Kitchen Remodel

After a little blog-cation, I’m back. A lot was happening at the end of August. We got our kitchen remodeled and I decided to cut gluten out of my diet. I know, two very different and random things, but it through the normalcy of my life a little out of whack and I think I’m back to my normal self. More on the gluten situation later – let’s talk about this kitchen remodel!

My husband (fiance at the time) and I moved into our townhouse in 2009. We planned on staying there for a maximum of five years before moving into a more “permanent” home to hopefully raise a family in. Our five years isn’t up, but since moving in, we got married, had a baby, and got a dog. What was once an ideal dwelling for two adults, became a little crowded by mid-2011. Quickly realizing this, we listed the house at the end of 2012 in hopes of speeding up our life plan and finding that more permanent home to raise our family in. We knew the housing market wasn’t good, but we were optimistic. That lasted for about a week. We took the house off the market after maybe three months and decided to just suck it up and make the updates we wanted to. First up: our kitchen.

Our townhouse was built in the 1990’s. In “kitchen” terms that means old appliances, white plastic (?) cabinets, white plastic hardware, white vertical blinds leading to the patio…all around…dated. It’s a galley kitchen and our biggest complaint was space. We weren’t ambitious enough to want to change the configuration, so we decided we could just live with that. But we could not wait to update everything (except the appliances, which we already updated two years ago). By everything, I mean floors, cabinets, counter tops, hardware, lighting, paint, back splash, sink, faucet, patio door fixture.

Recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, my husband and I didn’t even think twice about hiring a contractor to complete this work for us. We consulted Yelp and narrowed it down to about three options. After some consultations and quotes, we made our decision by the end of May. We weren’t in a rush, so we agreed on a July start date – which would be after our family vacation. Well, IL ended up getting pounded with some rain that caused our contractor to have to basically redo a couple of their jobs. No big deal, we’d push out our start date to August. Well, early August became the end of August. We thought the project would take two weeks especially because no permits were needed for this project. I actually believed them and was convinced it would only take that two weeks. One small thing after another caused the project to take a full four weeks. And let me tell you, it is not easy to live in a house with a toddler and an energetic dog when you live in a small(ish) townhouse with no kitchen! We got so tired of eating in restaurants, and were relieved when the work was finished. It’s not perfect and we’d make some different choices, but overall, we’re happy with the experience and our new kitchen!

I wish I had better “before” pictures, but the kitchen was basically white with deep blue walls and a sandy-colored parquet floor (which the previous owners placed on top of black and white linoleum). We also had three different types of lighting in the space: 1 fluorescent, 1 can, 1 regular fixture. Most of these photos are from my husband’s Instagram. Enjoy!

BEFORE: never mind my adorable child’s “angry” face, but here you can see our lovely old cabinets, counter tops, and walls.

BEFORE: let the demo begin!

BEFORE: more demo! You can see our old floor on top of our OLD old floor.

BEFORE: goodbye, linoleum.

AFTER: some progress – new floors and cabinets are in!

AFTER: ta-da! Welcome to our new kitchen!

AFTER: ta-da! Welcome to our new kitchen!


The Best Grout Cleaner in the World!

You guys, I just learned the greatest cleaning trick in the world, thanks to this pin I found on Pinterest.

One of my major complaints about my bathroom is the shower. It’s about 20 years old and has the original white tile all over the walls. That wouldn’t be so bad, but it also has white grout and the bachelor we bought our house from probably never…ever…cleaned it. Gross. So, we inherited a nasty shower that I’ve attempted to clean with every product under the sun.

The magic cleaner? Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach.


I know, who would have thought? It’s a gel, so it is easily applied to grout lines. After I poured it on, I gently scrubbed it into the grout since it obviously spilled down the sides of the wall. I let it sit a couple minutes and rinsed it away with water. I couldn’t tell a major difference right away, but I came back an hour or so later and was blown away. I tested a small part of the shower (so as to not waste my time if this didn’t work) and it was very obvious which part of the shower I had cleaned. The top picture here is the before and the bottom is the after.

photo 2

photo 5

The only downside is that now it is more apparent where the grout is actually missing. Sigh. A bathroom update is on the long-term plan, but this will do for now.