Flashback!

I think we’ve already done more with this house in 4 months than we did with our old house in 9 years. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it does make me sad to look back at all the stuff we did in the last few months, to get the house ready to sell, and wonder why we didn’t do it earlier so we could enjoy it.  I can’t pin down exactly the reason for our house-decorating/fixing-up lethargy, but I do have my suspicions, and their names are Ari, Milo, and August.

When we moved in, we had an almost 2 year old, and I was 7 months pregnant. Then we had August 2 1/2 years after Milo, and, well…things stayed pretty hectic for a long time. Of course, I seem to be reverting to old patterns with this whole having another baby thing I’m doing (and that’s part of the reason I feel such a push to get things done over the next couple of months, while there’s still time!)….but we have no plans to repeat having a baby and a toddler at the same time.

One of the saddest parts of leaving our old house was how little time we had to enjoy the kitchen reno we did in order to hurry along the house selling. In fact, I wouldn’t say we got to enjoy it at all;  it was nice to look at, but I too scared of messing it up to actually USE the kitchen much.

So let’s take a moment to look back on it and pretend it was ever really ours (good thing I took pictures, since otherwise I’d have go pound on the new owner’s door and ask to come in and visit for awhile).

I don’t really have bonafide “before” shots, so here’s what I managed to come up with:

This is the color the kitchen came with, and we lived with it for a very long time. Why is every house I move into yellow? That’s our old table, and those are the same plates I bought at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx or somewhere back when we lived in Boston. Then I held on to them until their time was past and they’d lost pretty much all resale value. Oh well.

And this is the best I could do to show the lovely builder grade oak cabinets, brass hardware, and original, late ’80’s laminate (complete with chipped off piece on the corner there). Ignore the counter surface in the middle there; that was our stand-alone island (essential for our almost no counter space kitchen). We had repainted by this point, but hadn’t gotten any further than that, despite grand plans.

We had no funds for granite or new cabinets or to hire anyone to refinish the cabinets. So one week Dave took the kids to California to visit in-laws, and I stayed behind and did a quick, cheap remodel. We had butcher block from Ikea installed, and my wonderful real estate agent and some equally wonderful friends came over to help me knock out painting the cabinets and replacing all the hardware. Then Dave put up the backsplash when he got home. Finished result:

Oh, how I love that backsplash! It’s plastic, but it looks like pressed tin.

I loved these counter tops, but I was terrified of using them. I spent most of my time rubbing mineral oil into them and watching them obsessively to make sure I cleaned up any drop of water immediately.

The new table was really supposed to wait and go straight to the new house, but the old table was so beat up that we went ahead and got it early.

I don’t have a price breakdown….the cabinets were maybe $60 for hardware (I reused the hinges and spray painted them to match the brushed nickel cabinet pulls) plus the rest of the same never-ending gallon of paint I had already painted every bathroom cabinet in the house with (and some oil based primer that I also already had on hand). I want to say we bought two 96″ lengths of the Numerar counters from Ikea for $170 each. Having the countertops installed was the most expensive part, at around $500, if I remember right. Of course, handier people than we could have done that themselves. We could not. I’m glad we didn’t try.

From time to time I wonder if I would have done things the same way if were doing it for ourselves. I think we mostly would have. I had actually envisioned painting the cabinets black long before we decided we were moving, in fact. And I’ve already shared my love of the backsplash. It’s possible I would have sprung for real tin had we been staying, but it’s also possible I would have decided that the extra cost + extra maintenance would have made it not worthwhile.


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