Hello and happy National Carrot Cake Day!
You’ve seen the main bedroom, the main bathroom, and the living room of the Mulberry House, which leaves us with just one other room. So without further ado, here’s the kitchen!
Let’s start with some before pictures to refresh your memory:
This is what you would see when you first walk into the kitchen from the living room. The floor is a beautiful vinyl sheet with a yellow tile look, and a giant seam down the middle. The laundry area to the left has a ceiling that’s a couple feet lower than the ceiling in the rest of the kitchen.
And this is what you’d see turning slightly to the right. Above the upper cabinets is the only wallpaper in the house (thankfully). The countertops and backsplash are covered in matching, sun-bleached yellow Formica.
This gives you a better view of the laundry area. In theory, the dryer should actually sit fairly flush with the cabinets, but the dryer vent pipe prevents that from happening. The falling ceiling is definitely also a problem.
This is the view standing by the sink and looking towards the laundry area (notice the lower ceiling). Yes, that is paint literally falling off the walls and onto the floor above the door to the living room.
Behind the fridge is the pantry door. It’s unclear why the fridge is in front of the pantry, but I suspect that the fridge and a stove once sat against the wall where the broom and fridge door are. The opening behind the fridge leads to the bathroom (straight ahead), and back entry (to the right).
And as you may remember, directly across from the kitchen cabinets, was the 1319 pound gun safe. This picture really gives you an idea of how badly the paint was peeling.
So anyway, that was our starting point.
After figuring out our layout, the kitchen renovation plan was to:
- remove the safe
- clean, sand, and patch the walls; caulk gaps in the trim
- prime the walls with triple thick primer to prevent further peeling
- paint walls, trim, and cabinets
- add new electrical outlets for the fridge and stove along the wall where the safe was, replace all electrical devices and covers
- paint the ceiling fan
- replace the flooring
- replace the countertops and backsplash
- add cut off valves for the dishwasher and kitchen sink
- replace the sink and faucet
- get a new stove and dishwasher
- refinish the fridge, washer, and dryer
Patching the ceiling was definitely one of the first things I needed to tackle in the kitchen because it was crumbling more and more. I ended up hiring a handyman to do it and he struggled to find anything solid enough to anchor the new drywall to. I did have to do a couple smaller and/or more hidden ceiling patches myself, but none that required new drywall.
There were a number of gaps between pieces of trim and also between the trim and wall / ceiling / floor. Not caulking these would have left the space still looking unfinished but also hopefully helped keep unwanted cold air and hot air and bugs outside.
Peeling wallpaper and paint, and then trying to make the walls look remotely even was definitely the most time consuming part of this room. After peeling off any paint that was remotely interested in being peeled off, I had to wipe down the walls with TSP to control remaining lead paint dust as well as clean, degloss, and degrease the walls thus ensuring better adhesion of the new paint. I read a lot about the best way to do this and ultimately decided to use TSP with proper protective equipment, but there are multiple sources that suggest avoiding the use of TSP for health and environmental reasons which I’m not going to get into.
Then I had to patch holes and try to smooth out edges as best I could with a combination of joint compound and spackle and light sanding. At that point, I was able to start priming the walls. I think I used three coats of triple thick primer and then at least two coats of regular white primer to try to keep the paint from further peeling and even out the walls as much as humanly possible.
And then if you guessed that I painted the ceiling, walls, and trim white, you’d be correct.
The cabinets had all sorts of latching hardware much of which didn’t work and all of which I removed. Of course once I got the cabinets all put back together, I realized that latches of some sort were quite necessary. We ended up causing a fair bit of damage to the hinges while removing them to paint the cabinets because the hinges had been painted over and the screws stripped. So I ended up buying all new hinges. We had just enough of the original cabinet pulls for the whole kitchen and they were in perfect shape so after cleaning them, we were able to reuse them.
I just thought I should share some evidence of why the cabinets needed to be painted.
We decided to keep the perfectly good stainless steel sink but replace the leaky faucet. This picture might be the only evidence I have of how wonky the wall is behind the backsplash.
Pulling up the old sheet vinyl flooring was surprisingly easy. It probably took me 20 minutes to do while Andrew was finishing up his work day. But then scraping up all of the glue and mildew-filled underlayer took another week. Laying the underlayment and luxury vinyl tiles was also pretty quick once we got the hang of it. It took two days to get all of the tile laid, with most of the time spent making weird cuts.
Once all of the tile was down, I had to nail the quarter round back down, as well as cut a couple extra pieces where it had been missing. Then we had to find some trim to use to cover transitions between rooms where the tiles ended. And then it was just more caulk, baby!
There was a fair bit of rust on the fridge, washer, and dryer. It turns out that lightly sanding them and then painting them with appliance paint is a really quick, easy, and effective way of making them look brand new.
I was under a bit of a time crunch to get the house habitable so not everything got done as planned. But here’s what the kitchen is looking like now:
Here’s what you see when you first walk into the kitchen from the living room. Everything is white and there is no more peeling paint. There is no dishwasher in the pictures because it didn’t get delivered until about a week after the tenants moved in.
I can’t say I love the pendant above the sink, but it’s certainly better than the old fluorescent tube it replaced.
Here’s a slightly different angle. I had purchased everything I needed to replace the countertops way back in August, but didn’t want to do it until after painting which ultimately meant I didn’t have time to do it before the tenants moved in. I was planning to keep the vintage vibe of the Formica but with a fresh, un-faded salt and pepper design. However, I actually really like the pop of colour the the old yellow countertop brings, so I might try to replicate that when I get to updating the countertop in phase two.
The dryer still sticks out way beyond the cabinets so for phase two, I could try to move the vent, but I’m leaning towards just building a small section of wall between the cabinets and the dryer, that sticks out maybe a foot beyond the dryer to partially separate the kitchen and laundry areas.
This is the wall that was previously occupied by the safe. On the left is a portable dehumidifier because I was never able to fully manage the ridiculous humidity levels that this house experiences in the summer. Beside that is obviously the fridge. On either side of the range, I had intended to add additional storage and work surfaces but that will have to wait until phase two.
My sister-in-law replaced all of her kitchen appliances and offered us her old range. It turns out that it was exactly the kind of stove I wanted for this house and the price was right. Perfect. It is not hooked up in this picture because it needed a new power cord, which the electrician father of the tenant offered to hook up for me. Long story short: when they attempted to plug it in, it fried the motherboard. So I had to order a new range which was successfully delivered and installed about a week later.
I obviously did not get around to updating the ceiling fan. So this is how the entire kitchen side of the kitchen turned out. The tenants ended up picking out an old wood dresser or something that they found in the shed, and they put it under the window to use as a coffee station. I wish I had a picture because it did a great job of warming up the space and making it look more like home.
You might remember from the living room reveal that I painted the inside of the built-in cabinet yellow but failed to take a picture. Well here is one picture of the inside of the kitchen cabinets which I also painted bright, happy, yellow.
Although I had wanted to properly tile it, I used a peel and stick tile for the backsplash because the wall was so messed up, uneven, and unlevel. Up close, you can definitely tell that the wall is not flat, but with a little extra adhesive, the tiles stay in place and do a good job of making the space look finished.
As you can also see, some of the windows were very much in need of replacing. I ordered new windows in August, but they didn’t actually arrive and get installed until after the tenants moved in in December.
So there are definitely some projects left for phase two which will hopefully not be for a while.
Here are all the details and sources:
Cabinet interior paint: Behr Ultra Interior Semi-Gloss Enamel in Unmellow Yellow
Appliance paint: Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy in Gloss White
Cabinet knobs: vintage, similar
Cabinet hinges: Liberty Chrome 3/8 in. Inset Cabinet Hinge Without Spring
Cabinet latches: Everbilt Double Roller Catch with Spear
That’s it, I’ll talk to you next week!