kitchen design

Before & After: The Shack Kitchen

With The Shack being ready for visitors, it's time to start sharing the Before & After photos and giving you guys all the sources!

(Affiliate links ahead...)

The truth about this kitchen is it was a fairly easy update, but the difference is major! The pieces were there, they just needed a little tweaking. Before the facelift, the kitchen felt disjointed and colLet's revisit what the kitchen looked like before the tweak.

This is an IKEA kitchen, I recognized the stuff immediately. I applaud what the previous owner did to get some creative storage in here, but it just wasn't feeling clean and inviting. Also, as a vacation home, it didn't need all of this storage. First thing I did was remove the upper cabinets and storage since it wasn't necessary and was contributing to a lot of chaos visually. Then I brightened and de-yellowed the space by having the entire home painted Dunn Edwards Whisper. It's a nice white that is bright but not blinding. It has a softness to it. Now I had a blank canvas. The kitchen was starting to feel less heavy.

 

Next was setting up the space to accommodate guests. I obviously needed a new range as the old one was broken. I had also taken down the stubby looking hood and cabinet, so I had to figure something out there. I originally wanted to just leave it open without a hood, but changed my mind later, bc that's what I do. There was a hole that vented the outside so I thought eh, might as well put in another hood. There really is no good reason for this change of mind because in the end the hole needed to be filled and a new one made for the new hood. That happens sometimes. I'm still happy with the outcome.

Since I was trying to make this kitchen feel nice and open, I opted for a white hood. Hoods can feel so heavy and bulky, especially in a small space. I wanted it to blend in with the wall. It also feels clean and bright without a big stainless hood hanging overhead.

Hood | Wood Utensils | Cement Tile turned trivet

This side of the kitchen was pretty much finished after figuring out those appliances. The only other thing I did was move the microwave. Next was the coffee bar area. I loved the stainless table with shelf rack that were already there. I moved the microwave over to this area so I could make room for dishes, pots and pans on the other shelf racks by the range. It just seems to me, too, that these days the microwave is mostly used for warming up your coffee. AMIRIGHT? Made sense to me. Aside from outfitting the area with all the coffee needs, the only thing left was to dress it up with some decor.

State Eye Chart | Coffee Pot | Mug Stand | Frame for Vintage Map | Round Cutting Board | Toaster

Use code FW17 for a discount on State Eye Charts!

If you followed the Insta stories I posted while putting this all together, you know it was not just as simple as throwing some stuff in and BOOM it's done. So often in blog posts and on social media it comes off like the designer or DIYer just whipped some shit up and it was done. As if every piece was planned ahead of time and went off without a hitch. 

GUESS WHAT....THAT'S A LIE.

Sure, I had ideas. But many of them I abandoned or changed in the process. For instance I had every intention of putting floating shelves above the coffee bar. But, then the $200 price tag and a week delay came and I was like UM NO THANKS. It may be only $200 and it may have been a great idea, but at this point in the project I was feeling the squeeze on my wallet. So, instead I opted to spend way less. The frame was buy 1 get 2 free, so that cost about $17 bucks for this one frame. The map was free-ish. It was laying around at my house (read forgotten) and not originally intended for this property. I think I paid $5 for it at a garage sale 5 years ago. The money was already spent. But, let's include it for shits and gigs. Then there were the two hooks I used to hang the boards, that I already had leftover from another project. Those were probably $3 each at Home Depot. The cutting boards I had already purchased for this house and were just going to lean against the wall. Hanging them up just filled in the space visually. So, the cost to fill this wall was $17 for the frame I bought specifically for this wall OR actual cost of around $28. Better than $200. Do that several times on a project and the savings really start to add up!

What was also not so easy was hanging these things. The walls in The Shack are block with plaster, so nothing hangs easily. I broke 3 drill bits, made many gashes and unnecessary holes, sweat like a mofo and dropped a good amount of F bombs. So yeah I think the kitchen is cute and simple, but that doesn't mean it was easy. Hanging the shades alone made me want to murder everyone. Even just the thinking about I was going to do to replace the original shelf idea took some brain power. Constant. Laying in bed. Driving. Thinking. Thinking. You get the picture.

No one talks about the tax all of this thinking takes on you. Seriously, though.

If you're ever renovated or updated a space, you know the drain.

Other projects that were cut in the final days were replacing the tile counters, the faucet and covering the underneath of the sink. The tile counters, while not my favorite, had to stay. The wall juts out strangely here which is difficult to see. The tile counter wraps from the left of the sink to behind it just under the window. So, the counter would have to be extra deep. It's something I'd like to replace some day but not now. The faucet is not great at all. It should be replaced soon. It works but eh. And then the area under the sink is still exposed. I hung a curtain there and I just didn't like the idea of it. I envisioned people kicking it or touching it with their dirty hands to access the trash can. It put some fluffiness into the room where I didn't want it. All in all I just didn't like it. I didn't want to have something that would just turn into a bigger eyesore due to grime. Cleanliness is a big deal when staying in an unfamiliar place in my opinion. I want to put our best foot forward.

So, with the run through wrapped up, it's time for the BEFORE & AFTER!

I loved this project because it was a house with good pieces I could work with. Aside from paint and HVAC work, there really wasn't much more to this house than cosmetic updates. And what a relief! I'll take this kind of project ALL. DAY. LONG.

I could piece some numbers together to give you an idea of what I spent, but in reality the update was in the paint (whole house), hood, range and decor. And if you're really looking at this kitchen, the decor is actual functioning kitchen items aside from the stool and rug (which I already had). The plates I bought for staging 2 years ago at a thrift store. it's not a full set but who needs a full set for a vacation rental meant for 2 (4 max with sleeper sofa)? The black and white trivets are leftover cement tiles from another project that I put felt stickers on. The small appliances, the knives, the mug stand, the utensils, cutting boards and pots and pans, and other kitchen essentials were all purchased new for this home, but I find that difficult to add into a renovation cost. A "normal" person would already have those. The microwave and the fridge both came with the house.

Let's add the up numbers.

Range $200, Hood $265, Rug maybe $150 2 years ago, Stool $5 at a Safeway that was closing, let's allocate a generous fraction of the whole house painting at around $400.....totaling $1020.

If it were just the kitchen I would've just painted it myself. Not too shabby, though!! I'll be putting together the other areas of the house so stay tuned for those. Below is a list of the sources for this house. Comment with any questions.


Midnight Macrame-ing and Hanging Planter In My Kitchen

This is not a how to post about macrame. I just freaking learned it. I also just learned that it is only a bunch of knots. I can't believe this. Here I thought it was going to be so complicated and time consuming. Anyway, I really wanted to learn how so I could make all the things. One of those things I've been longing for is a hanging planter in my kitchen. 

YES. In my kitchen. I don't have any lights hanging down over my kitchen island which is sometimes a big bummer when you are a lighting freak like me. Then I saw what Three Birds Renovations did in Lana's kitchen and knew this was the answer! Yes, please.

So, now the issue of learning how to macrame. First of all there are 1.2 million tutorials on the internets about how to do this. I used this one as it was a larger pot, just like the one I wanted to use and didn't look too complicated for a beginner like me. I also bought a macrame book, naturally, bc I love books. This book is bomb.

It has so many patterns I think I could make just about anything with this in hand. Some day I hope to make a big tapestry or macrame something like Mandi at Vintage Revivals did with this bed. Some day I'll be that cool.

One night after my daughter went to bed, I set to work on my macrame planter. Four year olds and craft projects requiring concentration don't mix. I sat down on the floor next to my dining room table so I could anchor the planter hanging ring under the table leg. I had no idea if I'd still be sitting there the next morning with my hair pulled out trying to win at knots. To my surprise I was done in about 30 minutes. Isn't it so interesting how we build these things up to seem like such a big deal and then you grab some string and realize in about 15 minutes that this ain't that bad.

Since I finished the planter hanging so fast I was a little disappointed that it went so fast and I didn't get to practice a bunch of knots. So, I found a stick and practiced the knots a bit longer so I knew I had the hang of it.

I think I have the hang of this. My daughter loved this little macrame practice tapestry. Her and my husband thought this looked like a good hammock for one of her babies. :) This macrame thing will also come in handy making some sort of project in my camper. Since I am the "vintage" half of our Vintage vs. Vanity Camper Throwdown, I have to make sure I live up to the name. Macrame fits my 70s theme well.

Here's the new hanging planter with vintage pot in my kitchen. I think it helps fill some of the vertical visual space. Since I removed the upper cabinets It's been a little bare. I love it. But it's bare. This bright plant helps.

Macrame Hanging planter of kitchen island

I threw that painting up there that I had and I'm not sure if I'm in love. I wanted to take it down but my family outvoted me. They like it. So, it will stay and I'll see about adding more artwork down the wall. I'll have to figure out something for over the range that will not get too disgusting with grease. I could install a hood, I guess. We obviously are getting by without one so I'm in no hurry. Plus I kinda like not having a big metal appliance overhead.

What do you think about the overhead space in my kitchen? Artwork? Range hood? Emptiness? Comment below and help a girl out!

How To Design A Custom Range Hood

Let's talk about the super secret in custom kitchen details...custom range hoods. Seriously the biggest "joke" out there because it's seriously so easy. I love love love this trick if you can call it that. We all want custom details yet rarely look to the range hood for help. We throw up a stainless thing and assume we can't afford to trick this area out. Not true. The range, and therefore the hood, are typically a focal point in the kitchen. They are the center of attention. So, it makes sense that this would be a place to drop some dough. BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DROP A TON. The big secret to custom hoods is....

THEY ARE JUST A FREAKING BOX!

Frame it. Cover it. Throw a hood insert inside. Done. I discovered this a few years ago and have been trying to do them ever since. No need to buy an expensive matching cabinet hood cover. Truthfully I don't even know what those are called because I refuse to pay for them. Instead I have my contractor build them for me. You could build one or hire a handyman or contractor. Totes easy and way cooler. 

The Hood Insert

The hood insert is something you can easily purchase. Here is one that I've used pretty often.

***It does not come with the venting kit and the hood liner ( the framed part around the actual appliance shown in the photo), so make sure you get those, too. Amazon shows them as "frequently purchased together" if you scroll down, so you can add them all to your cart at once. The total comes to just under $330. 

Please note: I'm not saying this will always be less expensive than just installing a regular all-in-one hood appliance. The chimney hood shown is also $330 but the price can go way up from there. Obviously, in this scenario this hood would be less than doing custom since the insert alone costs $330 before building out the custom part. Take a peek at the options between what chimney hood you would choose and what kind of custom hood you would like. You might find that the most acceptable all-in-one version for your kitchen is going to cost you the same as custom. Do math. Then decide.

Where To Put It

Now, let's get to some ideas. The following are four totally different styles I've done. The first one was my first custom hood.

Custom Modern Range Hood with Wood Trim

In the photo below you can see a gray bump out in the living room. I wanted to recreate that shape in the hood. I didn't want anything fancy or intricate. I wanted sleek and modern. So, my contractor framed out the area above the range all the way to the ceiling, drywalled it and trimmed out the bottom. He used the same wood to create floating wood shelves on either side.

Hood Insert for Custom Range Hood

That's it! Literally just a drywalled box! You can see in the photo above how the insert sits inside the new drywalled box.

Another style I did just recently was the same idea but bridged between two cabinets. The contractor framed out....you guessed it.... another box and then we wrapped it with some salvaged cedar siding from another house. This could easily be painted shiplap if you'd prefer that look.

Custom Range Hood with Cedar Wood Shiplap
Custom Range Hood with Shiplap cedar

See more about this kitchen here.

A third custom hood I designed for a kitchen was this adobe looking specimen. It was supposed to be actual adobe but we had trouble getting the adobe people wrangled. So, we moved on from that idea and went with plaster. Looks like adobe and blended well with the walls.

Custom Adobe style hood made with plaster and cedar
Custom Plastered Range hood with Cedar wood trim

Now, the more detail you add to it the more it will cost. Adding trim details take time, so forgo those if possible. But still, even a little bit won't hurt. This hood I did had just enough trim to help it fit in with the cabinetry but not break the bank.

Shaker Kitchen with Custom Style hood with insert

So that's how it's done. Build a box. Wrap it. Boom, done. I'll say one of the keys to being successful at doing custom details like this is making sure you have a contractor or handy person who is game. Not just someone that says, "Sure I can do that.", but is actually interested and excited. As is with every job and project, if the major players aren't into it, then the finish product may not be as creative and frickin' awesome as it could be. Gauge their interest and your determination on whether to move forward with the custom hood, ditch it for an all-in-one hood or find someone else more suitable to implement your plan.

Ready? Go.