The Kitchen Makeover That Almost Went Up in Flames!

Well… we didn’t die, but our house did almost burn down a week after I finished our kitchen renovation when a neighboring home caught on fire and burned down to the ground on a Tuesday evening about a month ago. It started out with my 6-year-old son yelling to me in my office, “Mom… why are the clouds moving so fast?” Before I could even process that comment fully my 7-year-old son yells out, “Mom! Fire! BIG Fire!” I took off running and looked out the windows they were to see 40+ foot flames cresting the trees in the house that sits on a hill kiddy corner behind us. I grab my phone and run out to our backyard while dialing 9-1-1 as I am talking to the operator, a hot coal landed on my foot. This is serious. The fire is out of control and no one is on their way yet.

My first thought, of course, was that I needed to get what was most important to me out of the house. It was just me and the boys home at the time, my daughter was at work and my husband was playing in a golf tournament, so with the boy’s help we quickly loaded up our 72 hour kits, important documents, and all the asthma medicine I could find into our truck and I got them out of there. As I was driving away I couldn’t help but think, “My house might burn down and I didn’t even get to enjoy my new kitchen.” Silly I know. I got the kids to safety, my husband had to leave his tournament, but he got to see what his sweet custom 600HP Subaru STI was made of. Ssshhh!!! It was an emergency. I came back and sprayed our grass, the roofs of our barn and house. We got lucky. Other than a yard and driveway covered in ash and coal and a house that smelled like a campfire, there was no damage. The other house however burned to the ground, but it was an old abandoned house so no one got hurt, but it did make the local news: Crews Battle House Fire in Harpswell Neck.

So that’s the story of the kitchen that almost went up in flames… I am so glad it didn’t because I love how it turned out! Here we go.

Here is the before:

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Not bad, but not great either. A couple of my biggest complaints were the fact that there was room for a bar, but the counter did not extend to accommodate one, which was fine because it was also just Formica and I wanted granite.  Additionally, they raised the cabinet above the stove to accommodate a microwave creating an awkward 3″ variation on the tops of the cabinets. Basically, they had done the quickest updating they could to try and sell the place but didn’t really get the job done.  Despite its imperfections, it was perfect for me!

Here it is now:

kitchen 2

The quick and dirty version: We added granite counters called White G and painted the cabinets Revere Pewter. I also did a beveled white subway tile with a warm gray grout, painted out the trim around the sink window (am just starting to do all the rest of the trim in that and adjoining rooms to match), and added hardware (including new hinges).

kitchen 3

As you can see in this photo I solved the problem of variation in the heights of the top of the cabinets by making it more dramatic by adding headers over the microwave, above the pantry and also on the cabinet to the left of the sink. I added trim to the tops and the bottoms of the cabinets for a more finished and custom look.

kitchen 4

To create a bar I added some brackets… They may offer some support, but they are mainly for looks. I added a bat and board trim to the previously trim-less and boring back of the cabinets. Also, now that I had a bar, I needed counter height stools. I got these off of Amazon  and spray painted them this green color.

kitchen 5

kitchen 6

I added some decor that I purchased as well as repurposing some things around the house. I love the canvas lined wired baskets above the fridge that hide snacks and treats.

kitchen 7

Still on the to-do list is refinishing the wood floors a much darker gray-brown color. I hope to do that soon. Once that’s done I can add the toe-kick to match. P.S. The dishwasher just has a stainless steel sticker on it; from a distance, it looks good, but up close, not so much. I might need to find a different solution. I had originally planned on replacing it with something new because it was old, black and ugly, but it is the best darn dishwasher I have ever owned. It seems like a mistake to get rid of it for that reason.

kitchen 8

On the cabinet in the above picture, I still would like to replace those doors with glass doors and since I took this photo, I added an arrow out of weathered wood.

I removed the doors on the cabinet over the microwave and over the pantry added beadboard to the back to add more interest and decor space.

Kitchen 1

Finally some things you probably didn’t notice, but would have had I not taken care of it, is the fact that I replaced all the electrical outlets with white ones and I even switched some out that now include USB ports for chargers, which we have LOVED!! Electrical is not too terribly hard, but you do have to be SUPER careful… you can’t be too careful. If you are not confident in this, you really should hire an electrician.

But overall we are thrilled with the results, even with the pending unfinished projects! I will try to update soon with a product/color list.



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