Happy New Year!

So I’m a bit late on the whole ringing-in-the-new-year deal. My bad. Things haven’t been particularly busy around here, I’ve just been recovering from the drive back to the Midwest (20 hours in a car each way – yay!) and all of the holiday activities. Putting away new gifts, gift wrap, and decorations and doing the accumulated laundry from our trip always seems to take way longer than it should.

As planned, a friend and I went out looking at the after-Christmas sales last weekend. I snagged a couple of uber cute sweaters from GAP Outlet, but I didn’t find anything for Christmas decorations for next year – major fail, Target! There wasn’t even an aisle-worth of Christmas stuff left, it was all “new year’s resolution” items (mostly cleaning products and some fitness items). Maybe next year I’ll have to be brave enough to venture out the day after Christmas instead of the week after.

In other news, my parents declared that the hubs and I should host Christmas in our house next year, and I think they’re serious. This is only a problem because 1) we still have no Christmas decorations whatsoever, 2) my kitchen is an absolute nightmare to cook in, due to a lack of usable counter-space and a poor layout, 3) our fireplace hasn’t been fixed yet, and 4) we’re still in the “we just bought a house and have minimal furniture” phase. (Although, we’ve only been in the house for 2.5 months, so all things considered I think we’re doing pretty darn well.) And those things are all fixable within a year… right? Right? So, here’s my super ambitious grand plan for 2014!

6 - kitchen

5 - kitchen

Check out those awesome lime green walls. Oh yeah…

The fireplace (which was blocked with a steel plate by the previous owners and needs a new damper system) is a fairly easy fix, since we just need to get quotes from some pros and then pay them. Shelling out $ will also fix the decor/furniture problem once the event looms a bit closer – my birthday wishlist this year may end up including an inflatable mattress and some extra pillows. The biggest obstacle is the kitchen, which in my opinion is pretty much a total gut job. It’s not an awful kitchen by any means, but it was put together with builder-grade everything, and not in a thoughtful way. The appliances don’t form the obligatory “triangle”, there’s oodles of wasted wall space, and the cabinets are awkwardly sized and spaced.

1 - front door

The wall that’s coming down.

We knew when we bought the house that a kitchen reno was going to happen at some point. I could live with the ugly or just “update” it if it were functional, but it’s not. Since I love to cook and bake, that’s a huge problem. The first item on our list is to take out the wall between the kitchen, dining room, and living room to open things up. I want to put a large island in the space for more counter space and storage, and then reconfigure the two walls where the current countertop and appliances are for better organization and work-flow. The only problem with moving the appliances around is that it will make the current set of countertops and cabinets unusable. I’m OK with that, because I don’t like the awkwardly-sized and too-high cabinets anyway and although the granite counters are nice, I think the black is way too dark. We’re not sure if we’ll be able to get all of this done in a year, but we’re going to try to do as much as we can, and hopefully will be able to keep costs down by doing a bunch of things ourselves. We’ll see about that one – I’ve already threatened to send my very handy dad a plane ticket to come help out πŸ™‚

I played around in IKEA’s kitchen planner a bit, and I have a general idea of what I’m thinking (and Ikea is probably the cheapest option). I’d love to share the photo of it, but their site was glitching and I couldn’t save my work, so I’ll have to go back and do it again. Whomp whomp. We don’t need new appliances, thank goodness, since ours are fairly new – although I need to clean the oven, I’m sure there’s 5 years worth of accumulated grease on it and I set the fire alarms off whenever I try to broil something… I love the look of glass-fronted cabinets, so I’d love to have one or two of those flanking the sink and window. I also really need some cabinets that I can designate as pantry space and additional cabinets for pots and pans, which the island should help with.

Here are some of my favorite inspiration spaces from Pinterest:

kitchen remodel

kitchen island

Love this kitchen.

If any of you lovely readers have cost-saving ideas for our kitchen, or something you wish you’d thought of when renovating, please share! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with an update on our plans.

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