My BIG fall project.
Plus a lesson in the business of blogging.

Remember back in the spring when I told you about my Big Spring project of ripping out my kitchen floors and installing Warmly Yours radiant heating and new tile?

Well as you know, I got that done in the spring. The second part of my Big Spring Project was to repaint and do a general updating of my kitchen and mudroom.  I did NOT get that done.

But here’s why.

As soon as I finished doing my floor this spring I took a look around and assessed my kitchen.  I love my kitchen.  It’s genuinely old and comfortable and perfect for my old, creaky house.  I’ve never wanted a new kitchen.

But I definitely needed a new countertop.  And hopefully, maybe a new sink.  As it turns out, because my cupboards were probably thrown together by whoever built them in the 1940’s they aren’t exactly what you would call standard size.  So the sink I was looking at wouldn’t fit on them. And neither would the counter.


Window Wall


I’ve never had a vent for my stove so I needed one of those.  My kitchen table was clumsy and the light over it needed to be hardwired.  All in all I was realizing that my much loved kitchen could be better.


End Of Kitchen

My fridge has always been right beside my stove which is without a doubt the worst place for it to be, but there was nowhere else to put it with the current kitchen configuration.


My biggest fear with redoing my kitchen was cost and authenticity.  If, and this was a BIG if, I was going to redo my kitchen I wanted it to look like it had always been there.  I didn’t want granite countertops and a matching wraparound cupboards.

I wanted a working kitchen that looked loved, worn in and comfortable.  And I wanted it for free.

And I got it.

And this is how I did it.

The Art of Doing Stuff has now become a large enough blog that it is a commodity.  It has value.  And I’ve established myself as a DIYer who can not only DIY but do it in such a way that it’s magazine worthy.  I know this because my home  has been featured in 4 or 5 different magazines this year alone.  It makes me feel like a bit of a show off saying that, but if it weren’t true, the following story wouldn’t have played out the way it did.

Back in May, I emailed a friend of mine who works at as an editor at Canada’s 3rd most popular Canadian magazine, “Canadian Living“.  I told him I was thinking of redoing my kitchen, by myself, and asked him if he would be interested in featuring the before and after in the magazine.

He said yes. I was given a 4-5 page feature in the magazine, for some time next year.

Armed with that information, I contacted the people at Home Depot, because THEY CARRY THE MARTHA STEWART KITCHEN CABINET LINE.  Which, clearly I was very excited about.  


She makes a beautiful, authentic looking shaker style cabinets that I love. I found out the name of the head of their public relations department and told them I’d like to form a partnership with them.  If they would provide me with the kitchen cabinets for free,  I could guarantee they’d be featured in a 4-5 page spread in Canadian Living magazine ( as well as be featured on my blog ).

Home Depot gets huge exposure and I get cabinets.  They agreed.

The reason they agreed is because of the ROI I could provide them.  Return on Investment.  If I ran a smaller blog, with less engaged readers and no guarantee of a magazine spread I’m sure they would  have politely declined.  But because I did my homework first and presented them with a guarantee of a great return on their investment they said yes.

They aren’t paying me, but I am definitely getting a monetary value out of it.  Plus, I’ve been asked to write the feature on redoing my kitchen for Canadian Living, so I am in fact in the end actually making cash money.

The work has barely begun in my kitchen, but I’ve already started ripping out cabinets and getting ready.  If all goes well I’ll have a new kitchen installed by the end of the fall.

As things progress I’ll be posting updates here on the site.  Like about the time my nearly 80 year old mother took a sledgehammer to my wall for instance.  In bedazzled flip flops.

So for those of you who love kitchen porn, I’ve got a lot coming up for you.  For those of you who have a blog and wanted a little lesson in business I hope you’ve learned something.

I’ve learned 2 things.  The elderly should not be trusted with anything above a 5 pound sledgehammer, and I am now ready to go public with something I’ve been doing on the side for a while now.  Blog consulting.  More on that once the dust settles.  Literally.



  1. Amie Mason says:

    I can’t wait to see it!

  2. Bonnie G. says:

    Karen, you are quite the entrepreneur! Cannot wait for the before, after, and, in between!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Love this post so much. Not only talented, but one smart cookie. Absolutely love that Martha Stewart cabinet!

  4. Lush says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the process!! I am sure a load of people wonder how those deals are done but have no idea.
    Incredibly generous of you & I am sure you will be well rewarded.
    Worthing, UK

  5. JennyW says:

    Well played Karen, well played!!
    I too have been “Modernizing” our little 60 year old brick cottage thanks to YOU and your Inspiring Blog :), and I can not wait to see how you deal with your kitchen. I will be taking notes – and showing the Hubby, cause he thinks granite and wraparound cupboards are the way to go too.

    • Karen says:

      They’re a great choice for a lot of people. Most people in fact, because it’s an easy decision and ends up looking professional and sparkly and good. But it just isn’t for me. Apparently I like amateur, dull and bad, LOL. ~ karen!

      • JennyW says:

        Oh Karen, you could never be called Dull or Bad – can hardly wait for some inspiration Pics :)

      • Cussot says:

        Oh, me TOO! Amateur, dull and bad, just not someone else’s version. But what does this mean for the lovingly installed floor?

      • Karen says:

        Hah! The lovingly installed floor will stay. THere are a few areas I’ll have to patch, but I have extra tiles. ~ karen!

  6. Alexandra says:

    I am so excited for you! And I can’t wait to see pictures, because who doesn’t love good kitchen porn and a makeover and before and after pics?!! :D

  7. Danica says:

    I attended your session at Blogpodium, specifically sat in the front row the dark hair girl beside Lynne you provided so many great tips! One of them was to comment, comment, comment! And try to be the 3 or 4th person comment….now I wouldn’t just comment on every post for the sake of commenting but when I saw you talking about kitchen reno’s I knew I wanted to comment…but SHIT….You posted this last night, I wake up EARLY (4:20am)for work and already 20 comments!!!! HA clearly you have a great listeners!

    Anyways….I love kitchen reno’s and I can’t wait to see how this turns out! I also love Home Depot and am so happy to see how they partnering with you, we spend too much time there.

    I also hope you incorporate that vintage TV in your new kitchen ;)

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Thanks Danica. That television is so covered in grease because I don’t have a range hood that I can’t even touch it. It’s GROSS. ~ karen!

      • Danica says:

        Ummmmmmmmm you are talking to the girl who drive her daily car on veggie oil! HA! So therefore I still think you need to keep the TV, TIP – Orange Cleaner from Canadian Tire in the car section will clean that right up ;)

      • Karen says:

        The TV will be relocated to an upstairs bedroom actually. If I can get someone to clean it for me, LOL. So gross. ~ karen!

  8. Kathy says:

    Three cheers for you, dear Karen! Whenever I pop into your blog you put a smile on my face. You are just adorable…and your Mom is too. As for your blog consulting…How do you teach charm, adorableness, humor and humility?

  9. Barbie says:

    I Can’t WAIT to see your new kitchen!!! SO excited for you! ……..AND I am very interested in getting some help with my blog.

  10. Marion says:

    Can’t wait!! Since I have been waiting to redo my own kitchen for several years now, due to lack of time, money and ideas! Hopefully you inspire me to do it!

  11. Therese Bourne says:

    Well done you!

  12. Lisa says:

    Kitchen Porn. Now I have a phrase for it – and looking forward to this version!

  13. Pam'a says:

    Well played! I’m not the least bit surprised.

    As you tackle yet another huge project, I hope you won’t forget to squinch in a little “me time” –I mean Karen time.

    You, like the rest of us mortals, need a little of that to stay healthy and sane. :)

  14. Lori says:

    Congrats!! Can’t wait to see / read what you will do to your kitchen! Now I have to go check out Home Depot, to see what Martha has to offer! Hahaha

  15. Terri says:

    Can’t wait to see your almost new kitchen! Gonna ask my grandkids for some bedazzled flip flops for my birthday. Oh, and a sledgehammer.

  16. Stephanie Hobson says:

    I’m nearly 80 (well, a year away from 70… same thing, right?) and I wouldn’t even attempt to swing a sledgehammer, regardless of weight. Kudos to your mom!

  17. Jenna says:

    Congrats Karen! That’s pretty awesome! And your mom rocks. Just saying- the bedazzled flip flops and sledge hammering are pretty impressive.

  18. Seadee says:

    I look forward to learning yet ANOTHER couple things from ya (blog biz and kitchen redo), both of which I have great interest in. Added to my list of other things I have interest in (I have interest ADD). Can’t wait to read all about it.

  19. Tracy says:

    Nicely done, Karen. I can’t wait to see the pictures:-)

  20. kerry says:

    Um. Is it bad that I want the story on the 80-plus year old in bedazzled flip flop? Ugly if I misspelled,stupid phones!

    • Karen says:

      OMG! LOL, not 80-plus. NEARLY 80. A few years away from 80, LOL. If my mother ever tracks you down you’ll be in troubleeeee. ~ karen!

      • Kerry says:

        That’s what I get for reading your blog at way too early in the am on a teeny tiny phone! Apologize to Mom for me! But I still want the story – primarily so I can convince my nearly 70 year old mother to help me do demo!

  21. Mondo says:

    wow, the business of blogs, man! free kitchen furniture? that’s the way to do it! can’t wait to heat all about your blog consulting gigs. perhaps, I could get you to advise me on my new blog?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mondo! A blog is a business that’s for damn sure. At least it can be. And yes I’ll be doing (eventually) consulting via Skype and in person. ~ karen!

  22. Laura says:

    I love the light fixture over your table! It kills me that I tossed one of those back in the terrible 1980’s.

    • Karen says:

      Understandable. You probably had to make room for your shoulder pads. ~ karen!

      • Lynne says:

        LOL – I divested myself of the copper version when I was renovating my house and kitchen. I’m still regretting it – ‘cos even though I wouldn’t hang it in my kitchen I’m thinking I could have got big bucks for it from someone who would.

        Instead I took it to the local recycling depot – which was better than tossing it, I suppose. Someone is enjoying it.

  23. sharktooth says:

    ~~~ and that is how it is done ! congratulations :) well done – thanks for sharing :)

  24. Amy Watson says:

    I Love Love Love kitchen porn, even better than bathroom porn!!!!! Hmmmm. That didn’t sound right :)

  25. Jamie says:

    VERY! Very cool! I can’t wait to see it all unfold. And I LOVE the cabinetry!

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