Looking northwest into the space. At one point, a previous owner was inspired to strip and refinish many wood surfaces in this house. But not all of them. And never to completion.
Name: Claire & Jeffrey
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Type of building: Single-family bungalow, 950 square feet
The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style.
Claire and Jeffrey's kitchen, as you can see, has beautiful natural light, but more than a few issues. The cabinets are old and mismatched, there's not nearly enough storage space, and the walls are covered with layer upon layer of crumbling contact paper. Over the years, multiple owners have covered the original hardwood floor with plywood and vinyl tile. With a little budget and a lot of elbow grease, Claire and Jeffrey are aiming to help this small kitchen live up to its potential.
Our kitchen is pretty awful at the moment. Small, awkward, ugly, poorly laid out. In our renovation, we're putting a lot of thought into functionality. We all know how important it is for things to function really well in small spaces. We've put a lot of thought into how to make that happen — tons of storage, strategically placed appliances, durable surfaces.
Aside from the functional aspects, it'll be a major aesthetic upgrade. Our new kitchen will be clean, modern, white, but quirky and inviting, too, with a lot of natural accents. The biggest change will be the redirection of a small segment of the basement stairs to allow for more counter space and a new location for the refrigerator. This will require a wall to move.
Also, we've uncovered the original hardwood floor under 4 layers of nasty carpet, vinyl, plywood, and linoleum. We literally tore that up the night we closed on the house. We couldn't wait to find out what was under there! Major score. The oak floor will be repaired (a bit of water damage to address), sanded, and stained a dark walnut to match the rest of the house.
The cabinets will be gutted. They are nasty. They'll be replaced with a much more functional arrangement of the very user-friendly, clean and simple IKEA Abstrakt glossy white cabinets. There will be a new DIY concrete countertop. *gulp.* A new range. Oh! And a DISHWASHER. ZOMG.
We rented this house before we bought it this year. Part of our agreement with the landlord was to fix it up in exchange for rent credit. So we were able to take the house from a small, grimy, dark and uninviting space to a bright and carefully curated home.
The house has great bones. Since we've been at the helm, every surface has been painted white, every piece of millwork trimmed-out in high gloss white. We just wanted to create a space that would highlight the original beautiful details of the house (the millwork, the strangely high ceilings, the fireplace, etc.) while providing a nice backdrop for our art collection and our "stuff." I have a degree in furniture design, so I take my stuff probably more seriously than I should.
We redid the bathroom a couple of years ago. Imagine wood paneling, carpet, the smell of rotting floor. Plastic tiles. No shower head. When you sat on the toilet, your knees hit the tub. It made no sense. Now, it's a clean, simple, very classic design. White all over. Subway tiles. Black travertine hex floor. Tons of light being reflected all over the place.
Jeffrey and I are both of the creative sort. I'm a graphic designer. I have a hard time trying NOT to make everything I look at work better and look better. Jeffrey is a fine artist and a digital 3D artist. On top of that, he's super handy and can figure out anything just by looking at it. Together, we have a history of making cool stuff happen.
Join us next week for #2 of Claire & Jeffrey's Diary.
(Images & Diary Text: Claire Moyle)