Kitchen Renovations Part 1: Getting Started

Kitchen Renovations Part 2_ During And After-Facebook.png

Are you thinking about renovating your kitchen? I just went through that process and learned a lot. When my husband and I bought our first house in July 2016, we discovered that the kitchen was outdated, and the cabinets were grungy and smelled weird. We painted them white, hoping to freshen up the look. This is a great budget-friendly option if your cabinets are in decent shape and just need a facelift. While that did brighten up the space, the interiors still needed updating. Also, the blue counters and fruit tiles were not our style. So, after saving and planning for a year and a half, we took the renovation plunge. Here are some helpful tips that I gleaned from that experience.

Bre kitchen before.jpg

First, ask yourself a few questions to get an idea about how to begin.

What do you want done? 

There are lots of ways to update your kitchen, which you can see here. We wanted to update the look of everything, so we chose the gut approach. But we kept the footprint of the kitchen as similar as possible—not having to move walls and major plumbing resulted in big cost savings.

Who is going to do it? 

Finding the right people for this project is important. There are several different options, including:

  • Working with a contractor

  • Working with Home Depot or Lowe’s, and their subcontractor

  • Buying IKEA cabinets and having them installed

  • DIY, in which case you will likely need specialists for plumbing and electrical work

In our search, we looked into all of those options, and the standout for us was a cabinet specialist. We liked him and the contractor he referred, which made this process easier and less stressful. They were kind, detail-oriented, and trustworthy. Their estimate was more than that of Home Depot, but totally worth the cost.

Keep in mind, if you are new to this, the process of getting quotes takes time and requires trips to various stores, and they may schedule home visits to take measurements.

How will you plan out the space?

When you plan the space, think about what is important to you—is it countertop space, a pull-out trash bin, an island? Be ready for some questions you might not have expected, such as what type of cabinet construction you prefer. The people you work with will help you through this.

It’s helpful to find a balance between your style and habits and the contractors’ experience and expertise. They usually explain why they suggest certain things, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. And showing them your inspiration pictures is helpful, too, in order to get on the same page before diving into the project together.

Our vision included these elements:

  • We didn’t want blind corners in the cabinets, so in our corner we did open shelves above, and a lazy Susan below. These are two options, but there are many different solutions to the blind corner!

  • I like kitchens to feel open, and we did some shifting so that the fridge was no longer the first thing we saw when we walked in.

  • My husband wanted a double pull-out trash bin, so we put in one of those.

When will you start? 

So, you picked your people and the plan is set. Several things have to fall in place to have a start date, delivery of the cabinets, availability of the contractor and how quickly they get permits. Once you have a start date, think about prepping for the disruption. That provides another set of challenges, but it’s worth the final result.


Kitchen Renovations Part 2: During & After, will be posted on April 8, 2018 where we’ll reveal how our kitchen turned out!


Kitchen Renovations Part 2: During And After


Downsizing And Uprooting