Before and After: The Renovation of a Kitchen

I NEVER want to build a house. Ever. I took on a kitchen renovation over the summer and it just about killed me. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to many more renovation projects in my future, but I will use some major lessons learned from this little endeavor and get myself a serious grip on reality before just jumping right on in there. One of the most important things I learned was to find help you can trust. I didn't achieve this until the end of this kitchen renovation and I paid severely in headaches and sleepless nights. Once I happened upon the handyman who installed the back splash on this project I knew I had to hold on to him for dear life and he saved the day in a lot of could have been fiascos.

Kitchen Renovation Before: Hazmat suit required


Here's the after. JUST KIDDING! This was the condition of the entire house we purchased. It was GUH-ROSS and I'm not just talking clutter. Picture this ladies and gents: Bachelor pad. No cleaning lady for over a year. Let me tell you, I had to wear my own version of a hazmat suit to clean the bathroom. It was terrifying.

Should I have stopped here in this kitchen renovation? 

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So, she cleans up nicely, eh? From this vantage point this kitchen should raise no complaints. However, on the other side of that island, there were drawers missing and doors kicked in. The other problem was that it didn't match my taste, at all. So, before I realized that this was going to turn into a full on gut job, I planned my attack with a paint brush. I picked out paint colors that would match that minimalist bright white I was painting the rest of the house and as I headed to the hardware store my husband said three words I thought I'd never hear, "lets gut it." I had been content to paint the cabinets and update the hardware, but according to husband, that would be the equivalent of "polishing a turd." So, gut it we did.


This was the point where that same guy who said to tear the kitchen out, completely melted down. He simply just could not. I stood dusting my shoulders off that I had sold the old cabinets on Facebook for a pretty penny while he fell to pieces about dishes having to be washed in a bathtub and there being no counter space. Can anyone say, first world problems?. It was this early in the game that things rapidly went downhill. I was 100% confident about doing this entire project yours truly, but my dear husband just wasn't having it. It all came down to time. He wanted his kitchen back, like, now. So, he got involved. By he got involved I mean he hired help. Help which came cheaply, but not without cost to my mental state. Don't ask me why we installed our light fixture before all the cabinets were even out.  To this day it still needs moved. I don't know. People are crazy.

Installing Cabinets: Not for the faint of heart


Each time I would drop in to check on this project, I was blown away by some other catastrophe. Tile grout that was not washed off the flooring and resulted in a spilled milk appearance on the tile and cabinets installed in the wrong place. This isn't the best picture but, here was when I had to plea with the installers to move the cabinets to the right of the sink up. The cabinets were designed to fit as close as possible to the ceiling and one side was hung fine while the other side of the cabinets were over an inch off the ceiling! They informed me that they planned to jam shims in at the top to make it look like they were closer to the ceiling. Um, I don't think so Tim. As, we neared the finish line I discovered that my beeautiful cabinet pulls looked like they'd been hung by a blind man.  They were in no way, shape, or form parallel to one another or straight. More arguing commenced and this was finally resolved, but I was so happy to have the cabinets done.

Kitchen Renovation After: A kitchen transformed!

Thankfully, this turned around when I found a new handyman, Mark, and this progressed much smoother and on a timeline that pleased dear man of mine. I am looking forward to another renovation at the start of the year and I'll have my trusty handyman on speed dial.




I definitely learned that the biggest tool to have in a kitchen renovation is to have someone, with experience, to help. Its crucial! If you're a beginner, you will make mistakes and it is highly beneficial to have someone to help you avoid as many mistakes as possible. My goals for the next project are to be a more involved in the dirty work, as I'd planned to do with this one. I love everything about this kitchen from the colors and lines, to the counter tops (done by a local W.P company), the back splash, and the light fixtures. I love that I designed this kitchen and used all of the features I wanted to achieve my goals for the space. This was a small kitchen and I wanted to make it look bigger, so I used white cabinetry, a reflective back splash that we carried from wall to wall and up to the ceiling (as a side note: the back splash was discontinued and sold out mid-project and Mark gathered boxes of leftovers from 4 different stores even some from several states away to get me the exact 65 sq ft. that this project required. On top of that he was able to get it from $9.99 a sq ft to $3.99). The glass doors that are placed directly across from one another help bounce the light and the open island commands your eye to travel further into the kitchen. Also, I'll have to agree with darling husband that it is soooo nice to have a functional kitchen.

What do you think of this space? How do you feel about the style and color choices?

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