KITCHEN PROGRESS: Demolition and Appliance Shopping!

Kitchen Before

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

You guys! My life! It’s all feeling about as chaotic as our kitchen looks. Some friends just shake their heads at me and smile. They don’t smile for too long or I might rope them into helping, though! (By the way, I’m always accepting helping hands!) I wanted to update you all with where we’re at on the kitchen project. And first let me just say that Chip Gaines has tricked me into thinking there is such a thing as “Demo Day.” Ahem, we had a couple of Demo Weeks at our house, but I guess that might have something to do with the fact that our demo team consisted of just me and Phil, until my dad came home from a business trip and was able to help me with the cabinets. Oh, the cabinets. More on that when I talk about our range choices!

So Phil and I put on long pants, long sleeves, and safety glass, using all of our free time (and then some) to do as much demo as possible. I spent a couple of days removing carpet, padding, tack strips, and staples while Phil was at work and the girls played in their play room (which only resulted in disaster once), and later we ended up having to call friends to help haul out large cabinets. In the end, the trickiest part of demo was all the ceramic tile!

Tile Demo

We summoned all of our strength and elbow grease as Phil and I blasted dance music and ripped up the ceramic tile. I decided to rent a Waste Management Bagster, and we used a regular dumpster/trash can on wheels to haul the broken tile out of the house and into the Bagster on our driveway. Phil went out with the sledge hammer and cracked the tile. I used a hammer and chizel to get up any larger pieces that were sticking, and then I shoveled it all into the dumpster with a flat shovel. Talk about a great oblique workout! All of that lifting and twisting! Where’s my six-pack?!

We were able to get up most all of the tile in a couple of days, and took care of the smaller, stuck-on bits the next week before our contractor came. In fact, the contractors are at the house right now! I hired my friend Mark McGuire and his crew to come build a pantry in our kitchen (see floorplans below to see where the new pantry closet will be), a step out into the living room (also seen in floor plan changes), and to even out some subfloor level discrepancies on the first floor, so we can lay the wood floor throughout. By the way, if anyone in Northeast Ohio needs a trustworthy and affordable team for home reno projects, PLEASE contact me, and I’ll share my contact. He doesn’t have a website, or I’d link it up here.

This week we also had our countertops measured for Corian counters I had ordered through Home Depot, so I’d better get to painting the lower cabinets before the counters are ready to be installed! I’ll share more about the countertops, sink, and faucet later. But I must say, if you didn’t see a particular Instagram story this week, you’ll be surprised at something special I’m doing for our sink area! So exciting! Can’t wait to share it in more detail.

So now most of our demo is complete— we just have to grind up a bit of stuck-on mastic in the kitchen and hallway areas to prep for laying flooring. I’ll share another progress photo soon once my cabinets are back in place, but rest assured, drywall is back up in our kitchen, and that fluorescent light box is coming down ASAP. The next step in here is to place cabinets and saw off the back ledge of the island as well as remove the island countertop. (We’re putting in a butcher block countertop from Lumber Liquidators that we don’t even have to cut to fit!)

Kitchen Renovation

kitchen rendering

Can you see the demo picture and imagine how it will look afterwards? No? Well, let me paint you a picture. No, really. I literally painted a picture for you in case you can’t imagine it. I’ll agree that it looks a little scary right now, sure, but as with any exciting home renovation project, things must get way worse before they can get better!

But for now, let’s talk about appliances! I’ll share more about my budget (and even share a copy of my budget sheet for our renovations) next week, but I wanted to go over my thought process about appliances. I had wanted to reuse as much of my appliances as possible, but our range was electric (I’ve been spoiled by gas and can’t go back), the dishwasher’s display panel is broken, and our fridge is too deep for its location (plus it opens the wrong way— ha!), so we decided to just go ahead and replace it all. Yikes! I have the opportunity to work with Home Depot for our appliances, so I’ve been obsessively looking at all appliance options online and reading reviews until I fall asleep at night. This is all very daunting, and very exciting for me. I’ve never purchased nice, new appliances before. It’s a true delight.

home depot counter-depth refrigerators

You can see in my renderings that I’m planning on building a shelving system on the wall opposite of my kitchen window, and the shelves will go up against my refrigerator. I had considered incorporating the fridge into the shelving system, building wood shelves above it. But I’m really drawn to the idea of building a white case around the refrigerator and up to the ceiling to make it look built in, adding plain white doors to the area on top of the fridge to look something like this kitchen. Then the wooden shelves will butt up against the white built-in fridge area, the shelving then taking all of the visual attention, allowing the utilitarian appliance to fade into the background. What do you think?

If I decide to go with this built-in-and-fade-away look for the fridge, I definitely want a white fridge. If I want to incorporate the fridge into the wood shelving, I’m thinking stainless steel would be a nice finish choice, so it doesn’t seem too conspicuous— a white blob in the middle of warm, wood shelves. I just need to decide which look I want. Which do you think would be better?

As far as refrigerator form and function goes, I’m really drawn to the sleek doors with no ice/water on the front. Plus it has less opportunity for mechanical issues. We will eventually instal a reverse osmosis water system with a tap by the sink, so the water feature in the fridge may be redundant. I am worried about the upkeep of stainless steel (Fingerprint City!), but would white handles be hard to keep clean too? My favorite fridge I’ve seen, in looks alone, is choice number three above. It looks sleek, could fade nicely into the background, and I really love the pop of steel with those handles. Plus, from my friends who are in the biz, they say KitchenAid refrigerators are trustworthy appliances. That’s what I like to hear!

Option One / Option Two / Option Three

*Prices good through 7/12 at Home Depot stores.

home depot ranges

If you haven’t read my initial planning post for the kitchen, you may not know that we plan to reuse all of the lower cabinets, but rearrange them to make more space in the eat-in-kitchen area (which we will use at our main dining space), as well as to extend the island top to make that our eat-in-kitchen spot. This requires moving the oven to a different wall, which was actually kinda nice because before I thought the hood vent would compete, visually-speaking, with the kitchen window.

Another issue (besides needing to move the oven) with our plan to rearrange the cabinets was that after rearranging we had an 8″ gap on the wall where the oven would be. I knew this would be an issue, because I laid it all out on AutoCAD before we got started. (Thanks, design degree! Ha!) We considered our options and were thinking about building an 8″ cabinet with a pull-out spice rack situation. But we would have had to buy routers to make paneled doors to match the others, and my head was hurting just thinking about doing that in the midst of all of my other projects. Dilemma, dilemma!

I’ve always wanted a larger stove with 6 burners, but have always balked at the prices. However, we want this place to be our forever home, and plan to host lots of gatherings here. Should we just spring for the larger range? It would save us the trouble of building that 8″ cabinet, and also would make out countertops be less expensive, as we’d have less countertop area to cover. What do you think?

On the conservative side, I like the idea of having a white double-oven range that will fit in nicely with our white cabinets, but I really don’t like the way the back/top sticks up in the lower end models. Slide-in ranges are more expensive, but look so much more sleek and really impact the feel of a kitchen. I definitely would feel like I’m settling if I didn’t get a slide-in unit. Ah, so many decisions to make!

Option One / Option Two / Option Three

As far as dishwashers go, I’m less particular. I’ll probably just select something that is well reviewed and matches the look of my oven and/or fridge selection. I’m very excited to share this whole process with you! My flooring came in today and I laid all of the boxes into the house to acclimate before we begin installing it next week. Things are coming along! Woo hoo!

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program for appliances. As a part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

We’ll Miss Ya, Little Brick Ranch!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

On Monday we close on our new home, and I couldn’t be more excited, although I am admittedly a bit stressed out. Because of the chaos that surrounds a move involving renovations and living with family in between, I haven’t felt the pangs of loss that come with leaving one’s first house, though I’m waiting for the emotions to hit me one day soon.

These girls were babies here, we painted every inch of this house, renovated the kitchen, had parties with friends, and grew together in our marriage. I reread the interview I had written last Summer for Design Mom, and it did finally bring some tears to my eyes. I had no idea we’d be moving to a new home so soon after that post! I wanted to share the interview here at my blog home, and I hope you all feel encouraged and inspired about what makes a house a home! I also hope you enjoy the look back at our previous home, and perhaps wax nostalgic with me a little bit. :)

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

Hi there! I’m Mandi. I live with my husband Phil and our two daughters, Lucy (four) and Juniper (almost two).

I’m trained in interior design and had planned to move to the big city — Chicago — to become a successful designer living in a cool loft in a fun neighborhood. Instead, during my college years I fell in love with the challenge of freelance life and investing my talents and friendships into bettering my local community in Northeast Ohio.

Our area, known as the rust belt, has experienced an incredible loss over the past few decades with the exportation of manufacturing jobs, resulting in wounded and shrinking communities, increased crime, and plenty of brain drain. I resolved to stay because it was difficult, but also because it was easy. Our family all live here, and they’re such an integral part of our lives. Sometimes my brother and I dream about relocating all of my in-laws along with our own family to someplace warmer, but in general we have tremendous Ohio pride.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

I hesitate to say this, just because oh how I wish it didn’t matter, but ever since marrying during our poor college years, we’ve struggled quite a bit financially. Phil and I are very proud that we make every effort to create strict budgets, follow through, and save wisely, but there’s not much you can do with the salary of rural kindergarten teacher and a part-time blogger who works primarily for someone else’s blog. It’s something that I’ve always said didn’t bother me, and I’ve sworn I wouldn’t want my husband to stress or feel like doing something he didn’t enjoy just for us to have more material possessions.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

I myself have worked odd jobs just so I can continue doing what I enjoy, and also spend as much time as possible with our kids. It’s a choice we’d made, and I wanted him to know that if we were poor for the rest of our lives, I’d be happy with it.

I guess he wasn’t as happy, though. Content, perhaps, but eager to do more and experience more. So he recently made a career change and is now working in sales, which will certainly give us a different lifestyle someday, but for now we’re keeping to our old budget and banking everything else so that in a few years we can put my interior design training to work and build a home that we’ve designed and dreamed for together!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen  Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

Looking forward to a better home is something I’ve struggled with since before we were married. It’s what made me interested in interior design from the beginning, I suppose. You know, the desire to improve the space around you. But I found myself obsessing over when we would have enough saved to get a new house, when we could finally put drapes up on the windows, and when we’d be able to do something about our drab kitchen. I mean, we couldn’t even afford paint for the kitchen, because we were literally putting every extra dollar into an envelope to save up for an Ikea sofa! As much as I tried to tell myself to snap out of it and just enjoy this space we had now, our time together, and blah, blah, blah… my mind wouldn’t let me.

Until I was diagnosed with cancer. Then everything changed.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen  Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Kitchen

Not that I would ever want anyone else to go through what my family went through, but I have to say, if I had the chance to go back in time and prevent my cancer (a rare type from a malignant paraganglioma tumor), I definitely wouldn’t. The experience taught me so much about how foolish and trivial furnishings and fabrics are when faced with a limited amount of time on earth. I shifted all of my energy into relationships and spiritual matters. I looked towards eternity in Heaven, rather than wasting away a few lame years waiting for a West Elm sectional while bemoaning my prefab sofa.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Dining Room

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Dining Room  Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Dining Room

I did recover from cancer, but I had a very difficult time adjusting back to normal life again afterwards. I wrote a few blog posts about it if you care to read about it in more detail. But how could I go back to caring about throw pillows and shag rugs after being given a second change at actual LIFE?

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Dining Room

With the help of some spiritual mentors, I’ve been able to understand how these seemingly trivial passions of mine — design, fashion, photography — add so much joy to my life and enhance the few years I’ve been given on earth. They’re fun. They’re exciting. But the way our home looks is not the most important part of our home.

I live in Canton, Ohio, where I was born, and very close to where I attended college at the University of Akron. We live in a unique area with three close cousin cities — Cleveland, Akron, and Canton — that we usually just refer to as Northeast Ohio. It’s unique because there is a great mix of landscapes and communities, and each city is reawakening with city revitalization projects happening in the wake of the rust belt decline.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

Lake Eerie is our version of a coastline, Portage County gives us rocky terrain and caves, and Canton is surrounded on the south and west by Amish country. We also have a good mix of rural, suburban, and urban places everywhere in between. Each individual city has its own mix of recent and well rooted immigrant communities, so I like to think of our area as being pretty open and understanding of people from all walks of life.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room  Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

They say “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation” in terms of politics, so it’s exciting knowing how much my community can impact the future of our nation. In general, if you get plugged into local communities — even slightly — in Northeast Ohio, you will find an energy and vision that I believe to be unmatched in the rest of our country. As Lebron James says, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” We pride ourselves in that work ethic and just wish the rest of the country could see how much has happened and changed thanks to the hard work of those who’ve stayed here and care about our region’s future.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

As far as my actual home goes, Phil and I have basically run the gamut of living spaces, as far as Canton, Ohio is concerned. Nine years ago we began our marriage in a suburban basement apartment, but moved into my brother’s gutted 1920s bungalow to help him renovate and pay his mortgage. That was a really fun two year stretch that people thought we were crazy for undergoing. Some people would mention how perfect our living arrangement would be for the premise of a sitcom, and I would chuckle and agree! My brother is still very close with Phil and I, though we don’t have to share a tiny bathroom any more.

After the bungalow years, we moved into the most gorgeous 1920s Tudor apartment with towering, gothic arched ceilings and unbelievable charm. Because Canton is such an inexpensive place to live, this dream apartment was an incredible living experience we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy if we had actually moved to the big city as I had originally planned. I didn’t think we could ever leave that place, knowing I wouldn’t be able to find such a magnetic design within our price range, but just two years later, I found myself pregnant for the first time and eager to make a financially wise decision to buy a small mid century ranch with a meager amount of character but a fantastically low mortgage payment.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

As I mentioned earlier, we’re very excited about the prospect of building in the next few years, but in the meantime we’ve been trying to make a few changes here and there that will make us appreciate our current home a bit more before we leave.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

We only toured three homes in our buyers’ market region when we were looking four years ago. When I saw the brick wall core of the home and the openness of the kitchen and dining area, I knew we wouldn’t find anything with such a good starting point for such an amazing deal. I don’t mind sharing that our home was under 90K, and is around 1500 square feet. We have no basement and no stairs in our home, which is certainly unusual for Ohio, but very convenient for keeping track of tiny humans. Although just today my three-year-old asked me, “When are we going to live in a home with stairs in it?” I have to admit, a little separation would be nice at nap time!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

If I wake up early in the morning, the sound from our kitchen carries across the terrazzo floors into the children’s room alerting them that Mommy finally has some alone time, which should probably end immediately.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room  Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

Thankfully Phil doesn’t have much of an opinion when it comes to interior design, but he really appreciates everything I do to make our home look nicer and work more efficiently. He verbally affirms what I’ve done with our space since we’ve moved in, and I really appreciate that. He also is always willing to help with projects, even though he never seems to grasp my vision. I asked him to find a few friends to come over and rip the cabinets off the wall and he didn’t even question me once!

The biggest challenge has to be the fact that we have two small children and only one living room. We have no basement, no den…. nothin’ but our one living room that also serves as our office and playroom.

We do have three bedrooms, but opted to give each girl their own bedroom, because they both prefer to play together in the main family area of the house, rather than alone in their rooms. I don’t blame them. I’ve been happier since having my office in the family room too, so I can be with them all while I work. But I’m not so good at tidying up my desk area, and neither is Phil. That’s one of the issues we plan on addressing to make our living environment more enjoyable.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living ROom

I do allow a generous amount of toys in our home, but make sure that each toy has a storage spot, or else something’s gotta give…or should I say, be given away! I recently made a storage cabinet to house toys behind our sofa, which also created a great little surface for the kids to play, and for us to use as a sofa table when hosting gatherings. It’s nice to have all of the toys so easily accessible, but also out of sight, as this is the first view when entering the room.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

Lucy and Juniper’s play kitchen is also prominently displayed on our fireplace wall, so I definitely made a point to find cute looking pieces at garage sales and antique shops so I wouldn’t mind staring at them all of the time.

I used to do 10 DIY projects a month for A Beautiful Mess, and looking back, that is utter insanity and I don’t know how I kept up! I was very stressed out, malnourished, and not well rested. My projects were beginning to lack quality and half my ideas weren’t so great. You could definitely say I was burnt out.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Living Room

I decided to step back a little when I experienced a very difficult second pregnancy, and haven’t gotten back to my previous rate of productivity and probably never will. Not because I’m incapable, but because I’ve decided other things are more important to me. I have been given different types of opportunities in lieu of DIY projects, such as developing filters for the A Color Story app, working on some behind-the-scenes design projects, and photography gigs here and there.

But in general I lay low these days and enjoy Instagramming more than planning projects and editorial calendars, or managing sponsor contracts. I do go through waves of being very motivated in terms of projects and blogging, and then the wave will subside and I will focus on keeping my home in order, including being present as a parent, a wife, a daughter, and a friend.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Bedroom

The worst part of DIY blogging is finding the space to do it in my small home! I’ve commandeered my dining room for months at a time, and my family is very, very patient with me. During those stretches of time, we make an effort to have the rest of the home neat and tidy at all times. I definitely have a massive amount of craft supplies in my home, and a bit of a wood shop in my garage. I will never purge my supply stash, which is inconveniently stored in several places around my home, because I believe having access to materials when inspiration strikes is so invaluable!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Bedroom

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Bedroom

I have quite a few hobbies, and most of them involve crafting or woodworking. Occasionally I become obsessed with a particular project and find myself holed away at home with everything I need to indulge my crafty whims for months at a time. Obviously I leave the house during that time, but I’ll stay up till the morning fiddling with miniatures, or go blind staring at the computer screen as I design something that I may or may not end up building.

Sharing parts of my home on social media can go one of two ways, and frequently goes both of these ways at different moments in time, if that makes sense. Sometimes sharing so much of my home makes me overly critical of it, especially when engaging with others on social media who have what I perceive to be better homes than mine, or “goal homes,” if you will.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Mandi's Bedroom

But other times I find myself going through a period of time where I’ve been bogged down with the ins and outs of life and haven’t given two hoots about my home for quite some time. Rather than this being a welcome respite from the hazards of materialism, I find that subconsciously I begin to feel stressed at the lack of order in my home and lack of mental rest that comes from my being in a home that is well designed and neatly maintained. So being a part of this aesthetics-conscious part of the internet world is a great way to glean inspiration for my home which results in my creating a space that we all enjoy more with a little thoughtfulness.

As with most things in life, it’s all about balance. In this case, a balance of inspiration, practicality, and contentedness.

We’ve very fortunate to live close to most of our family, and not just because of the convenience of childcare. Phil and I are very close with both his family and mine, and we’re also very close with our Canton church family. I have set days where my mother and in-laws will watch my two girls during the day — my mom on Wednesdays, and my in-laws on Friday — because they have flexible work schedules and love having that guaranteed time with my precious angel children.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Lucy's Bedroom

Mentally it does so much for me to have alone time to recharge mentally, spiritually, and physically, but I try to be as efficient with this time as I can be. Sometimes I get a lot of work done that earns our family income, while other times I just try to get caught up with housework or my to-do list so we can all feel a bit more sane in our home.

Lately I haven’t had as much childcare as I’ve been used to in the past, because my in-laws keep going on these enviable trips around the country, hiking, sky-diving, and whatnot, while my parents, on the other hand, have been dealing with some pretty serious health issues that my dad is recovering from. I’m just grateful for his life, so I really don’t mind the lack of childcare. Though things are getting back to normal on that front now.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Lucy's Bedroom

Phil and I are very purposeful about balancing our alone time, time with our individual friends, time with our friends we share, time alone as a couple, and time all together as a family. This takes a lot of intentionality, and every month we check in to make sure everyone’s happy with how things have been going.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Lucy's Bedroom

Sometimes I’ll go away for a trip with my girlfriends, or I’ll have friends over multiple nights in a row for crafting, wine, movies, or just catching up. He plays in a basketball league, is a mentor, has Bible studies with men and also alongside me with couples, and an active social life to boot.

Sometimes I don’t know how we fit it all in, but other than our basics like I’ve just described, we don’t make a lot of plans and try to keep flexible with our schedules. We do like to host, and it seems like our friends enjoy being in our home, too! That’s a big relief for me, because I like being social late in the evening, but that isn’t always possible with kids unless people are able to come to your home for hangs.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Lucy's Bedroom

What do I love most about living with my girls? I love seeing a spunky personality emerge from what I first knew as a tiny dancing fetus on the ultrasound screen! It’s hard to understand that feeling until you experience it, I suppose, but the amount of influence and responsibility we have over her life is daunting at times, but mostly it’s a huge honor and makes us more thoughtful about everything we do in life, even in how we take care of our home and set good examples for things like screen time and television content.

Most of all, I just really like my two girls, and see them, yes as my responsibility, but also as two lifelong friends that I enjoy having alongside me to enhance every joy and to help soften every blow that comes along as well.

I’ll never forget when the doctors told me that my tumor was malignant, and my Lucy (who was seven months old at the time) just looked at me and laughed with the crinkliest eyes possible. It can be difficult when everyone in your life overanalyzes how to treat you, sometimes avoiding the difficulty altogether. Or sometimes you find yourself feeling the need to tell everyone else in your life that everything will be okay. But when you have a little person who just exudes joy and isn’t touched by the sadness, understanding, or fear, it can be the greatest gift. You don’t have to know that everything will be okay, but at least you can enjoy each fleeting moment while it lasts.

My dad, an engineer and also very talented craftsman, created for my brother and I an enormous collection of building blocks that we put to use in every area of play during our childhood. We would spend all day building sprawling villages with carefully constructed homes, and my parents would let us keep them set up for an entire week, because they could see our imagination and joy at having created such a special play world. I always felt so bad for my friends who had to keep their homes entirely neat and tidy, or pick up all of their toys at the end of the day, with no exceptions.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Lucy's Bedroom

Yes, there is a balance to find in there somewhere, and I always try to make sure that I’m teaching my kiddos responsibility and making sure our home is enjoyable to all who live in it, but a childhood is such a brief moment in time. I don’t want to regret limiting their joy and childlike wonder. I hope that I give my children chances to try all different kinds of crafts and hobbies in our home, to build relationships with their friends and our family’s friends, to see creativity and healthy habits modeled for them, and to feel like this is their space as much as it is mine.

If I had to do it all over again, I’d let them make a mess in the kitchen whenever they asked to help.

New Kitchen Plans

Mandi Makes Kitchen Renovation

You guys! In less than a month, we get keys to our new house and can begin demo on the kitchen I showed you last week. Can you tell I’m excited?! Doesn’t everyone draw up kitchen plans on autoCAD and draw renderings of renovations before closing on their new house…?

As I mentioned last week, this unassuming ’80s house totally caught me by surprise, but when I walked in the kitchen, I was fully inspired by the bones of the space and immediately envisioned what I wanted to change. Drawing it all out is my way of being sure of decisions and feeling confident to pull the trigger on all of the purchases and demo that we’ll want to do the moment we get the keys. It’s pretty overwhelming, renovating a house, eh? I’m delighted to finally have the opportunity, though, and still can’t believe this is actually happening!

Mandi Makes a New Home

Above you can see how the house is currently, and I’m sure you can tell it’s definitely not our style. Not only that, but it doesn’t fit many of our needs. I can’t wait to get my hands on the space and work some magic in here, but for now, I wanted to share all of my plans with you! I’ll be doing this for each room we renovate, drawing plans, sharing my furniture and fixture selections, and talking through the process with you all. I hope you find it as much fun as I do. :)

Kitchen Perspective Rendering

Throughout our home, my goal is to create a bright and friendly feeling space with fun, casual furnishings alongside more traditional, chic fixtures. I’m really looking to strike a balance with a variety of styles I enjoy, including ’70s modern, traditional arts and crafts, Scandinavian, American mid century, and just a touch of boho.

kitchen accessorieskitchen accessories

Our house was built in the late ’80s and has traditional elements such as raised panel doors and cabinetry, standard builder-grade trim, turned spindles and banisters on the stairway, and glass paneled doors. I’d like to keep those elements and blend the traditional vibes into the other styles I enjoy, a prospect with both terrifies and delights me. I’m a little worried mixing so many styles will prove to be a delicate balancing act, and any wrong move will make it all feel disjointed and poorly planned. But I’m probably overthinking it, and as long as we only include elements we truly love, I think with the restrained color palette I’m using, it’ll all be good!

1. 4 light globe chandelier
2. Globe pendant
3. Wood drawer pull
4. Wood cabinet knob
5. Lippa chair
6. Flip clock
7. Vintage art from Simply Chi
8. Bar stool

Kitchen Before - Plan View

Formal dining rooms aren’t really our thing, so when we looked for houses, we were wanting a kitchen area that was big enough to fit my heirloom dining room table. This house had a formal dining room, but as it is tucked away in the corner of the house beside the kitchen, we thought it would make the perfect play room. Only problem is, the kitchen was too cramped to fit our big dining room table. Not to worry! I spent a little time putting all of the existing cabinets into autoCAD and rearranged them to better suit our furniture, moving the stove* to another wall in the process. I’m so excited to be able to utilize our existing cabinetry, which means less waste and more money to spend on other areas.

*We already have to run a gas line to our new gas stove, so moving the stove won’t be too difficult, providing the floor boards of the floor above the kitchen run horizontally to the exterior of the home, so we can easily tuck the stove vent in between the floor boards. We’ll see about that when we move in!

Kitchen After - Plan View

In addition to making room for our table, moving the stove means the hood vent will no longer be competing with the kitchen window, which had previously made the space feel imbalanced. I’m a lover of symmetry, so the new window wall elevation is giving me all the feels! I’m also excited about removing the large cabinetry on the refrigerator wall, making way for a slimmer open shelving system, installed from floor to ceiling for storing glassware, serving dishes, and dry pantry goods stored in pretty glass jars.

I’ll still want a closed pantry area (which I’ve never actually had in a kitchen before), so I’ll be removed the cabinet around the corner in the kitchen which currently has a wet bar inside. We’ll be drywalling it in to make a real closet fitted with floor to ceiling shelves for uglier pantry items, like cereal boxes, canned goods, and all that jazz.

I have a few DIY projects up my sleeves for this space, and am excited to be sharing them with you this June and July over at A Beautiful Mess! Among them includes easy ways to make and instal floating shelves, how to instal a pantry wall like the one I’ve planned, and lots more! (I don’t want to ruin any surprises. Ha!)

Kitchen Elevation

It looks like a lot of white, but I think the heaviness of the floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves on the wall opposite of the window will really warm up the space. I love a balance of cozy, earthy wood tones with the bright, clean feeling of glossy white and shiny chrome. Of course, all the white will also provide a great background for an open shelf full of white, wood, and glass dishes I’ll be storing for every day use on the window wall.

I can’t wait to start demo as soon as we close on the place the first week of June! Stay tuned. :)

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