1970’s Tri-Level Kitchen Update- Pt 2- We Leave Behind The Kitchen Carpet Forever

So it’s looking better already and we are not finished completely. We still need to paint the cabinets, finish painting walls, and install baseboards. I’ll explain what we did and WOW you with our frugal good taste.

Sink Area


We tore out the old double-bowl stainless steel sink with the counter tops; crappy non-sprayer faucet also departed. We were originally planning on a porcelain apron sink for the “farmhouse” look, but changed our minds after several considerations:

  • Cost
  • Structural additions to cabinet necessary to hold weight of enormous sink
  • Additional fabrication needed for granite installation

So we opted for a 9″ deep square-bottomed single-bowl porcelain sink, specifically the Kohler Cape Dory. It lists for $699 but I was able to get it through my local plumbing fixture store for $350. You’ll note it is top-mount sink- the bottom-mount was problematic due to the weight issue again (this is cast iron, it weighs about 200 lbs).

For the faucet we went all out on the fabo Glacier Bay Pull Down Faucet, a mere $148 at the Depot. Total cost for sink, faucet, parts, installation (and a new garbage disposer) was $900.

Dishwasher was a fortunate open box find at our local Best Buy, about $400. It’s a Samsung and matches the fridge. The old dishwasher was a Bosch (the appliance people always want to sell you a Bosch, “Oooooh, it’s  BOSCH! YOU NEED THE BOSCH!” I hated it. Not only was it white (ewe) but all the control buttons were placed vertically on the front panel so that people who innocently leaned on the counter inadvertently “butt washed” the dishes. After hand drying my millionth load of previously clean dry dishes I gave the Bosch the Boot.

Tile: Subway! All the way up the wall. Dahltile, .29 each 3×6 tile and some trim pieces. More on this in another post.

Stove Area


This was not the original range area. This is actually where the old nasty while refrigerator lurked. The fridge (Samsung stainless steel side by side) was another Best Buy open box revelation that I thought just miiiiiight fit in the spot. But it didn’t. No way. So we tore out the silly desk on the left of the oven cabinet (see here ) and slid the fridge in the there. Not for lack of trying, I assure you.

The original plan called for a sexy smooth cooktop to replace the coiled monstrosity in this pic.  However, the new gaping refrigerator-shaped hole in the line of cabinets opened some possibilities. So, one day while strolling through, oh I dunno, BEST BUY MAYBE, we came across open box goody #3– deeply discounted GE Profile stainless steel double oven gas range. Retailed for $2199, we picked up it for about $1100 (on 12 months no interest!)

Problem– we did not have a gas line running to kitchen. There is gas in the house (furnace and fireplace) but no stub-out in the area where we needed it. So the range sat in our garage for 10 MONTHS. I went out and talked to it occasionally, pretended to cook on it, etc. Eventually my plumber friend (of the sink installation fame) installed our gas line for $500 (including permit).

We purchased a higher-end stainless Broan range hood (with 3 speeds, and LED lights) to complete the look. You’ll note a weird gap on the right side of the hood- this was my mistake. the range is 30″ (standard) but the fridge area is 36″. For some reason I thought the hood should be the same width as the stove or it would “look weird”. Uh-huh. Weird like the gap?? So not sure what I’m going to do with that area. I have a few ideas about a small cook book cubby, or pull-down spice drawer….suggestions would be welcome.

Subway tile continues in this area. I had some sleepless nights trying to decide if the tile would continue from the hood horizontally to the adjacent wall at the same height, go all the way up the adjacent wall (like the sink area) or drop down to the height of the tile under the cabinets. I choose option C, with the thought that I might want to install some shelving on that wall.

Long Wall


Enter a caption

To right in this picture. Removing the old range hood left a 12″ opening where I thought my microwave should go. Unfortunately, my old microwave was probably the biggest one you can get- GE 1100 watt 2.0 cubic feet, 30″x18″x16″. If I tried to cram that big boy in the small opening it would have loomed mere inches from the  countertop (which sort of negated the extra counter space I was gaining from mounting it). So I got a new one. New ‘wave is diminutive and cute. It closely resembled an Easy Bake oven in comparison to the mother of all countertop appliances and actually appeared to have been birthed by titanic GE. It’s only 700 watts. The teens were not amused.

At this point, the plan is to build a 30″x12″x12″ open cabinet and install in that space, trim and paint so it becomes one with the existing cabinetry. Tiny ‘wave will then slide effortlessly into it’s new cubby with a sigh. Electrical outlet has been installed at cubby height.

You can also see in this picture that granite overhangs the peninsula by 12″, creating a real bar you can actually sit at without straddling your stool in a manner most unbecoming and awkward.

Granite is New Caledonia pattern, total with installation by a local stone fabricator $2000. Completed in one day (love you Silver Stone & Cabinets!)



Where, you may ask, did the wallpaper go?? IT’S STILL THERE! I got so frustrated with scraping and steaming and stripping that a gave up and painted over it. More about that later.

And finally…



Beautiful hand-scraped distressed oak with cherry finish was installed (also in one day) all throughout the main level (street level) which includes kitchen, dining area, entry and living room. We considered 12″x 24″ striated tile for the kitchen, but ultimately (and perhaps influenced by the Property Brothers) chose “flowing hardwoods”- it’s actually engineered, $4000 including installation.  And I’ll tell you RIGHT NOW, if you get these dark planks, purchase a matching stain marker. It will make you cry less when you, say, scratch up your brand new floors by trying to muscle a giant refrigerator into a too-small cubby.

So that’s we are up til now. Here is an approximate total of my kitchen upgrade costs:

  • Engineered Hardwood Floors: $2000 (half of total cost was kitchen area)
  • 3cm Granite $2000
  • Open Box Stainless Fridge $700
  • Open Box Stainless Gas Range $1100
  • Stainless Range Hood $350
  • Porcelain Farmhouse Sink $350
  • Pull Down Chrome Faucet $150
  • Open Box Stainless Dishwasher $400
  • High end garbage disposal $200
  • Tile and Materials $250
  • New Tiny Microwave $100
  • Plumbing, Gas line $1000
  • Paint, texture, 2″ Faux Wood Blinds $300

Grand total: $8900

I will add new posts detailing specific areas and how-to’s such as tile, pull out spice cabinets, painting of wallpaper, etc. I will also post updates of progress and new projects and finally, one day, the completed, Tour-of-Homes-looking, ready-for-House Beautiful, food-blog-worthy completed kitchen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: