Operation Heart of the Home.
Mission: To affordably alter our kitchen to make it more our style and increase the functionality while still fitting our lifestyle.
Timeline: Late 2012 and early 2013 during several phases so we don’t lose the ability to actually use our kitchen.
Budget: under $3000 – preferably closer to $2000
Current Condition: We are slightly above ground zero with this mission. We already added a new fridge, and dishwasher, and revamped a kitchen table & chairs, painted a light fixture, renovated the desk area and hung new island lights. The overall condition of the kitchen can easily be described as dirty and flawed. When we bought the house, the backsplash and countertops were covered with some sort of sticky residue…I was able to clean most of it off the imperfect granite but the tiles have clung to it like stink on a diaper. The stovetop and oven-microwave combo were the only appliances left in the kitchen…the oven and microwave function wonderfully. The stovetop however is chipped and has a downdraft ventilation system that doesn’t work. Plus a burner is broken. The two sinks are fully functional – but the faucets leak at the seal with the countertop. This normally would cause a problem but we noticed that if we only use the faucets to half flow, the amount of leakage is minimal and drains right back into the sink. Full blast while wearing white shorts is not a good idea. The cabinets get a B+. They are properly installed and hold everything we need but besides being knobless for the last 18 months, the doors are marked up and gashed. The floor does blend into the cabinets – and like every Bachelorette knows…too much wood in a room is not always a good thing. There are minimal details in this space including a more traditional rope style crown molding piece on top of the cabinets (not my choice but I think we can make it work) and a very plain and simple island with very traditional corbels.
So that’s where we are at in our heart of the home. We don’t hate the kitchen – but it definitely would suit us more with a few simple changes.
One of the easiest changes would be hardware.
Some folks asked us if we removed all the knobs when we moved in to baby-proof the kitchen for Will. I reply…um…okay sure. But the answer is no. We never had any. It would have definitely been interesting to see what the previous owners had 🙂 They did however leave the holes for us. So kind 🙂
Excuse the mess…I can never seem to keep a countertop free from clutter.
The funny thing about going a year and a half without knobs is that you end up learning exactly how to grab the corners of each drawer or door to open it quickly. And when people came over they struggled with getting their own fork or glass because they couldn’t open the cabinet…and I was all judgey in my brain…like dude, you gotta learn how to open a cabinet if you wanna survive Armegeddon or zombies one day. Searching for canned goods kept Will Smith alive ya know?!
Anyhoo…my goal was to find simple and dark hardware that matched the new island light fixtures. The cabinets will probably be painted in the near future (I’m crossing my fingers for the next two weeks!) so the dark hardware would be just the thing to make them pop.
***For all you PLEASE-DONT-PAINT-YOUR-CABINETS-PEEPS out there….I had wood hued cabinets in my last house…I’m ready for change…and let’s face it – I look better with white in the background vs. orangey wood…and it’s all about making me look good.
I found the Brainerd brand cup pulls from Lowes a while back and we fell in love. HARD. Like Paula-Deen-with-her-first-stick-of-butter hard. We loved the simple style…the fact that it was larger than other cup pulls available in stock for Jeremy’s beefy hands…and hidden screws. Plus, we feel like cup pulls are like a hey-what’s-up kinda nod to country kitchens (not that we are going all-out-country but we do live way out there so it fits). The other thing we loved about it is the fact that it has a silvery undertone. Oil-rubbed bronze hardware all has a gold undertone but we are mixing and matching finishes in this kitchen (stainless fridge, dishwasher, nickel future faucets – black countertops, black accents on stove, dark gray island lights with silvery lining)…so gold is kinda out for us and silvery is kinda in…hence our bff called cast iron…or soft iron…or wrought iron 🙂
But low and behold, Lowes doesn’t sell a knob that matches the iron cup pull. (???) So after scouring the internet for matching knobs I decided that it was worth checking Home Depot’s Martha’s line…they had soft iron knobs that looked simple enough and I was desparate to find ones that didn’t cost $8 each. Thankfully good ole Martha pulled through for me (punny!). She had a bowl knob that matched perfectly and were pretty cheap at $2 a piece.
Now to tackle installing the cup pulls on drawers that already had a hole.
I used a piece of cardstock to create a template. First by marking where the hole is and making sure the top of the card lined up with the top of the drawer. Then I placed my cup pull over the card – making sure the hole was covered and the knob was centered.
I double checked the measurements on both sides to make sure it was centered.
Once I was positive that my tracing was centered and level, I could mark the holes for drilling by punching the tip of the pencil through the template card.
It’s confusing but our cup pulls had two sets of holes you could screw into. I did them both because they would be all covered anyway and this was Jer (who was weilding the drill) could decide which set to use.
Then I just took a pen and marked each drawer for predrilling for the pulls…
As you can see – the inside marks are the ones we eventually used. That’s because our drawer fronts are a little deep and the inside screw holes were better suited for longer screws.
Speaking of screws….we had to do some tweaking to ours.
In the package came a set of short screws and a set of long ones. The long ones were of the break-away variety. Sortof like tear away basketball pants but totally different 🙂 The threads of the screws are segregated into different sections…so you can break away part of the screw to make it the length you need.
This was our first experience with break away screws. (Here’s a picture if you need a visual) These are great for making the screws the perfect length…these are not so great because dude, you are trying to break metal. And last time I checked, metal is kinda hard.
We found that you have to hold one screw with pliers or a grip with the direction of the threads right where you want to break it and then hold the end that you want to break off with another set perpendicular to the other grip. Then with your giant rippling forearm muscles (is it a coincidence that Jeremy was wearing a Popeye shirt? I think not.) you have to rock the end back and forth till it breaks.
Once we had all our metal-wrestling (and workout for the day!) done, we simply screwed these bad boys in.
I love love love the finish and the simplicity.
And the existing holes are completely covered so we didn’t have to worry about them peeking out from underneath the cup pulls 🙂
Overall – such a simple upgrade but one that is so beneficial to all our guests. I still catch myself grabbing the corners of the drawers instead of using the pulls simply out of habit but Jeremy swears that he can’t imagine jamming his bigger fingertips into the tight crevices ever again (haha).
It’s also fun to see that our $30 pendants match them perfectly. Undertones bother me so I’m glad we held out for matching ones instead of just going with the more popular oil-rubbed version.
Here’s a good photo of the side of the island…doesn’t it look cheap!? I think it would be so much nicer with chunky leg details or beadboard or something to make it look less than an afterthought. I guess I’ll have to search Pinterest for inspiration 🙂
Oh and I failed to mention this earlier but those recessed light caps…the gold ones…the ones that stand out like pock marks on a teenager…they can not be spray painted soon enough.
I also wanted to ask ya a question – sortof like a poll…should we glue a pull on that last drawer. I think yes. Jeremy said there is no way to screw it in because the sink comes so close behind it so we would have to glue it on…which I don’t know about sturdiness. This is very important. life changing decisions.
So here is the current condition….
And here is what we want to do with Phase 2 of Operation Heart of the Home. We want to paint all the cabinets. The island will get a different color 🙂 The top cabinets and bottom cabinets will match (Jeremy doesn’t prefer the two-toned and I aim to please)…so we are thinking white…possibly a glaze. The cabinet above the stove top is very damaged with the smoke and moisture that has continually beat on it. So the plan is to buy a hood and build around it so that it looks built in and have it vent to the outside. This poses a problem since most vents need ductwork and we don’t have that. We came up with a plan…we’ll share it later. Also – we can not wait to replace the faucets. It will be so nice not to have a puddle on the countertop around the bottoms…and did I mention they are gold?!
Phase three is a big deal…hopefully we can pick out a great tile for the backsplash. It needs to be washable…we are messy. We also hope to replace the stovetop ($$$) which may require a bigger hole in the granite ($$) which is definitely something we will look into hiring out. And then there is the island…painting it right now is nothing…reworking the details of it will be a much bigger task but hopefully it will look less cheap and really be a focal point in the space.
So how’s that for a lot of info?!
And did I mention that we want to get phase 2 done this month?
Yeah. This pregnancy is starting to get a little tougher…so I need to get my nesting on before I put on that last thirty pounds. Yes, I am one of those girls that packs on like 60 lbs when I’m growing babies – don’t judge me 🙂 But seriously – how bout them knobs?! Took me long enough, huh?!