Foreclosure Renovation: Kitchen Edition

Jacob Ayres
by Jacob Ayres
4 Materials
5 Weeks
I'm a transfer student from West Florida University to Northern Kentucky University. I moved to be closer to home and Northern Kentucky University was the closest I could come to that would still accept my credits. While it was in my home state, it was still 2 hours away. So I had to find some sort of housing. I stumbled across this foreclosure while apartment shopping. The house was a mess. I'm talking wood-grain everything, dark paint colors, blood red carpet, ugly linoleum mess. But it was cheap. and the issues with it were purely cosmetic. And did I mention it was cheap? Luckily my dad is a contractor and has dealt with a train wreck or too and we had talked about flipping a house before, so after a roller-coaster of trying to get a hold of the property, we finally got the title to the property.
The kitchen was my favorite reno because of how minimal touches really impacted the feel of the room. I had planned on keeping the cabinets and just painting them white but the missing door, warped shelves, and amount of sanding and assembly required were too daunting. So we opted for newer cabinets. This ended up being a good style decision as well because it unified the cabinets and I wont have to worry about chips and scratches in the paint. That window looks really interesting and quirky in pictures but it lacked luster in person. And we had to replace the other ones around the house because the old ones were broken and not as energy efficient. So replacing that one brightened the room and unified the house a smidge.
The cabinets came off easier than I was anticipating and we were able to give it to a family friend, so it didn't go to waste! Once we had a fresh canvas to install cabinets onto, it became glaringly clear that the kitchen was going to have to have a huge table or an island. We have an island back home and it's become a place where the kids would come sit at and talk about our day, even if it wasn't time to eat. And we really wanted a similar feel. Plus, as a college student, it'd be nice to be able to entertain friends at the table while not having such a formal sitting area, like at a large table.
The light fixtures have become quite the conversation piece of the room. I liked the industrial/modern look of the chrome can lights, the chrome really helps the piece from straying into rustic, which I am not huge on. Also the the track lights were a perceived necessity. We were afraid that the center piece would not be as bright as we needed for that room. Also we needed something to balance the eight pendents in the center and the flush track brought the much needed balance.
The bead-board was already installed and I liked the texture of it. The chair-rail piece helped ease the transition from that texture to the flat wall. I had intended on white-washing the entire wall but the gray was a happy accident that just kind of grew on me. It's the same gray that I have in the living room and with the open connection to the rooms, it tied together the two rooms. Even without the flooring, I couldn't believe my eyes. This kitchen just looked so transformed with a touch of paint and the installed cabinets. Even with the Island, there's still a large amount of space that I have yet to decide what to do with.
Normally that kitchen door is used as a front door but it was discounted and it fit the dimensions. Again, cheap is big selling point for me. The color wasn't decided on until I had some decor in the kitchen. I wanted a pop of color that wasn't going to be compete with the elegance of the white/gray combo. The Midnight Fog was dark enough to stand out but not so saturated that it didn't mesh with the established color scheme. The chairs were thrifted at a steal of a price and the wicker seat is very comfortable! You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find sturdy chairs that still looked semi-decent! Thanks for reading! I love the way this kitchen turned out and I've been wanting to share! Please feel free to comment with any questions and I'll try my best to answer! Thank you!
One year and a half since the renovation and I still love my kitchen. The decor is always being rearranged and I've picked up a nasty habit. I am an obsessive plant hoarder. I can't walk in and out of Lowe's without adopting a clearance succulent/indoor plant. But its been turning my kiss of death into a green thumb. Now it takes a couple months before my plants die!
I already feel the comments coming in about the crooked picture frames. Yes they're a bit wonky but I like to think that it's representative of the path we make down this crazy road of life, instead of dwelling on my poor hanging skills. A couple of my friends took a printmaking class and they always have a ton of prints left over from projects so they gave me a few to hang in my house. With the exception of the peach. I purchased that print at a local shop in Covington called Hello Handzy. These two women who recently graduated from the DAAP program at the University of Cincinnati opened a little studio where they sell stationary and prints and little handmade items. I think they also have an Etsy shop.
Also the faint square on the door is a reflection from one of the mirrors on the adjacent wall.
One of the funniest comments on this post was the conspiracy some lady had that these were pictures from two different houses. So I tried to get a picture of the two windows again to show her that the windows did not move.
Also, I was trying to find a way to keep my dog's food close to the bowl but without having a giant metal tin or an ugly clear bin. I went to TJ Maxx, which has easily become one of my favorite stores, and found this wicker-styled hamper. I buy 25 lbs. dog food bags and this hamper will comfortably fit one of those.
I want to admit that this wall still did not have anything on it until a couple of days ago. During the longest yard sale on 27 (or whatever its called), I picked up these 5 mirrors (really 6 but I, again, stink at hanging things and did not measure out an even amount of space between the ends of the wall and between the mirrors so I evened it out by subtracting one) for $5. They're just from Ikea but the color was perfect for the color scheme of the kitchen. I will be adding a couple of things onto this wall but I'm not confident about the placement yet.
I found this radiator cover for free on craigslist and I spray painted the metal top. The baskets and mirror are from Goodwill. The hanging terrariums and wooden bowl are from TJ Maxx. The planters are used candle jars and the white one is from Lowe's. The gold frame is from Walmart and the pattern inside is wrapping paper from Hello Handzy.
If you want to keep updated on the changes in the house, you can follow my Instagram @Jacob_Ayres . Thank you guys for your continued encouragement!
Jacob Ayres
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Robin Robin on Feb 04, 2019

    its beautiful what are the 2 colors used on two tone wall? Thank you for sharing

  • Mary Lougee Mary Lougee on Feb 04, 2019

    What is the flooring?

  • Michelle Edward Michelle Edward on Feb 05, 2019

    Why don't you lost cabinets and light fixtures and materials needed?

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  • Pearl Pearl on Mar 26, 2019

    I think it is beautiful

  • Mary Rossi Mary Rossi on Mar 28, 2019

    Good thing u had to take one mirror down. Hang things in odd numbers. More interesting. Take down the upper right basket on the other wall. Nice job on the kitchen.