As delighted as M and I are with our new house, we are finding out bit by bit that what we really bought is an opportunity to spend lots more money. Every time we start on one project, we find two more that need to go on the list. Alas, we cannot afford to tackle everything at once, so we are starting with the two things that emerged at the top of that very long list: painting the entire house and remodeling the kitchen.
Almost every wall, ceiling and closet in the house is in desperate need of a paint job. I don't know when it was last painted or by whom, but all of the off-white paint is dingy and depressing, and even that isn't as bad as the lavender in the second bedroom or the horrible china blue in the downstairs guest room. There are literally hundreds of holes in the walls of various sizes and the hardware holding the rolling blinds in place has been painted over at least 5 times, rendering it almost part of the wall. One wall downstairs has water damage behind the plaster, which makes the paint chip off in charming little geometric shapes and the windows in the bathrooms are all edged with rust. Thankfully, we found a contractor whose painters seem up to the job and they started prep work on Wednesday. All the floors we care about are covered in pink paper and the long process of removing a million wall anchors is begun. Hooray! We are having the entire house painted the same color: Benjamin Moore's Distant Gray in their no-VOC Natura paint and primer. With a 2 year old and a little one on the way, we want to be as health conscious as possible. We may go back and do some accent walls in different colors later, but for now we are going with a clean slate.
The second item on our pre-move-in list is the kitchen. And oh my, does it need help. The cabinets, countertops and (I think) sink are original, and the dishwasher is of a late 1980's vintage. The range hood is offset from the actual range by about 8 inches and the automatic ice maker isn't even connected to a water source. Not to mention the awful tile floors, which may or may not contain asbestos. (Fingers crossed that we don't have to do asbestos remediation before commencing work.) So, we are going to essentially start over. Both doorways are going to be widened to open the space and we are installing all new cabinets, floors and countertops, as well as replacing the sink, faucet, dishwasher and range hood. The refrigerator and range are both new-ish and will remain until I can find an awesome deal on the range of my dreams (found here; my mom has the same one and I love cooking on it and so does she). Ditto for a counter-depth refrigerator, but since I don't want an icemaker/water dispenser in the door this is actually a harder search than I expected. The good news about the kitchen is that the contractor's estimate came in right where we anticipated and so far, we are within our budget! We are planning to do an IKEA kitchen and the very first thing I chose for the space was the DOMSJÖ double-basin farmhouse sink. I LOVE IT. The very thought of having enough space to wash pots is enough to make me dizzy. We are going to pair it with the HJUVIK faucet with hand sprayer. The cabinet and drawer fronts will be the NEXUS birch veneer with LANSA handles. M used the IKEA kitchen planner to lay out all of the cabinets and we are pretty much ready to buy everything, but rumor has it that the semi-annual kitchen sale begins in March so we are waiting to see if we can get another 20% off. We still need to choose a dishwasher (leaning towards a Bosch but they have less interior space due to better sound-proofing), flooring (likely either slate or a porcelain tile that looks like slate), a countertop material (laminate or Caesarstone) and a backsplash material (thinking glass subway tiles in a sea-glass green color). The walls will be white to match the rest of the house.
We will probably give the contractor the green light as soon as we get good news (please, please, please) from the asbestos test results and hopefully will be starting work in the kitchen by the first full week of March. It's getting exciting...