Remodel Musings – Kitchen Island Gets Color!

The word remodel is such a sexy word to me. It speaks of crafting something lovely. It implies a intentional shift of where you live and therefore, my mind naturally thinks “progress” or “getting somewhere”. What a marvelous feeling to progress in your goals and your dreams. I’m going to tell you that living in a cash-only, no-debt, doing-it-ourselves remodel is both intensely satisfying and a bit insane. 3 years ago this past week, we became home owners. With awe and pure joy, we saw ourselves go from renters to owners overnight in the same home. Marvelous indeed.

Being married to a contractor is a blessing. I get to watch his incredible work ethic and skill turn into a real finished product for families. I am the face on the other side of answering the calls that come in to A la Carte, LLC and my heart swells with excitement with others as they decide to move forward with a kitchen update, a new barn or an updated color for the outside of the place our clients call home. I am genuinely happy when I see the photos of our crew working hard and making an honest living improving homes around our community. Sometimes, I long to get my ‘honey do list’ all done at once so much I can feel it.


Memory Lane – our *tiny* kitchen with old wood drawers that didn’t open or if they did, God himself needed to help you close them. Leaky sink. ONE electrical outlet for the whole darn kitchen. 

Memory Lane – First we removed the bedroom and hallway that sat in between the small kitchen and the tiny living room.

Memory Lane – The view from the living room when two  walls were removed. 


With incredible patience, I am resolute in my desire to change our home without taking on debt to do so. Sometimes this makes the longing harder. It feels painfully slow and I am human – I want instant gratification. But there is a story of motherhood and priorities that is woven into my kitchen that few know about. I realize this created a false understanding in some of our friends and I felt a defensive reaction to realize this fact. Without going into my version of events that led me to realize this through hurt feelings, it is sufficient to say that we chose to set a specialized therapy for one of our children that was suffering ahead of our personal vanity or remodel status. In hindsight, I’d make the exact same choice a million times over and over. It is absolutely worth it.


Memory Lane- A year in transition lived like this. Two massive structural beams added and we had custom cabinets built for the island


Today, I get to feel pride and a depth of joy that bubbles over into everything I am doing today in my life. Our kiddo is thriving in ways we never saw before with this therapy AND my kitchen is moving forward. Memorial Day weekend brought this front and center as we attacked another piece of our remodel – our island cabinet color!


Memory Lane – Island installation day!


Our island has been through several changes and revisions as we’ve decided how best to use our space. Do we put in a sink? Do we add a flat cook top range in the middle? Do we do cupboards or drawers? What kind of counters do we want? How tall is the seating area? On and on we circled around all the details. I am a walking contradiction – I love utilitarian functional items more than anything in the world. It is my number one priority in every choice I make in my life. But… again, I’m human and I want something lovely too. Watching our kitchen transform into the space I envisioned in my dreams is bringing both the function appeal and the beauty desired.

This weekend, we embarked on the next stage in our kitchen overhaul – COLOR!


All masked off and kicked out of our house – my husband set to work to prime the drawer fronts  and the island.

“Naval” is the color of blue we decided on. It’s a rich color! I adore it. We both agreed on a matte finish.

Damon worked late into the night. Multiple coats of primer, color and finish/top coat make this lacquer the perfect choice for our family. It is extremely washable and we NEED washable with so many tiny hands around. The next morning, when I awoke early, I walked out to see this… the masking removed, the space tidied up, and these glorious drawer fronts curing before installation.

Intense gratitude. He’s a magician. He is crafting my dreams before my eyes.
I cried.

Lunch time arrived – and the benefit of being at home for this project is he gets to be a dad too! He taught Daunika how to measure, drill, line up and set drawer fronts. Monumental task when you have 20 drawers that nest perfectly together.

We ended our weekend transformation at a healthy stopping point – we need to build the missing drawers and install those two fronts on them – and we decided on hardware! So, that will get ordered and installed ASAP.

Before you think it’s all magical – I should tell you that we ARE human and this isn’t a job site over many days. This is a home and my husband fit this into a weekend. With 6 small children running around. Things happened that caused us to feel frustrated and sometimes it felt like it wasn’t going to end up ok when the finish was ruined – needed completely sanded – and lacquer was running out. Tears happen of joy and of worry that damage from our crazy busy kids couldn’t be corrected. Things did turn out but I really wanted to be honest about the *intense* middle, where all the magic and stress combines – happens  to us too.

And while I crafted this blog yesterday, our very-interesting-toddler decided to throw a drawer front. At me. While I was writing about the drawer front.

This is real life. It’s messy and magical all at once.

1 Comment

  1. Monica Smith says: Reply

    Beautiful work! And the story is the “stuff” that life is made of. I can’t wait to see it!

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