a white kitchen

So one of my ultimate dream finally came true: TO HAVE AN AMAZING WHITE KITCHEN!!!

From the moment I walked into my house while doing house hunting about 6 years ago, I knew this is where I was going to stay, but I also knew that this kitchen had to be re-done in white one day. It should have never been brown-ish from the first place. I remember walking through it for the first time and picturing it all-white, and it was so beautiful! So it was my only condition for buying the house. It needed to be white within 6 months. Well, 6 months turned into over 5 years, but we finally did it, we re-did our kitchen, and it is exactly as I’d pictured it in 2015, or even better, and here’s how it all happened.

Last spring, we started to talk about our summer plans, what we wanted to do in the next year, where we wanted to go, Brian was looking at houses on the market for our friends who were looking to move in town, and from time to time he would show one to me and say things like ‘‘look at this one… this one is really nice… would you like this one for us?’’. For me things were quite simple, like let’s not travel this summer and please stop looking at other houses, cause I love my house and I want to stay here, but let’s redo our kitchen, in white, please! Well if you follow my blog you know that we ended up traveling quite a bit last summer, so I guess I didn’t win that one – for now.

So summer happened and my plans were kind of put on hold, and instead of re-doing our kitchen, we went on multiple road trips and had a blast in the pool all summer long! Brian had actually never been a fan of this whole kitchen-reno-project-idea of mine. So I knew it would be a tough sell with him. But then, on my last weekend off of the summer, out of nowhere, I asked Brian if we could go to Ikea on Sunday morning to look at white counter tops, you know, just to get an idea, and he said yes!!! So just like that, this was the beginning of our kitchen reno. So at the same time as our back-to-school, which is probably the most hectic time of the year for me at work and home, we started a huge reno project. I knew that a full kitchen renovation wasn’t going to be easy for us, but man, I was not expecting it to be such an emotional roller coaster. Ishhh… I have to say that he was very good putting up with me for the following two months… still not sure how we got through this. But we did, so good for us!

After that visit to Ikea, I had a pretty good idea where this was going. So here what my original plan looked like: do it all ourselves, let’s paint the cabinets white, let’s take out that awful backsplash and replace it with white subway tiles, let’s put the cheapest white countertop we can find and then repaint the room floor to ceiling. Easy enough, right? I really thought we could do all of this in about a weekend or so. Hummmm, not really. That trip to Ikea was actually a game changer for me. While I thought I would have to settle for the cheapest laminate countertop to stay within our budget, I realized that getting a bright and shiny white Quartz countertop would actually not cost me a leg and an arm. So we shopped around a little and found the perfect all-white countertop at Granstone in Ottawa. Brian sent an email to the store for a quote on a Monday, picked up a few samples on the Wednesday, got some measurements done a week later, and basically, not even a month after sending that original email, all was done and it looked A-MA-ZING.

Granstone went above and beyond all of my expectations. First, their prices were really competitive, like we were so impressed with the price for the Quartz countertop that after receiving the first quote, we immediately asked them to add a quote for the backsplash, which they ended up doing as well. Dealing with them was actually the best part and the smoothest part of our entire reno. Like, I can’t for the life of me visit a renovation store when it comes to picking and choosing between this tile or that one. So many choices, way too many possibilities, and definitely not enough patience. So I sent Brian to pick out a few white countertop samples to bring back home and I selected my favorite one. Did the same with the backsplash. After that, within a few days, our kitchen was completely transformed. Here’s how it went down: on day one the tiles and counter were removed, on day two the wall was prepped for the new backsplash and on day three they brought in and installed my gorgeous Quartz white countertops. I was in love with it from the moment I saw it. Took a picture of my Big Mac meal that evening (because you eat lots of junk food during a kitchen reno) and posted it on Instagram saying something like: “Isn’t this the most beautiful Big Mac meal you’ve ever seen?” with the beaming white countertop in the back. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The following week was the backslash. I think I cried when it was done. We had it installed up to the ceiling and it’s so different and soft and perfect. They did an amazing job and I am so happy we found Granstone in the first place. If you’re thinking about doing a kitchen reno, you need to visit them. Oh, you can try to find a better price or better service somewhere else, but you won’t! If we would have known before, we would have done our kitchen reno years ago. We’ve already sent 2 of our friends there so far and they’ve both had amazing experiences. Ask for Jen, mention the blog, and you’ll get a discount, I swear!

So while the transformation with Granstone went smoothly, painting the cabinet didn’t. The original plan was to do everything ourselves, and now, all that was actually left for us to do was painting the cabinets, and it ended up being like HELL. I’ve had too many meltdowns to count and too many arguments to last a lifetime during that awful month. After the countertops and backsplash were done, I had no time to lose, the eager beaver in me wanted this project completed NOW!!! So I picked up the primer on a Friday night, washed and rinsed the cabinet doors with the recommended product, let everything dry for 24 hours, took the doors off and brought them downstairs in our Dexter’s kill room ready to be spray painted. Then our friends Danika and Scot came over to help us prime the cabinet doors. We were really counting on them to help us with this project since they had already painted their kitchen cabinets by themselves and the result was glorious (and because I had no clue whatsoever what I was getting myself into). So they came in with all the gears we could possibly need for this. They also came with a few advice, like when Scot said ‘’I’m pretty sure you need to sand those doors first, eh’’. But I had been told we could probably do it without sanding first, so in order to save time, that’s what we did. We aligned the 52 cabinet doors and drawers and gave a first coat of primer. Yes, 52. It took about 10 minutes with the spray paint gun, not bad, right? 

After an hour of drying time, I went downstairs and that’s when I saw the mess. The primer did not stick to the wood. It had made bubbles everywhere and I wanted to scream. I was in total disbelief and couldn’t understand what was happening to us. So the next day we looked into it, googled what to do now, went back to the store, and apparently the first step for a project like this one is very simple, and it’s called ‘’take the time to sand those freaking cabinet doors first’’. So we brought all of the cabinet doors and drawers back upstairs, then outside a few at a time, stripped the first coat of primer, sanded both sides, and then washed and rinsed them all one by one. It doesn’t sound like much now, but at that point, our renovation project had taken a turn for the worse. Over the course of the following 14 days that’s literally all I did after work and on the weekends, and almost all by myself since Brian was out of town for work for a full week. It was a total chaos. I cried every time I picked up a new piece and brought it outside to work on it. Once we were done, my mom rewashed all of the doors and drawers and we started the primer part again. We gave 2 coats of primer, then 2 or 3 coats of paint depending on the results, and after about 40 hours of work, I was done. Oh, and I only painted the doors and drawers, as my mom ended up being the one priming and painting the cabinet frames while we were at work and the boys at school since you can’t really paint a kitchen with kids running around!

So I said earlier that the first time I walked into my kitchen I knew it had to be white… well I also had a few more ideas that came with it. One of the first thing I did was to order gold cabinet knobs on Amazon, and after 3 different orders, I finally got it right with my champagne gold knobs! Also bought a gold faucet, on Amazon as well, for like a quarter of the price I would have paid in store and it’s AMAZING. I originally went to a few stores to find the perfect gold faucet and I got a ‘’no we don’t, but please come back in like 20 years ago’’ answer. Eh, have you seen my kitchen, B*tch! I also knew that I needed to remove one of the stand-alone cabinet to make the room brighter. And that’s what I did. And it was one of the best decision of the entire project. It looks so much better now. That cabinet was right between the two windows and did absolutely nothing else than store crap. So I removed it, had backsplash installed up to the ceiling, and then decided to put two wooden floating shelves right between the windows. I was a bit skeptic at some point when Brian started to drill holes through my gorgeous ceramic tiles to mount the floating shelves properly, but he installed them like it was his day job and it worked perfectly! And now I’m obsessed with them. It’s like the perfect little spot to store my favorite mugs and candid pictures or festive little decorations. It really opened up the space and the wood gave some balance to all the white. Oh, yeah, about the balance with all the white… well at some point after we had primed the cabinet frames, Brian started to have this idea that it was going to be too white. I was confident it wouldn’t and argued with him that this was actually the point, to have a white kitchen. But after looking at pictures on Pinterest (that he found on his own new Pinterest account!), I decided that painting the island a different color may actually be the way to go. So I wanted pink, he wanted some sort of blue-green, and we settled for blue. A truly unique blue. We bought half a paint of blue. Didn’t like it. Bought another blue. Didn’t like it either. Bought a third blue. Still didn’t like it. Then, we started to mix them together and ended up trying different combinations until we found the perfect blue. With the gold knobs, and the white countertop, it is so beautiful. 

The installation of the doors and drawers was bittersweet. I was so happy to finally have a white kitchen, yet so exhausted and tired that I could barely give a sh*t! By that time, all I wanted was to get the walls and ceiling painted asap so we could be done with this and not talk about kitchen reno for a long long time. So instead of doing it ourselves, as originally planned, we asked one of our friend to do it, and within 12 hours, the paint job was all done, which sealed the deal for our kitchen renovation.

It took way longer than I thought, but it was finally over. And now, I am so happy with the results, which is all that matters. Living without a proper kitchen for over a month was hard, especially with two kids. We lived with sealed cabinets for over two weeks, food scattered pretty much everywhere in the living room, tools covering up the kitchen table, cutlery drawers on the floor and way too many take-out meals, but we made it. What’s funny is that I can barely remember how it looked like before without looking at a picture. It’s crazy. It was a great kitchen, but I was right from the beginning, it was sooo meant to be white, and now it is, and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Saturday mornings are now my favorites. I sit in my rocking chair with my pink cozy blanket and a latte in my hands and I can’t keep myself from staring and it. It wasn’t easy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if you’d ask me. My kitchen is where I spend the most time in my home. It’s where I cook meals for my family, where we entertain our friends and family, where the boys do their homework, where we share the best part of our day, where I rock my babies when they have sorrows, where we craft and where we love. And now, we can do all those things in my beautiful and bright WHITE kitchen. And that’s a dream come true!

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