Category Archives: kitchen remodel

Our Little Space

Right this minute, I am at the dining room table writing, Gavin is in the kitchen disassembling a Nerf gun, Mikey, Sean & Ethan are all in Ethan’s room playing a game that requires a lot of yelling and banging on walls and Dennis is in his basement office. We are all, seriously, about 15 steps from each other.

080We live in a small house. I hesitate to say ‘tiny’ because I recently watched ‘Tiny‘. It profiled several people who own/have built ‘Tiny’ homes (usually considered under 200 s.f. in total) and it was very interesting. I think we each have about that here.

I feel like we were totally ahead of the ‘downsizing curve’. 6 of us live pretty comfortably in a 3 bedroom cape – about 1300 square feet. We do enjoy two bathrooms – but the one Dennis and I share (and often with the kids) can barely be turned around in. We share a closet that is 3 ft. by 3ft. Our living room and ‘entryway’ are the same room 🙂 The kitchen/dining room is also our ‘reading-writing-tv watching-chemistry lab-craft studio-game playing-laptop-my office’ space.

079EVERYTHING in our house is multifunctional – and it has to be.


Stool or tray-table? Couch in the kitchen?

Thank God for the open floor plan of the first floor. Do you remember our kitchen remodel? A life-saver, for sure. How about that move to ‘family closet’. Worked like a charm.

I used to yearn for space. Once, Dennis and I looked at a half-finished, mega-fixer-upper that would have been 9 bedrooms on 6 acres. Years later, I can barely keep what we currently have clean and organized – and quite frankly the postage stamp lot does not always get cared for the way we would like. We don’t heat 11 foot ceilings, can’t keep tons of ‘stuff’ and no one sits alone in a room – ever 🙂 Our little house leaves cash in our hands and time to do lots of other things. Someone very wise once told me that anything you own – owns you.

I believe it.

(Before Dennis and I bought our house, we lived in a 3-room, railroad track apartment and Ethan slept in pantry. I also did not own a washer & dryer until this house. I am grateful.)

What’s Cooking?

Loooooooving my kitchen! Here’s what’s cooking.

Cookies, cookies & more cookies

Chili & Corn Bread

“New Jersey Blueberries” Pancakes

Star Wars Pancakes, of course


Dinosaur French Toast

Duggar Laundry Soap
Yep, and if it’s good enough for The Duggar’s, it’s good enough for my little brood.
More “New Jersey Blueberries” in cobbler
What are you cooking?

Kitchen Remodel – The 6th and Final Chapter

The old kitchen

That was it. The whole thing. This was what I was using to feed a family of six three meals a day, make homemade playdo and do Costello Chemistry (I mean, homeschool science projects). If the kitchen is the heart of the home,we were in sore need of cardiac rehab.

Here is what we have been blessed with after the blood, sweat and tears – and that, I can say in good conscience.

This is exact same shot as the ‘before’ above.

It has form and function! There is plenty of food and gadget storage and cooking and cleaning have never been so efficient. It is comfortable, bright and makes it so easy to all be together in the space, which is so important in a little house. Ethan loves to color at the breakfast bar while Dennis is watching sports, while the baby builds blocks on the floor, while I, you know, cook & clean stuff.

I was going to wait to take these pics until the permits could be pulled off the windows and I got some curtains. I was going to wash the dishes and shine up the stainless steel surfaces. Then I decided against it.

May this kitchen always have footprints on the floor, because it means I have healthy kids running around on it, may there always be a sink full of dishes, because it means we have meals to share, may there always be handprints on the glass door, and smudges on the counters, and crumbs under the chairs – because it means we are using this space in the way that it was meant to be used – not pretending it’s page in a magazine.

Kitchen Remodel – Installment #5 – Meet the Appliances

It is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. Now, we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as the “kitchen” proudly presents, “The Appliances”.

This tall, cool drink of water (literally) is the Samsung Model #RF266AEPN.

We deliberately picked a model without water and ice on the door. I found lots of complaints in reviews about constant broken parts and tumbling ice out onto the floor with door units. With 4 boys, one of which is a toddler, and 3 that just act like one, we nixed the idea pretty quickly. It has an internal spigot that provides filtered water.

The shelves all adjust so that you can use them as you need, 6 1-gallon jugs can fit on the doors, and the large drawer you see can fit a sheet cake. There are adjustable temperature settings that allow for quick cooling if the fridge has been packed with new groceries and alarm that sounds when it’s been left open. Lots of other bells & whistles, too.

Complaints? Not really. We are still reading the manual to find out how to get it to make tons of ice when we want it – like always; and the water spigot gives one last little trickle after you’ve let go of the button, so we have taught the boys to hold their cup there an extra second. Don’t worry, it’s a concept they get 😉

Next on the roster is theSharp Carousel Convection Microwave Model #R930CSP. I have never given much thought to any microwave oven before I needed to pick one out. For those of you who already know that there are microwaves that can defrost frozen juice cans and still keep them cold, defrost pounds of frozen solid italian sausage without a hot spot or cooked bit, or come with a convection setting that can roast chickens and bake cookies – forgive me. I was so surprised and thought it would be a terribly handy addition to our kitchen.

Another teammate is the Kitchenaid Superba Dishwasher. The dishwasher was purchased before the renovation because our old one had broken. I had *ALOT* of problems with it initially, including many service calls and TERRIBLE customer service from Kitchenaid, which was really disappointing. It seems that all the models were sent out with bad components and latches. Once those were all switched out, I must admit that it is doing a fabulous job on the dishes, glasses and even pots and pans.

Although I love him, he is going to have to gain my trust back.

My favorite child, I mean appliance, is this beauty. The GE Profile Dual Fuel Freestanding Range has an electric, convection oven, extra baking drawer and a gas cooktop.

I had alot to learn about ranges before I was able to make a solid decision, and I think I will be very pleased with this range. I don’t believe the center oval burner will be a large enough griddle to cook for the whole family on, but I like the option of having it and possibly getting a pan big enough to fit on 3 burners to cook for a crowd. I was happy with the BTUs of the gas burners and the fact that the extra drawer is not just for warming, but can bake to 450 degrees. I was looking for a model without mylar buttons for controls because of the little depressions that develop over time. This model has an all-glass control panel that is so easy to clean.

Within 24 hours of being installed, I had these baked with great results. Look at the even baking of those cookies – from what I understand that is the advantage of convection baking!

Above and behind the range is a Broan superduty hood with external motor (for noise reduction and extra power) and the matching stainless steel backsplash with shelves. I am really happy with the look and believe it will give us the function we need.

We opted for 30″ range over the 36″ styles that would have put us into the “professional” category. We felt the size of the range fit the whole kitchen better and the 36″ ranges and accessories were out of our price range.

If this sounds like one big bragfest – it is! Other than a bargain Sears range when we moved in here, 17 years of marriage and 13 years in this house, I have never owned a new appliance, everything has been hand-me-downs that I was very thankful to have.

As I work at putting the kitchen back together and finding places for my things, I am asking God to bless my family, friends and other guests with what happens in and comes out of this new space.

Hint: yes, that is granite you see, and soon there will be hardware on the cabinets, pendant lighting, a desk! and we are really in the homestretch 🙂

No Pain, No Gain

Right? I guess that’s what “they” say.

Saying that we are displaced is an understatement. We spent the night at the Embassy Suites hotel. I say ‘spent the night’ to paint the most accurate picture – I did not want imply that anyone slept. Nope. The Costello’s don’t ‘sleep’ in hotels. They wander around, cry, toss, turn and carry on in all kinds of ways. And then there’s the kids….

There was a dely in receiving our cabinets for our new kitchen, which meant there was a totally empty room. The idea of refinishing the hardwood floors was tossed into the mix, because we were able to move the entire first floor furnishings into that space. It requires two days of sanding and sealing, and then drying time. We can walk on it – in our socks – by Monday. Yippee! That still doesn’t mean we will have any furniture and are still sans kitchen.

Sorry to complain so much, I don’t mean to be ungrateful. I don’t have the capacity to picture the finished product and how it will change how we live in our space. People that have been through a kitchen remodel and other forms of household chaos are able to encourage me that this will all be worth it – and then some – and I do believe them. I can’t wait until I can encourage someone else with the same counsel.

Until then, I will be entertainging 4 boys at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Does that sound indecent?!