said...

You are an inspiration to us all! I love that first pic through the window, so inviting and cozy-just in time for a winter's soup and fresh bread!

100 Thoughts of Love said...

Love the "Beams"...great job

famousthecat said...

It doesn't even look like the same place!!! How gorgeous and homie. And I LOVE the stove.

JoyceP said...

OMG!!! It's beautiful!

Leigh said...

Tina, very much so. :)

Madeleine, it's a joy every time we walk into the room.

Melissa, thanks!

Michelle, thank you!

Louise, that's how I felt about it too. Maybe because I'm so analytical, but I seem to need a lot of time to think things through. With Dan's input and skills, I couldn't ask for a better kitchen.

Michelle, the cookstove is a gem, it's true. :)

FFG, thank you!

Sharon, "survived a kitchen remodel," LOL Ain't that the truth.

Debbie, thank you!

Barb, we are, we are. :)

Andrea, you've just described a good kitchen in a nutshell.

100 Thoughts of Love, aren't they a nice touch? Purely decorative, but I'm so glad we installed them. An inexpensive but nice touch.

Kristie, thank you!

Joyce, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous Leigh! You and your hubby did an amazing job, making this part of the house feel like your own. Well done!!

Betsey said...

WOW! There is nothing more amazing than a renovation that makes a room look like its always been. What a fantastic job!

badgerpendous said...

Incredible and fantastic! It looks function and very cozy. Congratulations!

trump said...

Wonderful job! Richard

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Absolutely gorgeous! It blows me away that you two could look at old white plain unworkable kitchen and envision this beautiful, cozy, workable and warm room. Congratulations and enjoy!

Leigh said...

Stephanie, this room especially is an accomplishment and makes it feel like home. We're both pleased with this milestone.

Betsey, thanks!

Badgerpendous, Thank you!

And Richard, thank you to you too.

Norma, that's why it took a couple of years before we even got started, LOL. We did a lot of mid-project shifting as well. It's amazing now to look back at the project posts. And to think that a year ago the kitchen was a mess!

A. Wright said...

What a great and functional set up. It looks so warm and inviting too. You guys must be so happy to have another project checked off the list.

Kaat said...

Beautifully done and beautifully documented too!

chris said...

looks great leigh, very homey and welcoming.

Leigh said...

A. Wright, thanks! This is one of the hugest projects and so necessary. I love having a working kitchen.

Kaat, thanks! I confess it's probably mostly for my own benefit. :)

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Everything came together so nicely, and it looks so homey. Great job!

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick said...

I'd like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

I hope to see you there!
Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick

becoming claudine said...

How wonderful! It must be so great and rewarding to have a space that works so well and that you love!

The color of the peninsula cabinets is fantastic!

Leigh said...

Candace, thanks!

Kathy, I appreciate that and will see if I can't get a post in for that purpose. :)

Claudine, it was well worth the wait and inconvenience. :) The peninsula cabinet was a craigslist find. Worked our really well!

Unknown said...

Oh My, it took a while but how amazing is this kitchen. It is so well though out and Dan and you have made your mark everywhere, it is truly a unique kitchen. There is so much to love. I know this post was a while ago but hey, its new to me. Loving this journey im taking.