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kitchen overdue

We haven't kept up with updating the site for a while. Time to catch up! Not that anyone is waiting pressing the F5...

There's been many things going on with The Poopers this year. Between home improvements, travel, and general life stuff, there's rarely been a dull moment (and enough time to blog). Regarding home improvements, we finally delved into the disaster zone that was our kitchen, after two years of moving in. In my mind though, I excuse the first year of not having done anything, because that whole year was dedicated to the wedding. A valid excuse, methinks.

Originally we were going to do a complete remodel, which probably would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, knowing our pickiness. But after careful reconsideration, we decided we should save our money for other things for now, and do an intermediate refinish so that things are at least more usable in the mean time until we are ready for a grande redo, if ever.

Before: The before was pretty horrifying. We had to wear flipflops inside because the floor was laid with those old school shiny vinyl fake tile sheets, which meant they were super sticky and had gummed up stains there were impossible to clean. It reminded me of Chinese homes where people always wear sandals indoors. The kitchen was so gross I was always ashamed to have anyone over. The cabinets were white-painted with years of stains and grime. I didn't even want to touch them, let alone deal with food near them.

Look at that shoddy patched up top left corner!

After: It took me a really long time from start to finish, it was really a lot of labor for me--I'm rather...petite and get grossed out easily by dirtiness. But I pushed on. Probably after 1½ months, the kitchen was finally refreshed and ready for some fine home cooking. Even though it didn't change much, technically, I am still really, really happy with the results. I can touch things in there without being grossed out. I can practically eat off the floor if I wanted to! And the lighting, so much more pleasing!

Before redoing the floors.

Fresh paint all around, no more pure white walls and cabs. A light gray background to soften things up, and a muted blue for color but still stick close to the original style (also better for hiding dirtiness). New vintagey knobs and drawer pulls all around.

My cute little spice rack made from bent aluminum strips and wood. It really saved a lot of space.

All the pots and pans in one place! I love s-hooks and heavy duty utility shelves. Racks and hooks from IKEA, shelves are available everywhere.

Here I laid out the tiles to get the configuration right. These vinyl floor tiles are really great. They have the look of natural stone, but are thin with adhesive, so you can layer them over existing floors. They were REALLY hard to cut though. But with a heat gun and sharp scissors, it gets a little softer for cutting. Don't heat it too much though or the texture gets messed up. They were from Home Depot. They were grouted with a gray grout. Messy and so much work, but sooo worth it!

Finished! I can practically eat off of the floor.

Track lights from IKEA. I brush painted the white utility lampshades with a glossy yellow house paint. I really like yellow because it makes things pop, without being too obnoxious, unlike red for example. A muted orange also works well in these cases. Having multiple point lights give much more interesting light than the generic ceiling lights.

These cute Japanese restaurant signs from Marukai help liven things up a bit.

IKEA kitchen cart fit right into the nook by the sink. Finally dish drainer out of the sink. Not the fanciest setup for the appliances, but works nonetheless. I love milk crates, perfect for storing recyclable glass. Our windows are covered with frosted vinyl, because our neighbors are really nosy and I like privacy. This way we don't have to worry about blinds so much either.

This has to be one of the projects I am most proud of. Not because it is the prettiest or the most creative, but because I put in so much effort into it, and now I can finally cook the way I want to cook. There is so much more space, more light, more accessibility. I have space for pretty new dishes finally! With projects like these, the hardest part is always finding the right materials for the right budget. After that, it's mostly about endurance and hard work. Retiling the floors was a pretty long and nasty process, but it was not really technically hard.

I guess the last things now are to get a more bad-ass stove that we've been eyeing out, and a new sink, as our current one is really dinged up and stained.

All in a month's work!