A kitchen facelift...fifty years in the making
Will and Jenny Harrison are an adorable newlywed couple enjoying their darling first home. It’s a 1960s single-family home in East Nashville with lots of character, a big backyard, and a secret in its past: Just a year ago, it had a hideous kitchen that needed a lot of work.
Now, hear me out on this. It wasn’t just a hideous kitchen, it was original to the house. That means the appliances were qualified as vintage, the cabinets bore 50 years of abuse, and the stained countertops and sink showed decades of stains that Jenny couldn’t banish, even with harsh cleaners and lots of elbow grease. The two started ripping up layers of linoleum, trying to get to the original hardwood floors underneath, but discovered that the original owners glued down the first plastic layer just after the house was built, and that the glue had ruined the floors beyond repair.
Jenny grew up in a handy household. Her parents restored an old home when she was a kid, and she was always a part of their fix-it projects. Though Will was less inclined toward a hammer and nails, Jenny’s background led them to start tackling the project of updating their home right after they closed on the house. They ran a gas line into the kitchen in the hopes of having a gas stove one day, and cut a back door into the kitchen wall so they could have access to the outdoors. They sanded and painted and restored many of the home’s other rooms, but when it came to the actual bones of the kitchen, it seemed like an insurmountable job.
They needed a total kitchen remodel, and they needed help doing it. Enter Her Nashville’s Kitchen Facelift Contest. These two enterprising do-it-yourselfers won the big prize and put their winnings to good use, giving their kitchen the facelift it desperately needed.
Looking at the kitchen’s muted neutral tones and shiny new appliances now, you’d never guess that the Harrisons had been waging a battle against their ugly kitchen for months. “We didn’t do a lot of major structural changes,” says Jenny, “but we did extend the countertop a bit so we could add a dishwasher, and then we built some open bookcases above it to hold cookbooks.” Jenny points out the cabinets and says, “these are actually the originals. We refinished them and wanted that rustic look, but didn’t realize it would take eight coats of paint!” Choosing the hardware was easier with the help of Lana Randolph Design. “She was wonderful to work with,” says Jenny, “and we love the look we ended up with.”
The sparkly countertops are particularly special to Jenny. “They’re 70 percent recycled glass,” she says. “It was really important to us to be able to re-use old resources and not just have everything brand new.” They shine in the morning light and complement the spectacular tile work that wraps around the kitchen’s backsplash. The couple says the folks at Mission Tile and Stone really had to talk them into stepping up the tile’s glam-factor. “We would have probably just gone with boring white tiles,” says Will, “but we’re so happy with what we have. It’s beautiful!” They even installed the glass tiles themselves with some help from their friends who they lovingly call the “Not For Hire Boys.”
But the kitchen wouldn’t be complete without the warm wooden floors. “They’re actually vinyl,” says Will. “We really wanted those original pine floors, but they were ruined.” Bass Flooring to the rescue. The floors blend beautifully with the original hardwoods in the rest of the home, and they’re easy to care for as well. “We love them,” says Jenny, “and we actually extended the same floors into the adjacent room, which we use as Will’s music room.”
Finally, the couple finished out the kitchen with appliances from the Habitat ReStore. “We bought our dishwasher, sink, and stove there,” says Jenny. They wanted an environmentally and socially responsible option when it came to replacing the ancient, stained appliances, and the Habitat ReStore was just the ticket.
The kitchen is warm, and seems to say, “Sit down and have a cup of tea.” In fact, while it’s hard to imagine the house without it, the results are nothing short of a total transformation.
“It’s been a long process,” says Jenny, “but we couldn’t be happier with this house — especially with our new kitchen.”
Congratulations, Will and Jenny!
Photographed by: Eric England
Jennifer McCloud always wanted to be a mom. That's why, after difficulties getting pregnant, the native Nashvillian was elated to discover she was pregnant. With triplets!
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