Years After A Forced Budget Kitchen Reno (Due To Black Mold And Out Of Control Renovation Costs)…Emily Bowser Is Designing The Kitchen She Actually Wanted

Nicely, effectively, effectively…Right here I’m, after a lot teasing, I’m lastly on my technique to a kitchen reveal. I feel this area was the toughest for me to complete as a result of it’s been utterly habitable for a very long time. After dwelling in residences for years with cupboards that had been painted so many occasions that solely half of them closed, tile counter tops, no rubbish disposal, no dishwasher, and subpar home equipment – this kitchen felt a lot nicer so I simply wasn’t impressed to make it any higher.

That, and after we made the choice to renovate the kitchen, it was below a lot monetary duress so the finishes weren’t something to write down dwelling about and I knew I couldn’t justify altering them. Earlier than we get too far into that although, let’s discuss the place we began:


File this below: “considered one of 1,000,000 examples of LA actual property not even making an attempt to promote clearly overpriced houses”. That is what the kitchen appeared like after I walked by way of the home, utterly despondent, and prepared to surrender home trying to find good. For extra about my psyche after we have been trying to find a house in 2016 you possibly can examine it right here.

It’s a small, galley kitchen, with an odd walk-through…closet? I don’t know methods to clarify it. The door you see within the again there was the again door to a small coated patio that’s now a laundry room. In truth it wasn’t a lot worse than another kitchen I had rented. My final condominium had Pepto Bismol pink tile counter tops and the one earlier than that had banana yellow. Each have been over 100 years outdated and there’s simply no technique to make them ever look clear. Shoutout to principally each renter in LA. FYI: I hear these are coming again?? I imply, they are often cute in pictures however clearly whoever selected that pattern by no means lived with them. The GROUT! Blech. At the least these have been new-ish counters and kinda appeared clear. After we made the choice to purchase the place I used to be like, “I’ll simply paint the cupboards myself and dwell with it till we save up cash.” We would have liked to get the again home not simply to a livable situation, however as good as we might afford so we might hire it out for a premium to assist pay for our mortgage. The plan for the entrance home was to do what we had at all times achieved: benefit from what we got, as we did with our leases, and slowly do the renovations over time. 

After all, issues did NOT go to plan, and slowly renovating didn’t occur. I actually actually want I might have lived with the kitchen that was there and had the money and time to renovate it proper the primary time. I’m an enormous advocate of dwelling in an area for a 12 months and seeing the way you make the most of or *need* to make the most of the area earlier than you make any large modifications. Sadly, they discovered mould within the kitchen. I neglect why they have been searching for it in any respect, possibly a leak within the sink? After all, I’m completely satisfied that I didn’t dwell with black mould, however having to make fast and as-cheap-possible choices did chunk me within the butt a bit bit. That is going to be a narrative about how I made my “meh” kitchen into a totally purposeful and fairly kitchen with out renovating once more. Hopefully, that is useful for individuals who dwell in “ok” kitchens that basically don’t should be ripped out however aren’t very inspiring.

angle of kitchen the day we acquired the keys, wall to be eliminated seen in again


Let’s speak concerning the kitchen’s first makeover. When buying this home I wished to go along with finishes that have been timeless and never too explicit style-wise as a result of the lengthy sport for this property is that each items are leases. I acknowledge now that it’s a very VERY lengthy sport as a result of having the monetary capacity to maintain this property and purchase one other one would imply one thing life-changing occurred with our careers. Nevertheless, a woman who has but to really feel the chilly slap of maturity can dream! I wished the model to be easy, one thing most individuals might see themselves dwelling in and making their very own, regardless of my very own pull in the direction of the extra dramatic. It was the spring of 2016 (didn’t find yourself signing papers till Oct – lengthy story) so after all, we ended up with black hex flooring and subway tile. This was again if you considered these issues as timeless they usually hadn’t *utterly* overrun all of social media. Subway and hex tile are additionally very inexpensive, as have been easy white cupboards and the three slabs of quartz I discovered for $300 every. I wanted a slab and a half for every kitchen – that is the place it grew to become obvious that this was going to be much more inexpensive if I select the identical finishes for each kitchens. My plan was to make use of IKEA cupboards as a result of I had heard good issues. My contractor insisted he might do greater high quality for much less and actually, I’m fairly pleased with them. They aren’t fancy however they’re made with good plywood and didn’t have that excessive off-gassing that low cost cupboards have.

I used to be in full monetary trauma by the point we have been instructed the kitchen had mould and we wanted to renovate each kitchens. I actually don’t bear in mind a lot from the method apart from making an attempt to choose the most effective I might for as low cost as attainable. There was not loads of pleasure in it. I do bear in mind noticing the shortage of pleasure on the time and feeling a bit sorry for myself. I like design and I like making a house however I didn’t love something about this a part of the method as a result of it didn’t really feel like I actually had choices. This was not the romantic concept I had of my first dwelling in my head. The kitchen period of the reno was a darkish period for certain. 

That stated, though I used to be utterly confused about how we have been going to pay for all this (which at this level was $100,000 OVER what I used to be bid and would go greater), there have been just a few issues I put my foot down about that I’m very happy with to at the present time: I wished the wall between the kitchen and this unusual closet/walk-through to be taken down and I wished a dishwasher.

My contractor was actually in opposition to me placing in a dishwasher due to how a lot cupboard area it eats up, and he wasn’t incorrect – he simply underestimated what I used to be prepared to sacrifice and what I might make occur in such a tiny area with the intention to have a dishwasher. I. Love. My. Dishwasher. I take advantage of it each single day with absolute abandon and actually, NO ONE could make me really feel dangerous about it. After hand washing SINCE LEAVING MY PARENT’S HOUSE, I do know FOR A FACT that handwashing makes use of extra water and 100% is the worst. My coronary heart goes out to folks with out one (I see you 99% of LA renters) and I can’t gaslight you as my buddies who had dishwashers and washing machines and AC did to me. Your life will get no less than 80% higher merely with fashionable conveniences. You may be “flirting with monetary catastrophe” (quote by my buddy Lauren to me about this time interval) and stroll into your new home with a dishwasher, washer/dryer, AC and be like, “I’M RICH!”.

window in walk-through space, wall to be eliminated on the precise
bizarre measurement fridge nook on left, tub on the opposite facet of wall straight forward 

Taking down the bizarre wall was a should. That closet/walk-through area was virtually unusable and made the area really feel tinier than it already was. The final format of the kitchen is the one technique to do it, so all home equipment stayed the place they have been. My home could be very economical and there’s not one little bit of unused actual property, which means there’s no wall you possibly can break by way of to make extra space. Behind the range on the left is the corridor closet (considered one of two closets in the entire home), and the bump out after the fridge is our rest room. We needed to maintain this odd, narrowing galley, the one factor we didn’t want was the doorway into the closet thingy. For the lifetime of me, I can’t determine why it was there to start with. As you possibly can see within the first photograph, the earlier proprietor had a chunk of furnishings in there to offer themselves extra storage and it’s not on the opposite facet of the area as a result of there’s a window in the midst of that wall.

ground of the walk-through
after demo day, if you happen to look intently you possibly can see that we eliminated a tiny nook of the wall on the left as effectively

I truly actually wished to make use of the wooden beneath the tile ground however seems it was actually the subfloor, like between the cracks you could possibly see down below the home. Sadly for insulation causes, we wanted to place one thing on prime. If I might flip again time I might have ripped up all of the flooring and put matching new wooden all through the whole area as a result of I like wooden floors within the kitchen. There are authentic wooden floors within the dwelling/eating and one of many bedrooms and to save cash I wished to refinish them and solely tile the area that didn’t have authentic flooring however now, after all, the unique flooring are falling aside and I’ve to switch them. Le sigh. 

right here I’m wanting how I felt in Dec 2016, opening and shutting the brand new window in that bizarre closet area after we eliminated the wall

I digress, again to the purpose: the renovation was straightforward within the sense that it was “put new cupboards precisely the place there had already been cupboards, minus the uppers on the sink facet as a result of I would like open shelving there”. Spoiler alert: I nonetheless don’t have open shelving there. 

As a result of the area the place the walk-through closet factor was extra slender, we couldn’t proceed with regular cupboards and likewise…I couldn’t afford them. I instructed myself I might discover the right classic piece to place there, excellent being 36” excessive to match the counters, solely 15” deep as to not block the doorway to the laundry room, and 38” lengthy to benefit from the area. Spoiler alert: I didn’t discover the right piece. Let’s check out how the kitchen has appeared for many of the previous 6 years:

For funsies do you need to see the matching again unit kitchen?

identical however completely different
identical however completely different

High-quality, proper? It’s fiiiine. One million occasions higher than the earlier than however, , no matter. Issues I beloved: with the ability to really feel like my kitchen was clear, new home equipment, a rubbish disposal, and the pure gentle in right here is actually, actually good. The plan was to place open shelving up however as a result of the tile was put up with out serious about *how* the shelving could be put in – it’s proved to be tough. Now after dwelling with out it for years I’m afraid that it’s going to really feel prefer it’s too visually busy. I get the draw of no uppers, it makes the area really feel larger than it’s. That stated: Mama might actually use a bit extra storage. Additionally, I’ve loads of fairly issues, it form of comes with the stylist territory and it might be good to have a few of them out.


The piece of furnishings I discovered on the flea market was too deep, too quick, and too slender. Doesn’t look too dangerous right here and really, the within of it was tremendous useful for organizing a lot in order that we saved it till 2020. I actually wished the highest to be flush with the countertop so the kitchen would really feel extra steady so I did the fundamental IKEA Ivar cupboard hack. We painted the cupboard with leftover paint from our eating nook (and lower a chunk of reclaimed wooden from Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber to be the precise size of the area). Two of the Ivar cupboards have been excellent for leaving only a teeny little bit of area on both facet for our folded-up step ladder on one facet and some further slicing boards on the opposite. We connected them on to studs within the wall so they’re technically floating, no feeties, and are utterly flush with the remainder of the counters, which is what I actually wished. 

andrew screwing the reclaimed wooden instantly into the highest of the ivar cupboard

The Ivar storage is principally our pantry. Just about all of our meals storage is right here and about half of it’s cookbooks in the meanwhile:) Keep tuned for the ultimate reveal and I’ll present the group as a result of these cabinets will not be deep (11.75”) and we make it work. As a result of I do know you’ll ask: cupboard pulls on the Ivar are Lostine. The gorgeous classic rug is Jean Palmer Residence – you’ve seen it in my workplace reveal as a result of I hadn’t discovered the right classic rug for my cats to puke on in there but, however I’ve now:) Pulls and handles for my authentic kitchen cupboards are an Etsy discover, undecided if they’ve the precise ones anymore, mine have been brass not brushed brass.

We did the cupboard in 2020 and apparently, I couldn’t cease myself from persevering with so as to add boards to each wall. Right here’s a really unstyled, lived-in second from final 12 months:

Discover how a wine rack within the nook and Lomi composter on the washer have been added to the combination. V pandemic of me. The kitchen was completely FINE nonetheless, it at all times bothered me ~so much~ that the cupboards above the range didn’t go all the best way to the ceiling and didn’t incorporate the world above the fridge. Not solely have been the higher cupboards ugly, however the lack of them was additionally an enormous waste of area. I nonetheless didn’t really feel like I used to be optimizing my area within the space earlier than the laundry room, significantly the wall on the left – that space is difficult as a result of you need to depart area to stroll by way of. Moreover, we had put in a really fancy convection oven/vent/microwave from KitchenAid however we didn’t use it for something apart from reheating leftovers. It was not nice at being a vent for the oven and caught out means an excessive amount of for a way small this area is. The concept was to mount it to maintain it off the counters thus extra counter area however how dangerous it was at being a vent was driving me mad. Half of the time we cooked our smoke detector would go off. One other factor that at all times bothered me visually was the best way the kitchen sink sat within the cupboard. I purchased that sink as a result of it was low cost and I didn’t take into consideration how it might work with the cupboards – clearly.

Pay attention, I do know these aren’t actual issues – that’s why I couldn’t carry myself to do something about it. I’ve had larger fish to fry over the previous 6 years. There was additionally simply loads of artistic problem-solving that will assist, a few of which I did, just like the Ivar Cupboard hack.

Oh, one good factor about my fridge nook is that there’s an ideal hiding place for brooms, Chom Chom curler (smartest thing for pet hair elimination!), and many others.

Aspect word: I purchased all of the home equipment for each items in 2016 on Black Friday. Extremely suggest shopping for home equipment solely on an enormous sale. I’ve lived with these KitchenAid (pre-Cafe period) home equipment for six years and my trustworthy opinion is: they’re good. No actual complaints. I had some points with the dishwasher however after having it serviced just a few occasions I feel they’ve figured it out. Presently, the ice maker has stopped working within the freezer and I have to have somebody come and have a look at it however I’m busy so I’ll use an ice tray and I’ll take care of it later:) I assume after 6 years issues like this can begin to occur. Haven’t had any points with the range or oven and the microwave was high quality apart from the truth that I didn’t really feel prefer it did a ok job as a vent. 

What was I speaking about? Oh, how my points with the kitchen have been dumb and never a large enough deal to make me do something about it till these three issues occurred:

1. I Marco Polo’d so usually in the course of the pandemic with my cellphone resting within the window going through the range that the cupboards not hitting the ceiling and wasted area over the fridge grew to become a day by day fixation. Instance beneath:

2. I discovered the PERFECT shelving unit to suit the lengthy clean wall on the left.

I can’t over-emphasize how excellent this shelving unit is for that area. I had such particular dimensions that it needed to match. The depth is 10.25”, I might *possibly* go to 11” the size is 78” which is excellent with the intention to stroll by way of with out feeling crushed. I like that there’s some closed storage, a bit floor space, after which open shelving for fairly storage. It’s additionally good that it’s mounted to the wall, it feels lighter within the area. Let’s take a sneak peek, we could?

I personally love the banana styling on this iPhone pic. Each the bananas hanging from the wine rack AND the rotten bananas on the cupboard ready to be made into banana bread. Oh, additionally the one butternut squash in a bowl. Clearly, this pic was taken to ship to Andrew to indicate how proud I used to be for determining methods to hold this on my own. It hasn’t fallen down but!

As you possibly can see on this image, the quartz countertop continues a bit into the area that begins to slender, which makes the walkway really feel cramped. For this reason I wanted the Rejuvenation cupboard to not be too large. I’m considering I might proceed my ridiculous slicing board assortment subsequent to the cupboard since that gained’t take up a lot area. I hung the cupboard in order that the highest of the cupboard is identical top because the counter tops which makes that area really feel like one other floor to work on. In our case it’s become our drink station (espresso, matcha, alcohol, all three without delay, and many others.) if you happen to look intently you possibly can see one other Rejuvenation beaut, their Brookside Rail System that holds all of our drink accouterment –  however don’t look too intently! This can be a sneak peek!


The ultimate straw that made me lastly end this kitchen is:

3. My buddy Rebecca began an organization making cupboard fronts (and bins) and acquired actually sick of me complaining on Marco Polo concerning the area above my cupboards (I feel it bothered her too). I met Rebecca after we have been engaged on Orlando Soria’s HGTV present “Construct Me Up” (RIP) pre-pandemic. She’s an incredible designer, design producer, and buddy. Designer buddies don’t let buddies have bizarre areas above their cupboards! 

Her firm Design by Numbers (web site coming, try her insta) will make new cupboard doorways to suit any bins and it’s principally magic. You scan your area with an app in your cellphone, inform her the color and style you need after which they ship you this and your jaw hits the ground:

WUT?? THERE’S A CAT ON THE WASHING MACHINE! All of our jobs (and cats, I assume) are being stolen by computer systems. I imply what’s even the purpose of taking pictures a reveal put up, I’ve principally given it away. As you possibly can see, the microwave is gone with a built-in actual grown-up individual vent instead, cupboards that go to the ceiling that additionally embody the fridge, and why sure, we’ve modified the colour and elegance of my cupboards. The colour I selected is “Puddy” (considered one of Rebecca’s paint choices) and it’s a greenish taupe? I’m dangerous at describing colours. We lovingly consult with the model as a “child shaker” as a result of it has a tiny model of a shaker border. It’s traditional however feels a bit extra fashionable and contemporary. After I used to be like, “HELL YEAH,” I double-checked their measurements by hand (take that computer systems!) they usually made and shipped them to me. It was that straightforward (for me anyway). 

As the corporate is launching they’re providing 3 types of cupboards: shaker, child shaker, and slab. They’ll just do doorways or cupboard bins and doorways. In case you are eager about getting extra data, you possibly can e mail [email protected]

We have been in a position to maintain all my authentic decrease cupboard bins and the within of the drawers, we simply changed the fronts. Design by Numbers offers the data to buy the matching paint or ship the paint relying on state laws. I bought and had the cupboards professionally painted as a result of as I’ve talked about earlier than I *will* DIY if crucial however one thing like this, no thanks. So far as the uppers, I needed to recycle these. Since they have been in fine condition my contractor was in a position to take them out to reuse them elsewhere. I additionally donated the microwave. There was a little bit of tile patching behind the microwave that wanted to be achieved however nothing too arduous and since I had low cost subway tile, it value virtually nothing. Design by Numbers made the brand new bins for the uppers they usually match like a glove – the measurements have been excellent. 

I don’t need to give an excessive amount of away as a result of you’re going to get to see all of it on the ultimate reveal which is coming quickly! I’m ready on just a few stray issues to return in to place the whole lot collectively together with a brand new eating room desk! This reveal/refresh will embody the eating nook, kitchen, and the laundry room and will probably be dwell subsequent month! Within the meantime right here’s a display seize from my Marco Polo with Rebecca and Orlando mid-cabinet set up 🙂 Keep tuned.


Opening Picture Credit: Design by Emily Bowser | Picture by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: One other MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s Completely satisfied Eating Nook (With Customized Cat-Pleasant Banquette, As a result of Duh)

The put up Years After A Compelled Funds Kitchen Reno (Due To Black Mould And Out Of Management Renovation Prices)…Emily Bowser Is Designing The Kitchen She Truly Needed appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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