Kitchen Renovation Dilemmas

So, here’s what I’m dealing with:

This is the view as you come in the kitchen from the carport.

This is the view as you come in the kitchen from the carport.

You come in the kitchen door, and here is this long-ass narrow, almond-colored monstrosity of a kitchen.

You come in the kitchen door, and here is this long-ass narrow, almond-colored monstrosity of a kitchen.

So, please note the god-awful cabinets, which I’m hoping can be painted over. According to Home Depot, i can paint them with an oil-based paint. Seriously, i detest these damn cabinets. Also note the overhead light. It has to go. But what to put there instead – Ideas?

Sink has to stay. Cabinets have to stay. Almond appliances have to stay. Almond floor tiles have to stay. (Considering either Flor tiles, or a very large rug in there, though. Thoughts?)

So, anything that we use needs to coordinate with almond floors (or cover them) and with the almond appliances. I could shoot the old people who used to live here in the head for putting in crappy cheap laminate cabinets, almond appliances, and such light tile. It shows every little smudge and crumb. Also needs to coordinate with the two paintings I have that are going in the kitchen. This is what makes me think blues, grays, cremes, whites, with maybe touches of red or apple green.

Inspiration 1: Colors I choose need to work with this.

Inspiration 1: Colors I choose need to work with this.

And it needs to work with this. My friend Leigh painted it for me, and it absolutely has to go in the kitchen.

And it needs to work with this. My friend Leigh painted it for me, and it absolutely has to go in the kitchen.

This is the breakfast nook. It is tiny. We have a wooden table we are keeping in there. It is round and we are thinking of refinishing it. Todd just wants to stain it; I was thinking painting it. Would love to incorporate a banquette in this corner. Think it might save space. See that light fixture? It's outta there. Thinking pendant of some sort. Something much smaller.

This is the breakfast nook. It is tiny. We have a wooden table we are keeping in there. It is round and we are thinking of refinishing it. Todd just wants to stain it; I was thinking painting it. Would love to incorporate a banquette in this corner. Think it might save space. See that light fixture? It's outta there. Thinking pendant of some sort. Something much smaller.

Also thinking i will take the doors off those cabinets in the picture above, just to open it up some more.

This is the view if you are standing in the corner of the breakfast area. Sadly, this makes it look even bigger than it really is. God, it's awful. You get the idea of the almondness from this view.

This is the view if you are standing in the corner of the breakfast area. Sadly, this makes it look even bigger than it really is. God, it's awful. You get the idea of the almondness from this view.

This is the view of the kitchen, looking towards the carport door from the foyer. See that door on the right? I want to get rid of it to open things up. Todd likes it. I think this pretty much shows off the narrowness of the space.

This is the view of the kitchen, looking towards the carport door from the foyer. See that door on the right? I want to get rid of it to open things up. Todd likes it. I think this pretty much shows off the narrowness of the space.

This is the doorway we were just looking through. To the right of that door is the pantry.

This is the doorway we were just looking through. To the right of that door is the pantry.

This is the wall space wasted by the door to the foyer. We usually have the door open, so this is covered.

This is the wall space wasted by the door to the foyer. We usually have the door open, so this is covered.

And here is the same space with the door open. (Looking across the foyer, down the stairs to the basement.)

And here is the same space with the door open. (Looking across the foyer, down the stairs to the basement.)

Same view. Creme door is laminate. Hoping to prime it, then paint the door with chalkboard paint. That's Brody, standing in the foyer. Left behind him goes to the basement, right goes up to the bedrooms.

Same view. Creme door is laminate. Hoping to prime it, then paint the door with chalkboard paint. That's Brody, standing in the foyer. Left behind him goes to the basement, right goes up to the bedrooms.

These are the cabinets to the left of the sink. I am thinking about taking the doors off of them and leaving it open. Sink is under the window. You can also see that the backsplash is laminate. Almond laminate. That old bitch loved her some almond shit. I am thinking tile - either white subway tile, or maybe some glass tile to coordinate with whatever colors i pick.

These are the cabinets to the left of the sink. I am thinking about taking the doors off of them and leaving it open. Sink is under the window. You can also see that the backsplash is laminate. Almond laminate. That old bitch loved her some almond shit. I am thinking tile - either white subway tile, or maybe some glass tile to coordinate with whatever colors i pick.

This is the carport door. The one we came through at the beginning. I kind of think that diamond pane pattern is charming, but am considering taking it down. It seems too traditional and Tudory. I think that i can just take the panes out and leave the door and window. Thoughts?

This is the carport door. The one we came through at the beginning. I kind of think that diamond pane pattern is charming, but am considering taking it down. It seems too traditional and Tudory. I think that i can just take the panes out and leave the door and window. Thoughts?

This is the door in the breakfast area. To the left of the carport door. It goes into the dining room.

This is the door in the breakfast area. To the left of the carport door. It goes into the dining room.

Here is the kitchen door from the dining room. See how the door eats up the dining room space? Also shows how close the dining room is to the kitchen. I think i could feasibly get rid of the breakfast nook altogether if I really, really wanted to. We could just eat in the dining room. I think the door needs to go buh-bye. Todd is unconvinced.

Here is the kitchen door from the dining room. See how the door eats up the dining room space? Also shows how close the dining room is to the kitchen. I think i could feasibly get rid of the breakfast nook altogether if I really, really wanted to. We could just eat in the dining room. I think the door needs to go buh-bye. Todd is unconvinced.

And another view. Pretty dark in there.

And another view. Pretty dark in there.

And this is what it looks like, from the dining room into the kitchen breakfast nook. Do we really need all these tables? Hmmm.

And this is what it looks like, from the dining room into the kitchen breakfast nook. Do we really need all these tables? Hmmm.

So, yeah, that’s what I’m dealing with structurally. We can’t afford to knock that wall out. That would be the first order of business if we could. So, my questions:

What colors work with both the almond appliances and the paintings?

Kitchen doors – Should they stay or go? We do sometimes shut the kitchen off with a dog in it, or to block out the sound of dishes banging, but my gut says it would look bigger in there to get rid of them.

What color should the cabinets be? I wanted to brighten the room up, so i was thinking white, but can i use white with almond appliances? Is an off-white or cream a better choice? Or a light blue or gray cabinets with lighter walls? (Oh, HELL! Didn’t even discuss the wallpaper! That shit is gone, baby, gone. It has herb names on it, for fuck’s sake!)

Kitchen table – refinish it and stain it, or paint it?

Banquette seating – How hard can it be to make your own? Can you buy it? Thoughts? Ideas?

Windows – Blinds? cafe curtains?

Floors – Has anyone used Flor tiles in their kitchen? Also thought about just putting down a rug. Or what about those adhesive tiles they use on DIY shows all the time? Looks like maybe they don’t hold up over time.

Seriously looking for input here. I am design-challenged, and Todd is colorblind. I’m hoping folks will weigh in, and then I will maybe post some Pinterest links to things I like, and show the colors I’ve been leaning towards. Definitely want your ideas based on seeing the starting point. Come on, people! Design my kitchen. (On a dime, so to speak.)

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20 comments

  • How high are your ceilings? A cool smaller rustic pot rack could replace that long florescent light. Or a light fixture or a ceiling fan with a light fixture. Either way it needs to be roundish not a rectangle. It is long enough in there you could do multiple fixtures. Depends how handy todd is.

    I would get a a plain sisel rug. Or a cool looking kilim rug. Something easy to clean–think shake, hose off, dry over back railing. I wouldn’t put anythign over the tile. I’d either replace or work around it. Do a rug under the table too.

    Cabinents. HUGE pain in the ass to paint. I think almond color is fine. Paint that trim though around it. And you could give that flat expanse of almond on the front some diminsion but doing a simple stencil of sort.. What I don’t know–just a thought. Def nothng country like though.

    I am not a fan of blue rooms but i like that blue in the paintings and wonder if you could do that. It would look good with the almond and it is bright so it would give the kitchen a cheery feel. I do like a bright energetic looking kitchen. I would then add touches of red–maybe paint those chairs red. I would sand the table down and leave it light if it is a nice wood.

    Doors have to go.

    Applebees light fixture gotta go.

    Some sort of curtains for the windows.

    I like the panes on the door.

    Without seeing it in person and looking at it awhile I can’t offer much else.

  • Oh dear me! I’ve painted cabinets in 2 past kitchens and it is a huge chore, but you will love the results. In kitchen 1 I even painted the interiors because a long term smoker/cooker with grease had lived there. 2nd kitchen got complimentary neutrals on tops and bottoms. Just taking down the walllpaper will make it 100% better. I would paint cabinets in an off-white/bone/cream/whatever. Paint the walls that lovely blue-gray in the pictures. Paint your table tomato. Take down the doors. I replaced my flourescent with cans. It’s not hard if your’re not electrically challenged. Otherwise prep and paint the ceiling and throw up a cute track light.

  • Helen, you are full of awesome ideas. Thanks! How hard was the canned lights part? I have wired a lamp and put in a chandelier. Don’t i have to be able to cut holes in the ceiling and all that?

  • Ceilings are low. Sisal rug is an idea. . . Cannot replace the tile. I just hate the light color. Cabinets – Nat, you are not seeing the hideousness. They are laminate, not wood. They are like plastic barbie dream house cabinets from the early 80s. Trust me. Have to go. I cannot and will not stencil.

    Am thinking either table or just chairs will be red. Just have to find the right red.

    Thank you for confirmation on the doors. LOL Applebees. I think we had the same one growing up. Awful.

    I think you need to come over for a beerdate. When it’s warmer and the kids can stay outside like last time at your house. That was fun.

  • Okay, here are my thoughts:
    Definitely get rid of the doors. I think you’ll be surprised how little you miss them. If you really do miss them, you can just put them back on. On that wall space behind that one door (to the foyer I think) maybe do a slim spice rack of sorts. They have those cool magnetic containers. Or you could do some sort of bulletin/chalkboard/magnet/calendar thing there if that’s a central spot for your family.

    I vote ‘YES’ for the banquette. We just had one built a few months ago and I LOVE it. I’ve been wanting to do it for years and now wish I had done it sooner. It cost about $1000 to have a guy build it for us, but it had tons of storage added into it that we love. I’ve seen some good do it yourself options on an ikea hackers website. Some are as easy as just turning a bookcase on it’s side and adding some casters. The kids love it too.

    Any way you can just get rid of the top cabinets? Paint the lower ones grey (i would try to find a ‘warm’ grey, since almond is usually a warm rather than cool color). Then get inexpensive new ones for the top that go all the way to the ceiling for more storage. I’ve seen lots of kitchens these days that have different cabinets on top and on bottom.

    If you can’t retile, then I would find some large, easy to clean rugs. One for the main area and one for the breakfast nook. I don’t know much about the Flors tiles, but do know that the original tile needs to be in good shape to affix something on top.

    I’ll think on the colors for you. I’m not getting inspired at the moment. Good luck! We redid our kitchen when we moved in and it was A LOT of decision making. It was the original 1960’s kitchen with bright yellow tile countertops. It made a HUGE difference. Oh, do you know the show ‘Candance tells all’ on HGTV? I just watched an episode where she did a kitchen that has a similar layout to yours. I’ll see if I can find it for you. She added a banquet to theirs too.

  • Rugs. You can get some nice, nylon (read: hard to stain, easy to clean), and cheap ones at Lowe’s for a song. Probably Home Depot too, but we don’t have one here, just a Lowe’s.

    Painting cabinets is a bitch. Painting them with oil based paint, you will want to do it when you can leave every last window in the house open for at least a few days. They take forever to off-gass. But, I found the whole process completely and totally worth it.

    If you take doors off, you will have to have neat cabinets.

    Colors- the blue from both paintings jumped out as the one you need to go with.

    Take the dining room door down. We did, although my husband wasn’t sold on it at the time – and then once down, he saw what I was talking about. Take out all doors that aren’t needed, they carve up the space too much.

  • How exciting – kitchen changes! Here is my two cents, since you asked :)
    Anything will go with almond as it is a neutral color. Don’t be afraid to combine colors, as long as you stick with the same color intensity (don’t think that’s what it’s called, but hopefully you get the idea) you really can’t go wrong. Plus, it will add depth to your space, as will cafe curtains instead of blinds. (But hey, I love fabric and color!)
    I like your idea of taking off the cabinet doors. Painted doors can be a pain in the ass because they chip and can just look crappy, unless of course the folks at Home Depot actually know what they’re talking about. If you do decide to paint, test an first!! I agree the other doors should go, what purpose are they serving?
    Oh, and I am personally against rugs in the kitchen, unless you can get something that is easy to clean or can be washed to death. Think of all the food that gets transferred around and dropped in there. Rugs will stain and just get icky.
    Good luck! I’m looking forward to reading about the kitchen progress!

  • Nikki!!!! So glad you read. Miss you on FB (respect your decision, but i miss you!) All great suggestions. I think I have come closer to making decisions about color, thanks to my sister. Just need to get around to doing any of this. :-)

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