• Rita Winthrop

kitchen renovations: a love story? [part one]

If you don't know it yet, we are recent homeowners. We looked for nearly a year and a half before we found our sweet little bungalow. We wanted cozy, room to grow, as much charm as possible - a fixer upper, a must. We were lucky - the market was [and still is] terrible, prices out of control, and we constantly were getting outbid.


A two bedroom, one bath bungalow built in 1930 - the charm in this home is insane. The house was only owned by one family, the land bought a week before the great depression. Three layers of wall paper in nearly every room, gorgeous hardwoods, a hot mess of a kitchen and bathroom, but with a full basement, backyard, an entire upstairs and a whole lot of potential, this house was the diamond in the rough we had been looking for. After a stressful few days and a heartfelt letter to the owners, it was ours, and we closed just a quick 6 weeks later.


We were fortunate our landlords were flexible - so they allowed us to stay for the month while we started renovations. While it was move in ready, the kitchen on the other hand [for someone who cooks as much as I] was just, gross. The layout was wonky - a galley kitchen off of another kitchen space. The galley so tight you couldn't open the oven while standing in front of it. The other weird kitchen space was so wildly underutilized with two doors leading into the bedroom, dysfunctional built ins, and linoleum, everywhere.


Cute right?

OR NOT.


Luckily, Frank is a contractor - which meant we'd do it all ourselves, but as a young couple, it was up to us to keep the cost under control. We heard from a lot of people we couldn't do a kitchen for as cheaply as we did - but without compromising on what we wanted, and 4 months later we were able to create a beautiful space. To say it was easy would be a blatant lie. Was it worth it - absolutely. I definitely didn't think it'd be as difficult as it was, nor did I think we'd argue over the smallest of things. But when you're whole life gets tipped upside down, with dust and dirt everywhere, I'm not surprised it was as hard as it was.

You go in with this HGTV idea of reenacting Chip & Joanna, and really you're crying over whether you should move the pendant light today or in four days from now. Yes, these things happen.

What I hope to do by sharing our before and after with you - is motivation and excitement for your own space. Sometimes little changes make the biggest difference, or compromising in one area to spend more in another, is worth it.


The light in this house is just so dreamy - even with wallpaper glue stained walls. Three layers of wallpaper, in five rooms, off in one weekend with vinegar and water - no joke.



Despite the galley - I'll forever be grateful that at least we had a kitchen through those four months.


We may or may not have survived for months with that one, sad lamp. Our coffee and microwave station existed there as the electrical in our 'working kitchen,' as we so called it, didn't have a working outlet for a while. Lets also point out that the refrigerator was off to the right of this photo, essentially having our kitchen spread out over three rooms. Nightmare.


As if this post couldn't be any longer, I've decided to be wild and leave you with this - check back on how our cozy kitchen turned out after all those blood sweat and tears.


To be continued.


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newport, ri