Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Oldie... But a Goodie. Kitchen Part 1

Seeing as we are moving in the not so near future, it seemed fitting to look back at our first 'real' home project. Sure... We had painted, hung curtains, and done other small things to improve our home but this was a biggie! Best of all is my wonderful timing, this project would finish on the Friday before my son's blowout first birthday party with nearly 50 of our closest family and friends. Yeah... Not at all stressful!

I loved our house the first time we walked in (and it was actually the very first house that we looked at!) I loved the floor plan, the fenced nature view lot, the neutral color palette... The only thing that was a real deal breaker for me was the laminate counters not only in all of the bathrooms but also in the kitchen! I hated them! But I obviously knew that this was an easily remedied issue, so we got our dream house and planned to pick our perfect countertops when everything settled down. Two months after moving in, I was pregnant and then came baby, and before we knew it nearly 2 years had passed. We started discussing the kitchen renovation in January 2011 as we filed our taxes and were trying to decide where our tax money should go.

We ended up going with a smaller granite shop that gave us such a great price that we decided to go ahead and just do our 3 bathrooms as well! Then came the real fun.... Basically 4 projects rolled into one! I needed to make 4 sink, faucet, granite color, backsplash, and lighting choices at the same time! So I set off to make this all happen in our 30 day window.
The key for me was staying organized with all of the moving parts, including a general contractor, plumber, and more.

Using a pretty basic excel spreadsheet, I was able to not only stay organized but also stay on budget. We had a number for a budget that I really wanted to stay with and keeping it in excel allowed me to play with the numbers to make it happen. I started off with the costs that we knew for the granite, labor, etc. from there I worked my way down starting with the kitchen and filled in all the blanks knowing that sending more in one room meant that I would need to be more frugal in other places.

So on to the fun stuff.... I will start with the kitchen for today's post.

Our kitchen opens directly to our family room and breakfast nook. The kitchen island was two tiered and was nice to help separate the rooms but the bar on the island was less than ten inches deep which made it virtually unusable for eating or anything else for that matter! While visiting friends in Philly who fell in love with their one huge level island separating their kitchen and family room. There was so much usable space and the space seemed so open! We knew that it was now or never so we decided to just go for it! Our GC gave us a very reasonable estimate for the work and we were sold! The fun part of this was that our GC would need to chop down the second level of the island prior to the granite shop making templates. So had a few days of a somewhat non working kitchen. Pardon the dust, mess, and horrible counter tips!

The easiest choice of all for me was the backsplash. I had stumbled across a blog with the most beautiful kitchen tansformation and I knew right away that this was the tile for me... Off white subway style, with a crackle finish, and beveled edge. It was love at first sight and luckily a local tile store carried the brand so I was able get a sample of the available colors. I then soured the Internet and found a great price with super fast shipping on Fast Floors. Mark that off my list!

Chatting at the Sky - Backsplash Inspiration
Fast Floors Adex USA Hampton Bisque in the smaller mesh backed size

After many years of fighting with and hating my stainless steel sinks, I knew there had to be a better alternative. In an perfect kitchen world, a farmhouse sink would be where I would spend my evenings doing dishes. But I resigned myself to holding out for that sink in our dream house that we will one day build as I realized that switching to this style of sink would require reworking cabinets and a lot more money than I wanted to shell out! I stumbled upon the Blanco Silgranit sinks in several renovation blogs. They had amazing reviews and I thought that they could be a perfect fit. Another thing I learned was that when a sink is in an open island, going with a single basin sink helps to keep the view nice and clear even when there are a sink full of dirty dishes. The only catch? I need to see and feel something like a sink prior to choosing it. We lucked out that our local Ferguson Showroom had several samples of this composite sink and many more sink and faucet options!

Talk about heaven! An entire showroom full of sinks, faucets, lighting, mirrors, appliances.... The hubby and I made a full tour and to my surprise hubs loved the Silgranite Super Single Sink. But while I was in this amazing showroom I needed to make sure this was THE sink. A Kohler cast iron sink caught my eye on the way in and I needed to know more about it. Unfortunately, this beautiful sink in the color I wanted (Caviar) was a special order that would take 6-8 weeks and was also nearly $700! Yikes! This made up my mind and I again turned to the internet for 2 day shipping and another great deal on the Blanco Silgranite Anthracite (black) sink from Home Click. They were a great company to work with and even helped me locate my sink after hours when I was nervously stressing about getting it in time for our granite templates to be made. We ended up under $400 for the sink and the shipping charges!

Blanco Super Single in Brown (Anthracite seems to be out of stock)

(Side Note - I will admit that I was a little OCD with the sink and actually made a pit stop on the way to a friends wedding to buy one of these sinks for fear that the one we ordered online might in some way be damaged and would mess up our very tight timeline.)

While we were in Ferguson's I managed to drab the hubby into the faucet section too! We almost immediately agreed on a style that we loved but again the price nearly got us at well over $600! What??? So again I resigned to internet searching and found it substantially cheaper (plus we ordered all of our other faucets from them at an even bigger discount!)

Faucet Direct - Grohe Minta Stainless Faucet

And finally - it was all decided!!!! What a huge weight off my shoulders until it came to D-Day and I was like a kid on Christmas morning so excited to see it all together and praying that it would exceed my expectations... and it did!!!!

And what the kitchen looks like today? Stayed tuned tomorrow!

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