Updates on the Kitchen and Dining Area

For those who haven’t been with me from the beginning, we moved from the Houston area and retired to Arkansas. We bought the place a year before we moved. We have a little over 30 acres of land. It has a year-round spring, which provides all our water to the house. We paid $65,000 for it. The seller made it clear that the price we were paying was for the price of the land with live water, meaning the house wasn’t worth anything and he wasn’t going to do any repairs.

The house sat empty for  at least 5 years after the seller’s parents died. The bugs and mice and taken up residence. There were spider webs, mouse droppings, wasp nests, ladybug colonies, dead mice, live mice, etc. The whole place smelled moldy. (We later discovered a leak in the roof.) It was so horrible, we spent the first weeks we started working on the house in a tent in the front yard. The bathroom floor was completely rotten. The water was no longer hooked up to the house. The latrine was a tree out in the woods. We knew the house had termite damage, but didn’t know how extensive it was until we started taking up old carpet, ripping off old wallpaper, etc.

The owner’s Dad built the house himself. Though the place was framed in oak, the house had an addition built onto the back to put in a bathroom, (they had an outhouse prior to that) and that is where most of the termite damage was. Bud had to replace joists under the house. We also found post dust beetle damage in the older part of the house, and some termite damage there as well.

To say we had our work cut out for us is an extreme understatement. Though we hired a plumber to do some of the work, Bud has done a lot of the plumbing, and most of the electrical work himself. He has done most of the wood work, though our neighbor built the kitchen shelves and doors for us. We have done what we can as we’ve had the money to do it. Though we have made great progress, there is still so much to do.

Here is a ‘before’ picture:

The house had two kitchens. This is their original kitchen (which did not have water hooked up to it…they were using a kitchen in the back part of the house and never removed this old one.) The window here was really low. I had to bend down to look out of it. The sink was so low, I’m sure the owner must have had to bend down to use it, too.

I wanted my new kitchen to be here where the old kitchen was. We had to rip out the particle board siding which was crumbling, it was so old. We took out the ceiling. (The attic will be a loft looking down to the kitchen.) We ripped out the cabinets. Bud had to put in a higher frame for the kitchen window, and the window was replaced.

(This is the old kitchen with door to living room.)

There is still work yet to do. It is not yet decorated, and for the most part, we are still living in a construction zone. ‘The polishing’ such as trim, curtains, etc. is not yet done,  so please be gentle.

I drew a rough sketch of what I wanted the shelves and cabinet doors to look like and our neighbor worked from that. I have a stainless single basin sink (which I love), and there will be a curtain below it so that it will look kind of ‘farmhouse’. That’s kind of the look I’m going for–farmhouse meets cabin.

The counter top is black granite with a leathered texturing to it. We didn’t want the polished look. There were problems getting the right counter top, with delay after delay. It took months to get the right one delivered and installed.

Here is where we are at now:

I put in the insulation in the roof. 🙂

The stairs to the loft will eventually be where the ladder is, only the angle will be greater. There is really no good place to put the access to the loft. There is a room behind the ladder, which is a large pantry.

The ‘brick’ behind the stove is ‘Airstone’. It is a veneer, and Bud did that himself. He did a nice job! The stove is all propane. It has a battery pack that sparks the ignition, so if the power goes out, I can still cook.

The flooring is just wood planks which Bud bought at the mill. It’s what I wanted, and I’m pleased with how it looks.

Right now, we have a cart for our coffee pot against the wall, and a stool for our water filter. I’m thinking I might like some narrow shelves over there for my cookbooks…not sure yet. As I said, nothing is finished yet.

The ‘add-on’ part of the house is where the old owners had their kitchen. It is now our dining area. Bud put in new windows where there was previously just a wall with high windows above the sink. I could only look out of them if I stood on my tiptoes. The new windows there let in so much more light! Again, no curtains yet. The blue thing you see there is just a temporary old shower curtain until all of the construction is done. The ceiling in there still needs to be put in. The old white ceiling is just painted plywood.

Here is what this area looked like before:

Kitchen/Back Door in the addition

Here is a pic of the second kitchen before it was ripped out:

New Kitchen in the addition, facing street

Here is the new dining area:

Bud added a sliding glass door in the back. Bud is building a mud area with a bench and places for storing shoes and hanging coats right in front of it (beyond the wall.) Incidentally, they sent us the wrong sliding glass door 4 times! It took 5 months before we received the correct sliding glass door. They ended up giving it to us for free!

The opening to the right is the opening to the lavatory with the bathroom just beyond that. We don’t have a door for the lavatory yet.

Here is a pic looking into the kitchen and dining room from the living room:

I’m very proud of the work that Bud has done. He has never done anything like this before. I have helped when he needed assistance, but for the  most part, I’m only good at ripping things apart. I have helped with the shellacking and holding things or helping to lift things or hold them in place. 🙂

The place feels bright, simple, functional and cheery. I’m very pleased with it so far. It has been good to go back and look at the ‘before’ pictures because it helps me to realize how far we have come!

The view out of my kitchen window:



10 thoughts on “Updates on the Kitchen and Dining Area

  1. Congratulations to you both, Kara and Bud! Your work is wonderful. We understand to some extent your situation. We did a lot of work on our Pasadena house and pool and yard. Now we are working on the Rayburn Country home. Our biggest task is controlling erosion. Lee and another person replaced much of the watering system, and Lee and our brother in law replaced our main deck and installed a good railing all around. I love seeing the pictures of before and after in the Ozarks. Karen

    On Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:43 PM, Little House In The Ozarks wrote:

    > Kara posted: “For those who haven’t been with me from the beginning, we > moved from the Houston area and retired to Arkansas. We bought the place a > year before we moved. We have a little over 30 acres of land. It has a > year-round spring, which provides all our water to ” >


    1. Thank you, Karen. It sounds like you really DO understand. It’s both fulfilling and very frustrating! I’m not very patient, though.

      I’m so glad you are enjoying your move and your retirement!


  2. It looks great! You guys had a lot to do! I love a good house makeover 🙂 oh man I would have gone crazy with that sliding door situation – thanks goodness you got it for free!


    1. Thank you, Kendra. 🙂 I love makeovers too.

      We felt very blessed for getting that door for free! Bud dealt with most of it while I was on my hike, but it still wasn’t here when I got back. I was really impressed with the window company for making amends like that. Home Depot was stuck in the middle, but it was the Window company who kept sending the wrong door to Home Depot, and Home Depot delivered it anyway. Bud was really nice and patient! He had much more patience than I would have, had I been the person dealing with them. He really excels in that area.


  3. Looks great Kara! You ended up putting something over the walls right? I remember you said it had nail holes and tar and you wanted to cover it up, is that right? You didn’t show the bathroom. I would like to have seen it.


    1. Thank you! It’s really coming along! For some reason, in the pictures, you can’t really tell the color change, but yes…those are all new boards on the walls in the kitchen and dining area. They are much lighter in coloring than the wood (yes…with the nails and tar on it) that was there before.

      I have posted pics of the bathroom on this blog before, but I think you are talking about the lavatory portion? Bud walled off a portion on the outside of the bathroom, taking it almost to the sliding glass door. There is a ‘cubby’ where there will be a mud area with a bench. Right now, that is where I am keeping the chicks in the puppy playpen. Where the opening is, that is the lavatory. So far, we have a mirror and the lights above it, but don’t have the sink or the counter installed yet. I just didn’t think it was worth showing yet. When it looks like something more than a cubby hole (it is really small) I’ll post a picture.


  4. KARA And BUD your house is Beautiful! It looks like a picture from a Magazine! I love all the wood, and the stone behind the oven! All of it , I know how much work you two have put into it, and I’ m sure you will enjoy it so much more because of the work you have done! Awesome Good job! Kim


    1. Thank you for your kind words. It is finally starting to come along! We have decided to use metal roofing material for the ceiling in the dining area, bathroom, and maybe the living room. Also, we have a loft ceiling in our outbuilding that we will do with metal sheets, too. We had those delivered the other day.

      I have been thinking about you a lot recently with these storms rolling through. I always pay attention to bad storms moving through your state, not only because I have family there, but also, because I know your general area. I hope y’all have weathered these storms okay. (We’ve been fine through it all.)

      I also hope your chicks are doing well! Ours are 5 weeks old now, and almost fully feathered. Just a little ‘chick down’ still on their heads. I’m worried that one of them is a rooster, though…even though we bought them at the feed store and they are all supposed to be female! We had one rooster in the bunch the last time we bought chicks from the feed store. I’ve been letting them roam in the fenced garden during the day, and they love it.


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