Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

So here she is in all her glory…

My kitchen is so 1980s-a-fied (I’m pretty sure that is a word) that I find myself singing Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” when I’m making omelets in the morning. The red walls even remind me of his signature jacket. I’m positive he was the inspiration. The problem is the kitchen scares me more like “Thriller” did. It is likely that there are zombies living in my walls. Heaven knows there is enough wasted space there that they would fit.

Like I said in yesterday’s post we started out remodeling this kitchen right after we were married but an emergency situation came up and we ended up having to spend our remodeling money to take care of that instead. We haven’t been able to save the money again so here it sits.

We removed the drop-in stove from the center of the counter and replaced it with a slide-in since that was cheaper to do and if all had gone as planned that would have left us with enough money to remodel the rest of the kitchen.

80s kitchen

Why yes,that is a small bookcase on the counter. And yes, that is a ceiling fan in the kitchen. Let me explain.

Do you see that big red box above the counter? It used to have cabinets attached to it; very low cabinets. Like,”I couldn’t fit my big stock pot on the stove under the cabinets” kind of low. Apparently, people were very short in the 80s when this house was built. They also had no clue how to design an efficient kitchen. Just look at all of that wasted space under the window. I also don’t understand why they didn’t wrap the counter around and put the sink there.  Anyhoo, back to the bookcase…

When we were starting the remodel we removed the small cabinets that hung low above the counter. That left us with very little space to store things. When the remodel budget went bust I figured sticking this $18 bookcase on the counter would at least afford me some additional space. I wasn’t thinking of aesthetics. I was just needing somewhere to put the bread and sugar.

The ceiling fan is another amusing story. There was a big florescent light box there that was rusty, moldy, full of nasty bugs and just plain old ugly. We won’t mention how difficult it was to remove the rusted on lights so that they could be replaced when they burned out. It was better to just remove it and replace it. Ha! As we found out after we removed it, that is much easier said than done.

There was a massive hole under that box lighting; massive, I tell you. Again, with our budget cut we had to do a quick fix. We had to buy a round decorative thingy (yes, I know I am so technical) to stick up there. You know, the things that you see on the ceiling but that usually have a chandelier hanging from them? That is what is there to cover the hole. We are classy rednecks.

We tried regular lighting but it wouldn’t fit with the round decorative thingy so we went with the small ceiling fan which pulls double duty since we have no exhaust above the stove. The ceiling fan kind of circulates the hot air and smoke (on occasion) up and away then it can go out of the window that is located above the empty space where a sink should be. *deep breath*


Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

When the funds ran out they ran out completely so we couldn’t seal the tile. They immediately started coming off. Once that happened it made no since to seal it. We keep saying we’ll have the money soon to redo it all so why waste more money “patching” it. It is impossible to keep this sanitary too which is why you will see me covering it with a tablecloth most of the time.

Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

The door there leads to the pantry/laundry room. We had to move the food in there when we ripped out the pantry to put the stove in. Are you confused yet? Try living here. 🙂

It is pretty convenient though since I can sneak a cookie while I am pretending to wash clothes but that is a post for another day. (No honey, you did not just read that. I made it up. I don’t really sneak your cookies.)   shhh….

The baker’s rack houses lots of my stones and pans since I have no cabinets to put them in. There is a door to the right of the baker’s rack that has Carsten’s homeschool supplies and all of my small appliances. Yes, I have to remove the stand mixer and crock pot every time I want to use them. It is most certainly a pain but I do have great biceps now plus it helps work off the cookies that I don’t really eat. Thanks for asking.

Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

More wasted space here. Why in the world is there a foot of useless space on each side of the sliding doors? And why weren’t those few feet past the counter used for something else? They obviously didn’t give much thought to this kitchen when it was built. The kitchen and the master bath… the two biggest selling points today were the least important back then. Don’t get me started on my master bath. The pantry/laundry room is bigger than my master bath. The guest bath is twice the size! Ty Pennington, please come bull doze my house. I need an extreme makeover!

Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

That empty space under the counter is where the old drop-in stove used to be. All of this was supposed to be a temporary fix. It has been almost three years now. Oh well, when you get lemons make lemonade. We stuck the recycling there and it makes for a good recycling center.

Kitchen Renovation in Our Dated 80s House

Ahhh.. my favorite thing about the kitchen. The stove that now sits where the pantry used to be. With her exposed studs that someone loves to stick those tacky plastic bags in (who does that?) and the dust pan hanging near. With the garbage can so eloquently placed below the wire spice rack that was never meant to hold spices. We won’t mention that the counter is so close to the oven that the door nearly hits it when you open it. No one can pass when I’m cooking and heaven forbid if there is a fire on the stove while I am at the sink. I would have to hurdle the counter to get away. That would be quite a feat since I ate so many cookies while I was pregnant and have yet to lose that cookie weight.  (STOP picturing me hurdling the counter – it’s just not right) And there is no light or exhaust above the stove either. *sigh* But, look at my beautiful apron that my friend Marsha gave me. I love her. It makes my kitchen much more exciting when I wear my apron that Marsha gave me. It is like my Supergirl cape. I can cook anything in my kitchen when I’m wearing my Supergirl apron.

So there you have it. That is my kitchen. Laugh at it. We do.

Feel free to offer any ideas or advice about remodeling it. Eventually it will be remodeled and when it is I want to be ready. Until then, I am thankful that I have a home and a place to cook.

Now, you are more than welcome to imagine Michael Jackson, as a zombie, doing the moonwalk and “hoo hooing” across my counter because the stove is on fire.


  1. I’m with LORI!!! You go girl! =)

    Yes, kitchen difficulties just seem to make everything else pale in comparison. I feel your pain, sista! Can I tell you? Maybe it’ll help – I TOTALLY envy your counter space! And your pantry – hey – you have to walk farther, thereby burning calories – which SHOULD help extinguish the whole “cookie” issue… Bonus!

  2. @ Marsha

    Lori cracked me up with that. I so have to put some of those ideas into play.

    If you are in Houston then I believe you are about 4 1/2 hours from me. I’m in Baton Rouge so…

    Are you really that close?

  3. I am thankful for the counter space that I have. It just boggles my mind how much space they didn’t utilize when they built it. 🙂

  4. @Angie

    Squirrels? Oh my word. You are right. At least I don’t have to deal with that. All I’m after is serviceable and sanitary. My little kitchen will get there.

  5. Lori’s idea is brilliant! I’m telling you, she’s on to something with that whole 80s thing…

    I am so glad you like ze apron. And to think I almost got you a PINK one! It makes for happy cooking, no?

    How far away from me do you live again?

  6. Hey, I like it! It looks very roomy compared to ours :). We have a very tiny kitchen – one of those bachelor apartment style ones :).

  7. Girl. At LEAST there are no squirrels storing the coveted nuts in your cabinets…which is what we had when we moved in this little house 5 years ago. Jeff gutted the kitchen, and on a tight budget in 3 months gave us a Lowe’s cheaply done kitchen. Nuthin’ fancy–but serviceable. There are MANY things I don’t like about mine–but the FIRST thing about yours I loved was the RED walls! 🙂 Go figure. The 80’s were a good decade for me. I was skinnier then. 🙂

    I think you should go ahead and do the cooking show—and send the video to TY Pennington! He will surely be so blown away by the awesome food that he will fly that “bus” down to your house and RE-DO the kitchen just to EAT THE FOOD!!!

    Love you to pieces!

  8. Well K, I am glad that you all don’t think it is that bad. Knowing that you all understand will make the lighting and space issues less of a problem when I do make some videos. Too bad you don’t live closer because I’d love to use YOUR kitchen. You know, since you don’t and all. he he! 🙂

  9. You made me laugh so hard! oh my goodness….and don’t think I didn’t notice you sandwiching this post with another one to distract me.

    Can I say, its really not as bad as you made it seem like it was going to be?

  10. Kathryn, I love the idea of those shelves. I’m definitely going to look into them. Are they sturdy? Like would they hold my stand mixer and breadmaker?

    I just really like the industrial look of them too. Great idea!

  11. Ha! Misty you make me feel so much better. Seriously, I must have mad photo skills because my kitchen is pretty bad. It really is okay though. I’m going to stick it out and press on!

    I would LOVE to see your kitchen! Do you have any posts?

  12. Cherilyn you are so right! It is all temporary and if we let all these minor details hold us back then we’d never accomplish anything. Thanks for the gentle nudge!! I can’t wait to get started!

  13. Connie, just wait till you see me in said cape! Up, up and away! 😉

  14. Thanks, Mary Ann. I’m going to stick it out and make the best of it!

  15. Andrea,

    I just may have to get a sign… and the painting isn’t such a bad idea. We thought about doing that a few times but kept putting it off because we planned on doing it all at once. However, I’m now convinced that “all at once” may not happen so some painting could be in our future.

  16. Oh I love ya, Linda! I’m found of the 80s era too but I’m so not into the home styles from then. I’m going to make the most of it though!

  17. Kristal,
    I would LOVE to see your kitchen!

  18. Karen,

    I do think I will. I just really enjoy it and I hope everyone else will too!

  19. We began our 70’s kitchen remodel several years ago, and although we have removed the harvest gold flooring and appliances as well as the lovely orange counter tops we have yet to save enough to replace the cabinets. I did remove the wood grain contact paper from the cabinets – made from the highest quality particle board ;). We got as far as painting them white with the intentions of refacing them, but that never happened so instead of doors I made “curtains” to cover my cabinets. All this to say, I feel your pain. My kitchen is no longer as ugly, but the cosmetic improvements have not added to the function. My lifesaver has been industrial post shelving like this It is readily available at several merchants, comes in all different sizes, some can be stacked, and it is almost endlessly re-configurable. We have it all through the house -the kitchen, garage, kids rooms, closets. Whenever I get bit by the remodeling bug I shop the house for a different size unit or readjust the shelving on an existing unit. Looking at your photos it appears you could stack a couple of 12″X12″ units on each side of your slider, slide one under the cabinet where you currently have recycling and fit one under your spice rack next to the range, and even one on the end of your island where the counter top overhangs. It is not as satisfying as a complete remodel, but in the interim can help save your sanity.

  20. lori, I just fell out of my chair!!!!!!!

    I’m so gonna do it… at least once! And I just love the NEXT Food Network Star. Are you watching the new season?

    Oh you crack me up! Love you, girl!

  21. I am up far to late but I couldn’t resist the title. Now I’m a bit partial to the 80’s so I wanted to see how you were slamming “my” decade…I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more.

    Girl, here’s how I see it.

    Food Network is looking for the NEXT Food Network Star….right, stay with me here…Most of these people can cook, most of US can cook, but what they lack is a “point of view.” You my dear have the coveted “point of view,” cooking gone retro! It’s NOT yet been done…until now. All those recipes from the past prepared right before your eyes in a TRULY retro kitchen. 80’s tunes in playing in the background. Guests will include all the 80’s stars beginning with Rick Springfield….
    I see it.
    Millions of dollars in endorsements. A line of cookware sitting next to Bobby Flay in Kohls. Martha will be on your show. You’ll vacation with Giada (nah, never mind that, she’s too skinny) You’ll vacation with Duff.
    I know. Brilliant, eh?

    Should this work, you will remember those who knew you “when.”

    love you!

    • lori, I just fell out of my chair!!!!!!!

      I’m so gonna do it… at least once! And I just love the NEXT Food Network Star. Are you watching the new season?

      Oh you crack me up! Love you, girl!

  22. I was pretty excited to see this post up when I clicked on the previous one. You certainly made me giggle…as did some of the comments. 🙂 I have to admit, you’re a great photographer, because the kitchen is not as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, I could write my own house/kitchen story…from the 70’s, not the 80’s…we had avocado appliances! I did get new ones when we moved in though. But your house reminds me of my own, in that I’m always wondering why they didn’t move this here or that there & why, OH, WHY the WASTED SPACE?!?? You do not need to be embarrassed. You know there have been much worse on Extreme Home Makeover. I used to always wish for Ty to come & bulldoze my house, too…okay sometimes I still wish. Anyway, looking forward to your cooking videos! And I like the red walls…it is my favorite color.

  23. Cherilyn says:

    Your kitchen is SO not that bad! Mine is in close competition with yours. After a while you don’t notice the problems, until you’re ready to sell (as we are) and then every little “quirk” sticks out like a sore thumb. Oh well – this life is temporary right?

    Anyway – it is good to have you back to posting regularly. Thanks!

  24. Oh this had me in stitches…seriously, super mom, pregnant jumping the counter to save the house from impending doom. Ohh and wearing the cape…can’t forget the cape.

    I would watch said cooking videos as well.

  25. Mary Ann says:

    My daughter would sooo love your kitchen! She loves ‘retro’… but then again, she doesn’t cook! Makes a big difference doesn’t it. I’ve been where you are, and I know you’ll do great in spite of your kitchen. Can’t wait to see the videos!

  26. You could just stick up a sign that says “art in progress”. My husband’s friend did that – his house was constantly under reno’s! But you know what you might like that isn’t too expensive – paint your kitchen a light color that makes you happy. We’re at that point where a lot of things need to start getting done, too, but all I can afford is paint. At least a new coat of paint placates me and freshens things up. Just don’t do what I did in our old house and accidentally paint it yellow. Like the yellow they use for children’s toys. I swear we had to wear sunglasses every single time we walked in there. That’s why we moved. 😉

  27. I am sad. I love your 80s kitchen. But I am a product of the era. Sigh.

  28. Oh girl… I should do a post on my kitchen. You might love yours then. Of course I can honestly say it is NOT the worst kitchen I’ve had. LOL

  29. Seriously Amy…you crack me up! Go for those cooking videos. I’ll be first in line to watch them! 🙂


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