My plan for this post was to share everything I wish we knew before we started remodeling our house last year, because as many of you know, we’re continuing work in other areas with a new contractor and also…redoing the kitchen. I had a fear of sharing that we will be redoing the kitchen for a while now, because at first it sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but here’s why we decided to just do it.
To begin with, the whole thing started with us wanting to add French doors to our dining room. We thought: “Oh, this should be easy!” Ha! Silly silly us. We knew we had to knock down the wall separating our dining room and laundry room, which we didn’t mind…our laundry room was small and we wanted to add a compact washer/dryer unit in the master closet, so we weren’t going to miss it. From there we realized we had to redo the flooring if we wanted everything to look uniform and cohesive, because the laundry room and kitchen flooring were running in a different direction than the dining room and there was also a small step up from the dining room into those other rooms. So leveling it out came into play…which then brought us to how the kitchen would be preserved during the process. Our cabinets would get pretty beat up, and our new contractor (same team who we worked with on our guest house — cannot express how much we love them!) suggested we do new cabinetry. I was pretty excited about this initially, because we just added new faces on them in the previous kitchen project and honestly, I don’t even think they were new. You must be wondering, how don’t you know…well rule #1 when doing a renovation, do a ton of research on your contractor. Our previous contractor was recommended by a friend who does remodels and flips in town and we checked out their work in some homes and loved it, but when it came time for work in our home, things were a bit different and it was one thing after the other. However, I feel like before we go any further, we should put out a little disclaimer, the kitchen cost was almost like a bonus…very affordable, so I can’t be too upset…but still in the end, it was money spent.
So when we initially had the kitchen redone (it was last after the bathrooms), by that point I kind of just surrendered. Our cabinet hardware was lost and I had to repurchase it, along with an entire light fixture. They had redone the tile work twice and it was still pretty messy, which word to the wise: when going with dark grout be picky with your contractor! Imperfections show 10x more with dark grout and it’s a lot harder to make look neat. There was no customization within the cabinetry, which now living with the house, we realized we really should have paid more attention to. Think of how you live in the space, does your pantry have enough shelves, do your cabinets and drawers have enough room for you to grab your pots easily? We had one cabinet where everything was literally just piled on each other making it a whole project to just pull out what we needed to prepare any meal. With the new kitchen, cabinets and organization are our main priority. As far as the tile and grout…we’re ditching it and going for something cleaner. You can’t really tell in photos, but it kind of drives us nuts.
WHAT ARE WE CHANGING? WHAT WORKED?
What are we going to do this time around, you ask? Well, like we said, we’ll be swapping out the subway tile and dark grout for a marble (or marble-esque) backsplash slab. It’s a decision that we went back and forth on for quite a while, but we’re loving that style and think it’s going to give the kitchen a nice, sleek, bright, clean look. We’re into it! We won’t be changing the look of our kitchen entirely though… the open shelving will stay! After we revealed our kitchen last year, we received a few comments and messages from people who told us we’d regret the open shelving. “Everything is going to be dusty”, they said, but to be honest, we’ve had zero problems with the open shelving. We actually enjoy them so much that we did them again in our guest house, so yeah, we’re big fans. We’ll also be doing bright white cabinetry this time too. We didn’t love what was going on inside our cabinets last time (and we’ll be fixing that), but we did like the white cabinets. We love a space that feels airy and spacious, and while our kitchen is on the smaller side, the all-white-everything approach makes it feel bigger, which we like a lot!
We will be mixing up some hardware, lighting, and finishes in the new space, but we will be keeping all of our Frigidaire Professional appliances. We have had zero complaints and they just make sense for our family. Also, something we have received many questions about is our ‘hidden” microwave, well more like our absent microwave. With the original kitchen remodel we decided to ditch it and honestly haven’t looked back. If we have leftovers to heat up, we do so in the oven or stovetop. We use our kettle for tea in the morning and don’t eat many frozen meals so not having a microwave hasn’t been a huge change for us, and we won’t be reinstalling one with the new remodel.
We’re excited to dive more into the process and get things moving over here. We snapped the above photos a while back before we left for Paris and London, so when we came home we saw the below. Here’s the current set up. Maybe we’ll keep the minimal vibe… 😉
What’s number one on your home project list? Any projects or design choices you’ve made that you regret? We’d love to hear and share throughout this whole process. 🙂