When I found my home, it had so many cosmetic features that weren’t my style — like the two-tone yellow kitchen, the floor-to-15-foot ceiling mint walls with matching ornate curtains, a red wallpapered dining room, a wood paneled and kelly green bathroom, and more. But it had great bones, an original cast iron farm sink, a cast iron tub, 10-foot windows and amazing natural light. It was in a town I had not expected to live in, but it spoke to me and I knew that I wanted to live there. Now, 13 years later, my husband and I don’t know if we will ever want to move. This isn’t too different from Dana and David Morris and how they found their home in Houston, TX. When they started looking for a home, the couple had a list of wishes that they wanted to check off. They knew that wherever they bought their home, it would most likely be a fixer-upper — not only because of budget, but also because they love the work that comes with fixing up a home. While it’s not in the area in which they thought they would settle, they love where they live and they love their home. As they work room-to-room to create the home of their dreams, today we get a peek at the transformation of their kitchen.
From start to finish, the kitchen remodel took about six months. The kitchen was originally a small room, in the back of the house, with one small, swinging door. It didn’t allow for people to gather there. During a later remodel, previous owners connected the dining room to the kitchen, via two small arches. Dana and David took it a step further and put in a full doorway, opening up the room even more. “The twin arches made no sense with the rest of the house, and we hated that the kitchen was so blocked off. Since neither of us had ever taken out a wall, we called an engineer to draw us some plans and tell us how to do it. While he gave us good plans, he did not prepare us for the amount of dust we were about to encounter. Every day was like the scene in the Mummy where the huge dust cloud is chasing people. It was bad. We are still finding sheetrock dust in weird places,” Dana shares.
Once the dust settled, they moved onto the cabinets. By moving some of the upper cabinets to the bottom, it allowed for floating shelving around the sink. After many attempts to paint the builder-grade cabinets, they finally had to break down and start sanding them. “After what felt like an eternity of sanding cabinets, we put the doors back on, and added 1×12 boards and crown moldings across the top to make them go all the way to the ceiling. We also installed some smaller trim strips to add a little extra dimension to the uppers [and] used it along the bottom of the cabinets to make it look cohesive and built-in,” Dana says. White subway tile replaced vinyl floor tiles that had served as a backsplash previously.
The last thing was the floors. While the couple knew replacing them would be a lot of work, they didn’t quite know what they were in for. “We encountered seven layers of flooring that had to be busted, chiseled, scraped, peeled, cut, and burned off. At one point, we reached a layer that was all green speckled tile from the 70s. This is when, out of caution, we decided to Google ‘what does asbestos tile look like?’ Guess what? OURS LOOKED IDENTICAL. We stopped all work, and found a testing lab. $20, a couple of drinks, and a 24-hour wait later… the best news came: No asbestos detected. So much relief! We got back to work and finished ripping out the old layers… until we came to the termite corner.” It seemed like a new challenge was waiting at every turn. But by enlisting the help of family and friends, Dana and David were finally able to finish the flooring and stand back and marvel at what they had accomplished.
Before this project, and just two weeks after Dana and David moved in, they had a knock on their door — it was the son of the man who built the home. “We welcomed him in and he told us all the history on the house. He told us that the kitchen was very closed off, and he always remembered his mother cooking away in there. He said it only had the single doorway with a swinging door that stayed closed. We love to honor the old house’s original charm, but hearing that a huge part of it used to be closed-off and secluded made us happy to make the changes. Now it’s a bright, welcoming space where everyone can gather and help with the cooking.” —Erin
Image above: This photo shows the kitchen head-on from the dining room.
Wall color: Dolphin Fin by Behr
Cabinets: Ultra White Cabinet & Trim by Valspar
Matte Black Hex Tiles: Wayfair
Oversized Subway Tile: Daltile Artigiano 2 15/16 x 11 3/4. Itilian Alps color
Antique Butcher Block Table: Lewis and Maese Auctions
Antique Floor Runner Rug: Lewis and Maese Auctions
Iron Shelf Brackets: Etsy
Dishes and Accessories: Thrift Stores, Wedding Gifts, Heirlooms
Wood and Metal Stools: World Market
UTO RE Sign: Neighborhood Dumpster (behind an Auto Repair Shop)
Light fixture: Amazon – Kichler Barrington 14in
Sink Light Fixture: Lowes