Journey's End - Final Reveal

gpraceman55August 12, 2013

Well, our kitchen remodel journey is finally over. We bought our house last summer as a "diamond in the rough". After many minor fix-up projects, we were ready for a major one. We started demo on May 16 and we finished today (August 12). It would have been much sooner had our granite fabricator not miscut our island slab. We waited over a month for the slab yard to get more of our granite in (Crema Bordeaux). Friday they came and installed the island granite, so we were able to get our cooktop, vent hood and pendants in finally.

If you want to read through our journey, check out

Below are photos of our old kitchen. Very builder basic. Honey oak cabinets with center stiles (DW hated the stiles). Small island. Laminate counters. Wasted space called a desk. Cheap appliances. Dated builder basic pendant over the kitchen table. Poor lighting layout. Pony wall that catches clutter. Only one way in/out of the kitchen.

We removed the pony wall to open up the flow. The hardwoods were refinished to a lighter color and also were carried into the family room. The cabinets are custom, made out of Cherry, with a "Spice" stain. Soft close doors and drawers. They were made by Tharp Cabinets in Loveland, CO. Price-wise, they were comparable to the Kraft Maid quotes we got, but Tharp included installation. So, overall it was less expensive going with custom cabinets from Tharp.

Finishing the hardwoods, running the gas line to the cooktop, retexturing the ceiling, and granite installation were done by others but we (DW, two teenage sons and myself) did the rest. We did all of the demo, electrical, lighting, plumbing, drywall, baseboards, venting for the vent hood, appliance installation, painting, backsplash, and even installed some of the cabinet accessories.

We saved $1600 on appliances by sale shopping and that includes $700 in rebates from Lowe's and Bosch. Lowe's price matching came in handy. A lot of research went into the appliances, trying to find ones that fit our budget and were well rated.

The backsplash is a honed travertine in a linear mosaic. We didn't want the backsplash to compete with the Crema Bordeaux granite, but we did want it to have some interest to it. The only accents on the backsplash are the copper looking outlet covers.

If you want to read about our inexpensive DIY UCL, check out

36" gas cooktop and 36" vent hood are Whirlpool Gold. We hated cooking on the electric range as it was so hard to clean and temps varied too much. We are glad to be back using gas. Big holes in the ceiling had to be made to run the vent duct out the side of the house.

Eventually, we will replace the refrigerator with a stainless one. It wasn't in the budget to replace it now and it works just fine. Kitchen Aid countertop microwave with 30" trim kit above 30" Kitchen Aid convection oven. Extra tall drawer below oven for tall pots. Refrigerator surround extends 29" from the wall.

Regular shelved pantry for miscellaneous storage against the wall. Food pantry with pullouts next to it. Coffee and tea station.

Stools have too dark of wood, but for $25 each on clearance we'll live with them. We are really surprised at how much that seating area gets used. DS likes eating his breakfast and lunch there. DW likes sitting there with her laptop.

Decorative side panels. 15" deep cabinet for storage of table cloths and place mats. Baseboard molding wraps the sides and back of the island.

We went with all drawered cabinets for the front of the island, for easier storage of pots, pans, utensils, dishes, and so on.

Custom sized bookshelf with extra tall base. Vent grating at bottom of bookshelf was our solution for the air return that was in the old pony wall.

We found a lighting collection that we liked and replaced the fixtures in the nook, dining room, foyer and entry. Fortunately, the collection also had pendants. Here's a view of the light shade.

Shutoff valve for the gas cooktop is under the island granite overhang. "Hidden" granite support brackets under the overhang.

Recharging station in back right cabinet of island so we can hide away electronics when we have company.

We love our copper farmhouse sink. Our kids call it a bathtub. We got it from Menards on sale for $559, regularly $699, with free shipping to boot. Home Depot carries the exact same sink on their website. We also love the air switch for the disposer. The under sink filter system also supplies water to the refrigerator. The window sill was made from left over island baseboard molding.

Towel holder from Rev-a-Shelf. It was under $4.

Bosch 800 Plus Series dishwasher. We love this dishwasher. 3rd rack for silverware is great. Extremely quiet and cleans very well.

We have an extra pullout on order for the bottom section of our pantry, since DW wanted a pullout in the top section. She is on the short side, at 5'3".

18" dual trash pullout with soft close from Rev-a-Shelf. Drawer above is used for trash bags. Our trash provider collects recyclables, so the back can is for those and the front for trash. I wish I could find a blue can for recyclables, as I know guests will want to put trash in there.

DIY cutting board holder made from leftover island baseboard molding.

Baking sheet pullout from Rev-a-Shelf. DIY install. We lose some storage space with this, but access is so much easier.

We couldn't afford to do all drawer bases, but we wanted one of the regular base cabinets to at least have pullouts for DW's Tupperware.

Super Susan serves as storage for small appliances.

Cooking utensils drawer. Drawer was scooped to fit under cooktop. It is also only 15" deep, to leave room for the gas cooktop connection and regulator.

Pots and pans storage under the cooktop.

Cutlery Drawer. Custom insert from Wood Hollow Cabinets. If we didn't already have organizers for the other drawers, we would have gotten Wood Hollow ones for them as well.

Dishes drawer. Racks are from IKEA. We had considered a peg board organizer, but these racks make it easy to pull out a whole stack of dishes for entertaining.

Rather overcast that day, but DW loves her view of the Rockies.

The scope of the project grew to include the Family Room. Since we were taking out the carpet and extending the hardwoods, I wanted to do something with the fireplace. I really did not like the tile used as the hearth and surrounded the fireplace. Here's the before photo:

The mantel was big and clunky (drywall over a frame of 2x4's). So, that was all ripped out and I designed and built a fireplace surround. It is inlaid with soapstone and soapstone tile surrounds the fireplace. A soapstone slab hearth finishes it off. We had oiled it, but thought that we would let it return to the bluish grey color, that is why it looks splotchy right now. For some reason, the oil hangs around better on some of the tiles and not others.

We painted the wall a bluish gray to help coordinate with that color in our Crema Bordeaux granite. The built-ins flanking the fireplace were an earlier DIY project.

Well, the scope of the project grew once more to include the Powder Room. The hardwood floor guy asked me to remove the toilet so he could sand under it. Well, if the toilet was coming out, so was the pedestal sink that DW and I hated. So, we hunted around for a vanity that we liked. We found the one below but didn't like the top that came with it. So, I got another piece of soapstone slab and cut, shaped and sanded it. Soapstone tile is used for the backsplash. I saw that end profile on the web somewhere and just had to do it. I love how you can use regular woodworking tools on soapstone. The hammered copper sink is from the same company that made our farmhouse sink.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 1:52

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Love it. Gorgeous wood tone on cabinetry. Copper sink is lovely. I am jealous of all your pantry space. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:55PM
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Wow, you keep doing such lovely work for your wife and I suspect your scope will indeed keep increasing! All of it is fabulous, thanks for sharing details on dish organizers! Your sinks are perfect with the granite and the soapstone.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Well, I didn't mention that the laundry room will be affected by this project as well. The old island cabinet is going to get some gel stain and will become a sink base to replace the existing freestanding utility sink (ugly). That may be next weekend's project.

I still need to figure out what to do with the rest of our old cabinets. My sister-in-law will be taking some of the uppers. The old pantry cabinet is now storage in the garage. That still leaves several cabinets to deal with.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Lovely! Looks fantastic! So organized too. I can't believe you DIY'd the soapstone too, that vanity/backsplash is unbelievable. Have you done soapstone work before or was this your first project?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:26PM
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This was my first time working with soapstone. I had found out by some online research that it is soft enough to use woodworking tools to cut and shape it. I have plenty of those. I used a jig saw with a masonry blade for cutting, a router with carbide bits for the edge profiling and an orbital sander and hand sanding to finish it up. The fireplace surround was the first project. That went so well that I wanted to do the bath vanity top with soapstone too. The hearth slab and vanity top were remnants, so the cost was reasonable.

BTW, I have loved seeing your kitchen come together.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 10:18

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Wonderful improvements! Great descriptions and details, too; thanks for sharing.
Love the soapstone vanity. I will "steal" that idea!

Great job!


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:59PM
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I'm glad everyone is loving the soapstone. Here's a better view of the fireplace surround. This was when freshly oiled.

The inlaid soapstone pieces in the frieze actually stick out a bit. I set them in temporarily but wanted to be able to pull them out easily and we liked the raised look. So, I put some spacers behind them before the final setting.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:32AM
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gpraceman, your kitchen is beautiful, and your craftsmanship is very impressive.

I'm happy your family can now enjoy such a lovely and functional room, but I'm also happy you've posted such helpful threads here. All of your threads are chock full of clear photos, detailed information, and helpful links.

If you are a member of the overthinkers club, as you mentioned, I can only say, thank goodness! We have all benefited from your attention to detail, and your willingness to share.

Great job, and congratulations!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:48AM
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Lovely kitchen! Your photos and explanations are great. I will be bookmarking this thread for all the information in it. Thanks for the drawer insert link. I put that on my eBay watch list.

There is so much to like in your kitchen but I especially love your granite, how pleasing your colors are, and your pendants. Lucky teens to learn to work together as a family and see such a beautiful and functional result. Enjoy!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:57AM
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@tea4all - I'm glad that you like it. Unfortunately, only one DS is able to see the fruits of his labor right now. The other is in the middle of Navy Boot Camp. He's actually going to be a Seabee. That is very appropriate, as he is very handy and loves construction projects. He built the wall that is hidden inside of the island. Fortunately, all 3 of my kids are very handy (got that from me) and creative (got that from DW). DS #2 is the only one living at home now, but before too long we will be empty nesters.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Holly- Kay

Oh my goodness, your kitchen is absolutely beautiful, I love your granite choice with your beautiful cabinets. Everything just looks lovely and so very organized. The Wood Hollow dividers are great. I need to order some for my drawers.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Fabulous! Beautiful cabinets and the soapstone is turning me green. I have got to figure out a way to get SS for my counters (within my budget, that is the problem! plus I have no experience at all with woodworking so DIY is not a great possibility)

I love it when people share those small details (cupboards, trim etc). Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:30AM
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Beautiful job and many great ideas. Your pix are worth many thousands of words-- thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Blessings on your son in Navy Boot Camp! I have a great appreciation for our Servicemen!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Just keep telling myself, "You do NOT want a copper sink." :) That looks wonderful with your counter. Revashelf didn't have a vertical pullout when I did my kitchen, so I'm going to go look for it Thanks.

Oh, and your kitchen is very nice. :) Happy cooking.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Just lovely. The granite, sink and cabs are gorgeous together. Impressive DIY, too. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Your kitchen is so beautiful! Thanks for all the details and pictures. It helps a lot as I am just at the beginning stages of my journey. I love your choices in cabinets and granite. Fireplace is fabulous too! Here's to many happy years in the new kitchen!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:33PM
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It must be so nice to have everything come together so beautifully!!! I love the attention to details...I especially like the wood hollow dividers. I'm almost done with my kitchen and that's the next thing on my list :)

The fireplace is beautiful!

Enjoy your fabulous new kitchen!!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:29PM
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What a beautiful kitchen! Love the view, also.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Really lovely and such a big transformation! Your organizational skills leave me humbled.

I hope that you and your family gave many a happy meal in your beautiful new kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Wow- that is an amazing project! And the DIY part makes it even more special!
Love your reveal and love how you showed your insides and your rationale!
Can't wait to see the next phase of your remodel. Now - how can I get that view out of my window - LOL - when I started, the KD asked what I wanted and I showed her a picture with a great view. So, I am very jealous of your view!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:40PM
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@vinudev_liny - I wish you well as you embark on your journey. This forum has certainly been invaluable for our journey.

@a2gemini - The next phase of the project is to sit back and relax and enjoy the space. LOL After we recover from this project, the Master Bath is the next one in line. Same builder blah as the kitchen used to be. The view was definitely a selling point when we bought the house last summer. DW has wanted mountain views since moving back to Colorado in 2004. It took 8 years, but she finally has them.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:17PM
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So beautiful, warm, and inviting...loads of great function in there too. You should be very pleased!

And having that view is wonderful - a bit of envy there. :) DH lived in Co. Springs for short period of time and we got married in Cascade...miss Colorado quite a bit.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Beautiful - and thanks for the details on the accessories!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:43AM
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Your kitchen is just amazing! So warm and inviting. I love everything about it!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:40AM
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I think everything that I have to say about your kitchen has already been said so I will just add my congratulations to you on a job well done. Everything about your kitchen is just lovely. Wishing you years of good cooking and good times in your new kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Gorgeous! Do you have a close-up of the backsplash with the granite?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:25AM
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@chiefy - Here you go. This is a honed travertine in a linear mosaic. We finished it off with a color enhancing sealer to make it creamier looking.

It wasn't easy trying to find something that would go well with the Crema Bordeaux and not be too busy. I think that we went to every tile store in town looking. Almost all of the examples that we saw on the web also used travertine, so that ended up being the safest bet.

If we had to do it over again, I would not go with a linear mosaic. The long tiles seemed to highlight any minor imperfections in the wall. They were also more susceptible to getting cracked. We rejected a lot of sheets for cracked tiles.

Here's also a better view of the island granite. Not as bold on the bordeaux as the perimeter counters, but was the closest that we could find after the fabricator messed up the original island counter.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:34AM
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gpraceman: You and your family should be *so* proud of your fantastic kitchen transformation! Your DIY skills coupled with your DW's creativity have created a kitchen I'm still drooling over. So much hard work - but absolutely worth it in the end.
Congratulations and may you all enjoy this beautiful home for years to come, in health, happiness and love.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Well, we thought that we were done, only to find an area on the island granite that looked unpolished. You could really only see it if the light was hitting it right, but it was fairly large (about 20" x 2"). Most of that was over a quartz vein.

We had a bit of a hassle trying to get the fabricator to polish that area. I guess they don't check the polish of the top surface and then work on it while it is wet. They assume that the factory polished it perfectly. Fortunately, we had not yet paid the final balance, so we still had some leverage with them.

Well, they came out to seal the perimeter counters, which they didn't do when they were installed, but the guy knew nothing about the island polishing. So, several phone calls and days later, even talking to the owner, before they sent out another person to resolve that problem. The first time polishing that area they tried to get my buy off. It was improved but still far too noticeable, so he went at it a 2nd time. The final result is that it is still a bit noticeable to DW and myself, but no one else will likely notice it. We can live with that. Any more polishing from these guys would probably have resulted in the surface being concave there.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Hey how did I miss this?! What a fantastic kitchen!!

Love those gorgeous cabinets and the sink especially. Great counters and lighting, and I love all the cool storage you built in, especially the recharging station and your DIY cutting board storage (so clever!). Great bookshelf and cabs in place of the pony wall, what a difference that makes. And I want to put a nickel in that gumball machine.

Congrats on your beautiful new kitchen!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:23PM
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I'm glad that you like it.

I can't really take credit for the cutting board holder idea. I saw a Rev-a-Shelf one and decided that I could easily build something like that myself.

On the gumball machine, what's even better is that it only takes pennys;-) It's great for the young cousins that visit and maybe some day for grand kids (hopefully not too soon).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Lovely kitchen! Can't wait until mine is completed. I really like your pendant lights. Would you mind sharing what brand and collection they are? Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:01PM
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@SkindyLu - They are from the Bell Rose Collection by Cordelia Lighting. We purchased them from Home Depot. See the link below.

The mini pendants do come with differing length rods, so you can adjust the height of them to some degree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bell Rose Collection

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:15PM
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