Kitchen makeover

A DIY ren­o­va­tion takes in­spi­ra­tion from both the bones of a 50-year-old kitchen and mod­ern de­sign blogs to cre­ate a bright, beau­ti­ful space.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Contents - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

Katie Kirk­patrick and her hus­band Mark lucked out when they bought their first house three years ago. The 50-year-old bun­ga­low was still be­ing lived in by its orig­i­nal owner, who “main­tained it metic­u­lously,” mean­ing even though they had plans to up­date it, they didn’t have to right away.

“She had clas­sic taste. It could have been a ’60s or ’70s time cap­sule and it wasn’t,” says Kirk­patrick. “Once we took out the wall-to-wall car­pet, we were like, ‘We could stay here for­ever as is.’”

For­ever, or a year. Apart from giv­ing the en­tire house a fresh coat of white paint—to brighten it up and al­low art to be a fo­cal point—the Kirk­patricks pri­or­i­tized their list of po­ten­tial projects and waited about that long be­fore dig­ging into a DIY kitchen ren­o­va­tion.

“We gave our­selves lots of time to make plans,” says Kirk­patrick. “The lay­out was mostly per­fect, but a wall be­tween the kitchen and din­ing room didn’t work. We re­al­ized if we were go­ing to do some­thing dras­tic that’s where it had to start.” With the help of her fa­ther and fa­ther-in-law, the wall came down, breath­ing new light—and tons of it—into their now-open-con­cept kitchen and din­ing area.

Be­cause the cab­i­nets were well-built and in great shape, the cou­ple chal­lenged them­selves to rein­vent them in­stead of re­plac­ing them. Af­ter tear­ing out a row to the right of the sink to open up some space, they sal­vaged their doors, us­ing them to help the new penin­sula tie into the rest of the space.

The Kirk­patricks’ big­gest in­vest­ments were brand-new stone coun­ter­top, a deeper sink and light­ing fix­tures—sav­ing the floor and ap­pli­ances for later—but the rest of the ren­o­va­tion used the ex­ist­ing kitchen as a spring­board for a spruce-up.

“I like the idea of a house that still has its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter and we were in­ter­ested in that and do­ing what we could to keep it,” she says. “It seemed too waste­ful to take a sledge­ham­mer and smash the whole thing out.”

The two-and-a-half month project taught Katie a lot—set­ting dead­lines and en­list­ing ad­vice from ex­pe­ri­enced home­own­ers are both pretty key to suc­cess—but the big­gest les­son? “It ac­tu­ally made me re-eval­u­ate what I was do­ing and I ap­plied to ar­chi­tec­ture school at Dal­housie.”




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