You will probably want to revisit this post about the “before” of this kitchen for a refresher.
One of the first things I noticed when we moved into this house was that the refrigerator end panel was missing. This is the cabinet panel that covers the side of the refrigerator if it’s not enclosed by cabinetry or walls. Its purpose is to keep dust from wandering behind the refrigerator through the exposed side and also to keep you from having to look at the ugly couple inch gap behind the refrigerator that’s collecting dust. To me (and my OCD) this was important. Since this panel is also cheap to replace – being particle board and veneer – we decided to replace the missing one immediately. This, however, proved to be complicated. As I mentioned before, I didn’t actually like the cabinetry in the kitchen all that much and intended to reface it at some point in the future, so when it came time to order the new end panel, I couldn’t figure out if I should order it to match what was currently there or if I should go ahead and get a panel to match what I knew I was going to reface the kitchen with later. I waffled on this matter for a couple of weeks before I finally decided that the only way to solve my problem was to just go ahead and redo the kitchen now. After all, there’s no sense in letting a perfectly good builder’s discount go to waste. You gotta spend money to save money, you know?
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I am not actually (entirely) insane, so we didn’t just go all out and gut the place. The cabinets themselves were in perfectly fine shape so all we had to do to update them was replace the doors and hardware. Because I’m very finicky about furniture and cabinetry having really clean lines, I chose a shaker style door and found sleek, long stainless pulls to go with them. As for the finish, I knew I wanted the color to be more traditional plus I’m pretty into the dark wood finishes these days, so we went with cherry (because it has a really subtle grain) with a dark walnut stain.
There were preexisting fluorescent task lights under the upper cabinets, which was nice, but they were completely exposed which wasn’t. We finished the job by putting up a light valance, which covered it all up nicely.
Both the new and the old house had the same etched glass pantry door so we brought the matching laundry door we had bought for the old house with us so they could still match. There’s something very pleasantly old timey about the look that I quite like.
Also like the old house, this one’s kitchen faucet was designed so you could pull it out and switch it to spray. Because I have pretty bad carpal tunnel that made that maneuver tricky for me and, more importantly, because an untreated small leak had caused the existing faucet to corrode in unpleasantly water supply contaminating ways, we replaced it with something that was both functional and wouldn’t give us scabbies. So, you know, BONUS!
Because I knew we would definitely be revamping the kitchen someday (HA!), I didn’t bother matching our refrigerator to the white appliances that were here when we arrived and did stainless instead. When we then discovered that the microwave in the game room kitchenette was actually broken, we replaced it with the one from the kitchen and bought a stainless microwave as well. Our appliances are now split fifty/fifty between white and stainless. I’d like to think that I can pass it off as a look.
For extra storage and counter space, my mother gave us a housewarming gift of a VERY large, free-standing kitchen island. Once again combining modern and traditional it’s painted black with turned legs and cup pulls, but is topped with a stainless steel counter. It is…yummy.
All in all, the kitchen update has been nothing short of liberating. Even though I’ve always been pretty good about trying to make myself feel comfortable wherever I’m living, I have never lived anywhere where I have allowed myself so much license to tailor things to my liking. I mean, I always new that it was helpful. I always knew that settling in and customizing your digs was the key to really feeling relaxed and at home somewhere, but even I hadn’t realized how big a difference it can make. Honestly, it’s literally the difference between a house and a home and is totally worth the effort. I highly recommend it.