DAY 19 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Vanity

Channel the DAY 7 Kitchen Cabinets and DAY 13 Clear Your Counters vibes from the kitchen and whip your vanities into shape!

STEP 1: CLEAR IT

Take all the shit out of it. Take all the shit off of it. Rearrange. Reorganize. Purge the shit. The end.

STEP 2: PAINT

Paint that thing. It will take less than half a day, hopefully.

STEP 3: HARDWARE

Add some. See some hardware I posted about on DAY 7 for kitchen cabinets. Here are the ones in the photo above.

STEP 4: COUNTER

Getting trickier here. Several options here:

  1. Add some stone like we did here with this marble look quartz. This cost something like $300 maybe. I can’t remember. Definitely wasn’t more.

  2. Replace it with butcher block (from Floor & Decor or the like). That is easy to cut if you have a circular saw or know someone who does. Seal it with butcher block oil or poly.

  3. Replace with a simple counter sink combo from Home Depot like this one or this one. Those are nice because they are simple AND include the sink.

STEP 5: SINK

Some people dislike vessels. I get it, it makes the vanity taller. If you have a lower vanity, like the one in the photo, it actually helped to make it taller without replacing the whole vanity. I also prefer the flat bottom vessels, like this one I have bought about 10 times, because the ones that look like a bowl end up spinning and leaking.

STEP 6: FAUCET

No need to replace it if it’s fine, but if you do, refer to DAY 14 for some good faucets to purchase.

STEP 7: STORE IT

Find a place for your toothbrush, your hair spray (do people still use that stuff?), your hair dryer, the hand towel…..all the shit that lays out on your vanity top. Put it away somewhere. Give it a home. Live free of crap in your face.

Check out the before and after of that bathroom with the updated vanity. Click on the photo to see more about that makeover

Below are the resources mentioned above in this post.

Go. Go forth and conquer your vanity and win your space back.

DAY 12 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Paint Something

You know this one was coming. Today throw some paint on something.

This isn’t rocket science. Find something, paint it. Perhaps that thing you’ve been meaning to paint for a long long time. Here are some ideas

  1. A piece of furniture

  2. A door

  3. An entire room

  4. Your kitchen cabinets (google how to do this or ask someone at your local paint store. The cabinets and wall above were painted with a wipeable matte paint from Home Depot)

  5. An accent wall

  6. An appliance

  7. A railing

  8. Spray paint a light or plumbing fixture (see ones that I spray painted in this post)

  9. Patio furniture

  10. Your floors

  11. Some Shutters

  12. Door handles

  13. Cabinet Hardware

There are so many things to paint. In the link above I even painted a shower curtain rod. If you are hesitant because you don’t want to sand something, then try chalk paint which literally needs zero prep, just slap that shit on. I use this one pretty often.

If you are hesitant because what if you mess up or you are afraid of the outcome, then your job is to first go spend some time on Pinterest looking for examples. But, it’s just paint. It can be painted again.

Show me what you painted!

Before & After: Clarendon Kitchen

Ahhh this kitchen. One of the things I love about flipping and designing is there are always new projects to tackle... starting from scratch. If the project drags on for a long time, like it does when doing an addition, I get antsy. I change my mind. I redesign. This kitchen was 9 months in the making since this house had an addition added to the front and the back. Since it took so dang long, I'm really shocked that this kitchen didn't change too much throughout the process. The cabinet color changed about eleven-teen times and the lighting and hardware is different but the bulk of it is pretty much what was planned. 

But I digress. Let's go back to the beginning. Below is the original kitchen in this home.

REtro Kitchen Before Renovation

This is not the same room mind you. This room was gutted and eventually became a study. As mentioned in the exterior before and after post, we added on to the back of the house and part of that addition was the kitchen. Having the kitchen at the back of the house made more sense. It's nice to be able to look out on the backyard and be closer to the outdoor entertainment area. Plus, as mentioned in that exterior post, I desperately wanted a servery window. More on that in a minute.

I started by drawing out the floor plan of the new room and then put together the design board. I try to do this even for my own projects because it makes it so much easier for the contractor to "read my mind".

Clarendon New Kitchen Floor Plan and Elevations

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links for products used or originally intended to use for this design.

Top Kitchen: Lauren Liess, Middle Kitchen: Hale House , Bottom Kitchen: CKS Design Studio, Bar stool, Sconce, Faucet, Hardware, Espresso Machine

Side note: I'm pinning like a mofo. Follow me on Pinterest if you are an obsessed design badass, too.

I'm not an artist but it gets the job done. The sketches are necessary so everyone from architect to contractor can see what I'm envisioning. A floor plan alone can't always show these kinds of details. I'd like to say that I can do a 3D rendering but why bother with that learning curve when a pencil and a ruler are much faster and just as effective? Plus I like drawing.

You can see that there is a gray color in there for the cabinet paint color but of course that didn't stick bc...time. I don't even remember what color that was. Other things changed as well, such as the hardware and the sconces because I ultimately decided against brass in this kitchen. For the design board I also threw in staging items to finish off the look. Usually it's just a "suggestion", like the bar stools. Those would have been dope AF to put into my flip but with the cabinets ending up blue and that price tag, I decided to abort that mission. 

--> Links to what I did actually use are at the bottom of this post.

Guys it's AGONY to wait for 9 months to see your creation come to life. LIKE TORTURE EVEN. I'm serious. I lose my shit. I'm not even going to try to pretend I don't. I start staging when the house hasn't even been finished or cleaned yet. I have piles of furniture in a side room waiting for the right time, which still isn't the right time but it is MY time. Not convenient for anyone but yet I still do it. Anyway....it was eventually finished.

I am very happy with the results. I made quite a few decisions in this kitchen that were a little bolder than usual. To have one out there idea is fine but 4 is nerve racking.

Out There Decision One

At the time I was designing this kitchen, I was catching quite a bit of flack about my Haver Home's kitchen and its lack of upper cabinets, thus prompting me to design yet another kitchen without upper cabinets. Wahhahahaha!!! I'll show you guys. I'll stick a giant pantry in the middle of the kitchen and you can store ALL THE THINGS....AND I'll add an actual pantry closet. Nobody can tell me no upper cabinets. NOBODY. It's sad this is how my mind works but it does.

Out There Decision 2

Something that was a stretch for me, and felt quite naughty, was the backsplash. It felt so fancy to be putting in a full slab backsplash. Mind you I've been renovating houses mostly in the $100,000-$200,000 range for a decade now, so to be pushing the luxurious limits in this kitchen felt wrong but oh so right. This house would list for $600,000 so I wanted to make sure the kitchen fit the price tag. I went for it with the marble. MARBLE EVERYWHERE. And even MARBLE to put things on. So fancy.

Out There Decision 3

Another custom design element was the hood. Custom hoods are one of the easiest things to put into a kitchen without much cost or effort. All you have to do is build a box and install a hood insert. Boom. Done. This concept is not so "out there" for me at this point, but spanning it between the pantry and fridge and forgoing any upper cabinetry here felt like a bold move. I had a bunch of cedar that we tore off of my Haver Home so we wrapped the hood with that. It brought in a nice warm farm-y element. 

Out There Decision 4

The final fun design piece that was planned from the very beginning was the servery bar window. This had to be accounted for in the architectural drafting phase. From the get go this window was going to be implemented, but for some reason was very difficult to come up with a budget friendly solution. In the end my contractor had the cabinet maker build it out. I love how it swings open all inviting like.

So there you go. An out there farm-like kitchen. Let's get one final look at this house's original kitchen (not the same room) and the new kitchen.

Clarendon Kitchen Before & After.JPG

And just for fun I'll show you the original room, or at least part of it before the addition, and the new kitchen in the same area.

Farmhouse Kitchen Before and After
Dining Room Turned Farmhouse Style Kitchen

It's all worth it for those Before and After shots! Details and finishes for this kitchen are listed below.

Get your very own Before & After starting at $250. Click here for more info.

Click through here to see more of this house.


Color Palette:

Cabinets: Dunn Edwards Long Lake

Cabinets: Dunn Edwards Long Lake

Walls: Behr Whisper White

Walls: Behr Whisper White

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy

Counters: Arabescato Carrara

Counters: Arabescato Carrara


Finishes Used:

Click on any photo to learn more. Some of these are affiliate links, yo.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schoolhouse Kitchen Design

I LOVE SMALL KITCHENS. 

LOVE THEM.

The wonderful thing about them is that there's hardly any room to spend a lot of money. So, the challenge becomes geometry more than anything. What's even better is starting from scratch. Tear it all out, put the water and electric where you want it and make an entirely reconfigured space. This kitchen started from this:

Luckily the slate was wiped clean. Almost everything was torn out including that door to the right. There was already another exit to the back deck so we didn't need the one in the kitchen. Fewer obstructions like windows and doors = so much room for activities! Here's the blank slate floor plan in which you can see the other doorway to the back deck (and basement) on the right. The original kitchen exit door was in the top wall on the rendering.

I went to work first on the layout.  This was one of the trickiest floor plans. The most obvious and frankly, the best possible scenario would have been to have a peninsula parallel the dining room (which is at the bottom of the rendering, out of the picture). However, this would mean either jamming the range and fridge together on the back wall (top of the rendering), or having the range in the peninsula.

Me no likey.

Putting the range in the peninsula would mean having a hood smack dab in the middle. I don't like that either. It blocks the view and clutters things up. Clutter is dumb. What to do!?!? I had to stop myself and demand that I think outside the box. Think of a different shape. Think of a different way. And then the clouds parted and the new layout was born. 

Like I said, it's not the ideal. The ideal would've been a nice bar area alongside the dining room, but that wasn't happening. In this new plan we get bar seating and space between all of the appliances. In order to have the bar next to the basement stairs and not feel like you were blocking the pathway, we used 12" wall cabinets that the contractor built up onto a base instead of using standard 24" base cabinets. Now the stools could slide under and out of the way. If you are sitting at the peninsula, you are 12" closer to the kitchen (further from the basement stairwell) than if you used standard base cabinets. 

Next was putting together a look. That was not so difficult. The schoolhouse-industrial vibe is big in Cincinnati, so I went with what the people (and I) like. I also wanted to make sure the small kitchen felt clean and spacious. So, I kept the color palette to black and white. Once you have a direction in your mind, it's a matter of plucking all the pieces that will make it happen.

Side note:

I knew Nicole at Revival Designs was going to be staging the home. I knew her stuff would look excellent in this space. Keep the appropriate decor and furnishings in mind! All kitchen designs can feel sterile if you don't consider the decor. I usually include items such as plants, kitchen gadgets and artwork in my designs so people can see how it will come together. Had I left out the cutting board, stool and the photo with the styled countertop, my client might not have been impressed. Design is not just tile and cabinets. You must be able to see the big picture.

The design turned out exactly as I had hoped. 

The floors under the layers of grossness were actually salvageable! I love how they run diagonally and much more interest than any tile could have provided.

This layout provides easy access to the kitchen from the dining room without having to walk around a peninsula. It also provides seating for three. Another bar stool can be added there on the end. Another perk of this design is the cost of the materials. You just can't get any less expensive than subway tile and black granite. Ok, you can, that's a lie. But, seriously these materials are both good quality AND classic design. There's always the allure of fancy tiles and higher end slabs, but usually it is unnecessary. 

And the ever popular before and after photo...

I love the simplicity of this design. Every detail from top to bottom was considered. It must've worked because this house, a house flip in Cincinnati, was under contract in 2 days! Did I mention I live in Phoenix? Long distance design is a thing. Design services for your space, wherever you may be, are available starting at $250. Click here for more info. More details about this kitchen are in the design board below. Click through to get info on each item.

Design Becomes Reality: Minty Vintage Kitchen

The frustrating thing about renovations, flipping houses and all thing construction is that it seems to take a frickin' frackin' backin' packin' ETERNITY to see the results. Usually just months, but still. The people want their AFTER pics!

Trust, so do I. Here you go...

Before and After Minty Vintage Kitchen Remodel Subway Tile Backsplash

Hooray! I like. So fresh and so clean (clean). Let's back up and see the entire process from beginning to end. Here's the before in big picture glory. 

Oak Cabinet Kitchen Before
Oak Cabinet Kitchen before renovation

Most landlords would leave this as-is in this price range. All of the appliances worked. Everything was in good condition. Maybe a coat of paint on the walls, a cleaning and call it a day. Not me. I just CAN'T.

Must. Make. Pretty.

But, on a budget.

There's a fine line between updating because an investment property and just renovating because I want it to be pretty. So, I started with an inspiration kitchen and took it from there. See the design board below. Thanks to A Lovely Lark for being making such an awesome kitchen to be inspired by!

 I wish I could have staged it with some funky vintage items , but I'm lucky I even got photos. This house was rented before we were even finished with it! 

A good problem to have....must not complain. Here is the real deal for your full sized viewing pleasure.

White kitchen with mint base cabinets and white appliances

This time my goal was to make a great tenant friendly, yet budget friendly space. These were my requirements:

  • Durable and can stand up to use and abuse over many years.
  • Can clean up easily.
  • Is a pretty space.
  • Is something to be proud to rent to others.
  • Is somewhere I would live. 

Many of these points are the OPPOSITE of most landlords. Durable and easy to clean are pretty standard, I think. I mean you'll get those people that don't care, they just want a body in there. For me, I want materials that will last. This is why I chose granite counters, a backsplash and to paint the cabinets white. These finishes are likely be in style for a while, are durable products and will clean up easily. The gray grout in the backsplash will stand up to staining over the years and the white cabinets can easily be painted over. 

I wanted the space to also be pretty and different than other rental homes. Such a #girlboss. Who wants to live in a builder grade snoozefest? If the tenant thinks it is special, they will take better care of it. They may also stick around longer instead of looking for greener pastures. Things will go wrong, furnaces will quit at 8pm on a cold winter's night. That's owning a home. That happens. But, not offering something that you can be proud of is not for me. I want to know that my home is a great place to live. I want to feel comfortable living there. If I do then it's likely my tenants will, too. 

Costs

This renovation was not expensive, as far as renos go. I mean in comparison to the full gut job renovations I usually do. Here are the costs to update this kitchen:

  • Labor: $1,200 --- Painting walls and cabinets + installing hardware/backsplash/faucet + fixing a plumbing issue + installing range hood/disposal + cleaning 
  • Appliances: $700 --- range + hood + disposal
  • Counter: $1,400 --- granite + single bowl stainless steel sink + installation
  • Other Materials: $300  knobs and pulls + faucet +  tile + grout + plumbing parts + etcetera....
  • Total  = $3,600 

Pretty good for the transformation, in my opinion. Not only does it look better, I feel confident it will stand the test of time for years to come. If mint flavored base cabinets are no longer as yummy as they seem right now, then we can easily switch to the avocado or burnt orange colors of tomorrow!