The kitchen is done. The layout is the same and we did not need new appliances. These are the changes that make a huge difference:
Painting some of the wood cabinets white. My husband does not believe in messing with wood so it was a real struggle to convince him to paint any of the oak cabinets. I think we struck just the right balance by painting one end of the kitchen but leaving the other portion au natural. We replaced some cabinets but Little Cove Furniture did a perfect job matching the new cabinets to the ones that stayed.
Updating the ceiling fixtures and lighting. The kitchen is SO much brighter now! Replacing the big brown paddled ceiling fan with a smaller ceiling fan with white paddles made a huge difference in making the kitchen seem bigger.
Replacing the floor. After 37 years, the faux brick floor was dirty and dingy. Our new floor is bright and easy to clean (I am always thinking of our cleaning lady).
Replacing the back splash. Years ago we used Mexican tile which became quite dated and was separating from the wall. Our new backsplash is much more modern and really makes the kitchen fresh.
Removing an unused desk. In three decades, I never once sat at the kitchen desk. It was in an awkward place, not easily accessible. Removing the desk and two unused radiators makes the kitchen seem so much bigger.
Minimizing clutter. Half of the kitchen stuff is still in another room. The kitchen is open and airy because my clutter has not migrated back. How long will it be before treasured figurines and travel souvenirs return? I would say 6 months tops.
What is the biggest lesson I have learned from this experience?
Before undertaking a project like this, you better have someone interested in making design choices
from a million different options. I am paralyzed by too much choice. Hiring Leeanne Cobb was key to the successful redo. She and Ron enjoyed analyzing different counter top materials, flooring options, and paint selection. Not me. I weighed in when the choices were whittled down to two.
What is my most significant piece of advice?
If you are old like me and remodeling the kitchen, make sure the warranties on all materials exceed your life expectancy. That ensures you will never have to remodel again!