Spring is in the Air, Time to Remodel my Kitchen

When we were in the market for a new house seven and a half years ago, there were two things we were looking for:  a shop to conduct The Urban Homemaker Business in and a great kitchen.  Here is a picture of my existing kitchen:


We got the great shop to run The Urban Homemaker in, separate from our house, but as you can see, I had to settle for a tiny, 10 X 10, badly outdated, boxy, dark, and ugly kitchen.

It could be worse, the kitchen actually has some counter space and a wonderful downdraft Jenn-Air cook top, opens into the rest of the house and there is a place to store my beloved Bosch on the counter.  That is the end of the main advantages.FaceSink#2

Obviously, I have wanted to remodel and update this kitchen space since moving in, especially the appliances.  They are the original 1975 models and the dishwasher hasn’t worked for about 18 months.

However, financially it was never feasible, not even on the radar screen for a fleeting moment, until some changes happened in the last year that made  kitchen remodeling, no longer a dream, but an inevitability, a probability, and  a reality to this family cook.

It’s just a matter of designing the space, gathering the estimates, choosing materials, talking to contractors, and going back to the drawing board to make the plans fit the funds allocated to the project.  That discussion will be the topic of a new blog update coming very soon.  Here are a few more “before” pictures, so you can see why I am anxious to get started!


Yes, I am embarrassed to show you my before kitchen pictures, but I decided part of homemaking is planning and implementing a kitchen remodel and cooking with an indoor, improvised kitchen.

That means I will be talking about and showing the good, the bad, and the ugly of this process.

Mary and I will be “camping” downstairs while the upstairs in torn up.  Our  make shift “camp kitchen” will consist of a crock pot, hot pot, microwave, and hot plate.

Our only water source will be the bathroom at the other end of the camping space. The refrigerator will be in the laundry room.

I hope you will join me for updates, and share your kitchen remodel stories, your tips, your recipes for living without a regular kitchen, and more.

Post your comments, recipes, tips and suggestions below and be sure to subscribe so you will receive regular updates!

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13 comments to Spring is in the Air, Time to Remodel my Kitchen

  • Karleen Mauldin

    I am eager to hear about your kitchen remodel! I am considering updating our kitchen this summer….with a budget of about $0 !! Your kitchen looks very large compared to mine! My kitchen is in a 1986 mobile home that has 2 bedrooms… so the kitchen/”dining room” is the same room; the same very small room! With 6 in the family, it’s pretty tight! We added on to the house… so we have more bedrooms and living area…but the kitchen is still the same!!

  • Your kitchen is dark, but it’s also huge! I’ll bet some amazing things have come from it. Can’t wait to see what you will do with that space. It’s going to be so uplifting when it’s all done, I’ll bet :)

  • Gail Hinds

    I can understand why a remodel would be so stressful. I am hoping to build a house someday. I currently live in a 1904 model house that will be torn down. It should be exciting to think I can design everything, but it feels too big! :) Don’t be embarassed by your current kitchen. It looks great to me, but I know the new kitchen will be a huge blessing! Maybe I can get ideas from seeing your kitchen remodel!

  • Can’t believe there’s another kitchen almost exactly like mine (was!) also 70’s and brown appliances and all! lol We remodeled about 10 years ago; to save $$ we ordered the cabinets unfinished; stain and urethane took us about a week to complete. Not sure you’d attempt that, though… One suggestion for the camp kitchen: a toaster oven. Comes in Mighty Handy!

  • Cory

    Oh, I love your cupboards!! I would bet they are solid wood too. I wish I could take them off your hands and put them in my kitchen!

  • Oh How fun…. yeah I can say that because I am not working in a makeshift “camp kitchen” If the weather cooperates or you have an outdoor area that is covered, you can add an outdoor grill to your list of ways to cook until this is done. Maybe you can post some great grill recipes.

  • Susan

    My husband and I have moved several times and the first room we remodel is always the kitchen. I love to cook and he has always felt that it’s important that I have a decent kitchen. I think he likes all those homemade meals – I’ve just about cooked myself out of him taking me out to eat. You will really enjoy your kitchen when it’s completed. It feels like Christmas and a brand new house all wrapped together. Have fun picking out appliances, flooring, countertops, cabinets and all the other fund stuff that goes into a kitchen. By the time your kitchen is finished you will be sick of this new adventure and ready to get back into a regular routine – I know from experience. When I get too tired of the mess I always remember what my grandmother used to say “You’ve got to mess to fixup.” Have fun, enjoy the progress and take lots of pictures. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.

  • Mary

    Hi Marilyn, I’m so excited to see the new remodel. I’m also a little sad because of all the memories we’ve made in your old kitchen. I always looked forward to our summer and fall visits and the projects we would undertake there – like canning and drying peaches and apples and making tons of jam and bread, also bumping into each other for lack of room! But the new kitchen will hold adventures too, so this fall we’ll start afresh and maybe now you’ll have space to teach classes again!

  • Debra

    I am excited for you to be able to have a new kitchen. Although your kitchen may be outdated (in the eyes of some), please consider that some may still have the same cabinets as you and calling them ugly and feeling embarassed about your kitchen, might make them feel worse about theirs. Belive me I know, I used to have reddish orange counters that I complained about until I realized my cousin had (and still does have) counters in a similiar reddish orange, that I never noticed because she had it decorated so lovely, and we had such great fellowship there. just a thought…

  • Jan

    We remodeled our kitchen three years ago and I still get a thrill when I look at my beautiful new kitchen. I raised four children with that nasty kitchen in our home and fed them well, too! Among other awful things, we had blue and black kitchen carpet that was separating at the seams and you could not get it clean, and a built in countertop stove with wall push buttens that were missing or did not work and couldn’t be repaired. My husband made a frame and we put another countertop stove in that frame – setting it ontop of the original. I called it my “stove on stove.” Our kitchen was so old and ugly (the original 1957 kitchen) that I was embarrased to have people see it. It was not a quaint, nostalgic 1957 kitchen!

    Now it is the delight of my home and one of the delights of my homemaker’s heart. It took our builder three months to finally complete. (he squeezed us in among other of his projects – this is a warning and something to agree not to do right up front!) New wall paper, floor, appliances, cabinets, countertop – everything just the way I wanted it. I waited a long time. Nineteen years to be exact! I had my wallpaper for over five years just waiting for the moment. I collected and framed stitched pictures of old fashioned ladies in their long dresses cooking in their kitchens. These pieces have little sayings that always include the word “kitchen” in the saying – like “Come into my kitchen and chat with me, while I prepare a pot of tea.” They are hanging on one of my walls in a beautiful little display. When you have to wait for something so dear, the appreciation for it is so much more. We waited until we could pay for our kitchen. Boy do I love it! You’ll be loving yours, Marilyn. It will be fun to watch your kitchen develop.

  • My sister just went through the indoor camping experience…Washing dishes in a container set in the bath tub can seem rather daunting…in the darker times just remember the joy set before you! Can’t wait to see the “after” pics!

  • Tamara

    We are in a similar project and I was feeling overwhelmed by it all this morning until I found your blog. Perfect timing. Thanks for being real about your experience. I’ll keep checking in.

  • Cheryl

    Marilyn- We spent 2 weeks in a camp kitchen during an ice storm. There are so many things that can be cooked in a gas grill. We baked cookies and biscuts on the rack while the meat was on the grill (you have to flip them – the biscuts and cookies – to get them to brown on both sides). We did it all without electricity or running water (elec. well pump). I think you and Mary will come through this just fine. I love the fact that you show “real” before pictures of your kitchen (like the pots in the sink and the dixie cup in the window). That’s why I like reading your blog – you are so real!!!

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