House Progress Three: Kitchen Renovations

Coming up on three months out of the house due to storm damage.

No idea when we’ll get back in.

I’m now in the phase where I just want to buy things to replace everything that we lost.

When you have a large loss like this, the insurance gives you a bunch of money to replace what you lost. But they hold a percentage back, to make sure that you spend it on what was ruined in the storm.

“I guess everybody was taking the money and going on a Hawaiian vacation instead of fixing their houses,” our large loss adjustor said. Her name is Madeline.

We laughed about it at the time, but now, that’s exactly how I feel.

There’s all this money sitting in the bank and we can’t spend it on replacements because we don’t have a house. We don’t have anywhere to put the tables and chairs and furniture that were ruined.

Heck yeah, I want to take the money and run!

My dream house is literally what nightmares are made of.

The ceiling is leaking, camel crickets have invaded the downstairs and now mildew is growing on the clothes that we left hanging in the closets.

A Hawaiian holiday never sounded so good.

But then you come back to a broken house.

So I guess this is going to turn into a home improvement blog for now.

I spend a lot of my time looking for replacements and how I’m going to put my house back together. And I really love reading other people’s progress on this kind of thing, so here’s what we’re working on.

The kitchen gets a complete update. I’ve been picking out kitchen counters, which is seriously the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since a tree hit my house. We had Corian counters which I loved, because you couldn’t scratch or burn them. They were white, but they had a giant crack in them and I think they were original to the house, which was built in 1974.

Here’s a picture of what the kitchen looked like before:


That’s a far shot from the living room right before we moved in. You can see the chandelier that I never liked and the footprint of the kitchen.

This is a closer shot:


I never took pictures of the kitchen because it needed so much work. That backsplash! Handpainted animals on ceramic tiles. It’s very country kitchen which seemed like an odd choice for a modern house. I thought it was so funny and sort of cute. It didn’t really bother me, because I knew I’d replace it eventually. And I just loved cooking in that kitchen and looking out at the view.

But now, I get to update the kitchen much sooner and in a much more bizarre way than I ever thought possible, but I’ll take it.

This is what my kitchen looks like now, a completely blank slate:


We are going to keep the footprint. I loved that I could look out over the living room and see the boys playing. I also loved that I could see the fireplace and the TV right from the kitchen.

We’re getting custom cabinets and they will be painted white. They will look almost exactly like what we had before. We’re going to keep the glass cabinets, since they tie in to the built-ins in the dining room. And we kept the original drawer pulls since they can be found throughout the house.

We’re going with stainless steel appliances which I’m so excited about. All our appliances were old and covered in mildew. My house is built into a hill, so it gets damp. Everything in the kitchen was ruined in the storm, so we get new everything: new fridge, new dishwasher, new cooktop, new double ovens.

I sort of want to jump up and down, I’m so excited about the new appliances. As horrible as everything has been with the house and the storm damage and being moved out and living in a tiny apartment with two small boys, it still sort of feels like winning the storm damage lottery, to get all this new stuff.

We decided on quartz countertops to get a white, airy, marble look, but more durable, because our kitchen definitely gets a work-out.

We picked out Cambria quartz counters in Ella. And a Carrara white marble backsplash in herringbone.


I want to keep the kitchen simple and neutral so that the focus is still on the view. I’m hoping that the waves in the counter reflect the waves in the water.

I also ordered a new chandelier. Branch chandeliers are all the rage, but I couldn’t find one in our price range. So I ordered this baby from West Elm and I can’t wait to see it hung:


There are globe lights throughout the house which are original to the design and I’m hoping that this mobile chandelier picks up on that theme.

Our kitchen table also got smashed when the ceiling came crashing in, so I ordered this new one from West Elm as well:


Our previous table was completely white with white legs. I really loved the first one, but it was smaller and could only sit about 6.

This new one expands and can seat more, especially for the holidays.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten replacement-wise. There is still so much to do and replace.

But we can’t do too much more right now, because the house is being dry-walled and painted and hopefully, the new kitchen is going into production this week.

I’m just going to sit on my hands so I don’t spend any money that needs to go to replacements, when really, all I want to do is book a trans-Atlantic flight to see my best friend in Germany and escape.

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