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The Kitchen Remodel - That 70s House

In 2020, we refinanced our mortgage to lower the monthly payment. Thankfully, our monthly mortgage payment is well within our budget, but we thought it would be nice to have lower interest rates. We discovered we could take out money and keep the monthly mortgage rate the same.

The first order of business was to update our kitchen, which had been updated in 2011 with new cabinetry, flooring, and countertops. It was livable, and we made it work. We host friends, family, and other company quite often, so we wanted an area that was welcoming and not closed off. Our goal was to make the three split rooms into one great room. We have a vaulted ceiling in this main area and wanted that to be more visible. The vault was being overcrowded by the wall, keeping the kitchen separate.

scraping popcorn ceilings off a 1970s house

First, we had to determine if our kitchen wall was a load-bearing wall. Thankfully, it was not, and we could rip out the 2x4s holding that wall up. There was much to do in this first phase before we could even touch the kitchen area. Our entire house had popcorn ceilings, so we knew that needed to go. We did not do an asbestos test, as multiple contractors told us that if we got the popcorn texture super wet, it would scrap right off and not cause any dust. We wore masks just in case. Later, we discovered it didn't have asbestos, but that's an insurance story for a different post. This was a tremendous job. Popcorn ceilings instantly age a home. Ours was extra special as it had sparkles throughout. When Quinn was itty, she called them stars. Though it takes time and effort, it's an easy update and increases a house's equity.

1975 house remodel
Tearing out 2x4s and sheetrock

1970s house remodel
My dad and mom were so generous with their time in helping us.

1970's house remodel

Another significant job was removing a window in the dining room so that we could extend the kitchen and put in the pantry. We also made the kitchen window a little larger and right at the level of the countertop.

a 1975 kitchen being remodel into a modern farmhouse
Installing the new countertop window.

We also had to rip out all the carpet and wood flooring. We took out the carpet in the living and dining (ew) room. The wood flooring was a bugger to get out. We spent so much time bent over pulling nails from the base floor. It took us two nights to get the nails up. Whoever put that wood flooring in was planning on having it be there forever!

Our main living areas hardly had any light, if any at all. They did have switch-controlled outlets that once would turn on a table lamp, lamp stand, or plug-in pendant light. Almost every room had hooks in the ceiling to prove a plug-in pendant light once gave the room ambiance. We wanted, and needed, to brighten the home with all the shade we had. We kept all lighting simple with THESE "can" LED lights that are super seamless and easy to install. I didn't want anything obstructing the view from the sitting or dining room into the kitchen or vice versa. The only chandelier we have is in the dining room over the table. Everywhere else, we have dimmable LED lights.

a two-toned modern farmhouse kitchen

The best part for me was designing our kitchen. I love a functional, well-thought-out kitchen. I grew up in the kitchen, at our bar, doing homework while my mom made dinner. I also remember late nights at that same bar, crying over homework I didn't understand, my dad helping me, and my mom offering Tension Tamer Celestial tea to calm my spirit. The kitchen is a special place for me, and I wanted a space that could be the same for our kids.

Our kitchen is the focal point of our main floor. If we are hosting you, you will most likely walk into a "come in!" and see me behind our island preparing dinner. In our kitchen, I wanted lots of drawers, and I wanted it to feel clean, look clean, and be clean. For that reason, I chose white for the cabinets on the wall with our main sink. I didn't want to go all white because I knew it would show any scuff, scratch, or other marks, so I decided I wanted a natural wood that I could take into the bathrooms whenever we chose to do those.

The natural wood color and type of wood took forever for me to figure out and find. I scoured the internet for inspiration and discovered I liked hickory wood. The caveat was that I did not like all the knots that came with hickory.

A modern farmhouse kitchen remodel
The cabinet panelling has the most knots in the wood (as seen in the picture below as well).

We worked with a local cabinet shop in North Idaho, which was the best. They were so understanding and thoughtful. They understood our big decisions and helped us decide what would be best for the space. They let me come in and pick out the pieces of hickory that would make up our island cabinetry. I chose pieces that didn't have large knots, or the striping wood can get when put together. I wanted the wood to look as seamless as possible.

a modern farmhouse kitchen remodel

We decided to keep our sink in its original spot to make our remodel go more easily. We added a prep sink to the island right by the fridge. We kept the stovetop in about the same spot and added a gas line to get gas to our stove. I hate cooking on electric stoves - probably because I grew up with gas, and that's just what I know. We moved the dishwasher, the fridge, and the oven. I wanted double ovens. If you are on the fence about double ovens and use your kitchen a lot, get the double ovens. Even with our small family, I get done baking cookies in half the time. It makes it so much simpler for holidays as well.

I knew I wanted open shelves on one part of the wall, but I didn't want to go all in on a trend, so I chose to do an area right next to the window and sink instead of the whole wall. I also put only one set of upper cabinets on the far left to give the kitchen some symmetry with the double ovens and baking sheet cabinet on the far right. The cabinets on the left have glass windows on the uppers; we had the cabinet go to the countertop, where our cabinet guys put in a garage cabinet door. This is where I hide our alcohol, my recipe binder, and knives. For the lower cabinets, I did all drawers except one cabinet door to break up the monotony of the drawers. We have a pull-out garbage/recycle on the right of our sink on the wall cabinets. Our dishwasher sits to the left of our sink.

A modern farmhouse kitchen with a 13 foot long island

For our island, we wanted the space to be filled. We chose to do a 13-foot island to fill our space. This was after keeping 54 inches between the fridge and the island. This amount of space allows for someone to be standing at the open fridge and another person to pass by behind them. We also kept 48 inches in between our sink and island. I wanted multiple people to be in the kitchen at one time without having to move our bodies so someone could get by continually. Having seating on our island was a must. Because we had our stove top on the island, we made the island the maximum width before the countertops had to have a seam widthwise. We knew we would have a seam for both countertop sections because they are long. Our prep sink is on the island right by the fridge, with a cabinet below it for food disposal, a small garbage can, and storage. We chose to do 12-inch deep cabinets under our sitting area on our island for more storage. We keep all our crafts, coloring supplies, games, cloth napkins, and table cloths in these cabinets under the counter. On the right side of our island, opposite the prep sink, we have a cabinet that matches the same one below the prep sink. We have drawers and a mini fridge for drinks on the side of the aisle.

We chose white quartz with some veining for our countertops. I'm not a fan of lots of veining or large veins, so we went with subtle veining that is just enough to give it some movement.

Having a pantry was a must, and I wanted to put one in because we had the space. We DIY'd the pantry, and I love it. It’s functional for what we need and hides the microwave, tea kettle, soda stream, and toaster. It’s basically a mini butler's pantry. Jordan put shelves in with scrap wood for the supports and lanoline boards for the shelves. We have yet to decide whether to put a barn door on it. At first, that was the plan, but now, I like the idea of not having a door there, and I’m afraid it would look too squished with the cabinetry. But, down the road, we might put one in. Our pantry also has a motion-detection light, which is so lovely when putting away groceries in the kitchen and walking in and out. I never have to worry about remembering to turn off the light!

a modern farmhosue kitchen
A picture that shows real life: foam pieces from the newly built chairs, toys scattered, dishes drying, and clutter.

We love a modern, clean, streamlined feel and felt that adding black here and there would enhance that. Our handles, island chairs, and dining chairs are black. I wanted a low-profile chair, but I could still sit in it comfortably. My only complaint about the metal is that it’s always cold. I wanted a softer feel for our dining chairs, so I went with wood that is painted black. I love these chairs. They haven’t scuffed or have any chips in them (yet), but we’ve had them for at least a couple of years, so I know buttons and shoes have come into contact with them, and they aren’t scratched yet! Here's a link to our dining chairs. Here is a link to our island chairs.

The appliances we have are a mix (that story will be a separate post). Our double ovens and stovetop are Kitchen Aid, and our fridge and dishwasher are Cafe. When we finished the kitchen remodel initially, all our appliances were the same except the fridge. We didn't need a new fridge at the time, so we just stuck with the one we had.

boxed kitchen appliances in a modern farmhouse kitchen remodel
Appliances Arrived!

Our flooring is Paradigm Conquest, Citadel. It took me FOREVER to find this flooring. At the time, I only could see it in one boutique interior design shop. When I found it, I knew it was the one. It’s a luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and looks so sharp. It has a click-and-lock system; if your floor is level, it is super easy to install. We have two giant dogs, and they have not scratched it. There are some scratches from pulling the metal chairs across it, and part of the rough metal leg edge is scratching the floor. But they are barely visible, and we have since put covers on our chair feet to avoid this. This LVP is super heavy (literally) duty. We have had to replace this flooring two times (again, an insurance story for another time), and each time, we were able to put the pulled-out flooring into different areas of our house. We put the LVP in our mudroom, one of our guest rooms, the upstairs hallway, and the master bedroom.

Please subscribe to stay updated on this series as we update our 70s house. My next post will feature the remodeled sitting room and dining room.


2011 kitchen remodel


modern farmhouse kitchen with white quartz countertops, white and hickory wood cabinets
modern farmhouse kitchen with a 13 foot island

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