Decade challenge – Craftsman kitchen addition

Because I love a good before/after, and because I’ve been enjoying the difference between our 2009 kitchen and 2019 kitchen #decadechallenge, I thought I would (finally) share some photos from the long-awaited renovation we did this spring.

Our kitchen hadn’t changed much from when we first moved in 10 years ago. I remember Joe and I thinking the green countertops would be one of the first things to go when we moved in:


Life happened and we prioritized our dormer addition when our family grew. In early 2019, it was still a green-on-green kitchen, just messier. Then our stove died, and we turned our attention to the kitchen out of necessity.


Please note the duct-taped corner. And the fact that our kitchen involves open stairs into our creepy 1920 basement. Once I decided to do the counters, it became an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie situation. We’d want to upgrade the cabinets that we put them on. Because soft-close drawers. And if we were doing those things, we’d need to figure out a new back splash and paint, and maybe add in some open shelving, and swap out the door hardware, etc.

kitchen after1

We worked with Sarah Wolfgang at Cabinet Boutique, who had designed two of our friend/neighbors’ kitchens and who I’ve known since her early days on Des Moines’ crafty scene. She’s super low-key and easy to work with, and has a great sense of style. Once we went to the showroom and started picking everything out, we got our timeline set and had the flexibility to do the demo and source some fixtures ourselves and hired a contractor for just the install to keep within budget.

Joe and I were all set to demo ourselves when I learned that Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity has a cabinet removal program. It was incredible: Volunteers came to our home, took out our cabinets in a few hours, hauled them away, and then gave us a gift receipt. They saved us tons of time and energy and we got to feel good about supporting a cause that I care about. Win-win!

kitchen after2

And we ended up working with The Stone Shop on our counters, because I asked our Habitat cabinet removal contact what company generously donates materials to their ReStore, and they mentioned them — and gave us a good quote on quartz.

kitchen after 3

We have gotten tons of compliments on the tile, which is SomerTile Victorian Rhombus in Matte Black/White Porcelain, via Overstock. Joe installed it himself, like a champ. Cast-iron farmhouse sinks were more expensive than I was expecting, but we found this Maykke one at a reasonable price, and I am a fan of the faucet we picked. The paint color is Cracked Pepper be Behr, which is a deep gray that reads almost black. Joe made the shelves from some lumber we had already. For art, I cut a piece of beehive fabric I had from 1canoe2, a print of an architectural diagram of a taco, and then framed some of my Grandpa’s handwritten recipes and a photo of him, because it’s his spirit I feel when I’m in the kitchen.

We do a bunch of cooking in our narrow galley kitchen, and it’s my dream to one day open up with another addition where the deck is now, with a breakfast nook and mud-room. The paint had barely dried before I started daydreaming out loud to Joe about “Phase Two” of the kitchen. But, because we live in a 100-year old home, in the midst of our kitchen renovation our chimney started to crumble and will need to be completely replaced in the next decade or so! It’s always something.

The “after” photos are credit of Cabinet Boutique. (I knew they were coming and cleaned accordingly!) Head over to the Cabinet Boutique Facebook page for more.

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