Feeling Extravagent?

sherri1058March 11, 2014

I've been lurking for awhile with an occasional post. I am trying to pull the trigger on another kitchen reno, and wonder about all of you. We bought our home 11 years ago and immediately renovated the kitchen. I know that wisdom dictates that you live in your new home for a year before you do anything....... but you didn't see my dysfunctional kitchen!!!
Fast forward 11 years, and while the reno isn't awful, I do want to make some changes, partly because it wasn't done as well as it could have been, and partly because I now understand the need to have a space that I can "age into".
So, my question is, how old is the kitchen that you renovated? Was it your previous renovation or something that you inherited?

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I am gutting a kitchen installed in 2007, and baths installed in 2007 and 2011. All inherited, all pretty awful.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Fashion. I love it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Mine came with the house and it was tired, outdated and dysfunctional.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:37PM
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We inherited a 1994 kitchen in a house that a builder built for himself. His family lived here 2 years (while he was developing the rest of our neighborhood), the next family lived here until 2013 and changed some appliances as the original appliances broke ;)

It's a big space that has a layout and cabinetry that make no sense whatsoever.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Like you, I renovated a kitchen that I had renovated 12 years before. The first time was not a complete gut job. I did new appliances, counters and floors and refaced the cabinets. This time I did a complete job soup to nuts.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:48PM
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robo (z6a)

Inherited, ca. 1995 (Nova Scotia time, which means 1985 fashion in the rest of the world):

We moved the kitchen, kept the cabs and turned this in to a laundry room. Because I'm cheap I would have kept the tile, but the previous owners installed incorrectly and it was cracked to blazes.

Pretty sure the previous owners came up with this layout all by themselves....

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 22:31

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:08PM
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I am giving a facelift to an inherited 1995 kitchen. Then I'm moving. Someone will surely renovate soon after!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:16PM
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We did our first kitchen when we bought our house circa 1986. Remodeled (gut) in 2006. Sold in late 2012. This time around, we just tore out and redid the condo kitchen we inherited. Everything about it was old even if it was functional (don't have any idea when it was last done). Have a great kitchen now, but will likely move long before this one has to be redone again.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Our kitchen was about 28 years old when we finally pulled the plug on it. The cheapie builder's grade cabinets, although tired looking were still holding their own. Most of my appliances were worn out and needed to start being replaced again, so it was time. Although a beautiful, new kitchen is nice, over the years there were more important things that needed to be replaced before it in our 28 year old house, like the roof, windows, doors, siding, furnace, a/c, etc. Once those were done we felt we could spend the money on the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:43PM
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A picture is worth a thousand words...

Need I say more??

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:55PM
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We bought the house new in 1989. It was a spec house, so it was mid-grade at best. I worked on kitchen plans off and on for 15 years but was never satisfied, and life got in the way of spending too much time on it.

When I finally hit on a design that pleased me and solved the majority of my problems, I pulled the trigger immediately. I met with a local cabinet maker a year ago.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Most recent: done in the late 90s by a tall guy who didn't cook. It was a challenging space, but he was up to the challenge, managing to bring in stylish appliances in a layout that minimized both storage (two 14 inch face frame uppers and pie shaped glass front corners) and useable prep space. We limped along in it for 10 years.
On the aesthetic side he vastly overestimated his DYI skills. Looking at the backspash tile installation's off kilter lines could make you queasy.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:24PM
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My ripped out kitchen was newly built 12 years ago. We are renovating to improve function. Lack of natural light, storage, and counter space made it really impractical for a family of four. Also, after 12 years the laminate counters were completely trashed, the fronts were tired looking, some particleboard had water damage, most of the storage was difficult to use, and the non-paneled melamine boxes clashed with the aged maple. The builder grade appliances were also done - they just weren't made to last. Even the plumbing needs fixing up (new valves, etc.).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:49PM
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We've been staring at our 1965 kitchen with 80's wallpaper and paint for 8 years. I guess nobody can accuse us of rushing ahead in haste.

Still finalizing drawings for the reno. The dratted wallpaper is down, as of a few hours ago. :-)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:09AM
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Here is our Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner:

"Wow!" you might say, "Can it have come any more straight out of the eighties?" Well, joke's on us, this house was built in 2001. Not only did we get the classy border and maroon (raspberry?) counters but the bedroom down the hall has BLUE carpet that can't be more than 5 years old. Who DOES that? Oh, and one upstairs bedroom was painted flourescent orange and flourescent pink on alternating walls with coordinating checkerboard and handprints stenciled throughout. That was the second room I painted after the hunter green master bedroom. The yellow and pink office will have to take a backseat for now. Oy.

The worst part of this kitchen is the serious travesty regarding the use of space in a 2200 sq ft home. I have chesters_house beat: I have THREE 12" uppers and a diagonal corner, rendering most of my space around the range near-useless.

We have only been in this house a month, but we have lived in a lot of houses. A LOT. And, really, we are quite constrained by the layout of this kitchen with regards to doorways and a slider to the deck, so I am making my plans NOW and tearing it UP as soon as we are ready to bring the bucks.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:11AM
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We bought our house in 2000 and immediately changed out our countertops, flooring and appliances. We kept the cabinets from what appeared to be a 70's renovation with the most un-user friendly layout I've ever seen in a kitchen. We are now about 1/2 way through a complete floor-ceiling gut reno...it will be SO nice to have more than about 2 feet of counter space that we had before and have room for more than 1 person to work in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:11AM
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We expanded a 25 year old 9x7 kitchen into a 9x14 kitchen in a house purchased four years previously. Living with it for a while really made a difference in the outcome.

We even "installed" the old cabinets and the appliances in their new locations and lived with them that way for a few months before actually finalizing the layout. Make a few tweaks to get better traffic flow, although we then had to move a few electric lines for the second time.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:19AM
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We moved into our present home in 2001, it had been built by the original owners as a vacation cottage with modest expense on cabinets, appliances etc. Because we weren't ready to gut it completely at that time we just did a quick reno, tiling over the original kelly green formica with porcelain, moving a few cabinets around, new appliances. Just a quick clean up. Then, we got complacent and lived with this for too long. It was clean and functional, sort of, but ugly. The foil on the cabinets started to peel off and the pressed board is swelling in my humid climate and falling apart. In about 6 weeks all will be gutted and we'll start from scratch with everything sparkling new. The thought of completely emptying the kitchen is daunting - and I can't wait!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:50AM
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In our place built in 1959...
Kitchen was given a facelift in 1970...
Previous owner's dad renovated the room (new cabs/appliances/linoleum) in 1979...
Previous owners did a facelift in 2002 (painted cabinets white, put crappy tile and green formica overlay in)

I completely rebuilt it in 2013-2014 and am almost done :). Only the studs and ceiling joists survived. New electrical/plumbing/floor joist structure/layout/... you get the idea.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:22AM
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Schicksal, that is teasing! Where is the after?????

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:43AM
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I am the winner (loser?) so far: our kitchen was original to the house, which was built in 1950. We bought in 1989 and I finally remodeled in 2010. Yep spent 21 years working in a dingy, dilapidated and worn out 60 year old kitchen.

Kicker: when I finally said it was time, my husband fought me every step of the way, insisting it looked and worked fine. Yes we are still married. No I did not drug his food, just overruled him!

And some hard won advice for those who may be reading this and pondering about a remodel: do it sooner rather than later.

My lasting regret is waiting so long--I ended up with a beautiful and much more functional kitchen *after* the intense years of cooking for my family were winding down. It would have made life so much easier to have had a decent kitchen when the kids were growing up.

Here are a couple of before and after shots:

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:58AM
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My last house still had the original kitchen...from 1959. AND the original appliances. I do not joke. The stove was hardwired, the oven for it was ABOVE the cooktop, the fridge had an ice box...yellow laminate countertops, cream appliances, those white with rainbow swirl glued down 12x12 asbestos tiles...

Gutted it the day we moved in...and then met up with the owner's son who was appalled that we would have ripped out such a beautiful kitchen...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:06AM
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>>Schicksal, that is teasing! Where is the after?????

About four weeks in the future for the big stuff. As of now we're scheduled for drywall early next week, then we paint, I start doing flooring after that and someone will sand/finish it and then cabinets arrive. :)

The big undecided stuff are the faucet, whether we're doing instant hot water (I want it), pendant lights, backsplash tile, and whether we'll paint or stain the paneling in the ceiling in the room we opened the kitchen into.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:09AM
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We built our house in 1994, so this kitchen was done by us and on purpose:

It wasn't the best layout (can you say "barrier island"?), but I made a lot of good meals in that kitchen. It was 18 years old when we started the down to the studs renovation. I think the new kitchen will stand the test of time, mostly because doing another kitchen reno would likely kill both DH and me!

[Edited to correct age of Old Yellow...]

This post was edited by fouramblues on Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 11:04

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Our first house, built in 1939, had a 1970s kitchen with a white refrigerator that prevented the back door to the house from opening all the way, a black dishwasher that didn't get dishes clean and a brown oven that heated so unevenly I had to spin cookie trays part way through cooking. Lol. We painted the cabinets and replaced everything else.

Our second house, built in 1954, had a 1960s kitchen that blocked traffic patterns and hurt my eyes. The refrigerator was fairly new, but didn't fit the new plan in terms of size so we sold it on CL and the rest was trash.

Our current house was built in 1926 and has the original kitchen--with all new appliances. It hurts to do it, but I think we are going to remodel in 2015. It's got some functional problems that annoy the heck out of me on a daily basis. We hope to stay in this house permanently and hope that this kitchen remodel will be our only one. (Just redid a bathroom with a leaky shower with the same goal,). Whoever comes next in the house can remodel it after the thirty to forty years we hope to get out of it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:04AM
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Wow, some really struggling kitchens on this thread, and warriors who live with them! I ought to post pics of our rental house, built in '45 and original kitchen. A lot like runninginplace's kitchen but with much less counter space, ha ha! Gorgeous old home with lots of original woodwork. Could not sell after the matket tanked so it became a rental when we found our dream home. Now we don't even live in the dream home any more. :(

But I digress. We wanted to update that rental kitchen but the floor plan was a huge challenge; lots of doors and windows and a significant load-bearing wall and an original bc with fold down ironing board. A 50k reno at least, and probably still would not be what it should be.

Maybe I will start a new thread...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:49AM
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I heartily second 'runninginplace's excellent advice to do it sooner rather than later. I inherited the original 1978 kitchen when I moved in here in 2003. I lived with but hated that kitchen every day until March 2013 when I decided to give dh a choice; remodel the kitchen or head for divorce court :) Took it down to the studs, removed a wall and spent a great deal of money and got the kitchen of my dreams. Wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:57PM
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I haven't posted this photo before because I know you all will be jealous...but this is the kitchen we inherited when we bought the place. House was built in the 1950's and owned by the same couple until we bought it out of their estate in 2010-2011. We are mid-remodel right now. (Photos from the listing from when we found it.)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:01AM
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And if you weren't jealous enough with the avocado green range and (non-vented) hood, here's a photo of the dining room complete with avocado green carpeting and peach drapes...wall is torn out and now the kitchen and DR are one room. The DR had oak hardwood under the carpet. We weren't so lucky with the kitchen, but we had new hardwood fingered in to closely resemble our DR hardwood.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:06AM
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runninginplace: Thank you for confirming that we made the right choice. After reading the thread where everyone has just saved up and paid outright for their remodel I was starting to feel bad.

We are a young couple (late 20s- early 30s) and we were fortunate enough to be gifted our house. We are a single income family with 4 children ranging from 1-6 years old. If we would have saved cash to pay outright for our new kitchen, it wouldn't have happened until our youngest was in junior high or high school. I need a functioning kitchen NOW, especially since not only do I have a family of 6 but I also host every holiday get together and the last 4 years of trying to prepare thanksgiving, Christmas, easter, birthday etc meals has been a nightmare!

Instead we chose to take out a home equity loan for 15% of the houses value in order to gut the horrid non functioning kitchen and add on to the house. I feel like all we are really doing is paying what we would have for a mortgage if we HADN'T been so fortunate so I don't see it as going into debt.

Anyway, sorry for rambling off topic, I just wanted to say that your comment really helped me feel better, thanks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:11AM
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Another former member of the pulls in the middle of the cabinet doors club! That's a pretty solid flashback. Hopefully everything was clean at least. Our entire place was unbelievably dirty - bad enough so that on the way back from closing I bought a big spray bottle of simple green and some heavy duty paper towels so I could clean up a place to sleep for the first night.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:27AM
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" I need a functioning kitchen NOW, especially since not only do I have a family of 6 but I also host every holiday get together and the last 4 years of trying to prepare thanksgiving, Christmas, easter, birthday etc meals has been a nightmare!"

Indeed--except I lived that nightmare for 20+ years! In our case, when we bought the house there were so many updates that had to be done that I went along with putting the kitchen on the bottom of the priority list. However, since we only had one six-month old child I really didn't understand how aggravating it would be to work in a dingy, outdated, cramped space. I also am the family hostess and our extended family is ~20 people. So I created parties and holiday meals in addition to the daily cooking for what became our family of four, plus my in-laws who ended up moving in a block away and came over all the time. Life rolled on and as we all know once you have a family (we added a daughter) there is a constant stream of financial needs that go along with raising kids. The kitchen and its major overhaul stayed down low on the priority list.

And too, by the time I finally put my foot down and we remodeled, my husband the systems analyst honestly couldn't fathom why(!). In his mind if we had used the kitchen 'successfully' for 2 decades there was just no reason to spend money on updating it. That ended up causing real issues between us. Corollary-because we weren't on the same page the kitchen plan wasn't done as effectively and efficiently as it should have been which cost more money in the long run. As I put it sometimes, there are quite a few f* - you items in that space!

Anyway, sorry to ramble but yes, really, truly, seriously make the kitchen a priority. My own advice is to do two areas before all others: kitchens and floors. Kitchens so you (or whoever is the prime cook and chief bottle washer) can function happily and easily at a task set that recurs quite literally several times a day without pause or let up for the entire time you live in the space. Floors because trying to remodel the base of your entire home after you've filled said home with all the objects of daily life is a nightmare and a truly appalling amount of extra work...ask me how I know about THAT!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:28AM
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My old kitchen came with the house which was built around 1960.

The house is around 2,500 sq. feet--huge by our standards. The kitchen, not so big.

It looked like this:

Need I say more?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:36AM
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In our previous home, we renovated the original 90 yr old kitchen. Not much had changed. A lighting fixture or two had been replaced, and the old wood stove had been "upgraded" to an electric range. Other than that everything was original.

These pictures were taken before we moved in.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 9:41AM
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Bellsmom - that looks like the galley kitchen in our first condo, I had to get a side-by-side fridge just to open the door (which still blocked the doorway to the eating area). Thank goodness the range was on opposite end (and opposite side) of the kitchen, by the window. I could not stand in front of the oven when opening the door, had to stand to side with back to rest of kitchen b/c the aisle b/t 2 rows of cabinets was so narrow the oven door barely cleared the cabinets opposite!

Joyce - too bad you didn't even get a nice antique farmhouse sink. The woodstove that was under that "hood" (canopy?) must have been huge - was there an opening for a stovepipe up in there still? Looks like something you'd see in a throne room!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:14AM
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We ripped out a builder grade c. 1990 10x 11 kitchen in our 1920s house. It was a modified L shape, with the refrigerator blocking the pathway to the back of the house (pantry and mudroom).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Bellsmom - how tight was that aisle?! Wow - it barely looks big enough for an average-sized person to pass through!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Joyce, in our second house (we're on the third), when we moved in, it had the original circa 1908-1912 kitchen, which included the original dishwasher, a Kohler "electric sink", which must have been added later since it was "introduced" in 1926. Unfortunately lost (more likely stolen) during the remodel.

I also forgot that we remodeled our first kitchen and put IN those awful white cabinets with oak trim! Not only that but the person we hired to put them in hung them so they weren't level and my DH re-hung them all (and I was basically 9 months pregnant at the time with my first child).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Loved reading everyone's stories!! I went from thinking I need to suck it up and live with the kitchen for a few more years, to feeling that I shouldn't feel guilty if I renovate now. As I said, the current kitchen could be a lot better, but also in the realm of "WHO DOES THAT?" at least I no longer have to open the fridge door in order to open the utensils drawer.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:17PM
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The kitchen I replaced was put in 1996, and was replaced in mid 2013. In 17 years, the oven was replaced once (expensive failure) and the DW once (but it really didn't need it; I could have replaced the cover had I known it was removable). The remodel was to improve the use of space (expansion/wall came down) and because certain finishes were starting to fail (like the thermofoil cabinet edges/MDF water intrusion). The main entrance was also between the cooktop and fridge.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:33PM
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We inherited our kitchen. The home was built in 1988, and I would guess not only never updated, but a complete lack of regular maintenance. The kitchen was gross. I love it now.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:46PM
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I couldn't get both pictures in one. Here's our after for anyone whose curious.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:48PM
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Hey, the passage wasn't that tight. I could open the oven door ALL THE WAY! And have two or three inches to spare before I scraped the fridge!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:14PM
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schicksal - yes, our kitchen was actually remarkably clean and well kept. The couple that had the house maintained it very, very well. The drawers all worked well, the doors all closed. It was as functional of a "non-functional kitchen as one could have. My DH and I feel as if we have been entrusted with the former owners house...and while it's our own now, we always hope that when we are doing things it would be something that the previous owners would approve of and feel that we are doing it with the obvious love that they had for their house.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:12PM
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Ok I think I may have the winner.. House was built in 1968 and I believe the kitchen was original. It sat empty for 7 years after the previous owner passed (who was a hoarder by the way) and then we bought it. We tore the kitchen out the day after we closed on the house, and lived with family during the entire reno. The first photo is from the listing and actually makes the kitchen look better than it did in real life. The second is one hubby took on his phone the day we closed.

Some from the day granite was installed - I am still ABB 1 1/2 years later and just got handles installed last week. Took me forever to pick them out. Sorry for the bad cell phone pics.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:24PM
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runninginplace I wish I could have redone the flooring but unfortunately we have been living here for 4 years now. The carpet in the living room and master bedroom is 20 years old. The flooring REALLY does need to be replaced but we have an open floor plan so it would have to be done all at once and I just don't have somewhere to move all the LR and bedroom furniture in order to replace right now.

Oh well, at least I finally have my dream kitchen...almost. (8 months into the remodel and we still aren't finished)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Bellsmom, your kitchen is almost the exact same layout, size and look of the kitchen in our 1956 house. Very little was done since it was first built. We bought the house in 1994. Our appliances were laid out differently than yours and our cabinets had plain solid doors, but otherwise, very much the same. Now, the area is gutted as we are adding an addition across the entire back of our house, with new kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, partial basement with a wine cellar, and a large walkin closet. Hooray for storage! Right now, the electrical is being run, then we go to insulation and dry walling. I've been without a real kitchen since Thanksgiving and can't wait for the good stuff to get started.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 12:11AM
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We bought a new tract home and watched our house get built in 1998. Didn't know enough about kitchens to know what I wanted back then - so we went with the builder's mostly standard kitchen but did add the island. I thought their granite was overpriced as well. So we opted for the standard contractor tile and clear maple standard doors. Did upgrade to double ovens - though they were 27" and a four burner cooktop.



    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:49AM
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Inherited. House was built in 1984. Almost no counter space. Knew we would renovate the second we walked into the house with the realtor. The custom mosaic backsplash was...interesting. The owners from the 90s stopped by one day and were shocked to see the vinyl fake marble flooring they put in was still there. Along with the backsplash and original curtains from their reno! We killed all the walls and flipped the kitchen to the other side of the room. So, so much better. Do it now!! :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Our house was quite possibly the most miserable flip in the history of flips. Reno was done in 2004, we moved in 2005. It was always usable, to a degree, and in many ways nicer than any kitchen I've every had. Original appliances were... well, there was a high likelihood that they fell off the back of a truck. Those were all replaced in ~2010. Again, nicer appliances than I ever expected to own.

We decided that of all the things we could have done this year to improve our quality of life, we decided that an all-new-everything-gut-remodel kitchen would be THE ONE THING. Of course, that came with a new furnace, hot water heater and a new deck. We've always wanted to have people over, but there is no good way to cook and eat and socialize the way it was all configured before. We plan to spend the rest of our lives in this house and pass it onto family, so we're keen to have it just right. I quite understand you, on that front.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:49PM
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We bought our house when it was 15 years old, typical early 90's kitchen with 42" oak cabinets, 4" ceramic tile backsplash, black appliances. A previous owner had replaced the solid surface countertops with Uba Tuba Gold granite, but graciously left the God awful solid surface sink. They also replaced the original freezer on top fridge with a barely functional side by side. We did a facelift when we moved in 5 years ago, replacing the white with hunter green rope trim backsplash with tumbled marble and dark bronze accents. We also replaced the polished gold hardware and faucet with oil rubbed bronze, cut the wall to the dining room to allow for more clearance for the fridge door, replaced the dishwasher and replaced the flooring in the entire house. We just finished our major renovation last month, completely gutted the 20 year old kitchen. The only thing left of our old kitchen is the Travertine flooring and Graff faucet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen reveal

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:39PM
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