The Kitchen Renovation Has Started

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We’re one week into our kitchen renovation.  I haven’t shared about it earlier because I have to process things before I share them.  Last year I went through a traumatic renovation that I still haven’t shared about because I’m still processing it (I’m almost ready to share about it). I was hesitant to tell you about this reno until I saw how it was going. 

top image - out-of-date dark, cluttered kitchen, bottom image - kitchen in mid renovation

Great news – it’s going really well (knock wood)!  Let me show you what’s happened this past week.

dark out of date cluttered kitchen with brown cabinets and black counters

This is what our kitchen looked when we had a home inspection done.  I joke that if Darth Vader had designed a kitchen in the 90’s, this would be it.  Let me start by saying, that I realize that this is a wonderful kitchen in many, many ways and I’m thankful for that.  But it just isn’t us.  Since we may (or may not, thanks to the military) be in this house for a while, we wanted to make it work for our family.

What I liked about the kitchen:

Lots of storage – we had plenty of cabinets and a pantry closet.

Good amount of light – coming in from the right side of the picture.  There’s a glass door and two windows just to the right of the hanging light.

Good traffic pattern – the layout worked well most of the time for a busy family of 5 (plus a nosey dog).

Half of the appliances were newer – and quite nice.  The previous owners had purchased higher end appliances that I’ve appreciated.

butler's pantry with dark wood cabinets and dark coutners

The butler’s pantry – located between the kitchen and the dining room.  I really liked how this was a stand alone piece of furniture just off the kitchen and our family room.

What I didn’t like about the kitchen:

The cabinets – that pronounced wood grain irritated me every time I walked into the kitchen.  I like very sleek and simple designs.  The curve on the door fronts combined with the pronounced wood grain was Chuck E. Cheese visual over-stimulation for me.

The black granite countertop – was just too dark and depressing.  As we’ve selected a new countertop, I’ve come to realize that really it was the black backsplash that depressed me more than the countertop.  It was just too…. Darth Vader-ish for me.  Plus, it reflected everything.  I’m a streamlined, simple girl and all that visual over-stimulation irritated me.

out-of-date dark kitchen with brown tile floor, brown cabinets and black counters

The door into the laundry room – opened into the kitchen and covered a fifth of my counter space.  Every time I had to get into the cabinet to the left of that door, I worried that I’d get knocked out if someone came barreling through the door (yes, my family is like the 3 Stooges sometimes).

overhead view of making a sandwich on kitchen island next to cooktop

The cooktop in the island – left me with no counter space on the island.  I think this must have been a trend in the 90’s because most of the houses in our neighborhood have the same set up.  It can work well in a large island (or on a cooking show), but it was a daily headache in our home. There was barely room to even make a sandwich on it. That meant that items, like the plastic bread bag, were placed on the grates of the cooktop.  (I know you see what’s coming.) Which means that some of those items have melted onto the cooktop grates when persons (not me, but it was probably just a matter of time until I did it, too) didn’t realize the grates were still warm. The whole set up just felt unsafe and didn’t work for our family.

kitchen in mid renovation with cabinets off the walls and island cabinets removed

Since we’d had an unpleasant experience last year with our basement renovation, we made sure that we found someone we felt comfortable with (more on that in the future).  So far, it’s been a great experience with our new contractor.  My kitchen looked like this two days ago.  They’re moving along so quickly that I’m not keeping up well with photographing it.

dinning room with boxes of items along wall and red and white checked tablecloth

And this is what my temporary kitchen looks like.  Maybe because we’ve moved as a military family so many times, we don’t mind camping out like this.  Each one of my family has told me separately that they’re enjoying our camping out kitchen.  We all spend more time hanging out here together and there’s less stress because there’s less stuff to take care of in the kitchen right now.

top image dark cabinets and dark counters, bottom image kitchen with cabinets removed

 Have you gone through a kitchen renovation?  What tips do you have for me? 

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  1. I dislike pronounced grain/oak, too. I would have simply painted the cabinets but cudos for going full reno.
    Doesn’t it suck a bit having no working sink in the kitchen? We gutted our kitchen last year and that was the most troublesome aspect. (That and the multi-layers of plastic tiles, nailled on the floors.)

    The island stove top, you are right, it had to go. Looks really cool until one realizes this is a home, not a show and people have to work their ways around an often hot/scalding spot right in the center of the kitchen.

    My only tip is, waterproof well under and around the cabinets. Spills will happen and over time it will cause damage.

    1. Having no sink is a bit of a hassle. We’re using paper and plastic (and I feel terribly guilty about that). I wash a few utensils in the bathroom sink. Good tip about water proofing. I’m excited because the sink cabinet comes lined to prevent those inevitable leaks and drips.

      1. Comes lined? Fantastic. Please, post pics of that. 😀

        And do not feel guilty. Are you kidding? Every single person that ever did a kitchen remodel had to do the same things. I was washing the pots in the bathtub. =]

  2. Hello Susan,
    I really love the light fixture over your dining area. Where did you find it? I am looking forward to seeing how your remodel turns out!

    1. It came with the house when we purchased it, but I’ve saw the light at Home Depot a year or so ago. Good luck.

  3. I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to see the final result. It’s good you took the time to evaluate what you liked about the kitchen before you started so you can hopefully retain those things in the new kitchen.

    1. I’m can’t wait for the cabinets to be installed this week. Then I’ll really be able to see what it will look like.

  4. Hi Susan – I am so excited for you and the kitchen reno! It already looks a million times better and they just started. Can’t wait to see the progress and final ta-da!!! Hugs, Holly

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