I thought I’d tell you a little story today.
It’s a story about keeping it simple, and working with what you have, and making the most of what you’ve got.
Once upon a time we had a different house.
A great house.
A house that was supposed to be our “forever house”.
It was well over one hundred years old, and made of brick, and sat on a corner.
There was a large front porch, and a large sun porch, and a beautiful flower garden that I had no idea how to take care of.
It had leaded glass windows, windows that swung open, windows that were painted shut, and one window with a BB gun hole.
There was an open stair case, and original moldings, a bay window in the dining room, another in the living room, and amazing doors all around.
It had ten foot ceilings, and beautiful plaster walls, and hardwood floors that creaked in all the right places.
It was a great house.
But even great houses have not-so-great spaces – and ours had the ugliest kitchen you ever did see.
It had a kitchen that looked like it belonged to a cabin in the woods.
It had no counter space, and no storage, and it was dark and dreary and drab.
See what I mean?
So we did all the research, and made all the plans, and picked out new cabinets with self closing drawers and doors that would not slam.
We planned for fancy new appliances, a fancier new layout, and the fanciest new soapstone countertops I had only ever dreamed of.
There was going to be a bay window off the front to make room for a small breakfast nook and a French door off the back to get to the back yard.
We talked with all the right people, and had all the right drawings, and priced all the right things. We came up with a renovation budget of about $20,000.00 or so.
So we went to the bank, and filled out all the paperwork, and we were ready to take all the equity we had built in our home so we could have the funds to turn our big shiny kitchen dreams into reality.
And then we stopped.
We didn’t need this.
Our house didn’t need this.
We’re old house people. We’re make-the-most-of-what-you-have people. We’re celebrate-the-quirks-and-call-the-flaws-character people.
So we shelved the plans, and the drawings, and the big shiny kitchen dreams and tucked them away for another day. A day when maybe they would make more sense.
And we decided to spruce up what we had.
I called my mom and told her I was going to paint the kitchen. And she did what mom’s do and she grabbed her paint brush and she came right over.
For three days we cleaned, and we primed, and we painted.
And it all looked so bright and so nice and so fresh. And Jordan thought it would look even better with the hardwood floors that we were sure were hiding beneath the linoleum.
So we ripped up layer upon layer upon layer and soon the floors were revealed (the story about those will be saved for another day) and then we thought it might be ok to move a few things and add a cabinet or two.
So we built a few new cabinets to work with the old, and added a dishwasher that matched our used appliances, and found some large tiles that looked like that soapstone we wanted.
This was before Pinterest, before Instagram, before all those places we turn to today for inspiration but sometimes leave us feeling not good enough. We didn’t know whether we were “measuring up” or not. We had nothing to go on but our own creativity, and a vision in our heads, and a willingness to get a little dirty.
And six months later we had a kitchen that went from this
For less than $1,000.00.
Of course if I was doing this today those walls would be a soft off-white. Can you just imagine?!
Let’s pause for a minute and picture it in our minds…
Amazing, right? 😀
And those dishes would be white too – but those small changes aside, I don’t think I would change a thing. I wish I had better pictures to show you so you could see how cute it really was.
And when we found out a year later that we would have to live our forever in another home, in another city, in another state, we had to put our great house with its now great kitchen up for sale.
We listed it Friday and by Monday morning we had it under contract.
When we talked to the buyer, she said she had been looking and looking and nothing felt right. She had been looking for well over a year. And when she stepped into that kitchen, she knew she had come home. That silly, simple, budget-friendly kitchen sold the house.
It wasn’t shiny or new or boasting anything high-end.
Instead, it flaunted its uniqueness and ignored its shortcomings. It had counter space a mile long, and gorgeous hardwood floors, and beams along the ceiling, and a charming built-in hutch, and a quaint fireplace.
It was one of a kind. It was understated. It made the most of what it had to offer and shrugged off the rest.
Could that kitchen have benefited from a new layout and new cabinets and new everything? Without a doubt it could. But the point is, it didn’t need all that to be great.
All it really needed was someone to devote a little bit of creativity, and a little bit of paint, and a whole lot of hard work to bring it back to life.
I’m sharing this story with you today for a reason. We’ll get into more on that next week.
Have a great weekend friends! 😀