Today I am so excited to share the first post about our New Cottage Home! I know I’ve mentioned that we moved and that we renovated a foreclosure home that we purchased, but now I’m finally ready to reveal some of the before and after pictures of what happened this summer in, what I like to call, the New Cottage Home. First up, our Before and After Kitchen Makeover.
Renovating an entire home was a huge project. I mean HUGE. An incredibly fun project, but surprisingly more work than you would think. It pretty much consumed my life for a good four months. We had a wonderful contractor, Werderitch Construction (Greg Werderitch), who managed our entire home renovation project, but even so, there were so many decisions to be made when renovating. I had never even paid such attention to hinges, door knobs, cabinets, countertops, faucets, hardware, stain colors, etc. than I did this summer. Boy, am I well versed in the world of building products now!
The home we bought was built in 1993 and had not been lived in for over a year. The bank had taken possession of the home and luckily winterized the property so we didn’t have any burst pipes. However, the original owners simply didn’t take care of the home. It was like nothing had been maintained or touched since 1993. There was also major flooding that had occurred in the basement, so the once finished basement, was in pretty rough shape. So most everything had to be replaced when it came to big ticket items…….A/C, furnace, water heater, water softener, all appliances, windows, deck, garage doors, all lighting, doors, flooring, etc. plus we had to add a sulfur clearing and reverse osmosis system due to being on well water.
So this is the first of many ‘Home’ posts that you are going to see this year on The Cottage Mama. I know a lot of you are here for the sewing and DIY posts, but I bet a lot of you are like me and love a little bit of everything…….sewing, cooking, crafting, decorating and well, all things domestic!
Before and After Kitchen Makeover
So here is our new kitchen! Isn’t she pretty? I had this vision in my head when I designed the kitchen and it’s incredible to see it come to life. I wanted a light, bright kitchen that was timeless, classic, warm and inviting. I also wanted it to feel calm and uncluttered. After living in our small cottage for so many years, I am on a quest to make sure this house feels as serene and open as possible while still feeling like home. This is how our kitchen looks pretty much on a daily basis. I do have a plant that sits on the island (you can see it in the second picture), but I removed it for most of these pictures since it was blocking some parts of the kitchen, but other than that…….this is our kitchen in the New Cottage Home.
So the before kitchen pictures actually don’t look as bad as the kitchen looked in person. It wasn’t pretty. We ended up having the kitchen gutted down to the studs. There was nothing we wanted to keep. I knew I wanted to light and bright kitchen and was done with oak cabinets that we had in our last house. Also, I wanted the soffit taken out above the cabinets so that we could utilize the vertical space.
We didn’t have to change too much in regards to the layout of the kitchen. We moved the range to where the refrigerator was originally located. I knew that I wanted a custom hood over the range so that seemed like a better focal point. We didn’t have to move the sink location and the double ovens stayed in around the same spot. The new paneled fridge was in a new location, towards the end of the wall with the double ovens. It just made sense to have it there so that it was close to the stove. We also had our island built to be 8′ long so that it could accommodate our four children.
Our cabinets were custom made and were created by Specialty Woodworking. They did all the cabinetry in the home (all bathroom vanities, mudroom, laundry, wet bar) and they are gorgeous. We did a painted, warm white cabinet with a glaze for the main kitchen cabinets and the island is a stained cherry wood with a glaze. I’m really glad that the island is different than the rest of the cabinets…….keeps it a little more interesting. I kept seeing all these bright super-white kitchens and was tempted to go that direction, but finally realized that I really like warm tones………as much as I like seeing bright white, gray and polished nickel in other kitchens, it’s not me. I like warm and cozy and I think that’s what we achieved here while still being light and bright.
One thing I really wanted was to have as many of the appliances paneled as possible (you can see the dishwasher and refrigerator pictured above). I just love that look. And I REALLY don’t like the way finger prints show on stainless steel. With little kids, finger prints cannot be avoided, but having the paneled appliances helps keep the kitchen looking neat and tidy. Obviously we couldn’t panel the range and the ovens, but everything else works seamlessly into the design.
We had our cabinet maker put pull outs and drawers wherever possible. They really make life so much easier when trying to get out large pots, pans, casserole dishes, etc. You can actually see what you have!
I’m in love with our Wolf Range and Double Ovens. They are dream appliances, for sure. The gas range is incredibly sensitive and can simmer food like you wouldn’t believe and bring water to a boil ultra fast. I opted to go for the six burners rather than including a griddle / grill feature. We already have a really nice grill pan and griddle and my husband didn’t think we’d use it all that much plus then you have to clean it. Granted, the Wolf range is very easy to clean down, but in my world with four little kids……the less cleaning, the better. It’s also wonderful being able to have the large drawers underneath the range for pots and pans.
We had our cabinet maker create this custom range hood. I shared a picture of one that I liked and he created this one for us. I think it suits us just right. We didn’t want super ornate details in the kitchen since that’s just a little too fussy for us, but this has plenty of interest without being over the top. The range hood, tile backsplash and range are one of the major focal points in the kitchen.
The features on the Wolf Double Ovens have been great. My favorite one so far has been the Convection Roasting setting. I have never had such perfect roasted potatoes in my life. There’s also a probe that is attached to the ovens that you can stick in meat and it will alert you when your meat reaches a desired internal temperature. Pretty cool. I’m glad we separated the ovens from the range. I like not having to bend over to get things out of the oven. They are placed at a nice height and it’s easy to check on the food.
We opted for a classic, white farm sink. It’s pretty wide. I decided to have a divider in the middle since my husband was worried about things ending up in the garbage disposal. I probably would have done the wide open bowl, but this makes sense too. You can check out the one we ordered here.
I didn’t make the roman shade over the sink. I wish I could tell you that I did, but window treatments are tricky and I wanted to make sure this one worked really well. We ordered this window treatment through Home Depot. I believe it’s one of the Bali Roman Shades in a custom fabric that they offered.
I spent A LOT of time trying to decide on the sink faucet. First, I had to decide what finish I wanted on all the hardware. I was originally sold on polished nickel (I think because I saw it all over Pinterest), but when I really thought about my true design aesthetic, I knew that oil-rubbed bronze was more ‘us’. I loved the bridge-style faucets, but there were so many choices. I ended up selecting the Moen Waterhill Bridge Faucet (found here). I adore it. We also purchased a coordinating reverse osmosis faucet for our drinking water (found here). I think it looks timeless and classic.
As far as the hardware for the cabinets, I didn’t end up getting to use what I originally planned. I had ordered these cup pulls for all the drawers, but when the cabinets were installed, we realized that the cup pulls were just too tall to fit on the smaller drawers (insert sad face). I was really hoping for that look………but hey, first world problems, right? So I ended up ordering new pulls (found here) that coordinated with our appliance pulls (found here) and knobs (found here). I think they look nice.
So countertops………..wow, talk about a lot of choices! I visited a stone warehouse in Elk Grove Village, IL (MSI Stone), recommended by our contractor, to purchase all the slabs. We needed four slabs for our house (for the kitchen, baths, laundry/mudroom and wet bar). I toyed with the idea of marble (but decided it wasn’t practical for us) and quartzite (but wondered if that was going to be trendy and it was pricey), so I decided to stick with granite. There are so many gorgeous pieces of granite and it’s nice and durable. I walked the rows of granite in the warehouse for HOURS. It felt like I was there all day. I finally narrowed it down to two different colors and then ultimately decided on ‘Snowfall‘. I had never heard of this color, but it spoke to me. It’s light, yet it had flecks of brown. It was one of the only light granites that wasn’t full of a lot of gray. It felt warmer. I would say ‘Snowfall‘ is a middle of the road granite. Not super expensive, but not one of your basics either. I had two of my cabinet doors with me (one painted, one stained), but I kind of felt like I was making a huge decision selecting granite by myself for the whole house. Yes, I was by myself. The don’t allow children in the stone warehouse and we didn’t have anyone to watch the kids, so Brett stayed home with them. That man has a lot of trust in me!
Once I put the granite on hold, we talked to our fabricator (Stanley’s Marble and Granite) and they quoted us a price for what we had selected. It was reasonable so we had them purchase the granite. I had no idea that was how this worked, but it was really quite easy and nice to be able to pick out the exact slabs that would become our countertops. Next we had to select an edge for our stone. I decide on something very simple for most of the granite……..a half bullnose. But for the island, I wanted a little more of a show piece. So for the island only we did a double o’gee. It’s gorgeous. Definitely a show stopper.
The tile for the backsplash is a tumbled travertine. The main tile is a subway shape and then we have the diamond shape above the range. I had our tile guy put in diamonds in both the nooks near the ovens and pantry. It continues the design around the kitchen. I had originally thought of going with a basic bone-colored subway tile, but I’m glad I ended up doing something with a little more texture. It adds a sense of depth to the kitchen. Plus the stone has lots of colors in it that pull the kitchen together.
The lighting is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen design. We have these three pendants (found here) over the 8′ long island. They are like the centerpiece of the kitchen. They coordinate with the chandelier over the kitchen table (found here). They are a mixture of wood and metal. Kind of a farmhouse feel with a bit of whimsy. I really, really love them! We had additional recessed lighting added into the design as well as lots of under-cabinet lighting. I think lighting is so important in any space.
The original kitchen already had hardwood floors. We had the original floors sanded down and stained a little bit darker. Not too dark (just a bit lighter than the cherry wood island), but dark enough to add some warmth.
Paint. I went pretty neutral throughout the entire house. The kitchen is Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore. Our white trim around the doors, etc. is White Dove also from Benjamin Moore. I can’t tell you the name of the painted cabinets or stained island since those were custom colors created by our cabinet maker.
One thing we did change was the pantry situation. The original kitchen had a closet-like pantry with sliding doors. This just didn’t seem to be very practical for us. We NEED a good pantry with having a family of six. So I had our cabinet maker create pantry cabinets. The bottom cabinets each have three pullouts so the kids can get to their snacks and things. The upper pantry cabinets have shelves. They work so well. I love being able to see everything that we have to work with when creating a meal for the family. It’s kind of strange showing you the inside of our cabinets…….sort of personal, wouldn’t you say? Although it’s kind of personal showing something the inside of your home too. Today we are getting personal, I guess.
Also, I went back and forth about what to do with the microwave. Originally we were going to get a microwave drawer and have it placed in the kitchen island. But then we heard some negative things about those such as not being able to make microwave popcorn or reheating beverages being difficult. Now I don’t know for sure if those things are true, but it was enough for us to look for other options. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a microwave and having one built in was going to be a bit pricy and was going to be more stainless steel (which I was trying to avoid), so I decided to have our microwave put in one of the pantry cabinets. My husband wasn’t so sure about this idea, but it has been fantastic! No one even knows it’s there and when we want to use it, we just open the cabinet and use it. So easy and way less expensive to just have a basic microwave on a shelf rather than a built in one or a drawer version.
I wanted to make our kids a little more self-sufficient in the new house. So in addition to the pantry cabinets, I had two refrigerator drawers put at the end of the cabinets near the kitchen table. The new fridge is huge and hard for them to access since they are still small. The drawers have all ‘mom and dad approved’ snacks…….fruit, yogurt, applesauce, string cheese, etc. The top drawer has drinks. We don’t let the kids drink juice at home, but they get to take it for school lunch. This would be a great place for white wine or other beverages. We have a beverage fridge in the bar in the dining room, so mixers and wine are kept in that fridge. But I’m SO glad we put in these drawers……..it was one of those things that I went back and forth about wondering if it was worth it…….I would do it again, for sure!
Another splurge I had put in the kitchen was the warming drawer underneath the double oven. The warming drawer looks just like another cabinet, but it’s so helpful. If you entertain a lot or have family members eating at different times in the evening, it’s great for keeping the food warm. Also, you can proof bread in there as well. We used it for that over Christmas and it did a wonderful job! Again, it’s not totally necessary but it’s really nice to have. The one we have is KitchenAid.
One other addition that isn’t very noticeable, is the outlet placed inside one of the cabinet drawers. I really didn’t care for the look of mobile devices charging on the countertops with all the ugly cords. So, the electrician installed an outlet at the back of this small cabinet drawer and it has been great. We typically have the iPads charging in there during the day and phones in there at night. It’s a small little detail, but makes a difference in helping the kitchen feel clutter free.
This is a small thing (and not the prettiest picture), but I really enjoy having a pull-out with our trash and recycling side-by-side. It makes recycling so much easier having everyday access to it right by the trash and it’s good for the kids so they learn the importance of recycling at an early age.
I also added a side cabinet right next to the fridge. The bottom area of the cabinet has hooks and holds aprons and brooms. The top part of the cabinet has cleaning supplies. It’s really nice to have those things so handy.
Let’s see……..anything else? Oh yes, our kitchen table is from Arhaus Furniture and the kitchen chairs and counter stools are from World Market. Arhaus has some similar chairs as well, but I liked the feel of the ones from World Market better. The rug can be found on Amazon.com and is an 8′ round rug for our 54″ round kitchen table.
I have learned that you have to be a really visual person to design a kitchen. I was very hopeful that the cabinets, countertops, tile backsplash, light fixtures and hardware was all going to work together when they were installed. Our cabinet maker came up with the layout, but I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted. If you aren’t working with a kitchen designer, you have to be pretty clear in your design or it could get overwhelming fast.
One bit of advice I would offer to anyone in the process of designing a kitchen (or a whole house, for that matter), is that once you find something you really like, you just need to select it and move on. You could drive yourself crazy with all the different choices and outside influences. No one knows you and your family better than you, so if you like something…………go for it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed look into our kitchen renovation / remodel. It was a lot of work, but truly so much fun! I still can’t believe that we live in this home…….it is a dream come true. Every. single. day. I thank my lucky stars to be living in the New Cottage Home.
I’m looking forward to sharing more posts about the New Cottage Home with you all! If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at Lindsay@thecottagemama.com