What are your tips for a successful renovation? My biggest tip is to RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. See this post about budgeting for a renovation for how we approached budgeting for our bathroom reno.
Today is the first day I’ve been home all day with Drew and Elle by myself. It’s gone exceedingly better than I anticipated… mainly because I anticipated meltdowns all day long (and I don’t mean by Drew or Elle. :)). Drew is napping now and after about an hour of holding Elle, while trying to clean the kitchen for this post, she fell asleep. Phew… rejuvenation time. And time to pop some honey in a mug and top it off with some super hot water! And just as I typed that sentence I hear “Mommy, Mommy!”… hmmm rejuvenation didn’t happen.
… typing this a few hours after rescuing Drew from his nap which was shockingly short…
Our kitchen is the closest room in the house to being “done”, for the most part it’s just finish details that need to happen now. Here are some things we’ve learned about kitchen renovations…
Don’t be afraid to take down non-load bearing walls (obviously get a professional opinion if you aren’t sure it will work for your space). When we took down the wall in between the former kitchen and dining room it made it so much more open and bright. I’ve recently discovered Unique Designs, a Kitchen and Bathroom design company based in Australia. Their streamlined and open designs are more modern than our renovation but they have an amazing bright and clean look that I love.
If you have a stairway that feels really closed off and tunnel-like open up part of the wall while keeping the supporting beam. When we opened up our stairway it made the whole downstairs feel more airy. Bonus tip: We bought in a railing we found at an antique store to give some architectural interest into the room… the whole railing was only $35 so it’s possible to find a bargain!
Always check the color of the cabinets you are purchasing and coordinate it with your counter choice and woodwork paint color. We made the mistake of not doing this and just assuming because they were all white it would go together. We purchased Thomasville’s Fayette cabinets from Home Depot and it’s amazing when compared to Behr’s Ultra Pure White (the trim color throughout the house) and the Bianca Carrara marble counter tops how much more off-white the cabinets look. Always bring samples to compare prior to purchasing big-ticket items for your house.
TIP FOUR AND FIVE
Figure out what the items are that are must haves for your kitchen (or any other room you are renovating). AJ really wanted a separate cook top from the oven so, even though it cost more, we decided to work it into the budget. My must-have was the counter tops which I had lusted over for years. Budget in your must-haves and figure out how you can sacrifice in other areas to make that happen.
Really analyze your counter top choice… I adore the way marble looks but it hasn’t worn well. Check out this post I wrote on marble counters if you are a sucker for them like I am but aren’t sure you want the commitment a marble counter takes.
TIPS SIX, SEVEN AND EIGHT
Don’t always trust your kitchen designer… we used the person that Home Depot had on staff and we trusted him more than we should have. We purchased all of our appliances from Home Depot so he knew exactly what we working with when designing the kitchen but he didn’t recommend getting the molding / woodwork to cover the fridge and make it look built in.
If you are going to use rugs in your kitchen make sure they are patterned so that when the inevitable stains happen the stains more than likely will blend in.
When replacing windows use the biggest windows you are able to fit into your space.
If you have an awkward spot in your kitchen try to figure out an interesting piece of furniture (made from the cabinets you have in the rest of your space or purchase something that is a great statement piece) to incorporate into that spot. We put all of our dishes in this glass fronted cabinet and then because we have a small amount of storage space we hung our wine rack right below the cabinets.
Use fabulous accessories that make a statement yet have a functional purpose. My sister and I gave this great bread box from Williams-Sonoma to my mom years ago (it was a find at the WS outlet in Wrenthem, MA) and it was currently sitting in her cabinet unused so I asked to borrow it since I loved how the color worked in our kitchen. We don’t have a lot of cabinet / pantry space so try to have your accessorizes serve a purpose (the box is storing bread and bagels in it now).