My Kitchen Part 1 – The before and wall/cab removal

Welcome to ‘My Own Kitchen” story, Part 1.

Part 1 is HERE.

Part 2 is HERE.

Part 3 is HERE.

I have a little surprise for you. πŸ™‚

While writing about Janette’s kitchen, it dawned on me that I’ve never really shared my own full kitchen story on Funky Junk. I started this blog AFTER the majority of renos were complete.

I did at least document the renos on my very first blog, Our Extreme Home Makeover Experience.

So… how about double inspiration this round? I’m going to share my own kitchen build with you in the same timeline as I show Janette’s! So… it’s my turn. Here we go!

My story in a nutshell

I hated my kitchen. In fact, I hated my entire house. I moved away from my dream home and moved into a total fixer upper (that was my price range) and I mean, I was grateful, however things kept falling apart faster than I could fix them. And my home grew uglier by the day because there were no funds left to make it pretty. I was downright depressed.

And then I prayed.

10 minutes later, my phone rang. Janette wanted to tell me some wonderful news. A group of volunteers from her church wanted to help me fix my house. I promptly burst into tears.

And cried for an entire year as my house made out of sticks turned into the amazing home I have today. And it was then that Funky Junk Interiors was born.

If you’d like to read the wordy version of my story, it’s located HERE.

The entire story really needs to be written in (e?)book format one day before I forget all the juicy details. πŸ™‚ It’s another writing goal I have for the future.

 The kitchen story

As the entire house (ENTIRE) was being fixed, we came to a standstill when we came to the kitchen. There was NO budget to do any such renovation, however friends encouraged me to take out a loan so at least they could help me with some of the labor part. With a BIG gulp,  I went for it. This was right before the recession hit.

Honestly? I was really really scared. I’m  afraid of debt and here I went and took out a LOAN. But, in this case, I’m glad I did it.

 True, I have debt. But now I can work at paying down the loan and moving on, rather than being frustrated daily with a broken kitchen that I have no funds for anyway. And I know if I had to resell, I actually could now. I wouldn’t have even tried prior.

The biggest bonus of all? I am enjoying my kitchen and home every. single. day. And that’s worth my sanity.

So, let’s take a reno dive into the deep end shall we?

The before

I actually have two befores.


 This kitchen gave me a lot of grief. The layout was just all wrong. That peninsula thing jutting out allowed for only one person to work in the kitchen at a time. I actually had to shoo my son out of my way when I cooked. Not cool!

 Itty bitty tight spaces. I really hated this kitchen. πŸ™‚

I lived with this for about a year until I had my fill and painted the place, broken cab doors and all.

I also hired a friend carpenter to widen up some doorways and change out some dog clawed doors and such so I could at least deal.


And then I got out the paint and went to town on everything in sight. We’re talking walls, broken cabs and even countertops. I repainted the counters every season for a new look because I could. πŸ™‚

I even allowed myself some new stainless steel appliances I could at least feel good about the space.

The paint I used for the cabs and counter tops is called melamine paint which is actually liquid counter top. No priming. Just went to it.

The widening of spaces made so much difference!

Note the  plywood floors? I couldn’t deal with the carpet so I just ripped it out. πŸ™‚ And we lived like this for a few years.

‘The Great Wall of Ugly’ had always been a thorn in my side. I hated turning around feeling like my nose was pushed up against the wall. Desperation had set in so I had that window hole cut out which really helped. But the wall always felt in the way. I wanted it gone from day one.

And then the awesome reno team knocked on my door and we started making noise.

But you see, the team didn’t just want to fix what was broke. They wanted to also make some dreams of mine come true. So Vic and Ralph took down the wall!

I’ll never forget this day. When the walls came tumbling down in the very best of ways, I squealed so loud the guys turned around wondering if something happened to me!

Ohhh something did indeed happen. I fell in love with my house for the very first time that day! What a difference! Isn’t the visual space amazing already?

As luck would have it, the walls were not load bearing. I had a pro Ben check it out.

Looks a little like Janette’s house doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

Next came down the cabinets and headers. I desired my new cabs to reach the ceiling this round.

The door was then removed and boarded up, getting ready for more exciting dreams in the making. A bank of 3 windows and french doors were in the plans! Did it happen? You just wait and see.

I got rid of the cabs by calling a neighbor that was building a workshop. We delivered that very day.

It’s got to be every woman’s dream to have a team of men willing to kick up some dust. I felt like a queen!

Just so you know? These changes meant so much to me I get misty eyed just looking through the photos again. I can cry at the absolute drop of a hat when I think about the good hearts these people had.

So… you think it’s messy now? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. πŸ™‚

Part 2 is HERE.


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Categories: DIY, Full Rooms, Junk Drawer

32 thoughts on “My Kitchen Part 1 – The before and wall/cab removal

  1. Donna,

    Looking forward to finding out about the cool / rustic looking black panel section with lights over your sink. I have always wondered what those were!

    Take care,

  2. Wow…that is amazing how it all went down (literally). Power of prayer….Im going to check out the wordy version now.

    Love your blog, love your style!

    Lucky 7 Design

  3. WOW…..that was something and look at what you have now. Here in Arizona there is a company that will come in and dismantle the cupboards if they can have them and they refurbish them for someone else. Can’t wait for the continued story. Happy Easter.

  4. Talk about a cliff hanger… I can’t wait to see it!
    I love that you brought yourself out of that low place and became fabulous!

    Have a great holiday weekend!
    …and hurry up and post the rest!

  5. Okay. I’m hooked! Can’t wait for the ‘next installment’ of your story! and….hey, how can I find some nice guys who want to work for free just because??? lol So excited to see the rest of the pics and hear the story.

  6. OMG that was one butt ugly kitchen Donna!! I had no idea it was that bad…your kitchen really is so pretty now, and open and airy. Yikes….what a difference. Enjoying this reno story!

  7. Love it! all of the mess is so worth the result πŸ˜‰ Happy Friday,Happy Good Friday, Happy Earth Day, Happy Jelly Bean Day ( yes it’s actually jelly bean day)Hugs from Katherine. P.S have you entered my giveaway?

  8. wow, your prayers get answered in 10 min.??? I have a prayer I’ve been waiting for an answer on for 22 yrs.:) maybe I should get you to pray…:) and I’m tremendously blessed by those wonderful Christians that put some shoe leather to their faith! they will have an awesome reward in Heaven I’m sure!

  9. I got all misty when I saw the photo of the wall gone!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I NEED some space!?

    This is great Donna!!!! ‘Synchronized Renos’ – cool!!!!


  10. Oh Donna, I can’t imagine why you wanted to get rid of the drawer pulls right smack dab in the middle of the cabinet doors. Who would do that? I am loving your story so far. Can’t wait for the second installment. Now I have to go read your neighbor’s story that I missed yesterday.

  11. this posts reminds me we let the kids write all over the old linoleum floors at our old house before we put down pergo flooring. It is good memories! Sometimes going into a little debt for a big improvement is a good thing if it makes you happy with your home and you know you can get the debt paid off.

  12. I hate that life kicks us in the butt through out it. I mean I hate you had to give up your dream house. Anyway you have a house that will be totaly fabulous when you get through with it. But then again I don’t think we ever get through redoing our house.
    We love to change things around and you are very good at that I can see
    I am glad I read what Anna wrote
    about going in debt for big improvements. My sister just talked me into a big improvement($2600.00) which is a lot to me
    we are all waiting to see more of your house

  13. I have never known a team of people work that hard for free. Amazing…and it sure tells a lot about the kind of person YOU are…one that these people love and that’s such a blessing. Your loving nature comes thru your everyday blogging..I know, in person, it radiates.
    Can’t wait to see it all happen.
    Then, I am going to blog about an addition Mr. Sweet and I did several years ago…all by ourselves. See….you inspire the heck outa me.
    xoxo bj

  14. We just did this for some people at our church and I saw what it meant to them so I think I know how you felt. Your a blessed lady but I don’t need to tell you that! I got goose bumps when I saw the wall down and then I could see how it looks now.
    Such a cool story!

  15. Hi Donna,
    Wow, what a difference taking out that wall makes! Can’t wait to see the rest of the reno! We just moved from Michigan to Washington State, and are renting a home with a hideously ugly kitchen! The owners gave us the go ahead to paint, so the first thing I am going to do is paint the horrible kitchen cabinets! I will think of you as we work on our big project:)

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