It all started with a broken faucet. And the congenital inability to pay full price for anything.
This is our kitchen. Feast your eyes!
I know, you’re jealous. And I’m sure Elle Decor is going to come knocking on my door any minute now.
So. In case it isn’t obvious, this kitchen needs a lot more work than just a new faucet. In fact, the faucet you see in those pictures is our new faucet. Well, new to us, anyway, courtesy of Craigslist. See, in June of 2012, the bolts that attached our old faucet to the sink rusted through and the whole faucet started swiveling in its socket every time we changed the water temperature. In an unusual reversal of roles, my husband Chris ignored my suggestion just glue it down. Instead, he engaged his Craigslist superpowers and began the hunt for whole a new faucet.
This is notable for two reasons. 1) In our relationship, I am NEVER the person to suggest hiding house problems with free and/or inappropriate fixes. I love our house only for its “potential,” not for any characteristics that it currently has. I would LOVE to spend money on fixing this house. So when things break, that’s my excuse to spend money we don’t have. And 2) I have no living memory of Chris turning down a free solution. Ever.
Anyway. Chris’s Craigslist search turned up a new faucet — AND sink — AND garbage disposal — for $30.
Now, we didn’t really need a new sink, but this one had a bigger basin than our old one. And we didn’t have a garbage disposal, so that was also unnecessary. But $30 is about half-price for even the cheapest of kitchen faucets, so overall, it was a good deal. We bought the whole package.
We got it home, installed the new sink and faucet, and then…I don’t know. I guess Chris got curious. He started googling how to install garbage disposals, and discovered that (fun fact!) they are usually wired to the same circuit as dishwashers.
We don’t have a dishwasher. So while I dismissed this as a useless piece of trivia, he went back to Craigslist and found a dishwasher for $20.
And I said, “If you want to install a dishwasher, we’re going to have to move that heating duct and break through the tile floor.” Which sounded like too much work to me, because it really wasn’t going to improve this:
Well. We paid $20 for a dishwasher and tied it to a roof rack on a Toyota Corolla, because that’s how we roll.
When we got it home, I tried again. “You know, if you’re serious about installing this garbage disposal and dishwasher, we’re talking plumbing, electrical, HVAC…if we’re gonna do all that anyway, shouldn’t we at least talk about doing the whole kitchen? Like, open up that wall and stuff like we’ve been thinking about?”
–> Like we’ve been thinking about, but haven’t done because the lowest estimate we got was $44,000.
So we talked. And came to the conclusion that A) We have $6,000 in our savings, and that should cover materials, but we would have to do ALL THE WORK ourselves, and B) we wouldn’t start until the fall because Chris didn’t want to spend the summer indoors working on the house — and in the mean time, he spent a whole weekend installing that dishwasher and garbage disposal anyway, for reasons I cannot imagine. Practice, maybe?
Well, it’s fall now, so here we are. And I would like my kitchen to look something like this:
But. Let’s assume for a moment that wiring and plumbing a garbage disposal and dishwasher is JUST LIKE gutting an entire kitchen and starting from scratch. Up until this moment, our renovation experience is mostly comprised of painting walls and refinishing floors. Turning the re-muddled kitchen of our 108-year-old house into a functional, beautiful dream kitchen involves:
- Gutting it to the studs
- Tearing holes in a load-bearing wall
- Re-plumbing (we’ll be turning an adjacent full bathroom into a powder room because in 6+ years of living here, we’ve never once used the bathtub in our dining room)
- Updating electrical
- Putting in new tile floors
- Refinishing our lovely orange-y cabinets
- Making our own concrete countertops, and, most likely,
- Tearing my hair out in frustration multiple times along the way
You may start laughing now. Did I mention the $6,000 budget?
It should be interesting. And that is why we’re all here. It’s why I’m writing this, and why you’re (hopefully) reading it. I thought maybe you’d like to join me on this little adventure. So laugh at my ambition, or shake your head in disbelief, but check back often. Because I’m nothing if not stubborn. And I think you’ll enjoy the show.