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Farewell to our 90s Kitchen

This year we finally decided to update our kitchen! Our house was built in the 1930s and the kitchen was likely renovated at some point in the 90s (I found a pocket calendar from 1993 stuck behind the countertops –  my clue for a timeline guess). We are sure that the kitchen was pretty bitchin’ in the 90s…linoleum floor, teal laminate countertops, maple cabinets and electric white appliances…so fly. Thirty-some odd years later, the kitchen desperately needed an update.

I took this photo in 2018 when we replaced the linoleum floor with vinyl planks – already a huge improvement!

We decided to go DIY since most of what we needed were aesthetic changes: replacing appliances, countertops, adding backsplash, updating the cabinets with new paint and hardware, changing the light fixture and painting some walls. Our proposed budget was $5,000. The appliances alone (fridge, range/oven, microwave, and dishwasher) ate almost half of our budget right away.

This was how the floor looked when we were mid-replacement with the vinyl planks – it was…unpleasant for a good while there.

Another big expense was countertops. There are so many options available that it was slightly overwhelming trying to decide which route to take for new counters. Our decision was based on a product that was DIY friendly, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing: butcher block! It was a perfect fit for us since we have a lot of wood around the house and I enjoy working with it. I already owned most of the tools I needed to prep the countertops for installation. I have learned over the years with DIY projects that it pays off in the long run to invest in and care for good quality tools – they pay for themselves if you are able to reuse them repeatedly for DIY projects around the home.

I’m recycling this old photo just to show an up-close shot of the teal countertops.


Here is the list of everything we did to our kitchen to bring it into this decade:

  • Replace appliances and countertops
  • Paint cabinets, window and door trim, walls, and doors
  • Change cabinet hardware 
  • Add tile backsplash 
  • Replace power outlets and switches 
  • Replace sink 
  • Add under cabinet lighting and replace the light fixture
  • Organize/improve storage to keep counters free of clutter 
  • Add quarter round

The whole project took a month, and the mess was highly inconvenient while the project was underway. All told, a month of mess was an easy price to pay for a beautiful new kitchen that we will enjoy for many years! We’ll post more about specific projects and how we completed them over the next couple of weeks!

9 thoughts on “Farewell to our 90s Kitchen Leave a comment

  1. Looks great! Excellent work. You guys are way more organized than Lisa and me. We finish almost nothing in a month. We continuously modify our plans to include all sorts of stuff. Our cost was about the same but it took us quite a bit longer. Also, gotta agree quality tools an essential investment. They make any job easier, safer and more accurate.

  2. Javi. We’re old.
    Your 90’s kitchen actually looks pretty good.
    Our socks will be knocked into orbit, I bet, by the AFTER pics.
    (I can’t stop giggling. Don’t tell Joel.)

    • Haha. Please don’t take the dating of the kitchen as an attack to anyone’s age. We wanted to date it to point out the style at that time. Overall the kitchen was functional for us, just not aesthetically pleasing. Styles change so much over the years, and what once was incredible (like laminate counters for example), become not so desirable any more.

      • Nah, no worries. It just tickled my funny bone that he thought that the after pic. This is why he ought accede to his wife’s taste, always, and without discussion.

        (Still giggling.)

        PS. Laminate was never incredible.
        More like a necessary evil.

      • Hahaha I see what you are saying. I was watching the first season of this old house, and they introduce laminate countertops like the latest and greatest thing

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