Overhaulin’ the Kitchen Practically

main kitchen cabinets

main kitchen cabinets

As promised, I’m going to let you in on the “dirt”.  Our version of “this ol’ house”, a 1885 semi Victorian style home with character galore and the underlying dirt to prove it, is getting a kitchen overhaul on a practical budget.

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I look at the shot above and can sum it up pretty nicely:  I sure do “make do”.

It’s crazy how we don’t realize that our spaces are as compromised, or patch-work utilized as they truly are until the bare truth is exposed by a simple frozen moment in time.

It’s a cramped space, and with three doorways and four windows to work around the options for fixed cabinets are few.

On the plus side, the existing cabinets extend to the ceiling – the wonderful high ceilings that come with this ol’ house.

wall caddy, long shelf, baskets and small cabinet added storage

wall caddy, long shelf, baskets and small cabinet added storage

This corner is too narrow to fit base cabinets, so stand-alone options have been used, with varying degrees of success.

The shaggy wall above the special tile board is remnant of the wallpaper that I gleefully ripped from the room when we first moved in, eight years ago.  Hubby told me not to start a project I couldn’t finish and I retorted with, “this is how I wanted it”.

Yes, I did.

I lived with the paper backing as kitchen wallpaper for eight years.

Stubborn much?  No!

kitchen added storage cabinet

oven-side cart and corner microwave unit, with wall rack

Here is the flip-side corner, which has no fixed cabinets, but has the only plug-in option for the refrigerator.  The fridge shares the outlet with the powerful microwave, so when the microwave is used, the result is a blown breaker.

Old homes come with a special little treat called knob and tube wiring.



Our home has the entire main level wired on one continuous line and tied to one breaker.


Doubly special.

Family get-togethers have a common theme:  a blown breaker.  Lights out for everyone on the main level.   Sudden TV blackout for the guys in the media room watching the game!

Everyday living is riddled with the exclamation “fire in the hole”, so that the TV viewer is not taken by surprise when the microwave flips the breaker.

rolling island cart and rolling utility cart

rolling island cart and rolling utility cart

The rolling island cart is the key to keeping this kitchen functional.  It houses the pots and pans and serves as the main prepping surface.

I’ve assembled the steps below as we’ve pared this bad boy kitchen down to the bare essentials, now awaiting the electrician to arrive tomorrow and make sense of the nonsensical wiring:


There it is, the big bad and ugly.

First lesson learned:  Cover everything in sight when you start pulling and scraping and sanding!  Our first day of tear down we spent two hours working and four hours cleaning the dust out of every nook and cranny!

It was a lot of work to get the walls stripped and prepped, but I sure look forward to the new paint.

I was truly afraid of what was tucked up under those ceiling tiles, so was quite relieved that we only have a small area of old water damage from the bathroom above.  We can handle that.

Thankfully, I didn’t know the extreme situation with the light fixture, or I would not have been able to sleep.  The electrician cannot get here fast enough now.  I turned that switch on this morning and heard crackling, so off it went!

On a humorous note, I have to tell you about the ceiling tear down.  That narrow space was where I was stationed during the ceiling tile pull-down.  Hubby started on the opposite wall.

I had just pried the first tile out and was happily starting on the next two when Hubby calmly stated “my side’s done, how’s yours?”  I turned around to give him my “yeah, whatever” look, just in time to see the whole section of tiles folding down in a wave – and coming right toward me!

The entire main portion of tiles collapsed in less than a minute, with only my little cubby remaining.  It was bizarre!  Easy-peasy!

The beadboard ceiling panels might not be such a simple task to install, but I can just imagine the effect.

And the Winning Kitchen design, a PDF sampling of the ideas I’ve compiled for the finished product.  Also seen here, on my Pinterest board.

These are my inspiration for the finished product.  I’m super excited to see how it all turns out.

Coming soon…

Dreamin’ Girl


2 thoughts on “Overhaulin’ the Kitchen Practically

  1. Tell the Director of Remodeling I said ‘Howdy’…giggle. Great work, I’m happy to see you so enthused and enlivened again. Keep smilin’!


Comment on this Practical article...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s