Day Twenty-One: The Kitchen (Part One)

Happy Wednesday!  I'm scrambling to get some posts put together and I'm happy to finally be getting to our kitchen! In theory I have 2 days to get 11 posts done (classic!) and I'm quite sure I'll bleed into November, but I'm going to crank out a few and see if I can't get this home series wrapped up! 

I love my kitchen and always have.  I'm very thankful today for the large footprint it came with and therefore the way it has morphed into an "eat-in" kitchen over the years. 
When we bought here, I was so thankful for this kitchen because it was much newer and nicer than most everything we had seen and for the most part it was very neutral.  White appliances weren't my favorite but I was happy they were all matching and new.  The countertops were nothing special but they weren't ugly or in bad condition.  I knew I could work with this look and make it my own over time.  I did paint the walls before we ever moved in.  They were kind of a celery green, which did NOTHING for this space and I wanted cozy and warm, so I went with a chocolate brown.  I loved it all these years but as I look back at these pictures, wow is it dark.  In person I don't think it felt so dark but who knows.  We loved it anyway :) 
Some tricky and challenging things about this kitchen is having no natural light and nothing architectural to work with.  It's your basic builder-grade kitchen with no frills or anything unique, so I've always struggled to make it interesting by adding some seasonal things or a few pieces I rotated over the sink, over the cupboards, on the walls, etc.  It's also doubled as a workspace for my makeshift floral business!  Many people have laughed when they've seen me in the middle of a wedding, counters full of bouquets and centerpieces, buckets of flowers all over the floor and corsages/bouts in my fridge! 
We knew that it would be foolish to spend a lot of money updating our kitchen, even though kitchens are definitely a good return on investment and they do make an impact on buyers, but because we've already lost so much value in our home we have been looking for wise ways to update without really doing a remodel.  We didn't want to replace cabinets, countertops or appliances so for months and months I was on the hunt for ideas and backsplash materials to tie everything together and make this kitchen look as good as it could on a shoestring budget.
Boy did we get our prayers answered!!  In July Travis' aunt and uncle came all the way from Texas to visit us and also to help us with a few projects around here.  We were thrilled to have them and so very thankful for their willingness and time and generosity to help us make some significant progress.  Ron is a jack of all trades and has built homes for many, many years.  There's not a whole lot he can't do and better yet, do quickly.  Having him here was invaluable and of course having Peggy too was icing on the cake!  
Ava and Carter were so excited to have Nana and Papa here! We tried to let them get some fun time with the kids too so they didn't think they had to work in order to earn their keep :) 
And we took some time to show them around Minneapolis a little bit during one of the most gorgeous stretches of weather!  It was picture perfect while they were here, a sign they need to come back again!!
But really?  They came and worked.  Ron worked hard on putting this backsplash in our kitchen!  It was quite a job, of course I picked something that was time consuming and meticulous, but as it was going up we were LOVING the results!!  This tile was laid in sheets but it still required millions of little cuts and some thinking to get it all up, sort of like working with a jagged-edge puzzle.
And oh my goodness, it was definitely changing the look of our kitchen!!
Travis did some of the work too, but he ran a soccer camp that week and basically Ron did most of it himself.  These pics are all pre-grout but even without the grout it was amazing.  I LOVED it.  
I had no idea what I wanted to use in here but as I began looking months ago I quickly realized what I didn't like.
I imagined I would go with bigger tiles, something very understated and simple, but I never could land on some that I loved or that did much in the way of impact. I brought home many samples and always ruled them out after getting them up against the countertop and under the cabinets.  It was trickier than I imagined but I kept holding out hope for something better.  
While the guys worked hard, the girls got to go out for a little shopping and coffee :) My parents came up from Iowa to see Ron and Peggy and to thank them for helping us so much.  They hadn't seen each other for 10 years (since our wedding) so it was fun to have a day or so together.
When we came home from our outing, they had the tile done, knobs and pulls on the cabinets and our new faucet installed!
And just like that, I fell in love with the kitchen again!  I like this picture because you can see the sheen on the tiles that we chose.  They are a mixture of glass and marble pieces and when the sunlight streams in they give off such a beautiful glow.
As is fitting with all of our other projects, the Lord totally took care of us in this kitchen update.  I mentioned that I had been looking for backsplash for a few months and hadn't found anything until one night in May or June when I was looking at one of the cooking blogs that I love.  One of the gals from Our Best Bites had just redone her kitchen and I was looking at the pictures dreaming about how lovely it was.  As I was looking I noticed that her backsplash was so interesting and what I loved about it was all the bright white with a subtle amount of blue and grey.  I realized that was a look I really liked and imagined it would work so well in my kitchen, tying the white appliances in and complementing our countertops.  Well imagine my surprise when she listed the materials and sources for her kitchen at the end of the post and she mentioned that her backsplash was just a random find at Costco of all places!  

Immediately I was intrigued but a little disappointed, knowing how hit or miss Costco can be but I decided it couldn't hurt to run over there and just see if they happened to have any at our Costco too??  I literally jumped in the car and got there at 7:30 pm, about a half hour before they closed, and walked over to the aisle I thought it might be in.  I quickly saw tons and tons of boxes of the exact same style of tile but noticed they were all in a chocolate brown/caramel/amber color scheme.  Beautiful, but not what I was looking for.  I was sad but not surprised when all of the sudden I noticed a cart with 8 boxes of tile and clearance sign.  Guess what color that tile was???  The exact same one I was looking for!  Because they only had a few left, they were on clearance, and in a clear sign from the Lord, they were marked down to $2.79 a sq. foot.!!!  Crazy cheap for glass and marble tile from Italy!!!!  I just stared at it for a minute, not believing it was true and grabbed my little piece of paper with the sq. footage I had previously calculated we'd need, did some quick math and realized that 8 boxes would give EXACTLY what we would need to do our kitchen.  UNBELIEVABLE!!!!  I had budgeted several hundred dollars for the backsplash, but just like that at 7:55pm that night I walked out with tile I loved for about $70!!!!!!!!  

And once again I was praising the Lord for taking care of us and providing.  He really is amazing, isn't He??  All of these details, all of the ways He went before us and gave us wisdom and blessed us through the generosity of family, we are still so grateful and in awe of how He worked all of this out. 

Stay tuned for part two, to see the other changes we made and the way my kitchen looks today! 
So fun to finally be sharing this with you!!

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