Kitchen Fever: Renovation Secrets

Before the title of this blog post completely misleads you, I just want to put out a disclaimer: Dan and I are not renovating our kitchen ourselves.  While I recognize that this is a DIY blog, we both agreed that we wanted to share our renovation story with friends, family, and blog readers alike, despite the fact that we are not doing all of the hands-on work.  Our Kitchen Fever series started in October when we first decided to take on the renovation, followed by a Kitchen Mood Board in March and a post about choosing materials in April.  Since then?

Crickets.

I’ve been experiencing a few job transitions, which have been very time consuming in terms of work hours and brain power (I still make time to rhyme, of course).  That, coupled with our contractor’s torn bicep (what is it with us and injuries lately?), left us very little time and energy to start this project that’s been in the works since December.  Despite all of the frustration and stress leading up to this moment, I can proudly say: THE KITCHEN RENOVATION HAS BEGUN!

We’ve made a few final decisions that I’ll sum up in just a few key points: shaker-style white cabinets, dark gray granite countertops, and a quatrefoil backsplash with dark grout.  None of these are actual materials we’re using, but it should give you an idea of the look we’re going for.  I can’t wait to show you as we make more progress.

Today’s post is called Renovation Secrets, or as I’ve been thinking about it, things no one ever told you about living through a kitchen renovation.

Emptying cabinets is not fun.
The first lesson we learned was all about emptying cabinets.  While we were planning to travel to two weddings and a weeklong vacation in the Berkshires, Dan and I made use of every spare second that we had to empty all of our kitchen cabinets AND our master pantry which houses all of our food supplies.  In addition, we had to prep some storage space and at least a small dining area because we had asked my brother to stay at the house when the renovations began and we were away.  This included being stocked with paper towels, napkins, plastic cups, and plasticware in our upstairs kitchen area while we brought everything else to the basement.  Whew!  Let’s just say that I am eternally grateful for the original builders of our townhouse, who decided it was a good idea to include a finished basement.  We’ve made quite a few trips up and down the basement stairs in the past couple of weeks.

Say goodbye to curb appeal.
After countless posts on curb appeal and outdoor living, I pride myself on having a well-manicured front porch.  Dan loves gardening, so we have flowers and plants peppering most of our yard.  In fact, we recently bought a plant stand for $2 at a garage sale, painted it, and propped it on the porch.  Now, however, the need for more storage has won over the need for curb appeal.  I never thought that our kitchen cabinet remnants would take up so much space on our porch that they would actually block sunlight from getting to our friendly potted plants.  Also a casualty of this renovation?  My chalkboard painted “welcome” sign… it seems to have disappeared under the rubble.

You get to wine and dine your appliances.
I honestly can’t remember the last time both Dan and I ate a meal together at our kitchen table.  After our appliances were unplugged and moved, we had to cram all of our existing kitchen furniture (chairs, table, and old school buffet) into the last remaining corner of our living area.  We’ve eaten more frequently at our backyard table and on the couch than we’ve actually eaten at this table.  At the time of this blog post, we now officially have our oven, dishwasher, and microwave reinstalled.  However, there were a few electrical mishaps that led to a faulty outlet, so now we are using an extension cord to keep our refrigerator up and running.  One other meal-prepping item I completely neglected to mention?  Our kitchen sink.  I never knew how difficult it would be to wash dishes in a bathroom sink until this summer.  The more you know!

You start to realize what was missing.
Paint, for example. Or all matching floorboards.  How about the chunk of the window on the left that’s just plain missing?  Once all of our cabinets and appliances were ripped out, I started to realize that there were quite a few little things I didn’t know about our kitchen.  One of the things Dan and I will be doing ourselves is painting.  This whole back wall will be tiled backsplash until it hits the height of our cabinets and shelves.  Then it’s time for yet another round of paint choices.

It will all be worth it.
Okay, this is a cheesy one to end on, but as you can see – it will all be worth it!  I love some of the creativity that has gone into our kitchen design, from the floating shelves to the custom pantry that will house only the most delicious snacks.  Eventually, when the stomach bloat wears off from eating at every single affordable restaurant within a 15 minute drive from our house, we will be happier than two lovebirds with french fries (I saw this recently, and it was adorable).  Here’s looking at you, new kitchen!

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