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Downsizing and Our Kitchen Makeover

Amanda-2

It took over a year to get our house of 25 years ready to sell.  There were children’s school work, report cards, mementos that needed to be sorted through, greeting cards I had kept, hard copy photos, etc.  Then add on what is being kept in all the other rooms – dishes, appliances, furniture, books, etc.  (and most importantly what is being sold or given away) and it can cause a few gray hairs and a rise in blood pressure. 

I look forward to sharing our kitchen makeover but first a few things I learned during my downsizing/moving journey.

 To prepare, I read books (Right Size,Right Now, Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less and Moving On, and A Practical Guide to Downsizing The Family Home  I listened to podcasts (Organization Station @Home and The Frugal House – Jenny Martin) and sought the advise of those that had been on the downsizing trail before me.  Here were a few of my takeaways..

  • Keep a few things to remember others by but not everything that has been handed down or given.  By the time we were emotionally and mentally ready to downsize –  I had 3 sets of china, one set was mine, one was my moms and a set my grandmother had handed down.  I couldn’t remember the last time we used any of it.  First I offered them to my my daughter and daughter-in-law.  My daughter passed; my daughter-in-law took my grandmothers set.  I packaged them up in the following storage chests…Foldable Storage Chests .. Jumbo Storage Boxes .. Quilted China Starter Kit.  I tried to consign my mom’s set – unfortunately, there is no interest in these items anymore.  I ended up donating to my favorite thrift store – Gracie’s Cottage.  I actually moved my set with us, thinking we’d keep our formal dining room and china hutch.  That didn’t happen – the furniture ended up being to0 large and we ended up donating to Goodwill along with all of my china except for 2 dessert plates.  I’ve decided that a nice set of white plates can take you anywhere and that a fold out 6-ft table and chairs will work nicely when we have holidays at our house.
  • Only keep books that mean something to you today.  Donate to someone else that can use all the others.
  • Keep only the clothes you feel good in and will fit in the space you have.  Jeff and I were going from each having a closet to sharing one.
  • When deciding what to do with an item – ask yourself if you were to see it today for the first time would you spend money on it, want to store it, have a use for it and does it delight your heart.  If the answer isn’t yes – you are basically storing something that you have no use for.
  • We keep our lives cluttered with things.  The item(s) may be in the closet, drawers and cupboards but they also take up precious space in our mind and life.

So back to our kitchen.  We went from a 2800 square foot home to a 1600 square foot home.  It’s funny when you are looking to buy a new home it doesn’t really register what you are starting with until you do the final walk-through and then move in.  Everyone has their own taste and I believe the people who owned the house before us loved their home.  But we were looking forward to giving the house a simple open decor and discovered we were going to be busy.

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Here is a picture of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in – the cabinets had seen better days and had chips that you can’t really see in the picture.  It was painted a mint green with rooster decals as a backsplash and had plaid maroon and green curtains – the small dining room area was painted blue with the same curtains.  There wasn’t a pantry and we needed to use what we considered the hall closet for our food.  After cooking scallops on the stove, we soon discovered there wasn’t any venting from stove to outside for cooking.  The garbage disposal could inhale a bowl when turned on because all the rubber in the sink drain was nonexistent.  The features we liked:  hardwood floors, decent wooden shades on all the windows, gas stove, and kitchen window.

When you first move in – the first step is to make the space functional so our time was spent unpacking boxes, buying groceries (because eating out soon loses it’s luster).  Then the dreaming starts and the realization that kitchens aren’t inexpensive.   The appliances were delivered and I want to share one the best things we spent money on was a new Kitchen-Aid dishwasher.  The family room is very close to the kitchen and the dishwasher that came with the house was LOUD.  Our new dishwasher is so quiet we sometimes have to check to make sure we turned it on.

I took all the curtains down from the windows and Jeff removed the rooster decals.  He also fixed the oven venting problem.   We then headed to Superior Stone and Cabinets and began planning.  We chose a gray toned cabinet, decided to extend our island by 18 inches to include garbage bins, and add a 18″ pantry.  I have to say that I’ve been surprised how much the pantry can hold.  We were very happy with the service we received – Superior  delivered on exactly what they promised and were in and out of our home in 3 days.  First day was demolition…2nd day was cabinets…and 3rd day was the granite.  

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This was our old formica countertop.

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This is the cabinet and granite samples we chose along with our flooring and paint color for the kitchen.  We were feeling pretty bold that day and took a chance of really making the kitchen ours.

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This was the old sink with the nonexistent rubber part of the drain.  Yuk!  I was counting the days until my deep double stainless sink went in.

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Once they demo’d the kitchen,  Jeff painted with our paint color of choice Sherman Williams Analytical Gray.  We decided to paint the entire house this color to give it a continuous flow of calm throughout the house.  It also would provide the benefit of not having to store several paint cans in the garage.  The new pantry would be placed to the left of the refrigerator.

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Then it was cabinet day.  We had a trash compactor for 25 years and thought we would get another one but this has actually been a better option for us.  It encourages us to recycle.

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The third day, the granite went in, as well as the stainless steel sink.  We decided to have the backsplashes done in the granite as well. They also installed the new handles on the drawers and cupboards which we had found at Home Depot.  This was so very fun to watch go in.  Time for the dishes and cookware to go into their new home.  Because I wanted to maximize my counter space, I purchased a collapsible over the sink drain

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Here is a picture of our pantry.

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By the next day – appliances were back in, new faucet, garbage disposal, reverse osmosis system, and soap dispenser.

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Recently Jeff has added under cupboard lighting which is amazing – a very inexpensive, easy project and of course, it comes with a remote control.  Don’t get me started on how many remote controls we have..ceiling fans, sprinklers, lights…oh my.  These lights make a huge difference and have a lot of different settings.

I’d love to hear your downsizing/moving advice or experience.

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Downsizing – Spare Bedroom 1: Library

The summer of 2017 was officially the start of Phase 2 of our fixer-upper.  This means we had saved enough money to conquer partial bathroom renovations, master closet makeover, a cooling vent and insulation for the garage (I didn’t really get this but Jeff thought it was a priority) and doing something with the two spare bedrooms.  After a year and a half everything had found a place but it wasn’t organized in a way that felt like home.  This was especially true in these two bedrooms which were filled with a hodge podge of what we had brought with us and most of it was oversized for this house which made the rooms seem smaller than they were.

It took me a little while but with some strategic thinking I began to list what I’d like to use each of these rooms for which helped me envision what would be needed to make that happen.

Bedroom 1 which measures 11′ x 9’10” was to have 3 purposes:  a place to hold books and read (aka – the library),  exercise and to sew. 

This is how the library portion of the room came about.  I love books and often read a favorite more than once.  There is something soothing in tangible pages to flip through, being able to mark the margins and turn down the corner when something touches my heart.  Yes – I have an iPad and think it is wonderful, especially for travel, but I don’t ever want to live in a house without my favorites:  A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg, Adventures in Prayer by Catherine Marshall, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, The 10 Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley, Live Carefully by Jerry Traylor, Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George and so many more.

We had brought two bookshelves with us – one was ours and the other had belonged to our daughter.  They were different woods and heights but when we first moved in they had the most important quality,  providing a place to remove books from moving boxes and store.

I began to dream about furnishing these rooms with a focus on function and price.  I didn’t need brand new and when my friend, Angie, introduced me to Facebook Marketplace, I found a resource that fit those goals.  As I found a few pieces for other parts of the house and learned how to use chalk paint, my confidence grew.  Soon I was ready to move the mismatched bookshelves out and begin my search for matching bookshelves.  Fortunately for me someone else was ready to say goodbye to two Broyhill units for $200.00. 

It is fun getting something new (well, new to me) but it also means some effort is required because the bookshelves that were there now needed to be emptied and moved to make room for the new.   In a very short time I went from organized to chaos.  This is often the point in a project where I ask myself “What was I thinking?”

One of our bookshelves we sold on Facebook Marketplace for $35.00.  The other bookshelf which was sturdy, well made and solid wood still had some life in it and soon I was placing two coats of white chalk paint and later distressing before a clear coat of wax was buffed in. As if I hadn’t created a mess already, I decide to add painting to the mix. There are times it is good that Jeff is at work.  

Here it is in its new home in the den waiting for the wax to dry before books are placed on shelves.  I am happy to say it now holds a variety of books, including my cookbooks.

I need to give a big shout out to my dad who is always available to pick me or my husband up in his truck as I procure another treasure.  My son-in-law, Josh, has also come over to move some of the heavier pieces.  It takes a village to make a house a home.

Finally, the bookshelves were picked up, dusted and vacuumed (let’s just say they came from a house with cats) and it was time to move the bookshelves in.  Not shown in this picture but new brushed nickel knobs replaced the bronze ones.  The shelves have lighting and are 19″ deep which allows for a nice display.

One of the last pieces for this room, has been the chair.  I wanted a comfortable chair for reading and hand sewing.  I found this one on Offered Up (another site to look for treasures) for $50.00.  It had recently been recovered in gray  and fit into the corner.  

I will be showing completed pictures of the room after I have shared the different sections.

What was Jeff doing while I tackled the room?  This guy is such a hard worker and is as committed to making this house our home as much as I am.  He replaced all our baseboards – so much work but what a difference this has made.

Coming up next – Spare Bedroom 1 – Exercise

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Downsizing and Our Kitchen Makeover

What’s In My Library

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Spiralizer

Recently Jeff and I were watching a cooking show and saw a machine demonstrated that made amazing vegetable noodles.  Since we downsized our home and kitchen (you can read HERE), we have been really good about not purchasing much that needs real estate space in our home.  I made homemade spaghetti sauce (recipe coming soon) and once our little machine arrived, I was peeling a sweet potato and Jeff was washing the zucchini he had picked up on the way home.  In no time at all, we had a pile of zucchini and sweet potato noodles waiting for hot sauce.  I blanched the sweet potato spirals in boiling water for about 3 minutes.   Jeff did nothing to the zucchini.  I have used other tools and machines to get this effect but the difference with this machine is (1) it grips very well to the counter top (2) the noodles can be wound around a fork like pasta and (3) it is very easy to clean (4) the noodles aren’t wet.

We are always looking for ways to add vegetables into our diet and I can see many future possibilities.

Here is the link to this kitchen helper – HERE

Sweet potato noodles blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and strained – bring on the sauce.

I sautéed some sweet potatoes in olive oil to add a crispy crunch to a salad and also a few raw zucchini noodles.

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