Monday, January 18, 2010

My Kitchen

I've shown photos of my kitchen before when showing things I collect, harvest, or cook. Today, I am showing it because I have reached the point where I really want a change. A few years ago, we had some estimates to do some work, but were less sure of what we wanted than now. Also, we weren't wanting to spend the amount we are now in a position to, as the house is paid off, and interest rates for a home equity loan are low. I was trying to save money to pay cash, but it kept getting spent for other things.

Our daughter moving to a place where the dishwasher is built in, and there are plenty of electrical outlets around the ample counter space, and good lighting, has pushed me to the point where I am more than ready for a change. When our dishwasher is running, I can't warm my coffee, tea or bed buddy in the microwave, or a fuse will blow. I can't pop corn in my air popper, either. Actually, no food prep or anything else can be done when the dishwasher is hooked up to the sink, running. The dishwasher is now leaking water all over the floor almost every time it's run. The refrigerator has been "clunking" for some time, which is a sign it's on its way to breaking down.

I should mention that I'm grateful for the blessings God has given me, and have been following the coverage of the horrible earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath. I did donate some money today at church, and will again, as some fundraisers are planned. Also, I lead a team that serves meals at a local outreach center 4 times a year. (Other teams from my church do this other months, so our church serves once a month.) I mention this, because I am watching Larry King Live this evening, and it is wonderful all the money they are raising, but we also need to help the hungry in our own communities as we are able, to.

We had someone come out today from our local Three Day Kitchen and Bath. I thought they also did other work besides that, but he thought this would be best for us. Larry really dreads the thought of any part of the house being torn up. They have you leave your home for 3 to 4 days, then work all hours of the day to get the job done. He said unlike most contractors, who take on several jobs at a time, and work wherever the people are yelling the loudest, they only take on one job a week. They are booked up until March, so there must be people who like what they do. I tried to find some reviews of their work not promoted by them, but couldn't.

I am doing this post to see if anyone reading this has experience with Three Day Kitchen and Bath. It looks to me that the cupboards will be pretty standard, but they seem to be OK. I told him I am a gardener and a slob. I want materials that are easy to clean and maintain. He asked us some questions, showed us some kitchens they've done, and the price range for different choices of materials. He said they can work with the budget we have. Next week, he will bring a van with materials and get more specific with what we can do. He will also bring a plan from the things we told him.

We know people who have worked with designers, and the work took several months, with some setbacks and problems. They have been happy with the outcome, but it was difficult while it was going on. We are not handy, so are not wanting to try to help to save costs.

Let's take a walk around the small kitchen. We'll probably keep our stove, since it's only a few years old. I don't like the cooktop, but love the convection oven. We mentioned getting a gas cooktop with an electric oven, but don't know how expensive that is.

The guys didn't hear me when I asked about whether we should get different windows. We'll have to check into that.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a decorator or landscaper, but I love to fill spaces with things I like. Sometimes, it reaches the point of clutter.

We don't normally have a bag of dog food in the kitchen, but I guess Larry didn't make it to the basement with it after he bought it today.

I am sad that we will probably have to get the hoosier out of the kitchen. I'm not sure if we can find another spot for it. Maybe it will fit in our daughter's kitchen. There are scratches on it from Heidi trying to get it open to see what she could eat. I won the Vitamix on the radio by answering some questions on nutrition. They were interviewing a guy sponsored by the company, walking or biking across the country, and I was the right caller.

I will be glad to get the silver shelf out. It's too deep. I do love hanging things on it, though. I bet I won't be able to have so many of my "old" things on display. I'll be glad to get the microwave above the stove.

I bet Ashley will be glad to replace her card table with this gateleg one, that is if I don't find another spot for it.

We are not going to end up with a high end kitchen, which is fine with me. I just want a sturdy and functional one where I can cook and do the things I like to do there when I want to do them. My in-laws raised 5 kids in this house, and we used to bring our kids over to eat meals, and we all ate in the kitchen. I don't know how we did it, but it was tight. They did have a plan drawn up to remodel the kitchen, but we didn't find it when we were cleaning up to get moved in. We turned a bedroom into a dining room, but we would like to be able for the two of us to eat in the kitchen.

If you have any suggestions as to materials, contractors, or just want to tell about experiences you have had with remodeling, let me know. I asked about recycled glass countertops, but he said those are the most expensive right now. Well, Larry King is over, and I'm still typing! I better end this before it gets any longer!


  1. Where are you going to put all of your stuff while they work? I don't know about the company you are talking about. It all sounds very exciting though, keep us updated.

  2. Sue ~ What an undertaking you will have. I wouldn't want people in my house for three days that's for sure, with us not there.

    Being DIY'ers we would paint the cupboards, maybe replace the counter top. (We don't have a dishwasher, haven't had one our whole 40 years together.) I would definitely keep the stove. I love my glass topped convection oven stove. I wouldn't want to lose the hoosier or the gate-leg table so would be working them into the picture for sure.

    Do keep us posted as it will be interesting to see the changes. If you go with this company, I hope they treat you well and do a great job.

    Three days sure sounds like a good deal in which to have a newly remodeled kitchen.

    It sounds kind of like Extreme House Makeover, where they tear down an existing house and build a new one in a week. That is amazing to me.

    Do keep us posted Sue. Try not to stress, although that is easier said than done, especially in this type of situation.

    Your everyday life will be out of kilter while packing your stuff up and while they build. In the end though, you will have a new kitchen to redecorate and work in.

    Just take it one day at a time.


  3. Hi Sue, this is so exciting and it looks like you are more than overdue for a remodel. But three days? I don't believe it. I would suggest that you make sure what you want and that they understand every detail of what you desire before doing anything. And get a good solid contract in place, with a change in price if they don't finish by the date agreed upon. I would knock out the wall where the fridge is, not knowing what is behind it, to make that wall the same depth. Just a thought. Do it right the first time, don't skimp, you'll be sorry later. Think about finishes and countertops after you get the layout you want. Get a new cooktop, gas is far better if you do a lot of cooking. I'd better stop now! :-)

  4. Good for you! I think everyone should have a kitchen they really like (if not love) at least once in their life.

    If you haven't already, you may want to cruise over to It's a huge photo gallery of different rooms, including a large collection of kitchens. Granted, many of them are very high-end, but you can at least get an idea for the feel you like and some ideas for things you could do.

    Also, you may want to check out the home forums at Gardenweb. Lots of great ideas being exchanged over there.

    And finally, you could go here:

    That's a gallery of all the finished kitchens from people at Gardenweb. Some are high-end, some aren't. Best of all, most of them list sources, so if you see something you really like, you know where to get it.

    Good luck! Full kitchen remodels don't look like fun but I think they are probably totally worth it!

  5. Trying to do this same job myself as I have money --Your kitchen has so much personality but space will be a gift a real godsend..sandy

  6. We have had renos done several times in our house - windows replaced (once in the middle of winter - as that was cheaper!) After reading your blog I would suggest you list what you want done. Windows are important to save energy. Also it sounds as if your wiring in the kitchen needs to be updated - which could also mean a larger electrical panel would need to be installed. My recommendation would be: Don't replace anything you like as is. Focus on things that really bother you or which need to be done (like upgrading your electricity). If you like your cupboards and want to keep them, don't replace them. I would also get 3 estimates and compare what they would do. We also checked out Home Depot and other hardware stores to see what their costs are, just to compare. And don't go with anyone who doesn't give you references. The contractors should have some happy customers you could contact - with their permission, of course.
    Good luck!

  7. Sue, I so luv the thought that you are living in the home where your husband was raised.

    I am the wrong person to ask about designing/decorating, but I think I'd be interested in the Three Day Kitchen and Bath people. Get out of the house and be away from the mess and then come back home to a new kitchen.

    It would be nice if you could have a bigger window over your kitchen sink, but maybe that's not possible. I luv the idea of bringing the outside inside as much as possible.

    I'm going to go back and read what comments other people left for you. I bet they had good ideas.

    Warm hugs, Sue.


  8. Thanks for the comments. I did check with the Better Business Bureau, and this company has an A+ rating. I think we probably should get other estimates, but getting it done in 4 days would be awesome! The guy did a great job getting out of us what we wanted changed, and what the needs are, except he didn't mention windows. I like the idea of making the kitchen window larger. I thought of putting a larger ledge there, but it does face north, so not many plants could go there.

    The garden window in our bedroom turned dining room is double paned, and it gets down to 50 in there when it's cold. I asked if our heating bill would go up, and was told it wouldn't. Larry takes care of that bill, so I never see it, but the room is cold. I don't know if a different company would have better quality windows than what we ended up with, or not.

    Oh, the steps going down to the basement are behind the refrigerator. I wonder how much it would cost to put a different door in, and new steps to the basement put in. There is no good way to make the room larger, so we'll have to have it made more efficient. I guess I need to find other spots for some of my things.

    I have a room in the basement I need to clean out, so I will have a place to store the things in the kitchen while they are working.

  9. How exciting to be able to plan your new kitchen. I don't have any experience with remodeling, but I hope you post about it once it begins. I also hope you find a good contractor so the work goes smoothly.

  10. Good luck with your project. I love the idea of them getting it done in a week. We lived in our house for about 6 months with stages of our kitchen torn up. I am excited to see the changes as they happen.

  11. Wow...good luck...if they can get it done in 3-4 days, that's awesome! We are in the middle of our remodel and it's taking months...then again, we are doing most of it (aside from plumbing and electrical) ourselves. Thank goodness for Ikea, or we would not have been able to afford it. Sadly, doing it ourselves is taking a really long we aren't particular handy, and can't go without some form of a kitchen for weeks...or months! I hope it turns out well for current kitchen really reminds me of my family's kitchen growing may have been tight...but it was homey!

  12. Hi Sue....I love your is refreshing.
    I have an old kitchen in the farmhouse....and I love it. We did have the cupboard doors replaced when we moved here....we were a little extravagant and had them handmade. I have not changed anything else....I love it's fourties style. I feel comfortable and happy in my kitchen and I think that is the most important thing.

    I do hope that you find this company ok and that the end result is something that you will really love......

  13. Getting a new kitchen sounds so exciting. Having more space would be nice. As I write this I'm getting a new floor put in my 40 year old kitchen (original vinyl floor was in place) and it will take them all week or more to put in ceramic tile. 3 days to do your whole kitchen sounds great. I look forward to seeing what you end up doing and how the process goes for you.

  14. It must be very exciting to have the new look for the kitchen.

    I must say that I dare not even think about the condition of my kitchen.
    Regardless, really look forward to your kitchen updates.

  15. It all sounds very exciting. I hope they are able to keep the character of your lovely home, while giving you a comfortable and functional kitchen. We're in a new house, so we have a new fancy kitchen. But I have to admit, all I ever use is the microwave and stove top. At Thanksgiving, when my parents came, I couldn't remember how to turn the oven on!!!

  16. So exciting. I can't wait to see how it all turns out, but keep that Hoosier-somewhere. It is precious no doubt.

  17. Like Flowerlady, we are DIY types. We refurbished ours 15 years ago. MIL had new cabinets built in 1970. When a cabinet man came to give us an estimate, he pointed out the real board shelves inside the cabinets and advised us that new cabinets would have shelves made of some kind of chipboard/pressed wood material. He suggested that we either have the cabinets refronted or just paint. Some sanding, a couple of coats of paint and new hardware and everything looked up-to-date.

    Do look inside your cabinets to see if they are real wood. A coat of light color paint did wonders for the inside.

    You can hardly have too many outlets, or enough separate circuits. We replaced all wiring. We put in a new stainless sink, dishwasher, range hood, stove with the top like Flowerlady's, and new refrigerator that fit the narrow existing space.

    New countertops and backsplash -- we used granite-look laminate because that was in the realm of our abiltities and budget. We tore out the little built-in extra table that MIL loved for family dinner overflow, which opened up some floor space. Her little maple china cabinet went there.

    One of the original kitchen windows had been removed for a window air conditioner. Later the
    A/C was removed for central air and the space was patched. I bought a big picture to hide the patch when we moved in. DH replaced the windows and returned that third window.

    Some great advice above. Use caution and know what you want to keep and what to toss. Save that stainless shelf unit for a plant stand in your shed.

  18. I'm excited to see what you end up with! I think it's very clever of you to hire a team that will just go in and get it done in a few short days.

  19. aah new kitchen...
    Bet you can't wait till' it's done.
    You're some collector,my sis is the same way.

  20. Hi Sue, I came to a stage when the kitchen needed an update. I have done mine. I posted it under

    Posted on 14. of August.
    I am very happy with my "new" kitchen and I hope you will be too once everything is finished. It is exciting to look for different colours, tiles, handles, tops etc.
    Good luck!

  21. What an exciting project! Thanks for sharing and it will be great when it's done! I'll check back on your progress.

    I just found your blog via another blog and I wanted to ask you what is the music that is playing? I absolutely love it!

  22. Sue, did you notice the comment with the Chinese Characters between my post and Kate's? It's something you might consider deleting. Clicking on that long dotted line takes you to a site that is not in keeping with the kind of comments you usually expect here.

    The reason I knew, it's been done on my blog before.

  23. Hi Sue, we are also preparing to redo our kitchen...hubby will do everything except the counter tops and wall tile.

    I can suggest a few things to give you space and lighten/open up the entire area.

    Instead of replacing the cabinets, replace the doors with glass fronts, this will allow you to display some of your more favorite things without taking up other spaces.

    Remove all the wall stuff and build shelving in as many places as possible..these can serve as dish, cookware, and display items.
    ( or a open pantry )

    I couldn't part with the cupboard or the gate-leg table...being an antique furniture collector.

    You do need some serious rewiring it seems.

    I don't use a dishwasher, so that isn't an issue for me.

    I've never heard of the company you are speaking of...but as others have said, they should have plenty of references to share with you...if not...beware.

    Unless one has a very large kitchen the counter tops has to be utilitarian first and do you feel about the chopping block tops...a pretty light color and then match the wall sheving to that...can't wait to see what you decide.

    Most of all, get a good contractor and be safe.

    I always enjoy visiting your little time to do much surfing.

    Looking forward to spring and the new gardens.

    Bea kunz

  24. Thanks for all the encouragement and ideas. I posted the next paragraphs on Bea's blog, but it also addresses some of the other comments. (I went in and made some changes in it, though.) Titanya, I forgot to go check out your kitchen first. Nell, yours sounds great. I bet you were glad to get that window back.

    The reason we'll have to replace the cupboards is because we are wanting to have a microwave built in above the stove, and also, the dishwasher will probably have to go along the wall next to the stove. (We went to Lowe's last night, and were given a very nice plan for the kitchen, and that guy said the dishwasher would need to go along a wall. We liked the plan he came up with, which would involve keeping the gateleg table.)

    Also, I want more counter space along the wall where the silver shelf is, with open shelving, like Bea suggested, above. At one time, I was wanting to keep the table and hoosier, and have built in shelves on what's left of the wall. I was even thinking about the ones that have those strips going up and down the wall, where you can decide how you want the shelves arranged.

    It's kind of overwhelming, because the kitchen is so small, and whatever decisions we make, we'll have to live with. I do not want to end up with a kitchen that is full of uniform cabinets, and not homey. It's going to be a challenge, but I will be so thankful for a kitchen I can do the things I like to do in it.

  25. I just checked out Titania's kitchen post, and love it! It is homey, which is what I want. It was a little hard to find, so I am going to put the address of it here for me to find again, and if anyone else reads this, you may like to check it out.

    I think it would be fun to see each others' kitchens. They really can be extensions of our gardens, as that's where we take care of the produce we harvest.

    Here's Titania's kitchen:

  26. It sounds like you are on top of things, Sue, great! Our kitchen was designed and installed by Lowe's as well, and the guy thought of space saving ideas that we are very thankful for. There is nothing like a pro to know what's right. You must think about resale too, even if you never plan on moving. Good luck!

  27. Your kitchen blog inspired me to write one about how we have - and haven't - changed our original kitchen. You may be tired of hearing about kitchens by now, but if you aren't, it's at

    Good luck!

  28. Sue, you are going about this exciting project in exactly the right way by thinking it out carefully, and prioritizing your needs. We did a total kitchen remodel nine years ago and absolutely love it. We took out a home equity loan and it was worth it. We did NOT go high end, but made sure we had our absolute MUSTS. It is great that you took BEFORE photos ... I regret not doing so. I look forward to seeing your AFTER pics. Good luck! Pamela x

  29. This will be very exciting... and a lot of work, I'm sure!! I enjoy watching DIY and HGTV remodeling shows. Hope you've found good help. Have a great weekend!

  30. Not to be off the subject here, but I wonder if your heat flow to the dining room is inadequate? There is no reason a room with a new window should be so darn cold. I'd also check the insulation around it since that doesn't get looked at when you just replace a window. I assume there is probably some air seepage around it since it's an older home. Prying off moldings that surround the window and using that spray foam window and door stuff might help.

    If you go bigger with your window they can't just do a replacement so it would probably make a big difference in your comfort level I would guess...

  31. Sue, I am excited for you about the new cabinets and redo. We spend so much of our lives in the kitchen that I think we should have what we want (and can afford!). We redid our kitchen back in 2004 when we retired from dairying.

    My husband was really very nice about it and let me get what I wanted and even pushed for some more expensive items, like the two glass fronted cabinet doors on either side of the sink.

    I have no regrets and love cooking and spending time in that kitchen.

    Here are some random thoughts about the remodel:

    Lighting: While the cabinets are off the wall and they are doing the rewiring, but sure to talk about under cabinet lighting, over the work area lighting and any place else you want it. Much cheaper to do when they have full wall access. I stinted on cost and didn't have light under the corners....mistake because those corners are so deep they need extra lighting.

    Appliances: Be sure to buy the warranty insurance at time of purchase. I used to think this was a ripoff..................appliances aren't what they used to be. Buy it. I do and renew every year. Ask me how I know this is a good idea? Be wary of Jenn Air stuff.

    I have the trio door fridge and love the bottom freezer.

    Note: I had to store a beautiful cherry cabinet but there was just no way to use it instead of the 6-foot wall of storage space that I needed so badly.

    Counter tops: We did just a laminate like Nell for the same reasons. I couldn't see having counter tops worth more than the old farmhouse!

    Have lazy-susans in all the corners of the cabinets for access.

    Have built in shelving on every space possible. I ended up buying a shelving unit for all my garden books and others.

    Another thing I did was have the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling so there would be no wasted space.

    Hope some of these things will give you food for thought.

    BTW, it took them 3 months to complete the kitchen. That was carpenters and cabinet crew.

    We moved everything in boxes to the dining room and had the old stove installed in the milk parlor so I could cook out there if I wanted to. Most cooking was done in the electric skillet, but wash up was done in the barn where we had ss sinks and hot and cold water.

    Best wishes. I cant' wait to see it.


I welcome comments and questions from anyone, including those who do it anonymously. Some people find my posts by doing searches, and I like hearing from them. I guess spammers won't even read this message, but I will delete spam as soon as I see it.