A little bit of back story first. Our house was built in 1983 and basically NEVER updated. When we moved in, the previous and sole owners of this house hadn't even touched up all the holes in the walls from moving out. So, it was livable, but pretty ugly. Also, when they moved out, they took their washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Every other appliance they left behind in the kitchen was from 1983. The range, the oven, and the microwave were all brand new when the house was built.
|Before: Kitchen (with previous owner's stuff)|
Next is the great room. This room has always been my favorite room in the whole house. I love the high, angled wood ceiling with the rafters, the stone fireplace, and the wall of windows with our awesome view. The problem was we didn't have any use for the room. With the stone fireplace on one wall, the windows on another, and the kitchen opening up to it, there was only one place we could have set our TV. It would have meant reflections and glares from the window and having our backs to the view all the time.
|Before: Great Room|
We've basically been working on this area slowly since Thanksgiving as the pieces fell together. My lovely husband volunteered us to host Thanksgiving and that started the ball rolling. I didn't want to have to deal with cooking this huge meal with two semi-functional microwaves, so we began looking for one from this century. Fun fact: our old microwave was so large and low that we couldn't get some of our pots onto the stove under it. There's also a lovely burn spot on the back of the counter top when the previous owner must have tried to make something fit that wouldn't.
Once we started researching microwaves, apparently ours wasn't actually as huge as we thought. It was only about an inch thicker than the slimmest wall mounted microwave we could find. It was just poorly mounted. So, Dan, being awesome like he is, removed the cabinets that the microwave mounted to and shortened them. It was a good thing our cabinet fronts are simple and plain otherwise this wouldn't have worked. All said and done, it gave us probably another four inches above the range. No problem for pots now! Problem for the wall though...
When the old microwave was removed, we realized that when the kitchen was first painted, they just painted around the microwave, rather than removing it and painting behind it. With the additional four inches of space over the range meant four inches of white on my purple backsplash. I have to admit, there were definitely a few minutes of panic. In the midst of preparing for my first time hosting Thanksgiving, we'd accidentally made our kitchen uglier (who knew that was possible?) In what turned our to be a good decision, we ran to Home Depot, picked out the color we wanted for the great room and kitchen, and raced home to paint the backsplash.
We decided to paint just the backsplash and that should be able to patch things up until Christmas time when wed have the time to paint the rest of the space. Since it's a contained wall, it actually didn't look too bad.
|After: Kitchen Backsplash|
Anyway, over Christmas break, we painted the rest of the room. We started with the breakfast nook. A fresh coat of paint and a new ceiling fan and you go from this:
|Before: Breakfast Nook|
|After: Breakfast Nook|
The next day, we tackled the kitchen:
|After: The Kitchen|
Second problem, we hate our sofa. It's my grandparent's old old old sofa and while we were grateful for it, we wanted something better. In a twist of fate, over Christmas, we were helping my mom clean my grandparent's house after they had moved. It was completely empty except for one sofa, which they were trying to sell. While it's not really our style, the second we sat on it, we were sold. It was a really nice Lazy boy sofa that they were selling for about a tenth of the cost. So, for the second time, we ended up with my grandparent's sofa. Only problem? We had no way of moving it.
Well, the stars aligned and at the end of January, Dan ended up buying his dad's jeep. A couple of weeks later, he got himself a trailer, called me at work, and we spent my lunch break that day loading up that cheap, wonderful sofa.
And without further ado, here's the updated great room!
|After: The Great Room|
|Before: Entertainment Wall|
|6:13 departing the station...|
So, here's the list of everything we did:
- Removed 1983 microwave
- Shortened cabinets
- Painted backsplash
- Installed new microwave (including new venting)
- Painted breakfast nook, kitchen, and great room
- Removed two ceiling fans (there was this awkward one off center in the kitchen)
- Installed one new ceiling fan
- Patched hole from old ceiling fan
- Installed TV mount
- Cut notch in base board to route cables and installed hidden outlets
- Rearranged furniture and hung new clock
- Finish routing cables (yes, they do look kind of ugly and unhidden right now)
- Buy new coffee table with storage
- Find two end tables for a high traffic area
- Buy console cabinet
- Hang art
- Install new pendant lighting over bar
- Buy three new bar stools