Kitchen Update: One Year (and a Few Months) Later
We've made so many changes in the kitchen this spring + summer that I didn't feel right giving a one year update. That update would've just included the painted cabinets and new hardware, which made such a HUGE difference in the space, but there's still more! I tested white paints to make sure the tone matched our white backsplash, and it completely changed the space - so much brighter, but also calmer because the white broke up the red tones in the floor and muddy tones of the countertops, which both clashed horribly with the orangey tones of the cabinets (I swear a blind person matched all of these things together - either that or everything was really cheap and they didn't care that it didn't match). So in case you need a reminder of the before:
Once we reinstalled the cabinet doors, I added unlacquered brass hardware for a little bit of warmth and depth. Oil rubbed bronze would've been an easy choice to match the other fixtures in here, but I think it would've been a little flat to have everything match, plus I really love how unlacquered brass gets a patina over time that adds character. I chose smaller knobs and classic mission style pulls for a more subtle feel than the giant western style hardware that was there before, making the kitchen feel more classic:
Shortly after that we replaced the asymmetrical uppers above the bar area with open shelves and filled in the gap in those lowers with shelves. If you need a reminder of how that looked before, it's this section here in the center:
Super awkward with the hole between the lower cabinets, and super annoying with the two foot wide uppers on the left and three foot wide uppers on the right that had different sized doors, looking all accidentally asymmetrical. With a little research and a lot of work, we transformed that into this:
Now it actually looks like this space was meant to be here like this and wasn't an afterthought. Hallelujah. I modified the steps from this tutorial for the shelves between the lower cabinets, and with a little trial and error I think it turned out great!
For the floating shelves I needed 61" boards to come to the edge of the tile, which was proving hard to find standard, so to save money and get a custom look I purchased wood from Home Depot and had it cut to size at the store. I didn't want to have to add/change the tile or drill into the tile to get the shelves to work, so I decided floating brackets were the best bet. I chose these brackets, and thanks to my father-in-law and a friend with a drill press we were able to figure out how to get the shelves up and stable. They used the drill press to make the holes for the brackets straight, and then my father-in-law also secured the right sides of the shelves through the studs from inside the pantry wall. I think the brackets are great for a 1" thick shelf, but the boards that I got were 2" thick (actually 1.75", but when you purchase lumber they label it as 2" - something to keep in mind!), and they were VERY heavy. Without the extra support on the side they leaned forward, so I'm really glad we had that side wall for additional support.
Honestly, after we got those shelves up and I put everything back in the kitchen (reorganized! thank goodness!), I was planning on taking a break from projects for a little while. Painting a whole kitchen is hard work! However, my husband has made it a habit to troll auction sites, and he found a really pretty reclaimed wood dining table that was the perfect size for our kitchen. We weren't planning on replacing that table (it was fine - could be bigger, could be less "farmhouse" and less yellow, but simple, solid wood, and not a priority to replace), but man that table up for auction was a great deal. I had to sand it down, fill in some of the large holes/knots with epoxy, and then stain and seal it, but it really turned out beautifully and is a much better fit for the space:
And of course after we replaced the table, really the only other things that needed to be done were window treatments and artwork (you may remember that we installed the backsplash when we moved in and then we got new chairs and changed the lighting toward the end of 2018). The window treatments and art seemed so small and doable after we had already done everything else, so I decided to wait until we had those up to give you the big reveal! Anyone heard of project creep? When you change one thing and then end up changing everything? ;) It may have been a lot of work, and there are still things that I would not have chosen or would change in an ideal world (with unlimited money and labor!), but I really love this space now!