November Kitchen Remodel Update

Uh…where to begin? Let’s see, in a nutshell:

So, this is what we’ve been living with since the end of September (warning: it’s the bad and ugly instead of the good stuff I normally like to focus on):


The bottom cabinets have been painted, as well as the new beadboard backsplash, but the top cabinets are waiting to have their bases and doors painted.

Even though they’re both white paints (and the kitchen is DARK in our gray Oregon days…), you can easily see in this photo the difference between the new white and the old. The old paint on top looks almost yellow-beige, which is actually pretty accurate to how it looks in real life.

But the worst is probably this:


Um, do you think it’s easy to clean the “counters” with all that old tile thin set there? You’re right – it’s a nightmare.

Okay, it could be worse, but you know what I mean.

We have not been living for two months with all our counters like that, though. It’s only around the sink that we couldn’t turn the pressboard over to use the smooth side (not the best, but easier to clean at least).

So, to sum up, we’ve been living with areas of dried-on thin set, smooth pressboard (which I’ve learned is great at soaking up liquid…), a little plywood and this:


Areas of no countertops at all. Yeah, last night some food sloshed over the side of a bowl and I had to clean the cupboard below and the pot the food ended up in. Joy.


This area, which I’m quaintly referring to as our “butler’s pantry” – ha – IS all painted, though, and is awaiting the counter installation.

So, you know that thing that happens at times to do-it-yourselfers – that thing where you don’t really notice the havoc you’re living in anymore?

Right. That has NOT happened to me. I can’t wait to get this gall-blasted kitchen back in shape.

And I’m hopeful that after having other commitments for the last five weekends the free one we now have will allow us to check some more things off the master to-do list:

  1. Sand all cabinet doors and bases (filling holes and sanding as necessary)
  2. Demolish remaining tile counters
  3. Cover openings left in a cabinet from an unused breadboard with molding (and a few other places to finish cabinets) – caulk and paint
  4. Use a jigsaw to even up the underside of one cabinet that had been cut out by previous owners
  5. Move small cabinet by fridge over a couple inches to gain space between stove and corner cabinet (?)
  6. Paint all cabinets and doors (half-way there!)
  7. Add beadboard as a backsplash – trim all edges, caulk/fill and paint (though there’s still a bit of caulking left)
  8. Measure and cut wood counters
  9. Stain and finish counters
  10. Install counters
  11. Install new sink
  12. Install new faucet
  13. Install rod for hanging utensils behind stove
  14. Replace old off-white electrical outlets with new white ones
  15. Sew a new curtain for sink cabinet

So – please tell me we’re not alone in this! How long to big DIY projects take in your house? {click to comment}



  1. says

    Well, I do feel your pain – when we gutted our foreclosed house – we lived without a kitchen for eight weeks (and without a bathroom for six weeks)! Now, I will have to admit that for the six weeks that we didn’t have a bathroom we stayed at our daughter’s at night. When we remodeled the house we had in North Carolina I lived with plywood floors for seven weeks – you can’t imagine how happy I was when I came home from work and had carpet on the floors – LOL! (Okay, can you see a pattern in my life – remodel, sell, remodel, sell, remodel, sell – too many times to count) Oh well, we are in a rental right now at least through the holidays because we sold our last remodeled house too fast to find another house. We shall see what the new year brings – good luck on getting your kitchen finished soon!
    Hugs –

    • Jami says

      Wow – we haven’t moved that much and I’m not sure I could do the remodel-sell cycle much anymore. I’m getting to the point where I just want things DONE. Though the thought of a fun new space sometimes calls to me…hope you find a great new house to be excited about – you go, Carol! :)

  2. Nancy says

    I feel your pain. We moved into the upstairs floor of my mother’s old Victorian a year ago the Friday after Thanksgiving, and while we don’t have anything ‘torn up’ so to speak, I am still painting and trying to find places for stuff!! And now I have taken on sanding and refinishing the hall floor downstairs and it is HUGE!!! So I am a fellow glutton for punishment!! LOL!!! Hope you get much accomplished this weekend, I too have a mile long to do list!!

    • Jami says

      Sanding and refinishing all by yourself? That makes me feel better. :) Seriously, though – let’s DO hope we get some stuff done ’cause I don’t want to be like this for the holidays. Eek!

  3. says

    Well, we’ve (and by we, I mean my husband) been painting our exterior (siding and brick) for going on to 3 years now. We are down to only the top half of the chimney now (which, along with the tops of two gables, cannot be reached with our longest ladder, so my husband created a paint brush handle extended thingee which worked fine for the gables, but not as well for the bricks). He says one more bucket of brick paint (a trip to Lowe’s tonight) and good weather this weekend (sunny, 70’s) should see it FINISHED!!

    And then there is the new chicken coop that I got back in the spring — it’s finally all assembled, and I am almost finished painting it — but really, what should have been a two weekend job has extended over 5 months now.

    • Jami says

      Ah, Diana, I didn’t remember you were working on a chicken coop, too! Sometimes people ask us if we’ve got chickens yet and I have to remind them that I don’t have COUNTERS, so the coop is not at the top of the list. Sigh. Congrats on your painting, too – that’s gonna feel good to have done. :)

  4. Amy says

    Weeelllll, it took 4 years to build our little house. We moved in. Next day I had a baby. With club feet. We had no fireplace yet (I sat breast feeding watching while my hub did that) no interior doors no water no kitchen sink no oven or cooktop no seal on the concrete floor no countertops. 4.5 years later we have all those things and are starting a remodel. Except the house isn’t quite finished from the first go-round. That’s our diy story. Ain’t it fun?

    • Jami says

      Oh my goodness, you may win the prize, Amy! Starting a remodel when the initial building’s not complete? That’s a great DIY story for sure. :)

  5. Jan Jacklin says

    Boy can I relate….My prayers go out for you…I just spent 16 weeks without any kitchen…bare to the studs because of a water leak…I set up 1 electromagnetic burner & a toaster oven…This is a 71 y/o house…so use your imagination…going to the other end of the house for water or a sink…but 2 weeks ago the cupboards went in, then floor, then stove, dishwasher, sink & refrig…at least I can cook once again…you really have to learn momentum once again….
    The very worst for me was, no sink & no water…So my heart hearts for you…It is a test…that’s where we get the testimony…

    • Jami says

      Oh, Jan, so SORRY for your long remodel – makes mine seem like nothin’ ’cause I’ve at least had water most of the time! Yahoo that you’re finally in a normal kitchen again. :)

  6. says

    I like the new paint, so fresh and bright! Big remodel projects take a long time around our place too. Can’t give an exact time frame, but our last kitchen remodel was probably most of a summer. We replaced the old cabinets, had hardwood floors installed, solid surface counters, new appliances…and then we moved :( I wish I could have brought that kitchen with me!

    Good luck getting the rest of your remodel done…hopefully before the holidays!

    • Jami says

      We moved from our city bungalow about 2 years after a kitchen remodel that I loved – 8 yrs. later I still miss that kitchen, so I can relate. :)

  7. Donna Maier says

    Just signed the papers on our lil 40’s brick home. I am going to be painting all the 70’s kitchen cupboards and wondering what color and paint brand you used on yours? Any tips? Did you use a primer? Thanks for any info you can give me…..and here I go 😉

    • says

      Congratulations, Donna!! It’s such a great feeling to see a house be reborn. :) I think I have all the details written in this post:

      But without going back to read it carefully (ha!) the paint is Behr’s ‘Creamy White,’ we used one coat of primer originally over the dark wood (I’d suggest using a liquid sander/deglosser on them first to clean, etc.), and my biggest tip is to use a foam roller and save the brushes for cutting in. The roller is the best!! Have fun. 😉

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