Kitchen Reno: a Baker in a Barn

kitchen faucet

The following kitchen renovation story was submitted to Sweet Kitchen by reader Patricia Brown.

Just a few weeks ago we finally finished our family kitchen reno.  AND I LOVE IT.  It has certainly been a slow progression since we started in 2008 (gasp) and the majority of the work was done back then.  The backsplash was the final step and it is complete. Don’t you love it too?

This is the hub of our house.  Where we eat, do homework, chat about our days, and visit with friends.  This is the first room upon entering the house, and everyone visiting knows which cupboard has the coffee mugs, there is always something sweet to nibble on, and that I never have my dishes done (another gasp).  I am proud to say I designed this baby from top to bottom, including the lighting and switches, and how big to make the windows.  With a few tweaks from the kitchen cupboard expert, it is exactly what I’d planned.  I even made room for a two-piece bathroom and our washer and dryer (not pictured).

You may recognize the countertop in many of my photos last year as I whip up my gluten-free baking in the same place I take pictures (until now – I’ve been learning better techniques).  Also, my new recipe book stand sits here, close to my 4.5L mixer (I have a 6L mixer in the other kitchen).  I spy on the neighbours from here (and they spy on me in the evenings so I’m told).

Above you will find your coffee mugs above the coffee maker, biscuits in the oven, and Lily’s gluten-free flours and what-not in the bottom drawer on the left. Don’t you love my range hood?


Here are a few ‘before’ pictures to make you shudder.  This house was a right-off when we bought it, but we managed to survive and raise one big dog and two babies within it’s walls. I will give you a few narrations throughout, but really, your mouth is sure to drop open.

Initially, the walls had old wallpaper and wainscotting halfway up.  The cupboards you see (plus four above – not pictured) were all the cupboard space we had.  We had an old stove that was 100 degrees to hot, and no dishwasher.  The countertop was tile and the floor had several layers of linoleum. You can see we had tried to liven things up by updating the handles and painting the doors, and even buying new appliances, but it just wasn’t enough.

A close up of the counter and cupboards. These are now down in the basement for Mr. Man’s tools.  You can see the upper cupboards in the top of the picture, and the old window that would come out.  Like the old dutch wallpaper?

When we tore open the floor, walls, and ceiling, we realized

  1. There was nothing under the floor, including heat.  Therefore we had to insulate and work hard to run plumbing and heating ducts through there.
  2. There had been nothing in the walls.  NOTHING. Just air. Insulation was a must.
  3. It was a wonder we didn’t fall through the ceiling from the second floor since the joists had been in terrible shape.  Some met in the middle of the room, some were bowed, and ultimately it looked like they’d put the room together with leftover barn boards.  The whole room needed reframing from top to bottom.

Thanks to IKEA we had a few substitutions for counter space.  This room was rather spooky like this with the barn board walls and only a wagon wheel light in the middle of the kitchen ceiling (seen in the top ‘before’ picture).  We sold that light for $1 to guy for his den.  In fact, it was so dark and spooky, during halloween one trick-or-treater asked if we lived in our garage. (Even thought it looked more like a barn).

Here is Mr. putting in the new window where I would be baking in the future. The insulation is in, and it would stay this way throughout the winter.  Warm, cosy, and yet, so colourful!


Eventually, we had everything reframed, rewired, plumbing and bathroom installed, drywall up and decorated, and the kitchen cupboards in.  The final touches to the backsplash was put in just a few weeks ago and our kitchen reno is complete.  Just in time for it to start wearing out. Ha, ha.

I would like to shout out to the following businesses who we purchased our cabinets, garbage disposer, and flooring from (and are our friends):

Thanks so much for tuning in to a different type of post than you’re used to.  Sometimes it’s nice to see behind the scenes pictures of a blog.  My kitchen is never this clean, however, which I should admit.  As a friend posted on my Facebook page: it is evidence of an unquenchable thirst for creative expression.  It’s a kitchen that we USE!  Have a great weekend!


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