Kitchen Remodel Shows Hubby's Handiwork

Sometimes, it’s best to work with what you’ve got. This little motto yielded big results when my husband, Paul, and I remodeled our small, dreary kitchen.

Our home was 34 years old when we bought it, in 1994, and it was a true fixer-upper. I shuddered when I saw its original kitchen (below). It was cramped and terribly outdated. Dark cabinets and worn laminate countertops were a definite eyesore. To make matters worse, I had only one measly fluorescent light and little counter space. We needed something new...and fast!


My husband is a sheet-metal journeyman, and I work part-time teaching two child-care programs at our church. Despite our busy schedules, we made it a priority to plan the remodel carefully. We paged through magazines, attended home shows and studied store displays. Paul even made a scale model of the new kitchen.

We settled on a floor plan that didn’t involve any structural changes, except for extending one wall.

Our gloomy cabinets were first to go. We decided not to replace the hanging cabinets above the peninsula to give our kitchen a more open feel. Paul installed honey-colored birch cabinets with a beaded-board pattern and dark chestnut trim. I love their look, plus they have lots of storage space.

Birch and Granite

Since I do a lot of baking (I’m known for my holiday cookies), I wanted smooth, solid countertops. We chose a swirled forest-green granite with red undertones. The granite complements my apple-theme decor and sage walls.

We extended the counter adjoining the peninsula into the dining area by 2 feet. That allowed us to add cupboard space and make up for the hanging cabinets we removed. We added two red, counter-height chairs at the peninsula, which serves as a breakfast bar for our daughters, Addie, 12, and Grace, 10.

Added Work Space

Across the room, Paul put in a granite counter along the newly extended south wall. He installed a microwave above the counter, giving me a workstation I didn’t have before. We recessed our refrigerator into the wall, flush with the new counter.