Calling All Designers! Kitchen Makeover Time…

Happy Tuesday, gang!  As I mentioned last week, my husband and I are in the process of purchasing a foreclosed home to renovate and call our very own.  Yay!  We don’t close until the end of December, so I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself here, but I thought I would give you a little sneak peek-a-roo of this little gem in all of its circa 1980’s glory.  We will begin construction as soon as we close, so we are neck deep in the planning process, and I invite you all along for the ride.  Yahoo!

I figured it would be best to break down our renovation and take it one room at a time.  Shall we start with kitchen?

At a first glance, you may be thinking, “That’s not so bad.”  In all honesty, you may be right – it really isn’t that bad, and there is definitely loads of potential here (which is why I jumped up and down yelling to my husband This is the one!  This is the one!), but I have to ask…Is there anyone out there who has ever installed these kind of funky, bar lights in your kitchen?  If so, I most humbly have to beg the question, Why?

These lights are most definitely the first to go!

, Photobucket

Next, we move along to the breakfast nook which overlooks a huge pond *sigh*.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted a breakfast nook.  My grandparents had one in their farmhouse, and I loved to sit there eating breakfast while my grandpa read the Bible and morning devotions to us.  Breakfast nook = wonderful family memories.  The breakfast nook sold me on this house.  For real.


As I mentioned ealier, all of the appliances were ripped out, which is okay.  We would probably have replaced them anyway, but it is nice to have the option.  We will also be replacing all of the cabinets, flooring and so on.  I can’t wait!

As far as this weird doorway and wall opening you see below, well, I just don’t get it.  The openings don’t even line up, and that cabinet-thing is just not working for me.  The whole concoction will be the next thing to go.  Time to rip down some walls!  Keep reading for what we plan on doing with this little area…

New Note: I just noticed that the wallpaper border doesn’t even line up in the picture below (not that we were planning on keeping it anyway).  I’m trying to make some sense out of it, BUT….I can’t.  Well, it seems to somehow fall in line with the uneven openings in the wall.  Hmm…


I know what you’re thinking, and, nope we’re not keeping the wallpaper…despite how pleasant fruit on the walls may be…


Okay, then.  Now, onto my favorite part of this post…

So, my husband and I are applying for one of those home makeover shows on the DIY Network, really just for kicks (and to see if it would actually work) and also because my good friend Erin over at the House of Turquoise told us to give it a try.  I’ll let you know if we actually make the cut.  We have to remodel anyway, so why not have fun while we’re at it, eh?  So far, they are interested in us!  Stay tuned.  That being said, when they replied to us, they had a load of questions about our project and about us personally, which my husband Ron answered.

I loved his answers so much not only because he worded it so well, but also because he knows me sometimes better than I know myself, and he articulated what we’re trying to accomplish with this home renovation in such a spot-on way.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, I’m a lucky girl to be married to such a great guy!

Without further ado, I will let my husband Ron take it from here…

Q: In regards to your kitchen project, could you give me some more details of what specifically you’d like to do with the space? Please include elements that you really want to change, and possible elements that could be changed. I know you touched on this in your initial email, but please elaborate a bit on your plans or ideas for the cabinets, walls, countertops, etc.

Ron: We are planning to do a full overhaul of the kitchen. Currently, we have gallery kitchen with a breakfast nook in the front that overlooks a small pond. There is a square island in the middle of the kitchen that we are planning to replace with one that is longer and a little narrower. On the other end of the kitchen is a bulky glass paneled cabinet that separates the kitchen from the dining room. We are not sure what it was used for and both agree that is has to go! We are currently kicking around ideas on how we can open up that space to tie the kitchen and dining room together. We are considering a bar area and opening up the wall as much as possible or removing the wall completely and adding some decorative columns.

For the floors, we are looking at reclaimed or hand-scraped wood with a darker finish. For cabinets, we are leaning towards white cabinets to contrast the floor and want to give them a ‘worn’ look. We have also priced out granite countertops that would tie together the color of the floor and cabinets, and add a modern flare.

The ugly florescent lighting that is currently used will be replaced with canned lighting and pendants over the island. We also love the look of farmhouse sinks and are hoping to find one at a bargain price. Nikki would love to have a built in double oven although it appears that won’t fit in the budget. We have budgeted for stainless steel appliances and are looking at creative ways of finding them at bargain prices.

We would love to work with a designer to help us add character to the kicthen, especially in the cabinets. It is hard to me to visualize the space without putting it into its current context. However, since we are working with a blank slate, the possibilities are endless!

Here is our current rough estimate of the major components of the project. It is more than we initially thought, but still doable.

Kitchen Budget

Cabinets: $12,000

Hardwood Floors: $7,000

Counters: $5,000

Appliances: $3,000

Q: What would you consider your design style to be?

Ron: I think our style is primarily traditional with contemporary elements to modernize the space. I love finding accents that tell a story either about their past or our past. We are not the type to purchase standard sets of anything to fill a certain space. Instead we favor searching for those perfect items you only find at a 2nd hand shop or while on vacation.

I especially like Asian decor because of its clean lines and straight edges. I also like the way you can tie ancient and cultural decor with modern elements. When Nikki and I got married a couple years ago, I moved into her townhouse which was already fully decorated. This is my first chance to incorporate my style into the space, and I am excited about that. Nikki has a great sense of style but our styles do differ. It would be great to find the area where our styles intersect and we can design a space we will both love.

Q: We generally find that projects that call for new custom cabinets can easily exceed $10,000 in homeowner contributions. With that in mind, would you be interested in either refurbishing and updating your existing cabinet boxes, going with ready-to-assemble cabinets or adjusting your budget?

Ron: We would definitley be open to that idea although I’m not sure the cabinets are salvagable. We have factored $12,000 into our budget for cabinets although we have a few ideas on how to decrease those costs.

Q: Are you happy with your appliances, or are there items you are hoping to replace (keeping your budget in mind)?

Ron: We are planning to replace all appliances.

Q: Do you have any pets in the house? If so, what kind and how many?

Ron: We have two small maltese dogs named Peaches and Oliver. They weigh 7lbs and 6lbs respectively and are inseperable.

Q: What do you do for a living?

Ron: I am a project manager at a consulting company. We design incentive programs for fortune 500 companies similar to Coke Rewards or Frequent Flyer programs. Nikki is an asset manager for a commercial real estate development company and works in downtown Minneapolis.

Q: What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Ron: We are both very active, especially in the summer. I am involved in competitive in-line speed skating and skate marathons all summer long. Nikki loves to run and has completed a marathon as well as other running events. We just purchased bikes and love to bike to the farmer’s market on the weekend.

Nikki has a calligraphy hobby which she is slowly turning into a business. She hand writes different things such as wedding invitations, holiday invitations, and place cards. She even started a Web site where she blogs about the different projects she is working on.

I manage the social media for a project I work on geared towards the Foodservice Industry. Since Nikki and I both love to cook and bake, we are always trying new recipes that I can share with my community members. I get a lot of inspiration from the members and they learn from me as well.

So, now that Ron and I have given you a little peak into our lives, I hope you will sit back and enjoy the ride with us.  For all of my designer friends out there, we have an overall budget of $50,000 for renovations to the home.  It seems like a lot but it goes quickly when you throw a large kitchen renovation into the mix.  I invite any budget-friendly tips and ideas as we design our new home.  P.s. We are going for this look in cabinet design:


I best leave it at that before this post gets any longer!  Feel free to email me at with any tips and ideas.  Thanks so much for stopping by!


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