Phew it's been a long process but we are FINALLY finished with our full kitchen renovation. New cabinets, counters, appliances, a wall knocked down...it has completely transformed our home and we couldn't be happier. I know it can be hard to decide to renovate a home and the process can feel incredibly daunting. I'm here to give you an in depth look into every aspect so you can hopefully have a better idea of what you're signing up for, and things you can do to make the process go more smoothly.
In November of 2020 we bought a house in TN sight unseen just before moving from our beautiful home in California. We sold our home in CA without any place to go, and this one popped up in our area just in the nick of time for us to not be homeless. We knew it was the house we were meant to have. Trying to get a feel for a floor plan and house and quality from across the country is HARD but we trusted we were headed where God wanted us to be so we just dove in.
When we showed up we LOVED the house, but quickly began talking about plans to renovate the kitchen and what we would do and when we would do it. In the past we've always lived in a house for a few years and then decided to renovate and then basically sold it right as we finish so we weren't wanting that to happen again. We decided rather than live it for awhile before renovating lets just go all in and do it right away so we can enjoy it.
Here are some pictures from before (swipe --->)
We hired a friend in our area who works as a general contractor to help us and got started in March of 2021. First step was to design the cabinets and pick out flooring. The Cabinets were backed up until July of 2021 so we wanted to get those finished and get in line asap. We met with our Cabinet maker multiple times and ended up with these as a final design. They look drastically different from what we started with. I tried to dig up the original plans but couldn't find them. Initially we were going with a much more traditional southern style kitchen, but what we landed on feels much more like me.
As luck would have it the cabinets kept getting delayed (seems to be par for the course these days when it comes to literally anything) and as Summer rolled around, we finally landed on a cabinet installation date of October 15th.
From there we kind of worked backwards. If the cabinets were going to be installed October 15th when would we need XYZ to be done? We wanted everything to be ordered and ready to go sitting in our garage so that we didn't have to wait on any one thing to be delivered. Covid really made getting things an extra challenge so I was grateful for the time to order and have everything before we got started.
We picked out and ordered our flooring, counters, tile, appliances (ovens, ice machine, and dishwasher, we kept our same fridge), hardware, lights, and decided on paint color (lots of time spent standing over swatches like the ones pictured above). By the time we actually started our renovation we weren't waiting on anything. This is something I HIGHLY recommend. When we did our last bathroom renovation, the bathtub didn't get ordered until after we started and it ended up stalling our renovation for an entire month. The goal is to have everything lined up so that it takes as little time as possible from the time you start until you're functioning again. For us it was about a month without a kitchen.
We timed a trip to California for the first two weeks. It was kind of a toss up between managing a renovation long-distance or living through the dust and demo-ing with babies but it was an easy decision for me. The first two weeks they spent demo-ing and installing plumbing and electric. The floors were supposed to be installed while we were gone but those ended up being held up due to having to level the floor a bit and add in some supporting beams underneath the house. One thing I've learned in renovations is something ALWAYS comes up and it always ends up taking longer than expected. I usually estimate how long I think something will take, or how long someone tells me it will take, and then double it. Same rule often applies to how much it costs too ;)
By the time we came home from CA we were basically left with an empty downstairs warehouse and all of our furniture piled into the loft, boxes everywhere, just a mess. Kind of like living in an air conditioned garage. I set up a makeshift kitchen in the living room. We ate lots of finger foods and cereal and peanut butter and jelly. The food situation was THE biggest struggle for me. Lots of deep breaths were had. Being flexible and not sweating the stuff that doesn't matter long term is key to keeping your sanity in these situations.
While floors were installed in the rest of the home we had our cabinets and counters installed, then they were able to finish the flooring in the kitchen. Then appliances shortly after that. There were a few hangs ups (like ordering the wrong ice machine, re-ordering lights, etc) but for the most part it went very smoothly. Once we had a functional kitchen it wasn't a huge deal not to have some things finished but having it completely done now feels SO good.
We FINALLY fully finished our kitchen renovation March 1, 2022. I ordered the new lights in November and they finally arrived late February, 2022. Start to finish about a year of planning, saving, and actual construction. We started the demo September 28th, 2021 so about 6 months to complete the actual construction portion, and 6 months of planning. I'm not sure if this has been others experience time-wise or if this is longer than usual. A lot of that might be that we live in a very rural area and are extremely limited on options and people we can hire to do certain things for us.
We initially budgeted 60K so this was quite the sticker shock as we got further into the process and realized how much more it was actually going to cost, which is why I wanted to be fully transparent when it comes to what it actually cost us. Before I break it down for you though, know you CAN do this much cheaper. We definitely chose higher end finishes and upgrades and that all adds up.
Floors: $8000 for material (approx. 2000 square feet).
Custom cabinets + hood: $31,000
Counters: $9,000 (quartz upgraded with a honed finish)
Hardware: $2300 (knobs and pulls, sink faucet, pot filler)
Appliances: $13,000 (dishwasher, two ovens, hood vent, pebble ice machine)
Total: $98,200 (shocking, I know)
(prices are very close approximations)
WHAT WE USED:
Cabinet paint color is Natural Cream by Benjamin Moore. I LOVE this color. It's the perfect creamy white but has some mushroom-colored undertones. The stain on the island is stained Dark Walnut on Alder.
Wall paint color is West Highland White by Sherwin Williams. It’s been my favorite white we’ve used so far. Warm but without any harsh undertones.
Tile: we went with Riad tile. I wanted something that had texture and sheen and these do just that. They're even prettier in person! I would definitely choose this tile again. We used the Zellige 2" x 6" in Snow White.
Range: We decided on two stoves side by side to save money rather than a double range and I am in LOVE. Best decision we made in the kitchen. Ben and I can both be in there cooking up a storm and not be in each others way. There's plenty of room. Would 100% do this again. Here are the stoves we have. Bonus, they're American made!
Cabinets were custom made by a local cabinet maker. I'd ask around for recommendations and explore all your options for pricing, quality, etc. Cabinets were by far the most expensive part of our kitchen. You want to make sure you love them and have them done right. We went with inset cabinets vs overlay (a 3k upgrade) and the soft close drawers and cabinet doors (no more slamming). I love the way they turned out so clean but with really pretty details. We ordered our counters through our cabinet maker. Usually those two go hand in hand so talk with whoever is doing your cabinets about counters too. Ours even offered a hardware credit and we could have ordered hardware through him, but I had my heart set on something else so he reimbursed us the credit instead.
Hardware: I went with hardware from Rejuvenation. This is a place I definitely could have cut cost, but I knew I loved their finished and the quality is great so we went for it. Really happy with the hardware we chose. We went with a mixture of three different types of pulls and knobs to make it more interesting. We went with the mission pulls in aged brass, the ball cabinet knob in aged brass, and the Vernon bin pull in aged brass.
Flooring: we went with the Provenza MaxCore Waterproof LVP in the Moda Living collection in the color At Ease, linked here.
Lighting: this element was really important to me and I wanted to nail it. Lighting can make or break a kitchen and is a fun way to add so much style and personality to a space. We ended up sending back the initial lighting we ordered as our kitchen had evolved it didn't really go with the vibe anymore. I'm really happy with what we landed on!
Pottery Barn Laurel Glass Sconce, one on either side of the hood.
Arhaus Tapered Brass Pendant for our island pendants.
Shades of Light Moderately Modern Chandelier for above our kitchen table.
Delta Trinsic Pull Down Faucet in champagne bronze
Delta Traditional Pot Filler in champagne bronze
Large Black Vase (on kitchen counter)
Round Crystal Chandelier dining room)
WHAT WE'D DO AGAIN:
Definitely the double ovens. We LOVE having two ranges and ovens side by side. Cheaper than most of the doubles we looked at and we have more burner and oven space too.
Upgrades I'm happy with and would do again are the inset cabinets. I love our hardware and would probably splurge on higher end hardware again. Tile. Our tile was more expensive than others I looked at but I had my eye set on it from the beginning. It's so pretty, I definitely would choose it again. We designed a built-in appliance garage with pocket doors and adjustable shelves that's become my supplements/smoothie station and a place we hide things like the blender, toaster oven, and kitchenaid. Would definitely do that again. I love the functionality of it. I LOVE our paint color (natural cream by Benjamin Moore) and would use it again, and again, and again.
WHAT WE'D DO DIFFERENTLY:
For the hood we went with a painted wood trim and a plaster body. I like it, but I think I would have liked one that was all painted wood just as much, and there was an extra cost and inconvenience with the plaster, so I wouldn't do that again. We did a paper towel drawer that in theory was a good idea but in reality only holds the small size paper towels so I wish we would have measured that better or just done without it. Also my baby toddler loves to grab ahold of them and take off running which is always a good time. The counter we used has a honed finish which ended up being 3k extra. I think it looks beautiful in our kitchen, but we could have looked around to find something we liked more that may have been cheaper.
Hopefully this helps any of you looking into renovation. It can be a frustrating, long, hard process, but SO worth it! Our home feels so much more like us. Comfortable, open, inviting, warm, and functional. I hope sharing all of this can alleviate even a little bit of the stress for all you home fixer-uppers out there. Happy renovating!