Our First Fixer Upper, an Introduction

I’ve finally shared that my husband and I have the love for updating houses! It started with our very first house, and now we’re on our third in last three years. Yea, it’s been a whirlwind of real estate, babies, and life in general!

I recently shared our very first kitchen on IG and I received so much love for it, that I knew I had to share some of the details with you guys! This project was truly our labor of love, and we learned a lot about each other through the process. But before I share some design details with you, here’s a brief timeline of when we bought the house and started the renovation, and why we truly are a miracle couple for still being married:

August: I knew I was pregnant, but was awaiting my first OB appointment for confirmation of pregnancy and to see the first ultrasound.
September: I worked my butt off for the company I was currently an Account Manager for, working with a new manager that clearly didn’t like me for some reason. During the second to last week of the month, I traveled with new said manager to five cities in four days – Monday through Thursday – and then had Friday off.
Friday: The hubs and I closed on our first home!
Saturday: The hubs gutted the entire kitchen.
Monday: I was so incredibly sick from illness and pregnancy that I was forced to work from home.
Tuesday: Forced myself to make it work because I had so much to do and I did not want to make a bad impression on the new boss; only to find that my office was occupied by some new person…. I was informed by my new sales manager that she didn’t think I was “fit for the role” (the OFFICIAL reason for letting me go on my HR paperwork), even though I had just successfully added almost 100 SKUs to Kohl’s assortment, increased our floor space in FAO Schwartz by roughly double the shelf space, added more than 100 SKUs to Target.com, and more. And for you HR folks out there who understand benefits, my husband and I carried insurance through my job and the day I was let go was the last day of the month! Should have just stayed home one more day since I was still sick!
Thursday: Went to our first doctor appointment to see our little nugget in my belly for the first time, only to find out there were TWO NUGGETS in my belly!

So yea, we had a lot going on and what a stressful time it was. But we endured, made it through, and built a beautiful kitchen anyways!

So now that you fully understand the extent of why we call this house and kitchen our labor of love, let’s move on to the fun stuff…. the design!

Originally, this kitchen had two pantries, which was odd for a kitchen of this size (it wasn’t a HUGE space, but just big enough to work with). And I knew that I was going to feel claustrophobic unless I somehow figured out more counter space. So the hubs removed one of the pantries that was on the outside of the refrigerator and shifted that down to add another double cabinet of uppers and lowers, as well as a countertop to the space. And what a difference this made! Granted, we had to remove the larger of the two pantries, but I was able to utilize some of the new upper cabinets as pantry storage. So it was all good.


For the countertops, we went back and forth on what to do. We were going to go with the tried and true granite, however, cost really was an issue considering I no longer had an income to put towards this renovation. But after an episode of Fixer Upper and some major advocating on my husband’s part, I caved and decided concrete countertops just might be an option. And let me tell you, this was a learning curve for both my husband and me! He had never installed these before, so our very own countertops were his guinea pig for this design element! But once it was all said and done, we got TONS of compliments and they were one of the elements in the kitchen that help sell this house so fast.

I had been dreaming of an all-white kitchen forever, and wanted that marble subway tile backsplash SO BAD! My husband wanted dark cabinets. And he truly thought he could convince me of dark cabinets in this kitchen up to the point that he was about to do the color and install the cabinets (he did everything outside of manufacturing the cabinets himself). So after rounds of going through this design choice with him, I refused to put my foot down and he understood the severity of the situation. So I got my white cabinets with my splash of marble!


I felt we needed light cabinets, and not dark, because of the size of the space. I was terrified that if we chose a darker color, it would close it in drastically and I knew that this would be real estate suicide for when we went to sell the place. Because of this we also decided on the glass front cabinets for my Lenox Chirp China and Everyday White from Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as our Mikasa wine glasses and our spice cabinet. It definitely opened up the space! And that design in those glass cabinets? Not wallpaper, but removable decals from Walmart! Super-inexpensive tidbit that really added some fun to the space. And yes, I made the hubs place these inside the solid front cabinets as well; he was NOT happy about it! lol


And thank the heavens that the floor space was JUST big enough to add a decent size island. And again, to keep the kitchen open, I opted for an open cart instead of a closed cabinet. And the rustic cart added the amount of warmth needed to keep this space from feeling too sterile.

Here’s a listing of (most of) the rest of the design and decor elements in this kitchen, and where you can find them!

Marble Subway Tile Backsplash, HomeDepot.com ; Contemporary Brushed Nickel Cabinet Pulls HomeDepot.com ; Maytag Appliances, HomeDepot.com ; Center Island / Cart, WorldMarket.com ; Lenox Chirp China, Belk.com ;  Mikasa Cheers Wine Glasses, Belk.com ; Carlisle Metal Dining Chairs in Mint, target.com ; Spring Floral Tablecloth, kohls.com ; Eating area pendant lights, Lowes.com ; Aqua “Eat” Metal Sign, WorldMarket.com

The jadeite, depression glass and milk glass pieces are all antiques from my grandmother’s house, as well as the old school coffee slow press on the stove.


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