Kitchen Makeover | Part 1: Diving In Head First

With Thanksgiving next week, Brian and I are super stoked to host our first family holiday at our house!  And not any too soon as our kitchen is finally almost finished.  I emphasize almost finished as we still have one final project and let's be honest a fixer-upper is always a work in progress.  But this week we're feeling especially thankful for this house, and enjoying every step of the way as we make it our home.  So let's take a little trip down memory lane to kick start kitchen week here at Iron & Twine...

Rewind three years ago to May 2010.  We were just handed over the keys to our very first house.  And we couldn't have been happier!  We weren't naive enough to think our fixer upper would get finished over night, but we were just crazy enough to dive in head first.  Don't get me wrong, a fixer upper isn't for everyone and I totally understand that, but for those of you just crazy enough to take on the task it will be the most challenging and most rewarding project of your life (this is coming from someone that has yet to have kids, so I'm sure this experience will be second fiddle in the future:) ~ but for Brian and I, this house has been a test in patience, a lesson in team building and overall a journey filled with joy. It was the kitchen that sealed the deal on this house.  Compared to the other houses we had looked at at the time, this kitchen was GIGANTIC and it was the first house in our price point that didn't have a washer & dryer hook up located in the kitchen.  Now I'm sounding like an episode of Property Virgin's ~ relocating a washer & dryer isn't a huge deal, but for the amatures that we were at the time, it was a deal breaker.  So back to the kitchen ~ it was beautiful!  Broken dishwasher, no other appliances and yet to us it was our dream kitchen!    Case in point this photo from our first walk through:
Ok, so it wasn't magazine worthy, in fact it was completely filthy, but we saw the potential.  House Sold.   When we moved into the house, our lease at our apartment wasn't up for another month, so we thought it was the perfect time get a head start on the house.  Like most first time home owners we didn't quite know where to start, and like most newlyweds money was tight.  So while we had BIG plans for the kitchen, we decided they'd have to wait.  Besides, on day one we had accidentally on purpose, started tearing the ceiling down in what's now the guest bedroom, but that's a story for another day:
During the first two weeks we worked nightly on the guest bedroom and I spent hours daily scrubbing and cleaning the kitchen.  I was determined to get it clean enough to cook and eat in and make it work for the time being.  Now this is the part you skip if you don't like gross stuff:

There was dirt & grime & critter poo everywhere in that kitchen ~ and I mean everywhere!  It's why we felt like it was totally normal and ok to store our lawn mower in there those first weeks:  
I'm pretty sure the counters hadn't been cleaned since they had been installed (many many years before), grout was coming out of the the tiled counter top, the faucet and sink were leaking.  Somehow these details escaped us during the house buying process ~ truth be told we just chose to ignore them ~ rose-colored glasses.  So, one day when Brian was at work, after giving it my very best cleaning effort, I lost it.  Like ugly-cry-face lost it.  In that moment I truly thought this house had won.  That the kitchen I had dreamed of would never happen, that we had made a mistake.   So I did what any reasonable person would do, I picked up a hammer and a crowbar and just started swinging!  Ladies & Gentlemen, if you have never demolished anything, I assure you it's life changing.  It's kind of like singing at the top of your lungs when you're alone in the car meets sprinting as fast as you possibly can.  It's exhilarating and exhausting all at once.  It's why I love polishing silver ~ one minute it's awful, the next it's a clean slate, a new beginning.  And once you start demolition there's no turning back.  So I kept going until the entire tile counter top was gone, the sink ripped out and the dish washer removed.
When Brian returned home that evening from work, he looked at the kitchen, looked at me and said "I guess we're doing this!"  And there starts our kitchen journey.  It's been three years in the making and we wouldn't change anything about the process, it's created some great memories, left us with some awesome stories and has taught us a whole bunch of life lessons.  Sometimes, the risk is indeed worth the reward and sometimes you just have to dive in head first.  Life will always bring on new challenges, and while some journeys only take a matter of minutes, like polishing silver, others may take years, like a kitchen renovation.  But you will finish and you will feel awesome!  So, I challenge you friends to dive in head first ~ whole heartily take on a task that you never thought you would.  Sing at the top of lungs and sprint as fast as you can...

Stop by tomorrow for Part 2.