Kitchen Renovation Part 2

So, here's our nearly finished/newly renovated kitchen!
Still a few projects left, but for the most part it's DONE!
Here's a few reminders of the before.
The wall that was on the right, separating the living room and kitchen, is gone!
We took all the uppers from the left side down and replaced them with brick pavers and open shelving.
From the column over to the right is where the wall was. We added pendant lighting and a granite topped island there instead. We pretty much only eat at the bar now, so we've decided our kitchen table is fairly useless unless we have company over. I think we're going to turn that area into a coffee lounge! Actually, I think we're going to build a bench seat and put in a farm table there, but that's a project for another day!
The bricks were a bit ambitious for us. And if I'm being honest, I won't do it again.
Like, ever.
It was a lot more work than we anticipated. And fairly costly.
I love the way it turned out! I just didn't enjoy the process.
It was hard!

We thought we would save money buying the bricks in whole form (since we couldn't find pavers ANYWHERE!) We chose old bricks. These actually are 100 year old bricks that came off a warehouse in Chicago. You can still see the paint and mortar still on the bricks. These were hand scraped and salvaged and were absolutely gorgeous and shabby and just the look we wanted for our wall. But had to be cut in half...twice. So we were able to get two pavers from each brick.
This meant standing in front of a wet saw for 8 hours a day times 3-4 days. In the rain. In the cold. Getting covered in brick soot. Ears ringing.
I was nearly in tears after the first day and finally gave up saying I was way too old to work this hard!
So, my man took over.
And he cut and cut and cut and cut. Until finally, some 500 bricks later...

We were able to start putting them on the wall.
I started off slow but then got the hang of it and within a few days I managed to get one full section done. After that I decided to pace myself and did about 30-40 bricks per day. Letting each section dry before starting a new section to make sure our rows were level.

Since we wanted to remove the vent hood, we had to cut out some drywall over the stove and re-wire for a new light, and then brick around it.
I then sealed each brick...twice. With a 'before grouting' sealer, and an 'after grouting' sealer. These sealers were $30 each. But they did a fabulous job of making the bricks waterproof (especially for around the sink) and smooth (nothing flakes off when you run your hands over them). Love love this product.
But, like I said, this was a big expensive project. Don't google DIY brick walls and be fooled by those folks out there saying it's easy and inexpensive. They're lying. The results are gorgeous. But it's not cheap and it's not easy. And grouting those 3/4 inch grout lines was messy as hell. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit and just go buy the plain white subway tiles and be done with it! I mean seriously...we did this entire wall all the way to the ceiling! On both sides of the kitchen!
But, it's unique and gave our boring old kitchen some much needed character!
And I love having the open shelves. In a small galley kitchen like this it makes it feel much more open and roomy. We don't have much 'stuff' in our kitchen so storage wasn't really much of a concern. In fact, the open shelves hold more than the previous cabinets did and with the addition of the island, we now have several empty cabinets and drawers. We're pretty good at only having what we need, and having less storage space forces us to keep the clutter to a minimum. It works for us.

We continued the brick onto the opposite wall over to the fridge. We, ahem, haven't grouted any of that side yet. We sorta came down with renovation burn-out. It'll get done in a few weeks (wink wink)
The column that we left when we removed the wall got a fresh coat of chalkboard paint. We left it as plain drywall (rather than putting texture on it) so we would have a smooth surface...

So we could use it as a chalkboard and leave notes to each other. The kids get a kick out of it.

Found this idea on Pinterest. Found the magazine racks on Amazon. Works great for produce and saves us the counter space.

The apron sink is my favorite part of the reno. We're still working on the framing that goes around it. I'll post pics when it's completed.


The island was built out of the upper and lower cabinets that were removed when the wall came out. The uppers were a different height, so we took the doors off, painted the inside, and built a box under them to raise them up.
Once it was all painted and the kick panels and trim work was added, you can't tell it was even two pieces, much less recycled cabinets!
Overall, while it was a lot of work, we are happy with the results and even happier that it's OVER!
Now on to the next projects! :)

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