DIY Dork's Kitchen & Dining Room Renovation

When we first looked at the barn house, we knew the kitchen & dining room area would have to be changed. The original idea was that we could “live with it” for the time being until we really decided how we wanted to change it. But once the papers were signed and it was officially ours… we realized how gross everything really was. So priority #1 was to completely renovate them before we moved in. And wow… it was a lot of work, but SO worth it.

In Part 1, I showed you how gross everything was when we first started on it, so check out how we wrapped everything up here in Part 2:

The walls and board & batten ceilings are painted

Once all the drywall work was done on the walls, we installed board and batten ceilings throughout the house.  Once those were up, we started painting the walls a nice, bright white. It was really starting to look like a room again!

Cutting out water damaged sub-flooring under the dishwasher

The last thing we had to work on before putting the kitchen back together was some rotten floor sections. The floor felt really mushy underneath the dishwasher, so we cut it out. Turns out, it had a leak that never got fixed, so the floor was really BAD! We also bleached the floor joists underneath that weren’t looking so good.

The kitchen floor is totally patched up with new plywood

We patched the hole back up around the rotten section and then also filled in the low spots on the floor where the cabinets used to sit. There were a couple layers of flooring that were installed around the cabinets, so we had to level them back up with plywood.

Covering the barn house kitchen & dining room floors with underlayment

Once the floors were leveled, we peeled up the vinyl flooring (what a tough, sticky job!), and then installed sheets of luan underlayment across the kitchen and dining room to create a clean, level surface for the VCT tiles we were going to install.

Starting the VCT tile install in the center of the floor

The black and white VCT tile install was fairly simple. I started by finding the center of the kitchen/dining room area and marking it with a crosshair.  Then I spread a thin, even layer of adhesive about 3ft wide across the floor to start laying the tiles. I started with a black tile butted up against the crosshair, and worked from there. Just to be a bit of a neat freak, I also made sure to line up the grain of the black tiles in one direction, and the white ones in another.

The first 3ft wide strip of tiles installed

Here’s a good shot of what the first strip of tiles looked like. The install really picked up the pace after I got the hang of the first few tiles. Once the full strip was down, I spread out another ~3 ft wide strip of glue and layed down more tiles.

The new, black and white, VCT tiles freshly installed and sealed

Here’s the black and white VCT tiles installed and clear coated. We really loved the look. When searching for kitchen flooring ideas, we really liked the vintage / Scandinavian modern look of checkered tiles. They were really easy and inexpensive to install, they’re the perfect style, they’re easy to clean, and they’ve held up really well.  We can’t think of anything else we’d want to install instead of these.

Assembling the new Ikea cabinets for our barn house kitchen

Once the floors were dry and solidly in place, it was time to start filling the kitchen back up with all the goodies. The first thing we put back in was a new set of Ikea cabinets. We wanted simple, white cabinets with no decorative features… and these fit the bill perfectly. We were also a fan of the warranty that came with them.

The new Ikea cabinets and Whirlpool stove installed

And…. here’s the Ikea cabinets in place! We went with a very similar layout to the kitchen’s original design. We gained more storage room, though, because we went with two corner cabinets instead of just one. Also, the stock Ikea sizes were just a smidge bigger than our old cabinets, so we everything shifted towards the door by about 11 inches. The one thing I didn’t take into account was that the sink cabinet wasn’t centered under the window. (We’d luck out later though…)

Building the plywood base for the waterfall style Ardex concrete countertops

Once all the cabinets were installed, we started working on the “waterfall” style countertops. We saw a few Ardex concrete countertop installs and thought we’d give it a try ourselves. We built the base out of two layers of 5/8″ thick plywood, and then coated them in several layers of troweled on Ardex concrete.

The Ardex concrete countertops sanded smooth and clear coated

Once the concrete dried, we lightly sanded it smooth and added several layers of clear coat to protect them. They looked even better than we expected and were less than $100 to build everything. I have a video of our Ardex concrete countertops if you want to check it out.

Our kitchen cabinet knobs with simple painted design

We weren’t sure what to do for cabinet knobs, so we check out the selection at the hardware store. We didn’t really find anything we liked, plus we had a little bit of sticker shock. I still can’t believe how expensive some little knobs can be! We decided to get the cheapest, simplest knobs we could find (2 for $1 !) and then added a little paint for a nice pop of color. They turned out great!

Installed the new space age looking kitchen overhead light

We also needed to replace the old fan that hung from the middle of the ceiling, so we found this crazy space age light online. It was a heavy beast to install, but it puts out TONS of light! It kinda sucks when you have to deep clean it every once in a while, but we really love it.

We used stair treads for kitchen shelves and 1 inch, white, square tiles for the backsplash

Once the countertops were dry, we finished up the walls with a tile back splash and some simple shelves. The back splash is made from 12″x12″ square sheets of 1″ white glass tiles (which were a little harder to line up on the wall than expected). The shelves are made from heavy duty hardware store brackets screwed into the support blocking I added to the walls previously and some stair risers (!) that I stained dark with my homemade wood stain. Also, when we installed our sink, we could only fit a tub & 1/2 style basin … and the hole for the faucet ended up being centered to our window. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite… “Lucky!”

DIY Dork's new, Scandinavian style, barn house kitchen and dining room complete and ready for action

Here’s how it all turned out! It feels so much bigger & brighter with the big ‘ol overhead cabinets & breakfast bar thing taken down and everything painted white. The only thing we kept in the kitchen was the old fridge, because it stills works fine … and we’re too cheap to buy a fancy new one just yet. Everything else is new from the floors to the ceiling, including the appliances, plumbing parts, windows … you name it.

We kept the dining room pretty simple by painting the original door a bright yellow, hanging a new light above the table, adding a funky collection of chairs, and building a set of “crate” style shelves to hold a few things.

Here’s a video tour of the kitchen & ding room, if you want to check out more details.

And there you have it. It was a lot of work, but we’re really happy that we decided to go ahead and renovate everything before we moved in. It’s by far one of our favorite areas of the house now!

Just wait until I show you the “murder” bathroom we completely renovated, too.  😉

See ya then!