We have been in the house just over a month now and after our week in Cuba, I took a week to do absolutely nothing. Seriously, I did nothing beyond lounging about every day and surfing the Internets. It was a well deserved break after this past two years of marathon kitchen renovation, deciding to trade our life on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for a slower more relaxed life in Philadelphia, then dealing with all of the electrical and structural issues here at Our Philly Row, followed by the entire process of preparing, selling, and packing up our New York apartment, all the while working my full-time job.
But, those who know me, know that I have the attention span of a goldfish, so I cannot sit and do nothing for long. When we finally had all of our possessions moved to the house, I was unclear about what the first priority was, but a couple of weeks after we were in, it became clear that the first room to focus on would have to be the kitchen. I didn’t want to put all of the dishes in the cabinets only to take them all out again in six months to do the kitchen.
The photo above shows the kitchen as it was in the listing photos and as you can see, it is a functional kitchen, but it is also an ugly kitchen. We know the house was an investment property for decades until the last owner bought it in the late 90s. We think the kitchen was last remodeled just before it was sold for the purposes of prettying up the house for resale. Lets just say that there is nothing of quality in the space and beyond having a stove and refrigerator (which died two weeks after we took possession), the only fancy thing is that there is a garbage disposal.
We do have big plans for the kitchen in the future involving a major overhaul of the entire rear wing of the house, which will involve not just the kitchen, but also the adjacent dining room and the guest room/guest bath above it. This of course will cost money, and for now, there are higher priorities. So given that we are likely several years away from diving into that money pit, we are going to make it work as it is. Well, as it is with some lipstick added to make it less offensive when you walk in.
The goal of our lipstick-on-a-pig update is for maximum impact with minimum budget. With left over supplies from New York, as well as repurposing things we already have, I managed to come up with a plan on the cheap which will tie us over until we can dive into the real kitchen renovation. Here is the breakdown of my plans for the kitchen.
Paint everything! Walls, ceiling, and cabinets (including the insides of the uppers). We are fortunate that there was plenty of left over paint from our NY apartment so we only needed to buy a quart of paint to do the interiors. I am doing the upper cabinets in Benjamin Moore – Chantilly Lace (2121-70), the lower cabinets and lower walls in Benjamin Moore – Dior Gray (2133-40), and the upper walls and ceiling will be in Benjamin Moore – Tundra (2133-70). The only paint I needed to buy was for the interiors of the uppers. I spent $15.00 on a quart of paint…. As for the color?… For those who are following along on Instagram I posted it to an Instagram story week before last. If you missed it or aren’t following me on IG, you are going to have to wait till next week… Or you can follow me on Instagram (@ourphillyrow) and I may reveal it again before then.
Replace the ceiling light: The light that was there when we bought the house had to be destroyed as soon as possible lest the ugliness of it spread to other areas of the house. When we had the electrical updated last year, I had our electrician install plain porcelain sockets in every ceiling box. So for the kitchen update, I set an impossible budget limit of $25.00, and came damned close to it! I will fill you in next week on the light fixture.
Replace the vent hood above the stove: The existing range hood is a bottom of the line recirculating hood in the color almond. It is also caked with grease and cat hair. I decided that I could replace it with the exact same thing in white and it would only cost $44.00
Add under cabinet lighting: I simply cannot understand how anybody can live without under cabinet lighting. In our kitchen it is especially needed because the sink is in the corner and it gets mighty dark back there. I kept it simple and went with an LED strip lighting set from Amazon for about $16.00
Replace the cabinet hardware: The cabinet pulls were too ugly to reuse, and there were no pulls on the three drawers. So I searched the isles of Lowe’s and found simple ones that are less than $3.00 each totaling up to less than $44.00. The hinges are not very pretty either, but they worked and I could not justify replacing them.
Replace the faucet: The existing faucet was about 20 years old. It was ugly, corroded, and constantly dripped. I didn’t want to invest too much knowing it was only for a few years, but I do not buy the cheapest faucet ever as I don’t trust cheap plumbing fixtures when under constant water pressure. We also could not live without a pull out sprayer, so we ended up with a basic Pfister pull out faucet for $78.00.
With limited storage in this kitchen, it occurred to me that I could repurpose the “fauxdenza” from the entry gallery of our New York apartment into a kitchen storage unit. The fauxdenza was an assembly of three IKEA Sektion kitchen cabinet boxes attached to each other with a wood top. It was too long for our kitchen, but with the purchase of another cabinet box for $45.00, I reconfigured it to be two over two creating storage as well as a convenient spot for the microwave. It does block the window just a bit, but it works.
All in all, we are in less than $300 when small incidentals are factored in. Not bad! I hope to wrap the work up by this weekend and I am planning to post a full lipstick-on-a-pig reveal next week.
Oh, and one more thing…. You must watch this adorable video of Bixby devouring his dinner.