between the studs shelf / book / budget / country dreams / demo / durham / intro / kitchen / NC / renovations

The grand plan for my kitchen…

Okay so I have this kitchen in my 1940ish house.  It has to be the smallest kitchen you will ever see in your lifetime in a house.

As you see the dimensions are 8.5×10 and all of the walls are broken up by SOMETHING a wall or door.  sighhhhhhh.


  1. No ventilation for cooking and grease gets on the ceiling, walls and everything else nearby.
  2. The fridge had rust spots (because of the humidity?).
  3. Every time water boils the smoke detectors go off. (which is excuse enuf for me not to cook LOL)
  4. The cabinet over the stove is too low and there is not enough clearance to install a  vent hood
  5. The fridge that I love was too big for the kitchen (corrected that today by getting a smaller fridge)
  6. There is not enough cabinet space and no where to keep all my pots and pans except in the basement and uhhhh… I am afraid of creepy places.  The basement is creepy ever since I found a snake in it.
  7. The kitchen feels like a maze! When my dad comes over I have to rearrange the  kitchen so he can get thru with his wheelchair
  8. The sink is not deep enough for me and the faucet does not extend far enough into the sink (it was on sale),  This sinks feel like it belongs in a kiddy play-play kitchen.
  9. No organization and that drives me craaaaazy
  10. There are not enough electrical outlets
  11. I still have some fuses (house has only been partially rewired)
  12. Only two electrical outlets in the kitchen and one has an extension cord in the drawer so the cords can reach…so dangerous (shaking my head)
  13. Only place to store pots pans is either on the stove, in the sink, on the bottom of the bakers rack or in the oven.  I use the oven but a couple of times I forgot about the pots being in the oven when I was heating it up….not good!!

Proposed resolutions:

  1. Close off the small  window on wall A (which I just noticed is not showing up on the floor plan) and move the stove in that spot.  That makes 2 new problems, the siding of the house not matching and having to have the gas line moved by a plumber.  There are just some things I can’t trust jack-leg Mexicans or Jamaicans to do LOL
  2. I need to have a smaller custom cabinet made to go over the stove,  it has to be high enough for a microwave/vent combo to be installed.
  3. Lay out the kitchen in a u shape (wall a,b,d with cabinets)
  4. Get a smaller fridge
  5. Install between the studs shelves on wall D to hold glasses and cups and small cleaning supplies
  6. Install between the stud shelf on wall C to hold canned goods
  7. Get fuse box replaced with breaker box and rewire what I have
  8. Add counter level electrical outlets
  9. Tear out paneling where needed.
  10. Get a garden window on wall D that is level with the counter and take the size from 80″ to 48″ to allow more wall space.  again…exterior wall problems
  11. Get a deeper sink and a longer reach faucet

I know you gonna look at these photos and think “dang… what a mess”.
Well if you had no where to put stuff you would have a mess also!!  #DON’TJUDGEME!

Wall A (back) and B left
when I brought  the house the kitchen was like this…note the stove used to be elec, counters had laminate counter tops, the ceiling, which I did not take a good photo of,  had some kind of funky tile-board on it and the light was some kind of fluorescent basement looking thing-a-ma-jiggy.  Oh yeah and all the windows were painted which sealed them shut.  Sooo much work to do.

I painted it blue, which I liked, BUT it felt too closed in once I got my fridge in here.  That fride was way too big for this kitchen.  I should have known it was going to be like this when it had to be taken apart to get it in here.
so I painted the kitchen yellow and this is how it looks now… new ceiling, new light fixture, stove converted over to gas, new cabinnet doors and hardware, new cabinet between the stove and fridge and a new floor.  Still not happy with it though…(just like a woman LOL)
wall D then (notice how all you can see out the window is jungle LOL… the story of that is in the book)
This is it now…whew too much stuff! besides the paint difference, the useless corner cabinet is gone and the counters are tile which I love (because you can put hot stuff straight out the oven them and you can cut directly on it).  The down side is the gout lines get dirty and if you have a cleaning person its okay but if you don’t know what your doing….they might look horrible…LOL
And last but not least wall C has the catch all bakers rack.  As you see I never put the crown molding back up after the ceiling was redone and the walls painted yellow.  Notice where the smoke detector is… and it ain’t on the wall…ummmm ummmmm ummmm.  Well that sucker goes off any time I try to cook anything.  I can’t even boil water….whats up with that???
 Okay so there you have the story in a nutshell.  Now for my inspiration photos:
This is going to be the basic layout of my new kitchen:
Now I love everything about this kitchen but the price tag that comes with it.  I am just using the cabinet layout as my inspiration. I like the full ceiling to counter cabinet on the right.  I have to duplicate that.  I like the narrow cabinets on the sides of the microwave, I like the corner cabinet and I like the refrigerator cabinet. I think this kitchen is the same size as mine.  Over the sink here is a bar though and over mi sink will be a garden window.   I have white appliances so I will be keeping them and I will be salvaging the cabinets that I can.  My cabinets will stay white.  I really didn’t want a white kitchen again but I have no choice…I might do my colors like my last house.  For now lets say this photo color scheme works for me with the black counters and backsplash and all white cabinets.  My only decision is the color of the walls and if I tell you the color I picked you will probably  say ewwwwl so lets just say wait and see.  I might change my mind anyway.
Some other ideas I like…
This is what between the studs shelves look like.  They can be made with or without the doors
I like this for pots and pans:
I like the spice rack, vent hood, paper towel holder and the tray on the wall behind the stove.  This kitchen belongs to Mama-Goose.
I checked the prices for cabinets from several places and typically the estimates came in around  $3k for in stock cheapo cabinets and for a small kitchen like mines I think that is utterly ridiculous. Keep in mind those estimates do not include the counter tops and tile back splashes or floor.  My budget for cabinets, counter tops, backsplash, garden window, appliances and electrical work:
Drumroll please….


This is easily a $10-15k kitchen but I am going to pray, do some of the work myself, hire cheap but good labor and salvage what I can.  If money was no object I would be switching to all stainless steal counter depth appliances made by Liebherr.  If you don’t know about them, that’s probably because of the price tag.  The fridge I like is easily $5k and the stove about half that.  Yeah, at this stage in my life I have to pass.  Maybe in the future.  I won’t be buying the cabinets out of the store because they are just basically overpriced wooden frames with doors. I can make them myself, quite honestly, and I will if I cannot find the right price BUT that will be the LAST resort cause that will definitely be one of those point-of-no-return projects.

Anyway the point of everything here is to document my projects for my next book and share them for feedback.  I probably won’t tell you how much I wind up spending but I will let you know if I stay on budget.

Oh and as a side note…I am not including the exterior repairs to the siding because when I finish I will probably have to get new siding.  I saw some fake log cabin style siding that would be perfect.  As a log cabin it started and I want it to end as a log cabin.

I have told you this house is a never ending money pit haven’t I?

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