Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kitchen Makeover Part 1!

It's not outrageously different, but hopefully it's coming across as much cleaner.  Though it's been in progress since we moved in, we didn't make any real progress until February.  Once we finished, we wondered why we didn't start updating the kitchen first.

Here's what we started with:

 (Uh, yeah - that's a dirty diaper on the table and an uncovered electrical outlet. Gross and DANGEROUS - yikes!)


The first weekend we worked in the house, we decided to focus on painting before the furniture arrived from Navy storage.  We had everything taped off and the paint poured when I saw a little piece of paper near the electrical outlet.  What I did next forever changed our relationship with the house.  We had previously thought we basically needed to clean and paint.  But when I pulled that paper and it donned on us that the previous owners had painted 3 coats on top of wall paper, we realized just how much had been previously short-cutted.  Wanting to do things right, we decided to peel the paper off and start fresh.  Which is how we came to discover that the builders had glued the wallpaper directly to the dry wall without any primer.  In turn, we realized we had been ripping down not only the wallpaper, but also the dry wall paper which left us with exposed dry wall.  See the "oh, sh*t" moment here:


My dad, a construction manager of 30+ years remedied the situation with some dry wall mud, but that wall will never be the same.  You would have thought we would have learned our lesson right then and there.  Too bad we tried to pull down the wall paper in every other wall papered room just to see if there might be a chance it would come off easier.  It never did.

One thing we absolutely needed was new flooring.  The linoleum had suffered a lot of abuse and had several holes in it.  No matter how many times I mopped, there was not enough soap or elbow grease in the world to make it look clean.

While we would have loved to extend the hardwoods into the kitchen, the room is huge and we just couldn't justify the cost considering that we're planning on selling it and had already hit our renovation budget.  We also decided to install laminate counter tops, keep the cabinets and keep the appliances.  The point wasn't to go over the top and create a gourmet kitchen - though it was hard for me to accept this sometimes.  If it were my kitchen, I would have really wanted to invest in some of those things because I spend so much time in there.  However, for resale purposes, we really just needed it to show nice and clean.  The windows and size of the room were going to do the rest.

Lowe's flooring was a joke.  They sent out a guy to do the quote who told us that we had one layer of linoleum which they could lay on top of, but the moisture levels were too high and they couldn't do anything about it.  Interesting . . . because we actually have two layers of linoleum and the moisture levels were fine.  I'm not a fan of a professional who knows less than I do.  He obviously wasn't looking too hard at our floors, or he just didn't want the job.  Whatever.

We moved on to getting a quote from a local place we had also used to install our carpets upstairs.  They gave us a fair quote, said they'd have to take out the two layers of linoleum and then would install a new one.  We took home a few samples in October so that we could decide by winter break.

Then we did some of this:


And got more samples:



Then I tried to do a quickie photoshop job:


Then we finally just let Mr. Palindrome's mom choose one when she visited in January.

Turns out that our brilliant builder had used liquid nails to adhere the first layer of linoleum (remember he did that short cut while installing the bathroom tile too . . . ) so they ended up having to put a new underlayment on top of both layers then add the new linoleum on the top.

Here's another Lowe's fail story for you.  When we went in for laminate vs. granite quotes, we were told that laminate would be $1800 and granite (which was on sale, thin, and in the most basic of colors) would be $2200.  I was in granite's corner.  Mr. Palindrome, on the other hand, walked straight back to the pre-fabricated laminate pieces in Lowe's and tried to talk me into DIYing the counter installation.  The local granite company we used for our master bathroom quoted us a price of $2500 (for thick beautiful rock in a range of colors).  I eventually lost the granite argument and Mr. P convinced me that we should try the DIY route because the materials were only going to cost $400.  When he went to buy the pre-fabricated pieces, he picked up a few samples of laminate as well.  His mom picked out a favorite so we decided to get a quote for that to compare with the pre-fab stuff.  Turns out that the first quote we got for $1800 was miscalculated and we could get custom tops in the color his mom chose for $600 including installation.  Once we got over the annoyance of the wrong quote, we decided to go with the custom option.  Mr. P insists after watching the installation that it was totally DIY doable.  Maybe in our next house honey.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I reveal the after shots and the budget!  Oh, and I have a little giveaway for you too . . . you totally deserve one for hanging in there through those Lowe's stories :)  Y'all are the best!

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