When my husband and I moved into our home, we were newly married. Although our home was in the general area where we grew up, we were new to the town and the neighborhood. We purchased a two-family home that was built in the 70’s and had not been renovated since then. We were fine with having to do repairs and updates, so it didn’t hold us back from putting in an offer. We were so happy that our offer was accepted and we could start the next chapter of our life together.
When we first started looking, we searched all over New Jersey. We had found a few homes we really loved but it just didn’t work out. It was my mom who found our home for us. She rode around the neighborhood and when she saw our home, she called to tell me all about it. The house was only a few blocks away from where I used to live with my parents before they moved to North Carolina.
When I took a ride to check it out, I was pleasantly surprised; it looked like a nice house. After scheduling an appointment to see it, Gabe and I decided this would be our home. Even with its dated decor and finishes, we knew it had excellent potential.
As I mentioned previously, the house was stuck in the 70’s. You can see from the pictures, the entire kitchen walls were tiled in this lovely mustard yellow and brown pattern. (You know I’m being sarcastic, right?) We didn’t care for the way the appliances were laid out either, so we knew we wanted to change that. The cabinets were awful. They were a dark brown color and the stove hood was a wonderful shade of yellow (still sarcastic!). This was the very first home project we tackled. As I have said before, my dad is very handy. He can do it all – woodwork, plumbing, and electrical work. You name it and he can do it. We knew we would be doing the work ourselves.
The first thing we started to do was look at how we wanted to change the design. I wanted to put the stove in the middle and have the sink in the corner with the dishwasher to the right of it. Once we figured out the placement of the appliances, we started to look at the cabinets and countertops. It’s funny because back then we knew we wanted a darker cabinet and granite. Today, we both agree that the next kitchen will be lighter. Don’t get me wrong, our kitchen came out exactly as we had envisioned and we love it.
Since we purchased a two-family home, we needed to do as much updating in the upstairs apartment as quickly as we could. We wanted to make sure we had it rented right away and then we could work on our own apartment. We also had a budget to stick to; so, for upstairs, we put in all new carpet and new laminate flooring in the kitchen. We painted all of the rooms and updated everything in the bathroom. We purchased new appliances for the kitchens and laid flooring in the attic. We also put in new windows and carpeting through the hallway. It was all ready for the new tenants. We were fortunate to have the apartment rented rather quickly. Finally, we could move on to our updates.
It was exciting to be able to pick out cabinets, paint color, flooring and new appliances. We did purchase all of our appliances right before we moved in, mainly because we needed them. I also picked out the light fixtures as well. It was the fixtures that helped us come up with the color scheme we wanted. After picking out the cabinets and the flooring, we started looking at all kinds of countertops. We wanted granite but, with our budget, we had to really look around. Finally we were able to get find a beautiful granite countertop that was within our price range. Once we had everything picked out, it was time to get to work!
It was demo day! Since we had been living in our home a few months before we started, I had the pleasure (not!) of emptying everything from our cabinets. My husband, my dad and brother-in-law had to take down everything else. As you can see in the pictures, we left nothing but the studs. It was a nice mess! As messy as it was, it felt so good to be able to get started. Over the next few weeks, the kitchen began to really come along. Little by little, the sheetrock went up, the cabinets went in and all of the plumbing and electrical work was completed. We had our countertops installed and, after shopping around for the perfect backsplash, we went with a neutral subway tile. Gabe installed the entire backsplash himself and it came out very nice.
Our kitchen is an eat-in kitchen. Our apartment had a dining room, but we decided to close it off and make it a third bedroom. The kitchen was large enough to hold a decent-sized table and seat six people comfortably. Over the last 12 years that we’ve lived here, I’ve changed the paint color twice. We are about to change it again because, well, I get bored.
I have really enjoyed reminiscing and sharing our kitchen renovation pictures with you. I love the way pictures can tell the story of your life; and, thinking about this time in our lives was so exciting. We were just married, had purchased our new home and we were making it our own. I’d love to hear your stories too! Please share your house reno projects or new home projects in the comments below.