Has it been seven weeks of the One Room Challenge already? This has been great fun, to be honest, though the past couple of months has not been easy in the least — first, we discovered that none of the windows in half of the house had been sealed. Ever. Which meant that we had a massive amount of water, mold, and bugs in the walls — all of which had to be torn out.
The corner of the house (in the living room and master bedroom) had to be jacked up on a stilt and re-built so that it wouldn’t crumble. And as hard as it was (my uncle did all that work), it was a blessing in disguise that it was finished when it was: Hurricane Irma hit just a week later. Jacksonville was hit pretty hard. Even two streets down people were canoeing down the road the morning after. We suffered a roof leak and some major damage to the garage, but were otherwise okay. (Though I chose to batten down the hatches as a new homeowner so I was pretty terrified during the storm).
If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably pretty familiar with this journey — but for those who aren’t: Let’s reminisce, shall we? This is where we started. Look at that poor kitchen. Sad, sagging cabinets, the weirdest ceiling (that, let’s be honest, looks like a floor), and very dated hardware and lighting. The crazy part about the before and after? We actually have the same cabinets and the same floor — that’s the beauty of a can of paint.
Ohhhh, baby! I’m so proud of this, mostly because my boyfriend, my uncle, and I pretty much did it all ourselves. The only professional we used was the tile installer for the backslash (I selected my own tile and grout and design) and someone to install the Quartz countertops. Otherwise, the electrical work, painting, updated hardware, the ceiling, the floors, and the design was all my uncle, my boyfriend, and I.
Here’s the breakdown of all that we did:
- First, we painted the walls white. Easy and simple. Next, we removed all the laminate tiles from the ceiling, installed can lights and new electrical, and created a new ceiling (my uncle covered the original wood beam). This added several inches to the height of the room and made for a much cleaner, brighter look.
- Next, we moved the stove from the island to the opposite wall, and swapped out the cabinets. It was the perfect fit, fortunately, though it left a hole in the countertops where the stove once was. We also removed all the existing cabinetry, re-painted it (using a pretty hardcore spray machine in the garage), took out the hardware, filled the holes, and drilled new holes for new hardware (new hardware via Amazon, by the way). The top cabinets are white, the bottom are green — by Behr.Then, we installed fresh lighting: two sconces over the windows (one was thrifted, the other I bought online) and three pendant lights over the island.
- Next came the new counters: Quartz Carrara, to mimic the look of marble, but be more durable. While the counters were installed, I also had them install new, more modern (and much deeper) sink. Then came the backsplash. I selected my own tile and grout and hired someone to install it. Note: This is literally the only part of the journey (the installation of the counters and installation of the backsplash) that required professionals. I’ve had a lot of people message me asking “who did my kitchen” or “who did I hire” and, to be 100% honest, we really didn’t rely on much hired help at all.
- We also hung some art: A gorgeous Brian Calvin via Exhibition A by the island and a beautiful Caroline Sands on the larger wall. For those asking, the stools on the island are vintage Milo Baughman and I got them for $35 at a thrift store a couple of years ago.
- Next came the hood. I went with something simple, that would go with the stainless appliances. There were other things I wanted (white wood would have been great, and I had heart set on copper until I saw how pricey that would be) but, in the end, practicality and price won me over.
- Last, but not least, came the floors. This was undoubtedly a challenge, and one that I took on myself. I first had the idea to use a stencil to paint a design on the tile (so that it looked like patterned tile), but that quickly turned out to be a disaster. Case in point:
So I had to make a last-minute decision: Keep the floors white, or try something different that would still make an impact. Painter’s tape to the rescue! I quickly took out a ruler, a pencil, and the tape, and got to work measuring, covering the horrible stencil disaster with a large black stripe, and alternating the stripes throughout the room.Word to the wise: This is so not easy. Seriously. If you are thinking of doing this, it requires a lot of work and patience. The paint will stick to the tape. You will have to do a ton of touchups. It still won’t be perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. But, for the cost of four gallons of paint (a primer, a sealer, a black and a white), you can have all new floors — pretty dramatic ones, at that.Here’s the finished product:
Thanks to all who have been following along on this journey! As a first-time homeowner, I have several new rooms to decorate, so be on the lookout for more content about top-to-bottom overhauls. The best place to follow me is on Instagram, as I continually provide updates on home renovations and thrift finds.