Kitchen renovation!!

Yal, we did a thing. That’s why I’ve been MIA all week on here and spotty on instagram. I’ve been SWAMPED and covered in DIY ish. Next week I’ll be back to my usual poppin hair daily workout self. Last week? I didn’t wash my hair all week. I only got in 3 workouts. It’s hard out here for a pimp.

But you need some history first to understand.

When we first moved in this house – I wanted to change the kitchen. It was sooooo blah builder grade. Like if I walked into Ball Homes (popular middle class builder here in Lexington) and was like “yeah build me the cheapest 4 bedroom house you can” – they’d have built this one. Not a single upgrade could be found. And then to add to it – the house was nearly 10 years old when we moved in so the cabinets were scratched up as cheap fake wood cabinets often get. Observe:

So it had to go. It’s not a bad kitchen, but we came from a 1920′ house in Morgantown with a beautiful (albeit small and closed off) kitchen. Really our first house was just absolutely dope. It had awesome crown moulding and historically appropriate renovations and it was just EVERYTHING. Let me give you a quick sneak peak of that one:

But let me stop before I get nostalgic. Also ignore the fact that I had stuff ALL OVER my counters. Like I said, it was small. But it was beautiful.

Anywho, on to what really matters. I wanted a bomb kitchen in this newer bigger character-less house too. I remember looking at it when we first moved in like, lord jesus what I’ma do with this. So I surfed pinterest. Initially I thought – this house is too traditional to do the style of kitchen I want. Which has always been similar to our old house – I love butcher block counters and all things farmhouse or 1920s. But I mean, we have them teeny tiny budget baseboards in his house. We got the hollow 6 panel doors. Yal know what I’m talkin bout.

After much research and second guessing and taking looks at granite and considering not painting the cabinets – we called a contractor. We had been living in the house about 1.5 years. The contractor told us around 10k to do butcher block, new sink, backsplash and paint the cabinets.

So you know damn well me and hubby was like naw B, we got this. Headed out to Lowes and grabbed some primer and paint. It took us 3 days to paint the cabinets. He worked on them alone Friday night and all day Saturday while Beezy and I were visiting my parents. Then I came and helped all day Sunday and we finished up Monday AM before work. Cost contractor quoted? 3k. What’d we spend? around $200. Aint nobody got time to be dropping stacks on kitchens. I got babies to feed. Finished product:

I got the inspiration for the bottom cabinet color from this post I found via Pinterest. And we left it at that for like 7 months. Honestly. I was just happy to have knobs on my cabinets. (I got those from Amazon – knobs and drawer pulls).

My advice for anyone thinking of painting their cabinets – buy the sander. Sand it. Do an AWESOME primer. And we used latex enamel paint. We got it from Lowes. It’s held up pretty well to our shenanigans. Also – wait about a week to put your cabinet doors back on. We didn’t – we waited like 2 days and ours stick and we had some pull the paint off the cabinet casing when we left the door closed too long. Super annoying. So yeah, don’t be like me – be patient.

We stopped at the paint because we were tired AND not feeling confident we could rip off counters and backsplash and modify cabinets for the sink I wanted anddddd… so yeah – a lot haha.

Moving on. It’s around 7 month later and I started a new job and got a slight raise (ayeeee) plus my coaching business has been booming. So I tell hubby – yo go find someone to finish the kitchen.

Naturally as a man he did nothing for 3 weeks.

When he finally started looking he found someone to do all the labor in 2-3 days for $1600. I was for it. I know it’s expensive (at least to me) but I had budgeted 3000 to do it. I wanted to come home and it be finished and have nothing to worry about. But hubby said that was too much. So he found a handyman.

Yal, I was skeptical about brah man from the beginning. He was only 1 person and claimed to be able to do it all in 2-3 days. He had sample pics from when he flipped houses but nobody flips a house alone. He was charging a lot less. We should have learned our lesson from doing this before (went with the cheapest guy for an attic reno at our old house – ended up finishing it ourselves). But hubby was all about it. So whatever.

Naturally he was fired by the middle of day 2 when he wasn’t doing ish but sanding counters for 2 days. We decided we would do it all ourselves. Hubby had already installed the sink Monday night. Which was no small feat because yal, the sink was 150 lbs. Why was the sink 150 lbs? Because it is pure cast iron. Why? Because Ikea was out of stock of the sink I wanted, and we couldn’t get it in time. So I started looking around and found this beauty for way more bread. And then ikea’s sink came back in stock but I just COULDN’T not get the expensive sink. I saw it was scratch and crack and chip resistant and had a lifetime warranty and was sold. So expensive sink it was. To make up for spending way too much on a sink, I got this amazingly beautiful affordable faucet.

If you’re thinking about going to a farmhouse sink with your old regular-smegular cabinets like we did – pay attention to the height of the apron. This sink has a “short apron” and is made to fit perfectly into standard cabinets so we just had to cut out the area that had the 2 fake drawers on it basically.

Anywho, day 1 – counters were cut, sink was installed. We had demoed before hand.

So let me tell you about these countertops though. They are Ikea hammarp – which is one of the few solid wood options they have left. Most of their butcherblock is wood over particleboard – which yuck would look terrible with an undermount sink. And makes them less water resistant. I linked the oak counters but we actually got 1 slab of oak and 4 of birch. Birch is discontinued and was on sale for the low. $97 for 6 ft pieces. So we copped their last 4 pieces with the intent to stain it to be similar in color to the oak, which was like $139 for 6 ft. We would have gotten all birch but they didn’t have it. They also didn’t have enough oak. So this was a compromise Brian talked me into – and I’m glad. The stained birch actually has more of the look I wanted. We did 1 application of Miniwax Stain in Provincial (note: we did use their wood condition prior to the stain). I loved it so we went with it.

See?? Much warmer. Much to Brian’s dismay – I do not like the idea of chemical sealers that claim to be food safe. I’m lightweight a hippy – so I let that stain soak in and look great and then coated with this wood conditioner like a billion times. It’s basically beeswax and some oils. After it’s all gone I’ll seal occasional with wood grade mineral oil. 

The day we let go the handyman, I immediately called a plumbing company that had done some work for me in the past and they came in the next day to install the plumbing in the sink. We went from a double basin to a single basin because we use the dish washer ALL the time and never wash anything by hand that isn’t stupidly big. And it’s hard to wash big stuff in a double basin. (But the sink DOES come in a double basin option for anyone interested).

This is the oak counter. We placed it further away on our bootleg island (not really an island since there’s a wall behind it haha) so the color difference wasn’t obvious. I actually made a mistake of staining this one (we let it sit literally 0 time – just wanted to change the shade a bit). Man, that oak soaked that stain up somethin crazy. Now it’s a bit darker than the birch counters but it’s whatev. 

Next was the backsplash. This was by far the hardest part and the part I was most nervous about. I studied this blog post that I found on ig because they used the same tile we did (We went with this mosiac subway tile to make life a little easier). We worked on it on Thursday night from 9 pm until 3 am to get all the tiles laid. My tips? Don’t use too much morter. And clean it off the face of the tiles as you go – don;t let it dry on them.

We foolishly thought we could do this job with a tile cutter we got for $19 but quickly learned naw homie – soo hubby went to Lowes and got a wet saw for $85. Life saver, worth every penny. He did all the cutting.

He also helped some with laying out the mortar so I could be on a roll because it was late and I was tired.  

It was all worth it though because I was so hype at how great it looked. It is by no means perfect but I mean, we did that. With our bare hands.

We did most of this work while beezy was sleep. He was way more observant than I thought he’d be. Every morning he would say “ohhh, what a niceeee kitchen. Daddy is making the kitchen so nice”.

By Friday night he was trying to get his hands on tools to help out. “momma, I want to help dadda make the house better. I’m a big boy. I help.”

Yal. My heart. 

Anywho, on to grout. Tiles have to sit for at least 24 hours before you start grouting so we had a break Friday night. We were still working all week so we went to bed stupid early since we were up until 3 AM the night before.

I chose a darker gray (charcoal gray to be specific) for the grout lines. I know a lot of people go with white but I thought it would be TOO white and make the bottom cabinets look like orphans. And I like the more industrial look. Idk yal I don’t really know nothing about interior design – I liked it so I bought it. That’s that. LOL

Grouting sucks. I don’t even have pictures in progress because it sucks so bad. At first we had the grout too watery so when I tried to wipe it with the sponge it just smeared everywhere. Then we had it too thick. Then we finally got it to the right consistency. There’s a lot of blogs and videos out there that say it should be the consistency of tooth paste, or peanut butter, or cake icing. We found that cake icing consistency worked the best for us.

We used caulk of the same color name to get around the window sill and some other random places. Around outlets and stuff. Also – get outlet spacers. Issa need.

All in all, and I haven’t added it all up exactly, but we spent about $3000 total on the whole kitchen. Maybe less. And a large chunk of that was the $1000 sink. So yeah, from 10k that was quoted to use to 3k is awesome in my book.

I love it. I didn’t think I’d ever have the kitchen of my dreams in this house but now I do. We still have to attach the countertop to the bar (above) but hubby is actually working on that as I type. I’m honestly pooped but so happy. It’s beautiful to me. And I love that hubby and I did this together. I also feel like we set a great example for Beezy. Too often we tell ourselves what we can’t do before we try. “I’m not handy.” “Backsplash is too advanced for me.” ALL WORDS that came out of my mouth. But hell when your kitchen is torn tf out and you ain’t got nowhere to cook – you figure out how to do things REAL quick.

Shout out to youtube and pinterest for teaching me how to redo my kitchen. Shoutout to hubby for letting me choose stuff he was totally unsure about. Shout out to HGTV for introducing me to farmhouse sinks. And shoutout to anyone who actually read all of this haha.

You know what’s funny though? God works in mysterious ways. Hubby was just asking me the other day why we had trouble working together (on our business ventures – my coaching his training). And I’m like – idk – I just like to do my own thing. I have trouble even helping him with CSS somtimes. But I feel like working together on this really opened our eyes to how powerful we can be together. Damn, I mean look a that kitchen. We lit yal.

Now off to cook breakfast!! ayeeeee



We got the bar counter on 💃🏾

5 responses to “Kitchen renovation!!”

  1. You guys did an amazing job! I loved how you gave us the detail AND the links. I’m going to definitely refer back. I want the feeling of saying, WE did that OURSELVES!


  2. […] I love the little cup drawer pulls – but they’re EXPENSIVE at lowes. When we did our kitchen renovation, I ordered them online for what I thought was a steal for $25ish for a set of 10. However, I wanted […]


  3. […] time we had been living there 6 months the floor looked totally different. So much so that in our painted cabinets before and after someone asked if we had changed the floor […]


  4. […] still to this day get asked questions about our kitchen renovation from 2017. And I’m tired of sharing an old blog post so here’s some updates […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: