Kitchen Renovation Before and After

Kitchen Renovation Before and After

It’s taken me a long time to write this post and I think it’s because our kitchen renovation was more traumatic than I realized. It wasn’t planned and we learned a lot about dealing with a water leak but I’m really hoping I never have to deal with it again. Thankfully, I could not be happier with the end result but man, it was rough getting to this point.

The kitchen was always on our list to get to but it was fine for now. Perfectly functional even if it was outdated but there were other projects we needed to tackle and we were planning on spending some time and money on our backyard. We had already done the dining room, the windows, laundry room, and stair railing and knew that the outside was next since we spent so much time there.

Our house had other plans.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Kitchen Before Renovation

The layout of the kitchen was great but could have used a few tweaks. The white tile counters were the bain of my existence, so hard to keep clean and as a blogger who loves to share recipes, it didn’t photograph well.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

Keep in mind that I took these “before” pictures when we discovered the leak in the wall behind the sink, on Christmas Day. Things were in a bit of disarray but I knew this wasn’t going to be good and I attempted to document the old kitchen quickly.

During the Renovation

Since we had a water leak, we needed to get a mold remediation company involved. They worked with our insurance and came in and took out the affected area, removed the damage, dried everything out and left us with a blank space. This took weeks and was loud and felt like we were living in an episode of Breaking Bad.

We had a great experience with our company, Flood Solutions, but I’ve heard horror stories of people using shady companies for this part of the process. Do your research and make sure they have a good reputation.

How to Manage a Kitchen Renovation

  • Shop around for a contractor and get multiple estimates.
  • See if your contractor can get you into suppliers. We used Pro Source of San Diego and they were WONDERFUL to work with.
  • If you are using insurance, make sure you tell them if your initial settlement isn’t covering enough.
  • Develop your style – practical, modern, traditional. This will guide the rest of your decisions.
  • Set your budget and prioritize your needs vs wants.
  • Use Rakuten to get cashback on your purchases. We got over $350 dollars back from our appliances, lighting and kitchen accessories.
  • Plan if you can! It takes a long time for your cabinets to come in so we were stuck cooking in our garage for MONTHS while we waited for everything to come in.

Our New Kitchen

To say I love it is an understatement. We added white quartz countertops with a waterfall edge on the peninsula, new cabinets in two different tones and a farm sink with an apron front.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

We didn’t change the footprint of the kitchen during the remodel but we did move some things around to create more function and openness to the space. The microwave moved from above the stove to below the countertop in the peninsula. We also moved the stove to the left so we could add a small countertop to the right of it with a pull out spice drawer.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel
Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

In keeping with the openness of the kitchen, we decided to add open shelving to the corner that was once bare. I made these shelves with some L brackets that my contractor installed in the tile and 1×12 boards from Home Depot, similar to the shelves I built in our laundry room. The new window treatments are from Lowes.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

The kitchen cabinets are two tones – maritime blue for the bottom cabinets and woodgrain for the uppers and pantry wall. Black hardware for the woodgrain cabinets and gold library pulls for the lower blue cabinets. We kept our old refrigerator and this is exactly how it looks on a daily basis.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

The new pantry wall features glass front doors over the coffee counter, we extended the cabinets above the refrigerator for added storage and have pull out shelves in the pantry to increase functionality.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

This is my favorite spot in the kitchen though. I love this sink. I love the faucet. Most of all, I love this view. This is where I can watch my girls play in their playhouse, explore the hill and get as dirty as their little heart’s desire in the yet to be redone backyard.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel
Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

How to Install Roman Shades in 5 Easy Steps

How to Install Roman Shades in 5 Easy Steps

A byproduct of our kitchen renovation was a little bit of a facelift to our adjoining living room. We painted the walls white and I decided to switch out the window treatments to match the roman shade we put in the kitchen window. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to measure, purchase and install roman shades.

Here is the before picture, we have these standard white blinds on every window of the house. Slowly, I’ll start replacing them all with cordless window treatments. This was a perfect spot to start.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

I bought these roman shades at Lowes, they are custom cut at the store and very affordable, at least for a window covering. This entire installation took me under 10 minutes to complete and I did it by myself with a drill, pen and measuring tape. Super simple!

Install Roman Shades – Step 1

Remove your old window covering and made sure to give the window a good wipe down.

Remove your old blinds and make sure to wipe the space down before you start drilling.

Step 2

Measure and mark where you are going to drill the holes to install the brackets.

Measure out and mark where to drill your holes.

Step 3

Drill your holes and install the top brackets. Yes this looks a little crooked but the design of the roman shades are very forgiving.

The bracket to hold the shades before installing the roman shades.

Step 4

Lift the roman shade into place to make sure the screws align.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

Step 5

Tighten the butterfly nut on the post and you’re done!

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

This installation was so easy and made such a difference in the space. I love bringing in the natural fibers in the window against the white walls of the living room. These shades are easy to adjust as well so when we want to watch a movie and darken the room a bit, they pull right down.

We love how they turned out, such a quick and affordable DIY update to the space.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

Install Roman Shades in Ceramic Tile

We followed these exact steps to install roman shades in our kitchen. The inside of the window sill was tiled to match the walls so we needed a special drill bit to drill through the ceramic tile. We also kept the bit and the tile wet with a spray bottle while we drilled slowly to prevent cracking.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20

As we are finishing up our kitchen renovation, I found myself torn up about my toaster oven. I’ve had this Hamilton Beach toaster oven for over 10 years and I love it. It’s functional and ok, maybe I have a little bit of a sentimental attachment to it. So when I realized that the red wasn’t going to look good in our new kitchen design, I needed to come up with a plan.

A few people suggested that I give it a good cleaning and then paint it with some high heat spray paint to give it a little facelift. A matte black toaster oven for under $20? What did I have to lose right?

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Black Toaster Oven Transformation

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

First step in making this a black toaster oven was making this a clean one. I used a degreaser and following the directions, made sure I was in a well ventilated area and used gloves. This degreaser worked so quickly and very easily got this little toaster oven looking like new, at least on the outside.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

I’ve linked everything I used for this DIY project in my Amazon Store.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

Once it was clean and completely dry, I tapped off everything with blue painters tape. I was very generous with the tape to make sure none of the chrome or stainless steel parts were accidentally painted matte black. The I used this high heat matte black spray paint and got to work. It coated very easily and dried quickly. I started with the back of the toaster oven so that I could get used to the spray paint. Once that was dry, I did the front. I used a small piece of cardboard to over the opening when the glass door was open and the red lip on the inside needed to be painted.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

I am THRILLED with how it turned out. It looks just perfect in the new kitchen. This little black toaster oven is now just the perfect combination of new and completely used.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

Want to see the rest of our kitchen renovation? Make sure to subscribe for email updates and be the first to see the reveal.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances
Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

Finding a water leak in your home can set off an instant wave of panic. Knowing these steps will help you minimize the damage and the stress of putting it all back together.

There is a Smell in Our Kitchen…

Around Christmas, I started to smell something a little musty around our kitchen sink. We checked under the sink itself and the faucet. Nothing was leaking. Fast forward a week and the smell was getting worse. We emptied everything out from under the sink and found that the back of our cabinets had mold. There was a leak in the wall and it was causing all sorts of destruction to our kitchen.

You would think that since this is the second time we have gone through a water leak, the first with our dining room, that I would be a seasoned veteran. But this was a lot like having a second child, the baby is born (or the leak happens) and you vaguely remember what to do but it’s still a little hazy. There aren’t any clear answers on Google – for the baby or the water leak – so here is my handy list of what to do when the leak happens. I’m still working on the concise parenting list…

9 Tips for a Water Leak

  1. Locate and stop the water leak if possible. We had to shut our water off for a few days until the plumber could get out here. BUT, the plumber won’t come if there is mold so you need the mold remediation company to come out first.
  2. Call a mold remediation company. Get a few quotes also. Even though your homeowners’ insurance will most likely cover this, you want someone that you feel will get the job done right and understands how the process works.
  3. Call your insurance. Ours didn’t send an adjuster out until after the mold remediation process was complete. The adjuster will come out and write up an estimate of what it will cost to fix the damage.
  4. Save receipts! Our insurance will reimburse us for a portion of our cost of eating out since we don’t have a kitchen.
  5. Ask your friends for help. We borrowed a microwave and hot plate from a friend. We also had a few great recommendations on contractors from friends.
  6. Set up your back up space. If the leak was in your kitchen, this is going to be more complicated than if the leak was in your dining room or some other non-essential place. Since our’s was in our kitchen, we set up shop in our garage with a folding table filled with a microwave, hot plate, toaster oven, electric skillet, and Instant Pot. I created a must-have list here of all the essentials we are using for our back up kitchen.
  7. Rethink your space. Once you can assess the damage, start to think how you are going to rebuild. Walk the big box stores and take a look at what’s out there. I was shocked at how fancy kitchen drawers are now compared to the 1979 builder grade cabinets we had.
  8. Start to contact contractors. This process is not fast so get some companies out to give you some preliminary quotes. Get at least 3 quotes for the work that needs to be done.
  9. Have patience. Easier said than done, I realize.

Stay tuned for before and after photos. Perhaps a few posts on how to renovate a kitchen. Leave any kitchen renovation tips or things you’d like to know in the comments!

Scared you have a water leak in your plumbing, maybe behind a wall in your home or in a basement? Here are some tips on how to make the damage and cost as minimal as possible, especially if you are dealing with mold. Great hacks on how to set up a temporary kitchen too. Don’t worry, no real DIY skills are required - just a sense of humor, someone who knows pipes or toilets and patience with insurance and contractors and everyone else who is affected by the water leakage. #DIY #waterleakage #renovation #mold

How to DIY a Flocked Christmas Tree

How to DIY a Flocked Christmas Tree

Flocked Christmas trees have always seemed a bit comical to me living in Southern California but this year, I just couldn’t resist. Last year’s mantel was classic and gold, this year I wanted to change it up without spending a thousand dollars on decorations. The flocked Christmas tree adds a bit of whimsy and plays off perfectly to the $3 white houses that I got in the Target Dollar Spot. 

I was surprised that a flocked Christmas tree was such an easy DIY project. Thanks to My Vintage Porch, I loosely followed her instructions and love the result. 

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

DIY Flocked Christmas Tree

These trees are from Hobby Lobby and were $3. They are the perfect size for the mantel and easy to fluff up. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

Next step is to give them a good coat of white spray paint, I used this white chalk paint. I did from all angles too, including from the bottom up to make sure it was fully coated with just a bit of green peaking through. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

While the paint was still wet, I sprayed it with adhesive and then dumped on the fake snow. I used an old bucket to contain the mess. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

Once it was coated, I sprayed it with another layer of adhesive and then sprinkled on the baking soda. The snow that I bought was iridescent and I was too lazy to return it.  The baking soda toned it down a bit. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

Something I learned for next time, I’d attach a wire to the top of the tree so I could life and move the tree around without flocking my own fingers and smooshing the fluff on the top branch. 

Flocked Christmas Tree Mantel

I loved the white ceramic houses from the Target Dollar Spot this year. I’ve always wanted one of those quaint Christmas ceramic house villages and this is probably going to be as close as I get. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

Last year I laid the garland on top of the mantel but this year, I wanted something a little cleaner looking since the trees were so busy. Hanging it worked out great and I added in some live greenery into it to give it some depth. The wood nativity scene is this one from Melissa and Doug. The girls love to play with it and it keeps them from touching my vintage one in the other room. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

To add height to the houses, I used some of my cake stands that I already had. The gold reindeer votive candle holders were from Hobby Lobby last year. The red bulbs are from Hobby Lobby as well. They came in branches and I just cut them into smaller bundles. Some of the extra snow from the flocking made for the perfect topping to finish off the mantel. 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

The big red bulbs give it a pop of color and work with the red beads in the garland. Plus it will tie in perfectly with our red stockings on Christmas morning. They will wait for Christmas morning since Little Nugget pulled one down on her head last year. 

I’m super happy for how they turned out and the entire mantel cost me under $50! 

Flocked Christmas Tree DIY project - perfect decorations for a rustic or farmhouse mantel. Ideas on how to pair them with white ceramic houses from Target with red accents and green garland. #christmas #flocked #mantel

 

How to Root a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

How to Root a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

I’ve always loved the look of a fiddle leaf fig tree so when it was time to redo our dining room (you can see the transformation here) I knew I wanted one in that room. This room is fiddle leaf fig magic – the perfect amount of sunlight for it to take off. Soon, my tree started to get a little out of control. I had heard about being able to propagate a fiddle leaf fig tree and thought my over grown tree was a perfect candidate. Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care Tips.jpg

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Trimming a Fiddle Leaf Fig

The first thing I did was fill up a couple large vases with tap water and let them sit over night. This allows the water to chlorine to evaporate. Don’t have that kind of patience? Use distilled water to fill up your vases and make sure to use a vase that can support your cutting so that it is upright.

I chose to trim the tallest stalk of my fiddle leaf fig tree with healthy leaves. It was the biggest and causing the tree to lean the most. I cut enough of the tree off so that it would be able to stand straight again and gave me enough of a stalk to put into the water, about 3 inches under the last leaf. Leave two or three stems on your cutting so that it has enough leaves to generate the energy it needs. Too many leaves left on the stem and it will take more energy than it can generate to grow roots. Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care cutting water

Some people recommend using a rooting hormone like this one but I didn’t have one on hand and rooted mine without it. Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care Roots in Water

Place the fiddle leaf fig cutting in the water in a bright spot without much direct sunlight. My fiddle leaf fig gets a little bit of direct morning sun and seems to like it. I placed my cuttings in the same room.

Periodically check the water. Make sure there is enough in the vase and that it’s clear, not cloudy. It took my cuttings about a month to sprout enough of a root system that I could place them in soil. Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips Roots

Plant your baby fiddle leaf fig trees in soil. Place them in a sunny spot and keep the water moist for the first month or so. It took a LONG time for my cutting to sprout any sort of growth. Of the two that I planted, the one with two leaves is the one that sprouted new growth. Don’t give up on them, even if the leaves start to brown and get ugly. Give it time, water and sunshine and you will be enjoying a new baby fiddle leaf fig tree in no time. It’s really easy, just not fast. Fiddle Leaf Fig Planted

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips

Plant your fiddle leaf fig in a container that has really good drainage in the bottom of it. Some people don’t repot their tree once they bring it home but I’ve always put mine in a container that is just a little bit bigger than what it comes in. If you don’t repot, you can line a basket like this one with a trash bag and place the fiddle leaf fig directly in it. Did I mention good drainage? That’s critical and helps avoid root rot.

Water once a month but when you do, soak it through thoroughly. Not giving it a good soak will cause the leaves to brown on the edges, especially if you live near salt water like we do.

Don’t move it. These plants prefer to be left alone in their indirectly sunny spot.

Keep your plant dusted and I wipe mine down occasionally with milk. Sounds super strange right? But, they love to be dusted and the protein in the milk helps them. Plus it makes them so pretty and shiny.

Use a good fertilizer like this one. Do you have a fiddle leaf fig tree? Any secrets to keeping yours happy? Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree