None of this should be surprising since all the decisions from the "before" were made only by asking the question "what is best for resale?" At the time we had no idea how long we were going to stay in our home, and we closed the actual week that the mortgage industry collapsed, so there was a big part of me that wondered whether or not we would be able to afford our space for the long term. At the time we were in an ARM, which thank goodness is now a fixed, but not knowing anything about any of this, my biggest concern was always that we would be able to sell quickly if we needed to sell. Your first home purchase can be so overwhelming and looking back (with the gift of hindsight) I see that so much of the early decisions that we made were coming more from a place of fear than from a place of creating a space we would love. Our early meetings basically went like this, "cherry is the most popular finish for resale - okay, we will take it." Gray granite sells really well -okay, we will take it," and so on. Not one thought was given to our likes or dislikes, and I don't know why I was so surprised when our home turned out feeling a little generic. Clearly, I have done a 180 in that department, and since we are sure we are never selling our condo, even if we move, that freedom is what now guides my choices and in the end if I'm the only one who likes my hand painted tile, that doesn't matter one bit.
The kitchen makeover started slowly, and then hit full throttle towards the end. First it was painting out the accent wall (a suggestion from our friend who is an incredible designer), then the addition of the tile which I was able to get deeply discounted through my dad. The lighting came next, followed by what I thought was going to be just a quick paint job on the cabinets that quickly turned in to new knobs, and new counters. I'd say everything but the kitchen sink was changed, but that too got a new look with a cheap replacement sink and faucet that I got from Home Depot at the 11th hour. The truth is that the mini-reno itself was fast, and not something I'd ever want to repeat. I went with someone based on price, and not reputation and in the end I ended up having to pay someone to re-paint the re-paint. It was a good lesson for me, and in the long run I ended up getting the kitchen of my dreams, even if I lost some of my sanity in the process. The after couldn't be more different from the before, and in this case that is an incredibly good thing!
Without further ado...
If you are thinking about butcher block counter tops (which are a very inexpensive way to go) I definitely recommend using this product as a sealant and then using a beeswax once every week or two. It keeps the wood waterproof and as long as you keep hot pans and such off it it, it should last a very long time. The beauty of butcher block is that because it's wood, if something does stain or burn, all you have to do is give it a sand and re-seal.
The kitchen was the last real project in the house and I have to say the second it was done it felt like the last piece of the puzzle going in. I used to love every room except that one, and as I mentioned since it is where we spend all of our time, that's the wrong space not to enjoy. I won't say it was cheap, but all in the whole space was around 7k to makeover and until the day I die I will say it was worth every penny.
After photography by Sarah Winchester