I live in a farm house built in 1850. It had an addition in 1901, and 2012. The kitchen was updated 1987! 1987!! My mother-in-law, bless her heart, sanded, stained, and varnished every one of these doors herself. It was a gigantic improvement over the from metal cabinets, a hole in the middle of the floor, wallpaper to these beautiful oak cabinets 40 years ago, but everything is showing its age. It’s challenging for farmers to update what seems “good enough”. It is also hard to realize that 1987 was truly a lifetime ago! I’ve been wanting change in the kitchen for a really long time, but as a stay at home mom and Classical Conversations director, I don’t bring in much money. I also have next to no home improvement skills and very little interest in learning them at this point in my life.
After a lot of thought, I realized that one of the things that bugged me the most was the cabinets over the peninsula. They blocked the way of talking to anyone on the other side of the counter. They blocked the natural light coming in the sliding glass door. They are dark wood, making the entire room look darker.
It occurred to me, maybe I would like it better if I just took off the doors! Then I can see the light and the people. I can handle unscrewing things, even if I’m not super great at it. I can never seem to make the electric screwdriver work, so I unscrewed all the doors by hand. I had already KonMari-ed a lot of my kitchen junk, so I was able to put pretty things in the now open cabinets.
Another thing I wasn’t very fond of was the paint or outlet covers behind the sink and counter area. It was always dirty even when I had just cleaned it. On Amazon, I found some press on tiles that supposedly you can cut through with scissors. I thought this seemed like a project I could handle. As it turned out, you CAN cut through the tiles, which come in a 12×12 block made of 1/2 inch squares of reflective abalone shell like material, IF you cut between the tiles. I soon discovered however, that my measurements come in the middle of the individual squares. When you try to cut through the actual tile, it shatters into a million pieces and is extremely challenging to cut at any rate.
I persevered although, it took me for freaking ever and confirmed why I really hate DIY home improvement projects.
I’m really happy with how it turned out though. Even if I couldn’t finish it by myself, even if there are lots of mistakes and crooked areas, and even if it took a lot longer than I hoped, I would recommend the tiles. I would also recommend these simple little changes to update an older kitchen. What do you think?
One thought on “Cheap and Easy Kitchen Update”
Your open cabinets really do make a difference, and it’s nice to display your special pieces there! We had our old farm house (1912) kitchen repainted in 2006, 29 years after it had last been done. What a difference! Now we are slowly re-doing a room at a time ourselves in the rest of the house. This winter it’s the upstairs bathroom, and then the really big project will be the living room. It’s the last room with wall paper on…mauve and blue from the 1980’s. I’m used to it now, but it will be wonderful when it’s finally updated!!