Monday, July 11, 2011

Notes from a Hoarder's Haven: The Kitchen and Dining Room

This past weekend I went to stay at my sister and brother-in-law's new house in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A year ago, shortly after they married, Andrea and Paul purchased a spacious bungalow east of the city that the previous family had owned for the better part of the century. Unfortunately, it had sat empty the past few years as the owner's children had moved their aging mother into a retirement community. Fun fact about that aging woman: she was a hoarder. And included in the purchase price for Andrea and Paul were the entire contents of the house. Not such a good thing when you look at what the dining room and kitchen looked like a year ago...

A woman was actually living like that. And it was Andrea and Paul's job to get rid of it all.

And bit by bit, they cleared away all the junk. EIGHT DUMPSTERS FULL OF JUNK!

And as is the case with most renovations, quite a few walls came down. They opened up the space by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, eliminating the butler's pantry that had been in the back part of the house connecting the two rooms, moving doorways, and taking out a tiny powder room and servant's staircase that allowed them to expand the kitchen, as well.

New cabinets, appliances, and bamboo floors are installed in the new, spacious kitchen. Mind you, Paul did 90% of all this work himself, with the generous help of his family (who lives nearby) and friends.

And one year later... family gathered at Andrea and Paul's lovely new home for a weekend of wine, great food, four puppies, and fun. Excuse the mess and the scaffolding in the dining room. They moved in two days before we arrived, and as you can see, there is still work to be done. It's really down to the details now. Hardware on the cabinets, painting the baseboards, finish installing light fixtures, etc. And then the best part: decorating.

In other words, you can expect many more posts on this project in the near future!

A few notes about the new kitchen:
- cabinets are Ikea
- countertops are soapstone
- kitchen faucet is a bridge faucet from Home Depot
- kitchen floors are bamboo, while the rest of the home has original oak hardwood floors
- wall color is Behr's Dolphin Fin (same as I have throughout my apartment)


  1. it was a lot of work but worth it! thanks for posting :)

  2. Wow- I'm impressed- it looks great.
    I love how the new kitchen.

  3. I am both horrified and delighted by this post. Both for the obvious reasons. The transformation is absolutely amazing! Congrats to your sis on a beautiful new home.

  4. wow! what a huge transformation.. so much work but it looks great now. xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

  5. OMG that is so crazy! I can't bielve it was left like thatl, BUT that renavations look amazing you BIL did an amazeing job.

  6. It is amazing. Everyone involved should be very proud of themselves. Loved visiting - can't wait to return.

  7. What a transformation. The house was given new life and it looks awesome.

  8. Wow... I can't believe it's the same space. The before and after make me shudder, but for completely different reasons. Can't wait to see how it progresses!

  9. that 'wash your hands' sign is too funny. why bother when the house is so dirty! hope they got a good deal :)

  10. Wow, what a major reno that was, even before the reno! Nice job too, I look forward to more of this.

    Suzy xxx

  11. Oh wow, what a tough job to get rid of all that junk, and not being theirs must have added more work load to the process! I'm sure they must feel so happy and relieved! Great kitchen transformation!

  12. What an adorable house, they've done a great job with it! Congratulations on the tremendous amount of work and effort that went into that, looks like it was all worth it. I do wish they'd left that cool original craftsman light fixture in the dining room - please tell me it went to a good home? :) Love that fabulous inherited dining set too, glad there was SOMETHING worth salvaging in all that!

  13. That is seriously amazing that they have done that to the house!! Touche to them for having the will to take on a project like that! Looks amazing can't wait to see more pictures!

  14. Wow it looks great! Craftsman style homes are definitely worth putting love and hard work into. :) Can't wait to see it all finished!

  15. Way to go! I give them a lot of credit and many happy memories in their uncluttered home!

  16. That's amazing. What a transformation & accomplishment! Looking forward to seeing more pics.

  17. That is one fanatastic renovation job. The kitchen looks awesome.!!




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