Do you want to live in a farmhouse with a few contemporary touches,
or do you want to live in a contemporary house with a few farmhouse touches?
The latter was the way we wanted to go.
We decided a year and a half ago to downsize to a place with fewer steps (ahem = old knees), and fewer rooms to take care of, so we could travel and enjoy our retirement. We went from a 2500 square foot 4-bedroom, with a partial basement, to a 1500 square foot 3-bedroom, with a full basement (with 9-foot ceilings!). At first I thought, "Will I ever love this little house the way I loved our old one of 16 years?" And at first, I struggled with it. Every house we've ever bought, we bought because it felt like "home", and because we fell instantly in love with it. This house we bought because it was the least expensive model in the neighborhood we wanted to be in. My husband promised we would make it the house we wanted it to be, and he has kept that promise, as far as we've come on it. (Still a work in progress - the kitchen still needs to be trimmed out, before moving on to the Home Office/Sewing Room, painting out the awful builder's grade paint that marks when you breathe on it, as we go.)
The first thing "we" did was to upgrade the lighting from the ONE light in the center of the kitchen ceiling. My hubby did this - I don't do electrical. While he worked on this, I unpacked. I'm still unpacking. This is my lived-in kitchen shot (waffles on the counter, various stuff that doesn't know where it wants to live in this little house, yet, on the island), showing all the glorious lighting (and outlets and switches) that sweet man put in for me, crawling around in the attic in AUGUST in Ohio!
The next thing on the list was to remove all the-very-cheapest-they-had-to-choose-from flooring that we had them put in, and replaced it with wide-plank European white oak engineered hardwood. It's gorgeous - 7½" wide planks, warm with a slight grayish tinge to it. It was a huge, wearying task, but we plugged away, and got 'r done.
We are in our 60's, folks! We do have quite a bit of DIY experience under our belts, born out of necessity (SAHM, and one faithful wage earner.) If we can do it, anybody can!
This is the mountain of boxes we packed into the back of my brother's pickup, to drive the two hours back home. This was the first of many trips to Ikea in the course of finishing the kitchen. Next summer, they're opening an Ikea in our hometown. Of course. I read lots of stories online telling one to immediately check the contents of all packages, because Ikea wouldn't accept any damaged returns after three days. Poppycock. They were very nice and accommodating to us during the course of the project.
Assembling a Sektion kitchen works best as an assembly line operation. I used the thick cardboard packing material to protect the surfaces of the cabinets while assembling them. One tip about an Ikea kitchen: we purchased the metal reinforcement bars that span the sink opening to support a stone slab, and our granite guys quickly removed it before installation.
Once you get the rails level on the wall, it's pretty much a piece of cake from there. A heavy piece of cake, but cake, just the same. We designed and built out own platform for the island, and we found the panels to cover the sides and back, at Lowes. We added some 1/4" luan to each side of the panels to make them fit, then caulked and painted them.
We also created our own microwave cabinet next to the stove, because Ikea does not offer one. We used a 24"w x 40"h cabinet frame (without the top piece added), dropping the hanging rail down 5" from the height of the other cabinets. We used 30" doors, mounted 15" from the bottom of the cabinet
which brought them even with the other doors in the kitchen. The "roof" of the microwave shelf is the bottom shelf in the cabinet when you open the doors. In order to make the cabinet match the others in height (and also have holes in which to mount the top hinges), we cut off the top of an extra 24"w x18"h cabinet frame, and used pocket hole screws to attach it to the top of the cabinet side walls (you have to stand on a ladder to see the seam). Its very sturdy, and the only weight the top portion bears is the weight of the doors.
Next we created an oven hood from a 30x40" cabinet with the sides shortened 5", and a 5" drawer front attached from the back with screws. As you can see below, we also did not put the back on the cabinet. It is screwed into the sides of the cabinets on either side of it. We used a hood insert, purchased from Amazon here, which I LOVE. We ordered one "Like New" from the warehouse, and it was perfect. I've always only had those worthless, non-ducted hood vents that blow everything right back into your kitchen. The difference is night and day. My husband did all the duct work, and vented it to the outside. Lovely! I changed out the light bulbs for 40-watt equivalent LED's, with a candelabra base. I wanted 60-watt bulbs, but they apparently don't make them yet with that type of base. As it turns out, the two 40 watt bulbs are just fine for lighting the stove top. I still need to get a shelf for the interior of the hood cabinet, for storing over-sized cake pans, and maybe a new ice cream maker??? We will add cleats to the back wall to support the shelves along with the standard shelf supports and cut a 'U' out of the center of the shelves to fit around the vent pipe.
Next up - more on the kitchen, and a look at the hallway with the newly installed Board and Batten wall treatment! Thanks for visiting! L.