The Kitchen: Mini-Reno

DIY Projects, Home Improvement, Inspiration, Rennovations No Comment

Let’s keep talking about this kitchen:

New House-40

We already talked about the plan for our temporary floor renovation, and the floor certainly isn’t the only thing we’d like to change about this kitchen. Unfortunately, we’re not financially in a position to do the “big” kitchen renovation we want this year, which is what we’d originally planned on. So we’re going for a mini renovation (< $500) to tide us over.

What are the short term and long term plans for different things in this kitchen?


The appliances are barely working – there is something broken on each of them, and I fear they’re not long for this world. We’re just hoping they hold out until we can afford to replace them all at once.

  1. Short Term: continue earning “man scout” badges as we repair or our appliances (Alex earned the “dishwasher repair” badge this winter)
  2. Long Term: all new appliances

The layout of the room is awkward – the space in the back is approximately 35% of the square footage of the kitchen, and it’s not well utilized due to the layout of the counters and the placement of the door.

  1. Short Term: we’ll be trying to make-do with this layout by putting some functional storage on the back wall.
  2. Long Term: we’re still thinking through our options, but big layout changes are definitely in the cards for the “big” kitchen reno

The cabinetry is likely original to the 1940s, and is flimsy and coming apart in some sections.

  1. Short Term: we’ll be painting the cabinets, and maybe removing some. Now’s our chance to try out trendier (read: fad) design choices, since it’s only temporary (hellooooo, two-tone / “tuxedo” cabinets)
  2. Long Term: we’ll replace all of the cabinets, and hopefully add more. We’re considering Ikea for this (we used one of Ikea’s new SEKTION cabinets in our built-in desk as a way to test-drive the line).

The gross fake cork floor & restaurant-kitchen-style laminate baseboard is NOT our favorite.

  1. Short Term: We’re in the process of tearing it down to the subfloor, sanding, and finishing the wood (hopefully natural & matte)
  2. Long Term: TBD – most likely tile
Venting / Soffit

An aesthetically questionable maroon-painted soffit, which may or may not house venting for the broken range hood.

  1. Short Term: Probably paint the soffit to match the walls. I just want it to visually disappear
  2. Long Term: I don’t like it, so if it does contain the venting for the hood, we’ll be looking at different options for ventilation, including placement of the range / vent hood.

The current ones are stainless steel, and I don’t mind them; they’re one of the few things I like about the current kitchen, actually.

  1. Short Term: Keep ’em in for now! I wouldn’t have picked them on my own, and they are hard to keep clean (always smudges), but they’re sturdy and solid-surface (preferable for sanitation).
  2. Long Term: TBD … in my perfect luxe kitchen we’d have marble. But I don’t think that’s realistic (for our life or budget). So we’re open to all options once it comes time for the “real” kitchen reno.

Short Term Plan

So for all of this “short term” work, what are we going for?

This hits a lot of our check boxes right now — light “raw” wood floors, dark lower cabinets, light upper cabinets. Obviously our countertop isn’t white quartz, and we don’t have stainless appliances, but…. it’s in the neighborhood, at least.

Another inspiration photo:

For the additional storage along the back wall, we’re thinking of checking out the Portland area thrift / salvage stores for a paint-quality sideboard or dresser to replace all of the garbage along that back wall (backup plan would be something like this or this from Ikea)


It will almost be like getting more cabinets in the back part of the kitchen. Long term, we do want cabinets back there, but aren’t ready to make that commitment yet, hence a mediocre-quality sideboard to temporarily take that space. Plus, it will give us some (clearly) much needed storage. The dog crates (that we built! – barely visible behind the piece of counter that is sticking out) will go away, since we don’t keep the dogs in there much.

Let’s see how much progress we can make this weekend!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Thank you for visiting this blog!

Everything you'll find here is the true story of two inexperienced homeowners who never stop asking the question ... "how hard could it be?"

There are many old photos with broken links - we're sorry about that, and are trying to get everything looking good again!

- Kelley & Alex