When the pandemic hit over nine months ago, I had a hard time adjusting to the new restrictions: full time job, full time parenting, nowhere to go, stuck in a home which I loved but mostly cared for only in the evenings and on the weekends. It took me a hot minute to adjust to the changes.
The time at home gave me the space to reflect on what’s important and reignited a spark to provide some needed TLC to our home. Built in 1920, we purchased the home in 2016 and a few months after we purchased it, we had our son. As you can probably imagine, we did not spend much time focusing on the home in the four years since. Child rearing gets in the way of most things. But I digress.
Originally, we discussed changing a small office into a bathroom to create a primary suite (and are still planning on doing so) and started making some moves to see if it could work. Although we figured out that it could be done, we believed that the project would take a lot of work and time, including new wiring, plumbing, walls, doors, etc., so we shifted focus and discussed doing a small kitchen project (I’m cringing just writing this). In our minds, nothing crazy and not too time consuming. We were so. DUMB! The project cost more money than we anticipated, and definitely took a LOT longer. The silver lining? — we didn’t incur any debt and we now have a way cooler and useable kitchen and dining room space that feels more like us.
When we moved into our home, it was move in ready. One of the prior owners worked at IKEA and we loved the look. It was clean and crisp.
My husband, Brent, is a residential appraiser and in one of the homes he appraised, the owners had taken off the drywall on the ceiling and exposed the floor beams and joists. I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea for our home, but after exploring some resources for inspiration, I was sold. Although the clean and crisp IKEA style worked for us to begin with, what we loved about the idea of exposing the ceilings was bringing some more warmth to the kitchen/dining room space.
What we didn’t expect, as I mentioned before, was the overhaul that occurred. Some of which was intentional, and some of which was not (cue, broken IKEA cabinets).
The process took approximately three and a half months. We tested out an area of the ceiling to see if we liked what was underneath a mere two (2) days before we were placed into lockdown. I’m not sure we would have started this project when we did if we had known that this pandemic would have lasted so long. However, we did and we survived.
Brent did all of the heavy lifting for the bulk of the project, including taking out all the drywall (and plaster, yuck), and creating the perimeter of the ceiling area to close up the beams and joists going into our living, and the outside walls of the house.
We decided to move the two IKEA pendant lights from over the dining area to over the “island” which required new wiring to the existing electrical outlets. So, we just HAD to change the backsplash. We also messed up one of the IKEA cabinets when we took it down, resulting in us rethinking whether we could possibly do open shelving above the main countertops. We figured out that we could and added an additional to-do item on the renovation project list.
We looked for more inspiration to see what we liked color wise in the kitchen with the exposed wood ceiling.
For the backsplash, we found a glossy sage green ceramic tile. We complimented the sage green tiles with a light creamy pink wall. It immediately created a warm and calming space.
Brent and I both loved the idea of banquette seating to add some space to our small kitchen/dining area. It added some extra work, but boy has the seating area been the biggest blessing of our kitchen/dining space overhaul. We regularly use it for games, dinners, and a conversation spot.
We also put in tension wire track lighting which has added some moodiness to our dining area which helps show off the beautiful exposed ceiling.
My mother and I always joke about how much we feel like a home should be screaming “welcome” with open arms when you walk in the door. It is this feeling that drives us to make a home that is comfortable and also inviting (and clean – ugh adulting). I feel this way much more now that we have updated our kitchen/dining area. And those three and a half miserable months of not being able to use the kitchen has made for a more well functioning space now as the pandemic continues.
So although I titled this post as what not to do during a pandemic, honestly, I am glad this happened. This project helped build our confidence as homeowners to take risks with our home that we didn’t think possible, obtainable, or something that we could do ourselves. This project has motivated us to do some additional projects and made us think a bit more outside-of-the-box in terms of what we may want to do next.