A Year in the Life of a Kitchen

This year was all about the kitchen…and trials. You’ve heard enough of my whining about my life, though, so lets look back on the year of the kitchen. I haven’t been doing project posts along the way because most of my projects are done up to a point and then have to wait for another project to be completed before I can finish the first project. I have a daisy-chain of such projects.

Instead, I thought I would show you some of my ideas and where I’m at in executing those ideas for my kitchen. In my plan for the kitchen post, I outlined some things I wanted to do with the kitchen. I will show you where I’m at with each of these projects but let’s just do a before and now shot.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when we moved in. Ahh, good times.

Kitchen Before - Sink Wall

Here’s where we are today. Thanks to some PhotoShop magic, I made a screen on the doorway. I didn’t want the focus to be on our dirty laundry.

Kitchen Progress 12.13 with Screen

I started by pulling off the wallpaper (which was on a false wall on the walls with the sink and the windows), I was left with this. We moved the dishwasher from the left side of the sink to the right side and I have been happy with that decision ever since.

Sink Wall - Progress-002

In April and May, we pulled down the cabinets and exposed the brick. I always knew I wanted to expose the brick on this wall in the kitchen. Since it’s a former exterior wall that is now interior, it was a wall I could expose without worrying about reducing the heating/cooling ability of my home.

Kitchen - Exposed Brick Wall

I also had a plan for a farm sink in this kitchen. When we exposed the brick, we figured this was the time to put in the sink.

Kitchen - Ikea farm sink

I didn’t realize until it was too late that I should have planned to have finished our countertops before we put the sink in. We lived with a temporary fix for a number of weeks until our porcelain tile arrived for the counters. Darn those special order items!

Kitchen Sink with Brick Wall

Can you believe we have lived without shelves or cupboards on this wall since April? I wanted to do the shelves sooner than we did, but I always knew they were going to be pricey and I also knew we had to finish the ceiling before we could do the shelves.

I had the idea to build these shelves.



Before I could put those in, I needed to plank the ceiling.

DIY Plank Ceiling and Crown Molding Before Paint

I didn’t get that done until mid-October. I’ve since primed the ceiling, but I am still deciding on the final paint color as you can see. After nearly eight months of a blank wall above my sink, it now has storage once again. And what pretty shelves they are too, even if they are still unfinished. I will stain and seal them in a few days but I have to mix up more of my special stain to make them match the butcher block counter. Baby steps, people. Baby. Steps.


I used KariAnne’s dining room windows as inspiration for my windows.

What About That Space Over the Window?

My windows started out looking like this. See how low the windows are? They look like they are sitting on the floor!

Kitchen Before - Window Wall 2

Today this area looks like this.

Kitchen - Window Wall Progress

Don’t the beefed up windows look in proportion to the room now? You have to imagine the paint finished all the way across but won’t it look awesome? I love the saturated color on the upper wall section. I can’t wait to get the rest of the paint up, but I need to fill that big hole and touch up some more of that section of wall with some plaster.

For the peninsula, I put in the butcher block counters and finished the back with a barn wood treatment similar to this inspiration photo.

Here’s our version from this summer before I found stools. It cost around $80 for the barn wood and $178 for the counter.

Kitchen - Stove Peninsula After

I love the barn wood and the stools. I don’t hate the color and finish of the stools, but they kind of blend in too much against the dark wood and I want more of a pop of color. I’m thinking these are going to become yellow some time this year.

Kitchen Stools

My plan had been to hang my Mason Jar Light fixture over the sink, but we found out we were moving before I got around to hanging the light and this $27 light was a good alternative. I’m taking my Mason Jar light fixture to the next house and hoping there’s a place for it in our next home.

Industrial Kitchen Light

Speaking of lighting, I plan to make a light to replace the temporary boob light we hung over the stove when we planked the ceiling. Imagine if this light fixture,

and this light fixture,

got married and had light fixture babies.  Can you see it? I can and I’m itching to bring this idea to life. I have several of the clear glass insulators already, thanks to a generous neighbor, but I’ve got my eye out for a couple of the blue ones to tie the colors of the room together.

Another inspiration idea I had was to build this bookshelf on the end of my pantry that I moved to the opposite corner of the kitchen.

cookbook bookshelf. I have just the place for this.

Here’s where I’m at with this one.

Pantry Shelf Trimmed

The current state is actually worse than this photo as I have the doors off the pantry unit when I thought I’d be painting back in November. I love my optimism sometimes. However, if you squint and wave your hand back in forth in front of your face really fast you can see that with a coat of paint I’ve nailed this one. Ha. Ha. See what I did there? I “nailed” it because I actually built it with nails?

Obviously, I need to wrap this up. We’re half way around the room. Stay with me. With all the cupboard changes and the pantry bookshelf added, the doorway is off center and it bugged me.

Kitchen Pantry Bookshelf - side view

Today,  I actually fixed it. I took another one of my inspiration ideas,

The Lavender Tub: Spice Rack

and implemented it in my kitchen with some vintage shelf brackets I’d picked up for $3 this summer.

Kitchen Door Wall with Shelves on both sides

The door feels a bit more centered and I’m guessing once everything is painted and I’ve got stuff on the shelves it will feel even more so.

The shelf brackets are funny. One was painted and one wasn’t and I can’t decide which one I love more.

Vintage Shelf Brackets

I love the details of the rusted one, but I love the chippy goodness of the painted one. I will end up stripping the paint off the white one because there’s no way I can replicate that finish and also, this area will need the contrast of the bracket since everything else there will be white.

The refrigerator wall underwent some changes too. We went from this starting point,

Kitchen Before - Fridge Wall

and got to this point

Kitchen - Fridge Wall Progress

which was when I decided to change up my plan. I wasn’t thrilled with the crown molding on the top of the cupboards. It was too little and even though the plan was to use the wider crown at the ceiling, I just wasn’t happy with the look. We got it all trimmed out to the glass cupboard on the left and realized our cupboard was hung 1/4″ too low.

Fixing this was no easy feat. It meant pulling everything out from the refrigerator surround to all the cupboards on the right and no way, no how was I going to do that. While I was letting some possible solutions simmer in my brain, I saw this idea for filling in the space above the cupboard from Melissa at The Inspired Room.

Fill that awkward space above the cabinets.

Sold! Doing this would let me fudge a fix on the cupboard and not have to move everything. Filing in the space above the cupboards also made the room look bigger. There were a lot of angles above the cupboards and it’s a fairly shallow space that just sucked up all the light. It was like a giant black hole above there. Well, it’s gone now!

DIY Crown Molding and Plank Ceiling Before Paint

Like most things in the kitchen, this area is now waiting for my finishing touches. I finished all the crown molding since this picture was taken and the holes are filled and the crown molding is primed. I need to prime the cupboards and then caulk and paint.

There you have it. The year of changes to my kitchen. I will be painting, caulking, sanding and plastering in January and can hopefully wrap things up by the end of the month. I’m motivated and ready to stick a fork in this project and call it done.

It makes me very happy to see it start coming together.

Kitchen - Peninsula After

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