So, for a quick review, here's the kitchen in 2009:
I'm rather proud of the fact that I did about 95% of this work by myself. Painting helped hide a few imperfections, but all in all I'm quite happy with how everything turned out. I did have help from my mom who cut all the arched brackets in her shop. The little arch along the side of the refrigerator was her idea, and it's one of my favorite little details.
I also had help from my uncle J, who moved an outlet and handled the electrical end of installing the new hood range. As the earlier pictures show, the microwave used to set on a low shelf just above the stove. The shelf was so low that it made using the stovetop awkward and dark. It also seemed to be perpetually covered in grease and every other kind of cooking gunk. The new hood is a basic model, but I love having the extra light and height when cooking.
I also love the sink area. I splurged on a new bridge style faucet and a mini-chandelier that matches the larger chandeliers in the kitchen and dining room. Mom's brackets show up here at both the top and bottom of the upper cabinets, and I also like the new beadboard backsplash. The laminate counters were a budget concession, but I'm still much happier with the mottled tan of the new counters than the garish green of the old.
Like everything else around here, there are still a few details I'd like to tweak (like painting the dark toe-kick areas and adding little arches in front of the toe-kick to give more of a furniture look to the lower cabinets) but for now I'm calling the kitchen good.