Sunday, January 9, 2011


As I prepare to have my blog printed and made into journals, I thought I would start to record some of the major changes that have taken place in our lives over the past few years. I decided to begin with our home.
When Ron retired after 20 years in the army, we looked all over the place for a house to buy. The houses we could afford were either small or in horrible neighborhoods. We owned a couple of acres just outside of the city, and my father suggested we look into building our own home there. Being the Jack-of-all-trades that he is, Dad guided us through the process. We ended up with a beautiful little yellow house in the middle of cactus, cedar, and rocks. We loved the house and had many wonderful years there.
However, as Ron and I grew older and the kids grew up, the house seemed to get smaller and the yard got larger. It seemed that every free hour was spent fighting the never ending war of cactus, cedar and rock. I started looking for a place to retire in that had little to no yard, and a large living area to accommodate a growing extended family.

(The picture below was taken during the last family gathering we had at the Killeen house. At that time, we had 1 son-in-law and 2 grandchildren that had joined our family.)
I started my search online and looked at homes in Killeen & Harker Heights. The prices were much higher than I wanted to pay, and the neighborhoods are not stable. Being a military town, people move in and out constantly. We have seen many neighborhoods start out as wonderful, owner filled places only to become rental property after 3-5 years. So, I extended my search to Belton and Temple. The house we decided on was in an older neighborhood; had been built in the late 70's, is very ugly from the outside, and was in need of MANY updates. After that description, someone might ask why I decided on this house. Hopefully, through the next few posts that question will be answered.
I will begin with the kitchen. I don't really like a galley kitchen, but the number of cabinets in this kitchen make it bearable. Besides, I don't cook enough to spend any amount of time in there. As I said, the house was very dated. The kitchen had butcher-block formica counter tops and back splash, a chipped and stained porcelain sink, and yellowed vinyl flooring. The few walls there are were covered with a mauve & pink swirled wallpaper. The cabinets are solid wood that were badly scarred and had horrendous knobs! It also had a gas range; which I hated.

(The next two pictures are of the kitchen before we remodeled. The decorative items were the realtor's.)

Having built the Killeen house, I knew there were things we could and could not do in the new place. We had discussed which chores we would do ourselves and peeling wallpaper was one we wanted to hire someone to do. However, Rebecca came over one day and started pulling at the paper. It came off surprisingly quickly so before we knew it, we had a wallpaper stripping day.
The walls under the paper were pretty rough. Evidently, the builder never prepared the walls for painting. The original homeowners just put paper up and just papered over it as their tastes changed. Once the paper was all off, I had to find a paint to cover the flaws. I ended up getting a paint from Lowe's that has a faux finish. It is called Tuscan Accents and has a rough, bumpy texture. It did a great job of covering the scars and gouges.
Ron refinished the cabinets and we removed the hardware. However, even after 2 years I haven't found anything I like. So, they remain handle-less. The floors were replaced with a large, neutral tile and we used a coordinating 2 inch tile on the back splash. We had Lowe's install the counter tops, because that was beyond our capabilities. I picked a light color because the cabinets are so very dark.
(The next 2 pictures are of the kitchen the way it looks now.)

Ron hired a handy-man to cap off the gas line so that I could move in my electric stove. Once again, we stayed with the light appliances due to the dark wood of the cabinets. The only thing I would still like to do is remove the paneling that is on the lower portion of all the walls. We just thought it wasn't a good idea after seeing how rough the walls were under the wallpaper. So, I made do and painted the paneling. I prepped the wood, then put a coat of black on it, and brushed on an overcoat of a deep red. The black shows through so it looks weathered. I really like the way it turned out so I can live with the paneling for a few more years.
So, that is the kitchen. Next post will be the dining & living room area.

1 comment:

Sarah Harward said...

Holy smokes! Am I jealous of your kitchen and cabnets! I have about 6 cabnits in my eat-in kitchen, and I HATE it!!

p.s. I had my blog printed off last year, and plan on doing it again this year. I LOVE it. The only thing that kind of frustrated me was that all the pictures were along the side of the page, with the text on the other side, so when I had pictures in the middle of my post with words explaining the picture above or below, it didn't print out that way. I'd imagine there's a way to get it to print off like that, but I haven't looked into it yet. Steven printed my book off for me last year. I'm excited for the up-coming posts!