Friday, May 18, 2012

What to Expect when you are Expecting & Renovating your Kitchen, Part I

Renovations are always a lot of work.  Throw in an short time frame and they tend to be somewhat stressful.  Throw in a 10 month old baby, a total kitchen gut/renovation, baby #2 on its way in less than four months, and you have our crazy "Dream Home Kitchen Renovation". 
My Dream Kitchen, Finished Just In Time!

When we purchased our house we knew we would like to renovate our kitchen down the road.  We moved into our house when our first child was just 3 moths old.  I didn't expect us to renovate the kitchen for a couple of years (you know being new parents and all) but one project led to another and seven months later we were in full blown kitchen renovation. 

Kitchen/Family Room_Before 

Kitchen_Before (Only good thing was the stove)

To explain, our first improvement to our new house was to remove the two hot water tanks (one upstairs/one downstairs) and replace them with a single tank less "Rinnai" hot water heater.  The two existing hot water tanks served different areas of the house and the plumbing needed to be looped  together to convert to just one "Rinnai" tank less heater.  This meant tearing out the ceiling in our family room/kitchen area. 
One of the old hot water heaters.

Once the ceiling was torn out, we thought it would be the best time to add some overhead pot lighting.  The family room only had one low hanging ceiling fan/light combo and there was a big fluorescent box in the kitchen.  Once the new lighting was in we were ready to patch the ceiling......well not actually. So much of the ceiling had to be torn out for the plumbing work and new lights, that it made sense to just replace the ceiling rather than patch.  Also, the old ceiling had a popcorn texture and we prefer a smooth finish.  My husband set about demolishing all of the ceiling in the family room.  It then became obvious that in order to replace the ceiling properly, we needed to take down the ceiling mounted cabinets and bulkhead that separated the kitchen from the family room.  Once we were in it this far my husband bravely decided to just go ahead and renovate the whole kitchen.  I can truly say he was brave, because I was a little less than four months away from delivering our second child.   Anyone who has ever had a baby knows that having a working kitchen is really good when you bring that new baby home, i.e. bottles to sterilize. 

We hadn't drawn out the plans for our new kitchen yet (we weren't really planning to do it yet), so as my husband tore out the existing cabinets I got to work drafting out the new layout.   Luckily my husband and I were on the same page for the new kitchen design and we were quickly able to send out the layout for cabinet quotes.  We got several quotes from various vendors/manufacturers and landed on "Mid-Continent Cabinetry".  We ordered all plywood construction cabinets with dovetail drawers, slow-close hardware,  and glazed finishes for an amazing price through our local "Builder's First Source".  My husband saved us over $1,300 by installing the cabinets himself.  Cabinet installation is a lot of hard work and not easy, but he did an amazing job. Being really pregnant, my job was to help figure out the maze of cabinet boxes that were delivered to our garage, i.e. what piece goes where.  We ordered low maintenance quartz-counter tops which was our splurge on this project, but all in all our total expense was super reasonable.

Nothing better than a big pantry cabinet..this has pull out shelves to make it easy to reach everything.

We planned for a nice stainless steel refrigerator, but for now the black economy version is working fine..  Our kids love their refrigerator farm (taken down for picture) and this toy would scratch stainless.

Loving all of the cabinet storage.

Pot depth drawers next to the stove are a must!

Bottom drawer of the island is toy storage.  Our kids love to pull the toys out and this keeps them in reach but out of sight.

This is my one picture in the kitchen (with all of my cabinets, there isn't a lot of wall space).
.  It helps me on extra stressful days!
With just a little over a week till the due date the kitchen was up and running (working sink and dishwasher...yeah).  We actually finished the backsplash tile up the week we brought our youngest son home.  Needless to say, my husband was my hero for finishing this project in such a short time and doing such a great job!

For me, the biggest improvement in this renovation was the removal of the ceiling mounted cabinets and peninsula.  Having an open sight line to the windows and family room makes the space feel ten times larger.  This also helps me keep a better eye on what the kids are doing.  Having a more open path of circulation makes cooking a breeze.  I just pop food out of the fridge, three steps to the sink, two steps to the stove/microwave, and then two steps back to the dishwasher.  I love the new convenience the layout provides.

In my next post on the kitchen renovation, I will detail all of the sources for our materials.

1 comment:

  1. I love your kitchen, it is gorgeous! as far as making sure the wooden chairs hold up outside, I'm not sure yet....thinking about coating it with a clear sealant or something like that and hopefully they'll do okay! Again, I got them each for super cheap, so if the paint chips and the wood cracks it's not a huge loss!