Well, folks. I think I may actually be done unpacking. And if I’m not, I don’t wanna know it!
Our new and improved home is so awesome… I don’t know where to begin! So let’s begin at the beginning.
In the beginning, there was an old farm house. Aptly described as “a jungle” by my brother-in-law Henry, it was a maze of poorly-laid out spaces (or at least the downstairs was) – some too big, some too small, all separated by unexpectedly-placed walls. And it was very, very dark on the inside.
This is what it looked like:
The walk in front of the house has been bulldozed away, and we are about to pour the concrete for the new one. We will also be establishing flower beds and, like, help the lawn come back!
There are currently two kinds of roof – the older yet relatively new shingle roof, and the new red metal roof that went over the addition. When the time comes to replace the shingled part, the entire thing will be red steel.
The part that has seen the most changes is, naturally, the kitchen. During the Dark Ages, the kitchen and the dining were two separate rooms, separated by a weird narrow wall. This one:
Our dinner table used to be where the rug is now, the entrance was in the corner that now houses the table, and the bench used to be our porch bathroom.
Here are some before shots:
You used to come in here.
(OMG, this is my late dog… I am so sad about that…)
The bathroom, the one I don’t want you to ask me about, was right behind these studs.
And here’s what that corner looks like after:
A built-in bench and a wall of windows. And we now have a brand-new full bathroom in a different place downstairs (more about that later).
The old bathroom (that is now the dining area) was in here. Can you see it?
Let’s do it again:
Now you see it…
Now you see something else! You wouldn’t believe it’s the exact same spot!
Also, note that I made a conscious choice to post the photos of my kitchen right after lunch, and not after I cleaned it. I figured I’d be honest about how things looked after meals!
Let’s have some more before-and-after fun, shall we?
We love this cozy corner of the kitchen.
Here’s that same patio door, part-way through the process. As you can see, by now the dividing wall had been torn away from around this chimney, which has since been taken apart.
The chimney used to be kind of where my KitchenAid is now.
The perimeter layout is the same as before (the stove is my old stove – actually only two years old), but most of the other components are new.
In the beginning…
Now, you may have noticed my wonderful island. It would have cost close to $2,500 to get a granite island top like this one if you went into the front door of the local solid-surface place. Far more than I believe a top should cost.
Enter my contractor, who suggested from the beginning that we find a remnant cash-and-carry granite piece ($10 per square foot) and have him shape it for a grand total of a little over $500. After a few trips to the solid-surface place’s remnant pile, I chose and purchased this one – I have no doubt that God has placed it there especially for me as it was exactly the dimensions I needed, all while being the only big-enough remnant piece they had. I was incredibly lucky to find it when I needed it.
Then again, lucky is what I do best.
Talk about the stone that the builders rejected!!!
The island is the absolute heart of the whole thing – a place to have breakfast, work on your laptop, roll out dough, linger over a conversation – the very altar upon which the daily bread is broken. An island big enough to cook with five kids was central to my vision and the only thing I knew I would have for certain from the start.
We are all about the future.
The sink is my old sink… 8″ deep and only two years old. It’s perfect for our anti-dishwasher household.
I also love the new faucet. I actually made a separate trip to Home Depot the day before the kitchen faucet was to be installed. When it came down to it, I decided that I really wanted to have one of these rather than the lower-cost model I had chosen previously. So I returned the original one to our small-town store and made a two-hour round trip to pick this one out… with three kids aged 1-7 in tow. Now, that’s dedication.
Note that I went with this imitation-granite formica for the perimeter – the lighter shade is fantastic for bouncing back the light and adding to the brightness of the space, and the color and pattern complement my actual granite island perfectly.
Here’s what they look like together:
I’m still patting myself on the back for that one – I spent hours upon hours choosing both. If money was no object, I would have gone with all-granite, but am now glad I didn’t – the formica section is completely forgiving for working with oils and dark-colored liquids, both of which are the enemies of granite.
Also note the John Boos maple butcher block to the left of the stove. Chop-chop and into the pan it goes!
The cabinet to the right of the stove is my spice-cabinet…
With this pull-out rack… I can’t decide if it was the best or the worst idea ever.
Notice the pantry on the extreme right. Here’s a look inside:
That’s right, I have very few cans because I use very little canned anything, as I make so much from scratch. Except the condensed milk for my coffee cause I’m Russian.
Also, no cereal boxes. Factory breakfast is verboten.
Next, the living room. It didn’t change a lot:
Except for the new, fluffier carpet, some new windows, and this ultra-cool chalkboard wall, created with chalkboard paint.
Notice the little touch on the bottom – the holder for chalk, mostly there to capture the crumbling chalk and keep it off the floor and off the air-intake register. It definitely does keep the floor clean.
And, lastly, the ultimate pièce de résistance:
A SLEEPING SCREEN PORCH!!!!!!! It replaced our tiny covered porch that had been in disrepair.
Check out the awesome bunk futon!!!!!! A hand-me-down gift from Jacob’s coworkers. Jacob and the kids have slept here every single night since we got it.
It’s also a great place to sit and knit or otherwise lounge, and the kids treat it very much like a playhouse!
The whole thing makes you feel like you’re on vacation!
So that’s what our dream house looks like. What do you think?