We have been remodeling our mobile home kitchen and finally finished in December after a month of weekends working on it. In the coming posts, we’ll detail our project for you from start to finish. We’re happy it’s done, happy it’s no longer something we’re just talking about, and happy that we did it ourselves. In this post, we’ll talk a bit about what was wrong with our old kitchen, and some of the things we did to make it tolerable until we committed to completing this project.
So! Our old kitchen- where do I begin? It had your standard double wide flowery vinyl-covered gypsum wall board. It was an exhibit of epic proportions of cheesy cheap cupboards- and tons of them. Double wides are infamous for built in furniture! The only home that a built-in entertainment-center-bookcase-gun rack comes standard in the living room! Our kitchen was no exception. Nearly three walls of cabinets, all of which were sagging dreadfully from 15 years of holding our copious collections of junk.
At about the 10 year mark, we decided that we were going to plan our kitchen remodel, but that it was too expensive a prospect to go at it with our full plan just yet. When we do it right, we want new flooring, new walls (resurfaced), new appliances, molding, cabinets, counter-tops. If it’s going to be in the kitchen, it’s going to be new! So, at that point, we did a “patch-job” on the kitchen to get us by until we had time to do it right. Our kitchen cabinets were painted, new snap and lock laminate flooring, new windows and trim (part of a larger whole-home replacement project), and the counter-tops were resurfaced in a cheap, labor intensive, DIY way. This whole project (not including the windows) was less than $800 to complete. We were satisfied with the results and it was enough to get us by without wanting to rip the cupboards off the wall each time we opened them.
We did a great patch job on the counter tops that I highly recommend if you don’t have the money to invest in new cupboards and counters. A technique we found on the internet is similar to the method used in this Ginni Granite Paints video. This product wasn’t available that we knew of at the time we did this project. We purchased quarts of paint, beginning with a slate black, and adding a dove grey, and finally a white.
We used the dabbing technique with sponges and then coated it with a water based poly coat. You must use water based poly because it is safe for food preparation. We applied 6 coats of poly to the counters with a sanding between each coat. All in all, it took 9 coats of products (paint and poly) and about 8 days of work/kitchen disruption. In the end, I was thrilled with it. Keep in mind, this was 8 years ago, money was tight, and we were so sick of our laminate counter tops that I could have painted them with zebra stripes and thought it was trés chic! I have noticed that Lowe’s now sells kits for this for over $200. I did this with three quarts of paint and a quart of poly, a sea sponge, a paint brush, and steel wool. It is NOT worth over $200 in my book. These counter-tops lasted us for about 7 years and were still in great shape when we tore the old kitchen out. I have no doubt that they would have lasted for many more years.
At the left is a rather messy pic of our first kitchen touch up with the cabinets painted white and minty paint and decals on the walls. This picture was taken during the beginnings of our demo of that kitchen in preparation for our major kitchen remodel that we had been planning for for a few years. While at the time of this demolition, I was completely ready to rip every cabinet off the walls (as I was every time I opened one for the year before we tore them out), this touch up lasted us for many years and made us happy until we were prepared to do a thorough remodel.
I loathe mobile home cabinets and the cheapo way they throw the plumbing in, allow for open spaces under the cabinets for rodents to get in, and how they crumble with any exposure to water, which is completely idiotic in a kitchen, no? I also have a hate-hate relationship with popcorn ceilings, but that’s another post altogether.
I apologize that I don’t have a more inspiring picture of this stage of our kitchen’s life, but the $800 I mentioned as the price for this touch up stage did include the laminate flooring for a 20′ x 15′ area, paint and hardware for the cabinets (not cheap when you have three walls of cabinets!), and paint and supplies for the counters and walls, and plantation blinds for two giant windows. I give you this post to prepare you for the next post about our full kitchen remodel. This is meant to show you that even a little bit can mean a lot when you want to touch up your spaces, and if you just can’t afford the fabulous makeover you would really like, making due by making little changes for a while is a great way to buy yourself some time.
There was even a period of time when I put a futon, an area rug, and a coffee table in our dining area because our family NEVER sat at a table to eat and felt more comfortable hanging out in a more casual space. There are no hard fast rules for remodeling. It’s your home. Make it feel good to be there. Redefine your spaces the way YOU want to enjoy them.
Next time, I’ll share with you our complete mobile home kitchen transformation. It’s a space that I don’t yet call complete as I have not gotten a new refrigerator to match my beautiful stove, and the ceiling hasn’t decided what it wants us to do with it yet, but it is a beautiful space, a space that I LOVE to cook in, and love to share meals with our family in. Hell, I even love to just stand in it and look at how beautiful it is. Most of all, it looks NOTHING like a mobile home kitchen.
‘Til next time,