What we cooked up in the kitchen

*Edit – you can read this and then check out our updates here*

We’re fast approaching the 1 year mark in our little home (Can you believe it?!) I thought we’d take a moment to revisit the room we’ve done the most work in so far in the house – the kitchen.

Top to Bottom

We started with the ceiling.  This was one of the big projects we tackled before we  moved in last May.  It is also the last time I ever scrape a popcorn ceiling.  Next time it’s new drywall.  Seriously.  The kitchen had some really raunchy popcorn texture.  It was gross.  More on the ceiling project here.





Then we painted!  We chose a white-on-white (or white-on-cream) scheme.


yellow cabinets
Crack Den Yellow


white cabinets
White on off-white


spoon and fork cabinet handles


Upper cabinets
Lower cabinets & drawers

As you can see, we didn’t replace any cabinets, we simply painting what was existing.  Because the cabinets appear to be custom cabinetry that was assembled/built into the kitchen, we almost had to use the existing hinges (they were pretty particularly shaped!)  I cleaned the Crack Den Yellow off of them:

paint removal
Easy & fun!

I used a slow cooker to help remove the paint – read about that here.

In what is perhaps the most exciting improvement in the Shaklee/Sherman household, I present…

The Dishwasher.  *applause*


broken dishwasher
Bad dishwasher


working dishwasher
Good dishwasher!

(Just ignore those missing cabinet doors..that’s what I do!)

We actually got the white dishwasher for FREE.   It’s used but it works quite nicely!


stove and wall


open shelves

Our stove (which was here when we bought the house) is flanked by what I call the “baking station” and a stainless steel shelf from Ikea.  That piece of paper above the stove says, “Imagine a white vent hood here.”  Please do that.

Pre-1500 sq ft we were renters for years and though we already owned a washer and dryer, we owned no major kitchen appliances.  We were pretty nervous about finding a fridge in our price range but…


space for refridgerator



We got this gently used refrigerator from a family friend for $100.  We did have to haul it/install it ourselves but we considered it a great deal!

One area in the kitchen can’t quite decide what it wants to be when it grows up.  I think eventually we’ll do some shelving or a piece of shallow furniture.  I don’t seem to have a true “before” picture of this wall.  So here are two “during” photos:

wall and chairs
Pseudo-breakfast nook
Pseudo-storage wall

(I’m not in love with that stool – it’s shape or color – but we find that we really like having a place to perch, even momentarily, in the kitchen.  And we already owned this.  So here it sits…for now.)

The sink that was here when we moved in was broken.


broken sink
Scandalously patched up

Our streak of good kitchen karma continued when we were offered a free, new-to-us sink!  (How did we swing a free dishwasher and free sink?  Our neighbors were remodeling their kitchen and were kind enough to bestow their gently used treasures on two young, broke, new homeowners!)


New-to-us sink

Note:  We bought that little drainer that fits into the sink fairly recently.  P.D. (pre-dishwasher), we used a dish drainer that was larger and sat on top of the counter.  We are so much happier with the new, smaller drainer.

The sink area got another upgrade – a different light fixture.


old fixture
There are no words.


new fixture
Quirky! (or maybe just weird…)

The light fixture above the sink was a cheap, quick fix. (It’s actually an outdoor fixture; we thought it was a quirky choice!  It was about $6.00 at the local hardware store.)  Someday I’ll splurge on a beautiful fixture from Schoolhouse Electric.  I really do lust after some of their products.

Flooring Fakeout!


People sometimes think we’ve tiled (or re-tiled) the floor.  We have not.  The existing vinyl has a pretty darn convincing tile pattern on it.  It’s in good shape so we’re rolling with it for now.  In the long run we’ll probably pick something prettier.  For now, this still has life in it.

Smaller Kitchen Projects

Little touches:


Read about the pegboard project here.

grocery list
Grocery list
Meal plans for the week

We bought a pack of these guest checks at an office supply store on a whim.  They function very well as shopping lists (the paper is stiff and they have lines on both sides).  We also use them to help us keep track of what we want to cook for dinner throughout the week.

My go-to cookbooks


Even after all of this progress there are still chores to be done:

1.  Install range hood
2.  Install butcher block top on rolling cart
3.  Install cabinet doors on bottom right
4.  Scrub and paint the baseboard under the cabinets (our secret shame!)
5.  We’re about to get curbside recycling so our trash/recycling storage situation is going to have to change.

There are some bigger issues that we haven’t addressed yet:

1.  The cabinet doors aren’t all hung straight.  They are old.  The plan?  Eventually we probably will replace the current cabinet setup but we want to live in this kitchen for a while before we make drastic changes.
2.  The ceiling sags.  The ceiling was supporting a ceiling fan that wasn’t properly installed.  Eventually it will need to come down and be replaced.

We think we can get a good 5 to 10 years out of this kitchen pretty much as-is.  The long, long range plan is to eventually gut it and install new drywall, cabinets, flooring, etc.  For now, we’re really happy with our spit-and-polish, mini-renovation!


*I’m going to mark some items with this * because their prices are estimations.

Stove – $0 – included in the purchase price of our home
Refrigerator – $100 – used
*Parts for the refridgerator – $30
Dishwasher – Free! – used
*Parts for the dishwasher – $100 – hoses, etc.
Sink – Free – used
Faucet – Free – used
Ikea steel shelf – $80 – my sister picked it up and delivered to us
*Ikea wooden shelves – $30
Rolling cart – $40 – online
Cabinet nobs and handles – $40 – Lowes
Pegboard project – $5 in pegboard, $0 in paint I already had
*Kitchen primer & paint – $100
*Materials and supplies (tape, Spackle, etc.) – $100
Rug – Free – owned
Wooden shades – $90 – includes both windows
*Main light fixture – $50 – Lowes
Sink light fixture – $6 – hardware store

Total (more or less):  $775.00

*Edit:  Check out more updates here.*

9 thoughts on “What we cooked up in the kitchen

    1. Thanks! We were committed to living with it before we just went crazy tearing things out and spending money to replace them. We’ve been very happy so far!

    1. I didn’t save receipts or anything; I know there were other piddly little things that certainly add up to more money (like I realized I probably spent $20 on the metal pegboard hardware for my $5 pegboard project…) I was actually pleasantly surprised by the total. We had decent bones to work with, so that helped a lot!

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