Kitchen Mood Board

We have a plan! 


  1. White subway tile with light grey grout as a backsplash, and possibly on one entire wall (still undecided)
  2. Drawer/cabinet pulls (similar to these from Home Depot)
  3. Kitchen cabinets, the Thomasville line from Home Depot in Cottage Maple White and the shaker-style doors
  4. Granite countertops, also from Home Depot (I forget the name, but once I put in the order then I’ll update this)
  5. Exalt flooring in cherry oak (luxury vinyl tile–we’re using this throughout the entire house except for the bathroom)
  6. MOEN Lindley pull down faucet in spot resist stainless (when we got quotes from plumbers they all recommended MOEN or Delta faucets since they work well and are easy to repair, so that limited our options a bit). The faucet won’t have the base plate shown in the picture. 

The sink will be stainless steel undermount (apparently if you order your counters and cabinets from Home Depot, then they throw in an 18-gauge stainless sink for “free” so I figured why not). 
Appliances will be stainless steel and I’ll do a separate post about those–I’m currently in the process of trying to find the best deal and comparing prices but the purchase will be made this week so then I’ll break it all down. 

For the layout of the kitchen, this is the almost-final design:

Sorry that some of the walls look curved–those are phone pictures of paper printouts that had been folded up so I didn’t get them laying smooth before snapping pictures.  Oops. 

I say that it’s the almost-final design because nothing is final until the installers from Home Depot come out to do the measurements (a $99 fee that later is credited towards the cost of the cabinets). But I’m pretty sure it will be very close to that design. 

The only things that are off in the rendering are the window and the doorways. The wall with the range actually continues to the left of the range and the wall with the fridge is longer as well. Basically, the doorway in the back of this photo is the only opening on that side of the kitchen. 

I used Home Depot’s in-store designer services to plan out the kitchen. The designer was great and she also filled me in on Home Depot’s regular “sales”–basically the Thomasville cabinets alternate between being on sale (15% off) and full-price every two weeks. And the granites also have a rotation for which ones are on sale. So basically you just want to make sure that you’re hitting everything when it’s on sale, and if it isn’t, then just wait two weeks and it will be. 

Once we put in the order, I’ll do a cost breakdown. I’m also trying to use eBay to find the faucet and cabinet pulls since it usually has the best prices (as long as you’re patient). 

Open Concept? Check. 

Let there be light!

We finally took down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Er, well, by “we” I actually mean that Mr. Bunches took it down, but I provided much needed guidance and moral support ;). Remember what that corner of the kitchen started like?


So dark and, well, gross. So we took down most of the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room (which meant tearing out the pocket door. I love pocket doors but there was just no saving this one). 

Here’s a progress shot which you might remember . . .

And now, the mess has been cleaned up and most of the wall is gone.  Here’s the view from the dining room. 

And a comparison from the front entrance . . . 

I like that you can see right through to the sunroom now. 

So why didn’t we take down the whole wall? Well, this kitchen is tiny! As in 10’x11′ tiny. 

Sorry for not moving the ladder but you get the idea.  That shot above shows you the whole kitchen. If you go back to the before shots, you’ll see that not much can fit in there:

 And with the removal of the wall (the wall that used to anchor both the stove and fridge), that means our layout choices are limited. There’s really only one option–the sink and dishwasher have to go on the wall with the window, the stove and microwave on the wall straight ahead in the picture above, and then the fridge tucked into an alcove by itself. Which is why we aren’t taking down the full wall. Here’s one rendering of the finished kitchen to give you a visual:

Now don’t freak out–that’s not exactly what our final kitchen will look like (and mostly bc we’re not planning to put in a builder’s grade 90s-style kitchen with linoleum floors). That was just the first rendering we got from a kitchen renovation place. The company (The Kaz Company) came out to the house, measured everything, and then invited us to their showroom to present the initial design and quote. Needless to say their style was a bit traditional for our taste and their prices were way out of our budget (they came in around $23k for the kitchen remodel–that price included the drywall, cabinets, new electrical panel for the house, all new electrical in the kitchen, and countertops, but it didn’t include flooring or appliances so I still think it was pretty outrageously high given the size of that kitchen).  

BUT, looking on the bright side–it did help to have a rendering of the space to work from. And once I saw the layout, I realized it made sense to keep just part of the wall in order to cover the side of the fridge. Otherwise the fridge would just sort of be hanging out there in no man’s land.  And since there was only one option on where to put the fridge, it was either have the fridge showing or keep the wall to somewhat cover it.  So we opted to keep the wall. 

This next picture shows really how tiny this kitchen is–that corner is basically the only area to have cabinets and countertop space. And since the window is so large, it’s not even possible to have upper cabinets on either side of the window. 


Since I took these pictures a couple days ago, there’s been even more progress. New electrical and plumbing have gone in and we hope to get the place insulated and drywall up very soon. I’ve also already picked out the cabinets, sink, counters, faucet and hardware (all from Home Depot, but more on that next week). We’re still probably at least six weeks out from a new kitchen but that’s going to go by quick. Especially with the holidays in the meantime. 
Until then, here’s one of my inspiration images:


That one is probably the closest image I could find of a kitchen with a similar tiny layout, although ours is even smaller!

Before I pull the trigger on the cabinets, though, I’d like to at least price out IKEA cabinets. For those of you that have done IKEA kitchens–how’s the quality? How easy was install? 


Bathroom Be Gone!

Remember my teaser?

So which room was that? Well, if you guessed the bathroom, then you were right!

Big difference, huh? The only thing we’re keeping in the bathroom is the floor. Well, and the general footprint since it’s expensive to move plumbing around and this bathroom is so small that there aren’t really that many layout options anyways. 








Now that we’ve got the place emptied out we’re in the process of getting quotes from plumbers and handymen on doing all new plumbing and putting up drywall. Why all new plumbing? Well, the original plumbing is all galvanized which apparently corrodes from the inside out (it’s not copper) and so we would just assume replace it with all new PEX lines. 


Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe it .  . . 


Happy Thanksgiving! 

Baby Bunches: 7 Months

This kid is growing so dang fast!  And this was the biggest milestone month yet . . .


He’s been working on crawling for some time now and he finally put it all together on his seven-month birthday. And what’s really amazing is his progress since then–in less than 2 weeks he’s already started zipping around, easily sitting up on his own, and even pulling up to stand. Which meant his crib has been lowered and we now have to watch him like a hawk. He’s much more reckless than his big sister ever was. And he’s way more interested in all the off-limits stuff (outlets, cabinets, little things).  But he’s still sooooo happy and chill (except for a mild case of stranger danger), and even puts himself to sleep and then sleeps in huge 6-10 hour chunks.  Sigh. 

He cut a bunch of new teeth this month as well. 


And Mini Bunches and I have developed a new sport: baby wrangling. 






And even though he’s been attempting with all his little might to get into her things, she still can’t seem to get enough of him. And neither can we. 





Outdoor Progress

We have been experiencing some unseasonably warm days here in Buffalo and we’ve been trying to take full advantage in order to get some of the exterior work done before the inevitable snow tundra rolls our way.  If you remember from the day one shots, here’s a look at the back patio/sunroom:

Notice anything wrong with that picture? Okay, admittedly there are about a hundred things off-putting in that picture, but let’s focus on just one for now: the 3-inch thick moss covering the roof! It was everywhere. We thought for sure we needed a new roof and had budgeted about $8,000 for that cost. BUT, when we had our roofer come out (Irwin Roofing for any locals out there), he said the roof was actually in good shape and wouldn’t need to be replaced for another 6-7 years. Phew. And he said he could scrape off all the moss and clean the gutters (no small feat considering there were mini trees growing in them) for $300. Sold!


It took four guys maybe an hour or two to scrape off all that moss so we’re glad we didn’t try to tackle it ourselves.  Looks a lot better, right? Notice anything else different?

If you guessed less trees, then you’d be a winner! The reason the roof was covered in moss was because the trees were basically resting on the house (just scroll back up to the first picture and you’ll see what I mean).  The backyard had three massive trees–one was too close to the house and essentially growing on it and the other ones were in dire need of a good haircut. I wish I had a good before picture but I don’t. But here’s a roof close-up that shows just how much moss there was and how little light was getting to the roof because of all those tree limbs. 

So we got some tree guys out to give us estimates–we weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do (Mr. Bunches loves grass so he was in favor of just taking all three trees down, but two of them were so massive that I knew that would be too expensive and likely unnecessary). Guess who was right? I don’t even need to answer that. Well, the first quote to take down all three trees came in at $4,000! Way too high. And then the same company said they would cut down one tree and trim the other two for $2,000. Better, but not great. So we called the same company we used when we moved into our house (or back then it was probably better described as the house enveloped by a forest, see here). Bob’s Tree Service said they would cut down the one and trim the rest for $975. Again, sold!

Within a day or two, they brought their rig and got to work. Took three guys about 5-6 hours and they hauled everything away. It was a big job.  The smaller tree in the middle was the one we were removing. 

And then the after:

So much better.  We basically just raised the canopy of the two huge trees and got rid of the one. That little bush-looking thing in the middle of the photo is actually a bunch of weeds around the stump of the tree we removed. 

We also got our own hands dirty outside. I attempted to clean up the front and side yards and made some progress, albeit this is by no means a remarkable transformation:

It looks a little different even now since we took advantage of the end-of-season landscape sale at Home Depot and picked up a bunch of perennials at 50% off.  I’ll try to update this post with a picture of those soon. With the weather probably getting colder any day now, there likely won’t be much additional exterior progress until the spring but that’s okay. We have our hands full with the interior anyways. 

Up next, guess which room this is . . .


Kitchen Demo: Part One

As promised, it’s time to share the progress of our kitchen renovation. As soon as we stepped in the house for the first time, we knew this kitchen would have to be a complete gut job. 

It’s still hard for me to stomach that someone actually lived here with the ceiling in that condition. I actually think it’s crazy. The good news, though, is that whatever caused that to happen to the ceiling appears to have been repaired. We went over there one day during a massive rainstorm and not a drop of water was coming through, so I think we’re good. Although we’re still planning to have our roofer come over to check it out. 

We got an estimate to demo the kitchen and bathroom and put up new drywall–it was $2,500. And since we only got one estimate, we have no idea if that was high or low. Either way, Mr. Bunches figured he could at least tackle some of the demo himself.  We knew the cabinets, floors, wall tiles, drywall, and soffits would all be coming out. But we also knew we wanted to tear down the wall between the kitchen and dining/living room.  Open concept is the name of the game these days, so we might as well go for it, right?

Here’s how that wall looked once we got someone to haul out the stove and fridge (read more about that here):


And here’s what it looked like once Mr. B got started on the demo:

He’s really doing an awesome job (I think). He wrestled up all of the floor tiles and then started chiseling off each of the large wall tiles (each one weighs about 10 pounds and we think they’re made of glass?). So basically, it’s been no small feat to get so much done.  And then as if it wasn’t hard enough, the walls are actually drywall covered in a 1/2″ layer of plaster. Awesome, right?  He’s also being extra careful to avoid electrical stuff.  Here’s how that wall looks today (that’s a pocket door on the left):

In addition to working on that one wall, he’s also been tackling the rest of the kitchen. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of one corner; Mr. B has removed the metal cabinets and the bulk of the tile (except the tiles on the soffits). 

And just to show you another example of before and after, here’s the view of the kitchen entrance from the garage/side door as it was a few days after we closed:

And here it is now:

We still have a long way to go in there but we’re making progress. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether that wall we’re planning to remove is load-bearing, the good news is that we don’t think so. We’re not engineers or anything, but the wall doesn’t sit on top of either of the I-Beams in the basement and the beams in the roof are all running parallel to that wall. So I’m pretty sure we’re good to go with taking it down. 

We took a little break from the internal demo work over the past few days to get some stuff accomplished on the exterior (the weather has been unseasonably warm so we wanted to take full advantage). Progress pics of that coming next week . . . 


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