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Kitchen refresh, Before & After

When we first embarked on this adventure, there were a lot of unknown variables; the condition of the floor that lingered beneath the carpet, the potential for re-inventing the cabinets, overall layout, and the island. Each unknown addressed, each problem solved. The work was physically demanding, but rewarding as well. Breathing life back into a kitchen which had long been on life support for entirely too long proved to be worth the effort.

The cabinets had come together, the bead board inset was looking good, but for the bonus upper cabinets, I wanted something a bit different. I had seen in my research online that in some cases, glass had been added to the bonus cabinets and we lighted from inside, adding another layer of lighting to the kitchen. It was a look I really liked and felt if would break up the white field of doors that we were now facing.

After seeking out and visiting with the owner of the Stained Glass Workshop in Fargo, I selected a semi-opaque glass. I wanted something that would obscure the contents but let the optimal amount of light though as well. This glass was one of the few splurges that we made in the kitchen, at $70 for the 9 pieces we needed.

It sounds a bit odd to think of $70 as the splurge, but it really was one of those things that I just really wanted to be right. We could have gone with flat inexpensive glass and added a texture behind, but I really wanted this particular kind of glass. Other than the kitchen sink, it was one of the few things that I had a definite opinion about.

Tangent: the sink
Initially I was really set on finding a copper sink, I had spent time online researching them and had sought the advice of a few people I knew who had them. Advice received was a resounding, don't do it! Maintenance, staining, denting, etc. just proved to be more than I wanted to take on. Instead, reviews indicated that composite granite might be a better option. At the $300 range, the miser in me kicked in, I questioned the payoff in investing more in the sink vs. the faucet. I really liked the sink, but didn't want to shell out $300 for it. To my absolute delight as I was strolling through Lowes, as I was doing frequently these days, I noticed just the one I had decided I wanted, floor model, for $50. Done!

Back to the cabinets
The installation of the doors was a bit more challenging that we had first anticipated. A friend who had painted cabinets recently had warned us to be careful that the additional paint could cause the doors to not close properly. We had been very careful, and yet found between the additional paint and difference in hinges, they were a bit tight. After a bit of engineering and brute force, we were able to make the necessary adjustments.

Now that the glass had been purchased, installed in the bonus uppers, we needed to address how to light those cabinets. I researched a number of options and decided that the most economical was going to be a simple rope light. At $9 it certainly fit the bill for another couple of dollars, I picked up the clips made for installing it.

We opted for a simple dark knob and hinges to finish off our cabinet make over. The price of knobs has come down from the last time I had looked with many home improvement stores offering bulk packages and reasonably prices options.

Overall, we spent roughly two months, working on the kitchen, evenings and weekend with a few breaks and vacations in the mix. The expense of the endeavor was about $3,500, a third of which was devoted to the floor, along with the the purchase of a few tools, as well as linens, a few decorations, etc. There are still some areas that I have yet to decorate, but that will come in time. For now, we will sit back, look at the progress we have made and get back to the business of making the kitchen the heart of the home once again.

I must say, I couldn't be more pleased.

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