Remodeling Our Casa on Park : Kitchen Edition Pt. 1

Lots of unexpected changes in the last few weeks have made life quite busy but in all the best ways. We can all breathe easy again knowing that no, that is not an implication that I am pregnant but yes, I am finally settling back in and ready to attach myself to the computer screen again.

So - once 1004 Park was signed, sealed, and delivered to us - it was time to get to work. If you know me, you know that this is my bread and butter.

Bread = Finding a project.
Butter = Getting my hands on said project.

Where did we begin? This was an easy choice to make and a rather satisfying one, too. During an initial walk-through,  my cousin/real estate leasing agent extraordinaire immediately suggested we tear down the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room - thus making one big open room. Game changer of an idea, for sure!!

Ben and I took it a step further and not only removed the wall dividing these two main rooms but also removed the gaudy archway (there were several of these around the house) separating the kitchen from our small kitchen nook.

Now don't get me wrong - I really did adore the original charming cabinetry in the kitchen. They were in pretty good condition inside and out but the problem wasn't the condition of the cabinets, it was the depth of the counter top. Standard countertop depth is 24". Ours was 20". Which meant that we couldn't install a dishwasher without it sticking out 4" from the edge of the counter.

Here are some standard kitchen measurements if you are remodeling/designing your kitchen:

  • Kitchen Countertop Depth : 24"
  • Counter Height : 34-36"
  • Upper Cabinet Clearance (distance between countertop to the shelving above) : 15-20"
  • Circulation Space around an island : 48" on each side
  • Stoveside Counter Space : 12"

We were able to stick to these guidelines fairly well while planning the layout for our kitchen only because we had the space once we knocked down the wall. Otherwise, we would have had to adjust accordingly and say - 'screw your standard measurements!' - a phrase I've used many-a-time simply because my house was built in 1937 when people were apparently very tiny and had little to no use for extra storage space. (Hence the converted linen closet that once housed a rocket-ship sized water heater.)

Just to give you a little idea of what else was going on at the same time...

With the walls down and the cabinets gone - the angel that is our friend Karla helped us map out a kitchen plan on CAD and thus we came up with this:

Living Dining CAD Drawing.jpg

The layout above has indeed come to life but you'll have to wait for that! Thoughts? Stay tuned.

Our Casa on Park

First came love,
Then came Anna, 
Then came marriage,
Then came the Casa on Park.

The new year is very much here and with that come many reflections on 2015. So many milestones happened all in one year - its a little tough to wrap my head around it! 

Ben and I have come so far in our four months of marriage- namely on the renovation of our first home together. It's been an absolute labor of love (and time, and sweat, and emotional rants) but wholeheartedly gratifying and memorable in so many ways.

If you're searching far and wide for adulthood, renovate a home built in 1937 and I will welcome you into the club with open arms. Did it take three months longer than expected? Yes. Did it cost three times the original estimated expense? Yes. Did at least three different people warn me of these things? YES. Three seems to be the magic number here.

Oh, and also - is it finished? Nope!

BUT - has it been worth it? Absolutely. This is truly our home and I am so grateful for it. Ben has worked tirelessly on the yard and I have worked on the interior. We knew from the beginning we wanted to be hands on do-it-yourselfers so we took on a few projects along the way and left the rest to our contractor and his team - aka our temporary roommates. 

Let's start from the beginning:

This is the first time I laid eyes on her - through my car window. Glistening in the summer rain. A dear family member gave us the heads up about the new listing and because of the competitive market - we knew we had to move quickly.

A few days and phone calls later - we got inside to take a tour. Here she is in all her 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no appliances glory. (Except for the rolling dishwasher. That rolls around. On wheels. RIP rolling dishwasher.)

Pros and cons of this little casita:


  • Well maintained wooden floors 
  • Good floor plan
  • Lovely backyard
  • Great neighborhood
  • So much potential


  • Swamp cooler (google it)
  • 1 bathroom :(
  • Seashell embedded floor in bathroom and sunroom - which makes so much sense, ya know? Seashells in the desert that is El Paso.
  • Zero appliances except for the beloved rolling dishwasher 
  • Limited storage
  • A fair amount of work needed

We put an offer on the house rather quickly and before we even knew what we had gotten ourselves into, the house was ours! (adulthood!!!) 

I remember bringing my grandmother over to see the house while we were still in negotiations. A few weeks later after we had officially closed, we were having dinner together and she said, "I am just glad you didn't get that grey house. It left so much to be desired, ya know?" ....Awkward.

More to come on the transformation of our little casa on Park.