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Thought I’d FINALLY get around to showing you what ate up all my time from the end of October right up until the Christmas holiday. It began with a simple thought: We need a new refrigerator.

Refrigerator Wall - Before Renovation

You see, our current 12-year old, side-by-side refrigerator never really worked in the space (a kludgy layout we inherited with the house) for several reasons: (1) The right hand door couldn’t be opened all the way since it hit the nearby counter, (2) the fridge itself stuck out just enough that the drawer in the corner could not be opened more than 3 inches, and (3) items in the fridge would FREEZE if placed too close to the freezer side. Efficient, no? 😉

Both hubby and I are avid cooks despite our kitchen being on the small side (old home circa 1929). Over the years we’ve done our best with minor renovations to improve overall functionality and efficiency. However, one area remained a major item of frustration and with nothing left to change, it clearly was time to take it on.

So off we went looking for a new refrigerator and when we realized a better-designed model, in the size and depth required to fit the space DID NOT exist, my husband says the words every wife longs to hear: ‘Why don’t we knock out the cabinets so you can get the fridge you want? And, while we’re at it, why not reconfigure the pantry as well?’ Damn, I LOVE that man! 🙂

Pantry Area - Before Kitchen Renovation

He’s known for years I’ve been coveting refrigerators made by Liebherr (a German company), ever since I learned of their green technology and amazing efficiency. The thought that I could actually have one in my kitchen, well, that was almost too much to comprehend! Little did I know, the PERFECT Liebherr model was patiently waiting for us to discover it on the floor of our local appliance showroom. To be fair, Jim spotted her first and came up to me with his ‘Stop looking, I found the fridge’ devilish grin.

I thought,‘Yeah, surrre ya did, honey,’ as I followed him through the aisles. Gotta hand it to that boy, when he’s right, he’s RIGHT! There she stood…a 48″ wide beauty in stainless steel, complete with wine refrigerator, freezer and more fridge space than you can imagine. Drool…the salesman chuckled as I hugged the fridge. I’m not kidding. Right there, in that showroom, for all to see, I hugged the fridge. I’m a fridge hugger!

However, before we could take the plunge, we needed to consult with a contractor to make sure it would (a) fit in the space and (b) work with what we ultimately wanted to do. So, we met with the contractor, explained the design of the space, held our breath, crossed our fingers and expected to hear ‘Nope. Can’t do it’ but, instead got, ‘Go buy yourselves a fridge’. Seriously?! Woo hoo! 🙂

Wait, it gets better. We were able to purchase the floor model, on tax free weekend, for a song! Things were lookin’ good! Signed the contract at the beginning of September but with vacations and schedules, work would not begin until the end of October.

The following slideshow of images (31 in all) is just a taste of the project from start to finish.

Please Note: Unfortunately, I cannot control how quickly the images advance. HOWEVER, if you hover your mouse over the slideshow area, a set of controls will display allowing you to STOP the auto advancement of the images. Then, you can use the forward and back arrows to scroll through the images at your leisure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Long story short, a whole lotta work spanning 8 weeks with various contractors (seven subs total) and city inspectors (3 in all), plus long days, design changes, on-the-fly planning, dirty fingernails, many trips to Home Depot, Lowes as well as the local hardware store, lumberyard, and TWO paint stores, endless material searches, hours of demolition, sanding, measuring, cutting, nailing, priming, painting, tiling, grouting, caulking, cleaning and organizing! Whew! 🙂

Refrigerator Wall - After Kitchen Renovation

When all is said and done, the blood, sweat and tears were SO WELL worth it!

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26 Comments

  1. I could hug that fridge too…DROOL! I keep telling Himself that if we ever win the lottery I’m having a walk-in fridge… he knows I’m at least half serious LOL.
    I have the dilemma that I ADORE the original 1930’s old fashioned style of my dutch kitchen but I don’t adore it’s minuscule SIZE. We haven’t yet figured out a way to make it bigger without losing the bits I love so dearly. I’d love to give mine a makeover but don’t want to rip out it’s soul.
    You have done a FABULOUS job, brilliant that you gained some space you didn’t even know you had and WOW the end result looks great!
    Well done both of you for lots of hard work that looks stunning!!!

    • Hello my fellow foodie!!!! I just knew you’d understand! Oh, a walk-in fridge…of course I’d love that, too! And if you were going to go that route you might as well toss in the walk-in pantry as well. 🙂

      In every project we do, we also struggle with keeping the integrity of the home. I so respect the craftsmanship of our house. They really knew how to build them back in 1929 (when a 2×4 was REALLY a 2×4!). Many of the things we change are those renovations that folks did along the way that just didn’t quite follow the ‘rules’. We know that each project will bring surprises as well as unknown things that need to be addressed and corrected. Let’s just say I’m on a first name basis with our local custom molding guy since we can’t simply go to Home Depot and pick up ANY of our moldings! 🙂

      Thanks so much, Kiwi!! We actually have one last item we are waiting on – a custom-sized butcher block table (our current one is too long, too narrow and has a bottom shelf so stools cannot be tucked underneath). Once that arrives, the kitchen will be as perfect as it can be! With all the new organization and freed-up counter space, cooking is so much easier these days! Look for food posts, soon! 🙂

  2. Amazing job, Tracy & Jim! I LOVE it! I was wondering, what did you do with the hardwood floor under the fridge?

    • Thanks, sis!

      Your mind wonders about the strangest things! 🙂 We actually had to use the small area of usable hardwood flooring under the fridge to patch the areas that used to be covered by walls as well as pieces that used to be directly under the front of the fridge (remember, the new fridge sits further back so what was hidden before is now seen). The patching worked out great!

  3. Wow, that was a LOT of work! It looks really great!

  4. I’ll have to take photos one day so that you can see just how small, narrow and quirky my kitchen is. You might just be horrified LOL.

    • Ha! Now, we all know it isn’t the SIZE of your kitchen, it’s HOW you use it! 🙂 (Something tells me you could do amazing things with a single burner, knife and wash basin!)

      I completely understand…as the only way I could get the full image of the pantry shelves was to be 5 steps down into the basement!!

  5. Having been through a kitchen renovation myself 16 years ago, I understand your pain. I was preggo at the time – what were we thinking? I brought a newborn home to a STILL unfinished kitchen.
    Your fridge is definitely a drooler! Wow! How cool is that.
    BTW, your first two images of the post load up as big white boxes with a little red x from my view – not sure why. I’ve tried refreshing the page.

    • Thank you, Karma! The fridge is not only BEAUTIFUL but just so QUIET and BIG! Abosolutely love it and can’t believe we lived with the other POS for so long (it is fine as a second fridge/freezer in the basement).

      Yeah, the images have been doing that off and on. Sigh. Gotta love WP. If you click on the Milkay Photography header text at the top, that seems to help whereas refreshing the page does not.

  6. My kitchen is so small only one person can fit in it at a time… sigh… Do love the remodel. Everything looks absolutely gorgeous!!!! Congrats!! 🙂

    • Wow – and I thought our kitchen was small! Does that mean you make hubby do all the cooking? 😉

      Thanks, Amber! 🙂

  7. Wow… 3 months to put a new refrigerator in your kitchen… Last time I replaced mine it only took about 30mins… lol… Yeah ok, maybe you had to do a tiny bit more work than me, but I did have to move the trash bin to get the door open wide enough… and it doesn’t look anywhere near as nice as yours… 😉

    • LOL! Glad to see you haven’t lost your clever wit, Brian!! Always makes me smile! 🙂

      Yeah, it was a little more work than moving a trash bin (though, we did do that as well)…Thanks, Brian! 🙂

  8. Man, nice job!! Good thing you had a camera around to capture all of that work. 😉

    • Thank you, Derrick! During the whole mess, I only felt comfortable having my little point-n-shoot around so the images aren’t quite as good as if I had used my D300. Also took video….in an old home like ours, it is good to have a record of what is behind the walls!

  9. Congratulations! Your new kitchen looks so fine – I am sure you will be glad using this for many years from now!

  10. Now, that’s a refrigerator! Hmmm…nice light box you created, too.

    Pat yourselves on the back for a job well done! When’s dinner?

    • Light box?? You mean the undercabinet lighting?

      Thanks, Scott! Consider our backs patted! 🙂

      Dinner is at 7:00pm – bring the wine! 🙂

  11. Little things mean a LOT! Nice work!

    • Now, how’d I know you’d understand?? Thanks, Christine! 🙂

  12. Loved your slideshow! Nice work and worth all your hard work.

    • Thank you! We are loving the new organization and all-around functionality! We loved to cook before and now it is more enjoyable without the many frustrations!

  13. congrats! looks amazing.

    • Thanks! Can’t tell you how much we are lovin’ the changes!


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