A Complete Kitchen Reno!



Ahhhh the kitchen. Easily the best room in any house. So much time and love has gone into making this space. When we first moved in, the cupboards were a dark oak, the counters were forest green, and the backsplash was done with dated diamond square tiles.


We knew that we would eventually want to do a full kitchen overhaul, but we wanted to wait a few years to both recoup from the initial cost of doing hardwood floors and stairs, and also to learn what we liked and disliked about the current kitchen.

To tide us over, we first painted the cupboards and countertops. You can find the tutorial for the countertops here: Kitchen Part One: DIY Painted “Marble” Countertops

For about a year, we lived with the kitchen like this:


After living with the painted countertops for a year, we were ready to upgrade. At first we thought we would go with laminate, but when we got the quotes back from various dealers we were shocked to find out it would cost just as much as quartz. The reason for this was because of we required three major cuts, and an island overhang, which would require an extra man charge for installation. Crazy.

So quartz it was! Yay.

We chose to go with Moon by Compac Quartz, as it was the most economical option available.


After installing the countertops, we decided to update the backsplash too. We chose to go  with subway tiles because we loved the clean and classic look they brought the space, and were drawn to how economical they were. Our tutorial for installing them can be found here: DIY Subway Tile Backsplash – Tips, tricks, and what to avoid!

The money we saved on the backsplash was put into new cabinet pulls, which we found on Amazon for an amazing price. These are the ones we chose:



We were extremely impressed with the quality of these pulls, given the price. In total we spent only $30 for 30 pulls, and we really think it made all of the difference. Even though the current cupboard doors are an older style, the modern pulls elevate them to a more contemporary vibe.


We also updated all of the appliances. For the stove, we chose a Bosch dual fuel, since I prefer to have an electric convection oven but love gas for the stove elements.


We absolutely adore our Bosch. The stove top is amazingly easy to keep clean, as it is all stainless steel. The grills are made from cast iron and weigh an arm and a leg, but they are easy to clean and a breeze to cook on. The burners are all extremely powerful, and light immediately. There is no strong gas smell, as there was with our previous stove, so we feel a lot more comfortable cooking around the girls. And the controls are great.


We also love that the grates encompass the entire stove, so we are able to place a cast iron sheet on top when we are cooking bigger breakfasts. Essentially you can turn the entire top into one big pan. So cool!

And the oven is pretty great too. It has the option to turn the convection fan on and off, heats up super fast, and cooks like a dream. For awhile there we started to question our own cooking skills, as on more than one occasion we ended up with a raw chicken after two hours or blackened cookies after only ten minutes. Our family started buying us cook books in hopes to avoid having to eat undercooked meat again, even though we swore it wasn’t our fault – haha! As it turns out, our initial oven was the lowest end model bought 20 years ago, which we found out while trying to sell it. Our Bosch is on the other end of the spectrum, costing upwards of $5000. As a result of its quality, everything we now cook turns out perfectly. Phew.


The range hood was also from Kijiji, and came in at under $100 for what would have cost us $500. It was also brand new, in the box. I’m always amazed at what people will give away for next to nothing on Kijiji (which, by the way, is the Canadian equivalent of Craigs List).

The faucet was another kijiji score. Upon installation we realized that it was lacking the option to turn the spray into a shower like output, which is a bummer, but we still feel that it was a good deal. We will live with it for awhile and eventually switch it out for something with a little more power.

And the sink? It came with the countertops. It is soooo big that we can easily fit every single item from a 10 person turkey dinner in here. We debated over a single vs double sink for the longest time, and eventually went with the single because I love to bake and washing cookie sheets in a double sink can be a chore. We were worried that we would miss the easy ability to fill the sink with water, but as it turns out we almost never do that anyway. The pros of a single sink definitely outweigh the cons for us.


We avoided buying a microwave for the longest time because I find them so unattractive. Why? I don’t know. I just do.


When we saw this one though, with a handle that matched our cupboard pulls and a compact footprint, I gave in. I like that it can easily fit into this little corner, and that I have enough room above it to place a bowl of fruit if I’d like. Even though our cupboards come with a built in space for a microwave, I prefer to have it hidden away in a corner rather than displayed up high. We use the cupboard space to store our toaster and cookbooks instead, and usually have it styled with a few flowers and herbs.


Next we have our coffee spot.

Tom and I are both huge espresso drinkers, so for Christmas last year we splurged and bought ourselves the Breville Barista Express. Tom waited and waited until it went on sale, which saved us about $200. This baby has paid for it’s self several times over, since one of our weak spots has always been take-out coffee from the shop around the corner. Now we mostly make our own at home, except for special occasions.



And here is our fridge.


It is a french door Kitchen Aid.


And again, our fridge and coffee station. You can see from this angle that the kitchen is situated in such a way that we can clearly see every room on our main level, while still being tucked away and out of sight. We both love and hate this. On the one hand, when you are eating in the dinning room (just behind the wall with the fridge), you cannot see whatever mess is going on in the kitchen. However, what we would love would be to get rid of this wall and instead  have a traditional rectangular island between the two rooms. If we end up staying here for 10 years or more, than we will consider removing this wall and redoing the entire kitchen. For now though, this works.


While it is not an overly big kitchen, it does make good use of the space it has. The large -while unusual – island is great when entertaining, as we are able to place snacks and such on the right hand side and people can gather around. We debated getting rid of the overhang when we were putting in the new counters, but I am soooo glad we decided to keep them because we all love sitting here when we’re cooking dinner.

The stools are all from Structube, and are great because they are heavy enough that our kids can’t pull them down. They are also indestructible, which is pretty nice.

And there you have it, our very budget friendly kitchen reno! We are still planning on swapping out the cupboard doors with Tom’s handmade shaker cabinets, but I haven’t gotten around to finishing those yet. When I do, you’ll be the first to know 😉 For now, here is a sneak peak at them in their unfinished state:


Pretty cool, right?!

Thanks for reading 🙂


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