Kitchen Renovation Before 3

bench seating kitchen renovation arrangement before 4

This bench area was super cute but it now makes more sense as the nook for the fridge and pantry cabinets.

kitchen renovation before photo 2

I’ll admit that when we bought our house, we loved the character of the existing kitchen. Between the truly inadequate lighting, the leaking pipes, and the rat who ate our potatoes, it was time for a change!

irvin removing flooring during reno

Here’s my smiling Irvin uncovering water damage from years past. Luckily we were able to use some of the flooring from under the original cabinets to patch this area. You’d never know there was water damage there now!

pano kitchen reno

For whatever reason, when we were cycling the Trans Canada Trail across BC, much of the silent time reeling one foot in front of the other was spent thinking about what projects we’d undertake when we reached home. Go figure – the motivation to get to work presented itself when it was entirely impossible to do it! Shouting to each other over the windy resistance of our packed bikes, we both decided the kitchen had squirmed its way to the top of the list.

After we arrived home, the tipping point of the decision occurred when a small rat and I had a staring competition through the hole in the wall where the kitchen plumbing goes into the crawl space. There would be no more waiting, the time had come.

Within three weeks of arriving home, the kitchen was entirely gutted. We took apart the original cabinetry and counter tops ourselves, and hired an asbestos remediation company to uncover original hardwood hiding below 3 layers of vinyl flooring and plywood.

It was a huge relief to find the original hardwood was in good enough condition to refinish – a major undertaking in itself but in the end – definitely worth it!

Other big tasks included switching the location of the sink and the range, replacing a window, and adding a few new circuits for additional lighting and appliances.

We bought our new cabinets and counter from IKEA rather seamlessly with just a few nights spent fiddling on their Kitchen Planner tool and an hour ironing out the kinks with an associate in the Port Coquitlam location. The delivery truck arrived a couple of weeks later, with our new kitchen in literally 127 packages.

Although there were a few hiccups, I’d say installing it was probably my favourite part of the renovation. It’s Lego for adults! I’d get the heck out of the kitchen during an earthquake though.

When we started, we had ambitions to be done in time to throw a Halloween party. In the end, it took us from the first hammer swing in mid-August to the final nail or touch of paint or, more realistically, the ‘that’s it, no more’ moment in early December. What a slog! We were done just in time for family visits around Christmas.


thrill of living kitchen

This has been the largest project we’ve taken on so far and though it is absolutely worth it now, the challenges, patience and learning required to complete it were a test of endurance as epic as biking across the province!  We ate more take out than any budget or belly should withstand.  When we did cook, it was over a two burner cook-top in the living room. Dust was an ever-present and all-encompassing factor we (mostly) pushed far out of consciousness for the sake of our sanity.

Needless to say, we are so, so glad it’s done – but also so glad we did it! Cooking in the new kitchen is now a complete pleasure and it makes us so happy to have a welcoming space to share meals with our family and friends.

A few notes on design choices.

First, let me just say that almost every colour of the rainbow is my favourite colour, yet we chose a totally white colour palette – white for the cabinets, white for the walls, and white for the tile – hardly a palette! It seems like a lot of white, but I love the clean feeling of white, and another really wonderful thing about white is that it goes with absolutely any colour and even makes those colours look better by being placed against it.

I’m happy to bring colour in with other less permanent elements like art, tea towels, and a fun nautical themed fabric I found at the classic local shop the Smoking Lily for our dining chairs! There’s also a lot of wood and even exposed brick from our chimney which add plenty of warmth, as well as a beautiful copper pendant I found at Barn Light Electric. It makes me smile every time I see it – it’s just so pretty!

One of my favourite pieces in our new kitchen is our new/old dining table. Along with beautiful hand turned legs, ornately carved detailing and two super functional slide-out panels, this table carries the story of my family from when my sister was born, through our life on the Sunshine Coast, and now here in Victoria.  It really makes our new kitchen feel like home.

Thanks for reading about our big project!  As always, feel free to comment below or send me an email if you have any questions about anything you see here.