I officially completed my first major remodeling project as a homeowner. Coming from the home industry, I thought I had all the answers. Boy was I wrong! The 5 extra lbs that my husband and I gained is proof. For an entire month, we ate out because we had no kitchen. OK. We ate our feelings, but that is beside the point. My 3-year-old even knows the name of our pizza delivery guy.
Look, there is nothing easy about a kitchen remodel no matter who you are. It seriously disrupts your life and usually for a more extended period of time than you expect. But when you come out on the other side, you get to fall in love with your kitchen.
Below is a timeline of our kitchen project with the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am holding nothing back here. Are you ready?
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My husband and I love older homes. We love the character and care in craftsmanship that you see with many of them. So when we purchased a 1987 Cape Cod style home in Dunwoody, Georgia we knew we needed to remodel. Yes, 1987 isn’t that old, but it’s Atlanta.
We decided the first project to start on would be the kitchen remodel. We both love to cook and have never really had a kitchen that fit us. Since I work for Click Countertops and have contacts in the industry, I decided to be the general contractor on the job.
Disclaimer: Managing a remodeling project is a huge undertaking. If you are going full reno on your kitchen and bathroom, my recommendation for homeowners is to work with a turn-key remodeling company. If you decide to GC your project, please be aware that there is potential for more stress and possibly more backend costs on the job.
For my cabinets, I decided to work with one of our industry partners, Moore Custom Cabinets. John Moore and his team do an incredible job with spatial planning. And they take great care in their craftsmanship.
As you can see from the photo, our kitchen was similar to a galley kitchen. I wanted a breakfast bar where my daughter could sit in the mornings that would separate the kitchen from the eating area. The desk area would make way for a coffee bar. And a large fireclay apron-front sink would replace the double-bowl stainless steel.
For the final touches, we bought a slide-in range to provide us with more countertop space. Originally, I was convinced that we needed a double oven. Instead, I opted for a warming drawer. I realized that our true need was to keep things warm rather than being able to cook multiple items at different temperatures.
Concerning cabinet color, we wanted white but a warm white. A tried-and-true color for cabinetry and trim is White Dove by Benjamin Moore. It’s one of those whites that never fails.
Once the cabinet design was finalized our next step was appliances. After researching every brand out there, we decided that KitchenAid would work best. I went for stainless because I love how it reflects the surrounding area in a kitchen.
After choosing the appliances, I went to Click Countertops to decide on my countertops, sink, and tile with one of our Senior Design Consultants. I like the classic look of marble countertops, but I also know how my family lives in a kitchen. So, we opted for a quartz color called Allora. It’s white quartz that is similar to a White Carrara marble. It has depth like a marble where some quartz can look too synthetic when trying to mimic marble colors.
Once I decided on my countertops, I chose a 31″ white fire-clay apron sink. And, from our industry partner, Traditions in Tile, I picked a high-gloss Ice white subway tile for my backsplash.
After deciding on my sink, I chose a Kohler Polished Nickel faucet to add some warmth to the kitchen.
Now that the major decisions were out of the way, so began the process of officially remodeling our kitchen:
Rip Out Day
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We hired a local sub-contractor to do our rip-out, and I donated our old cabinetry to the Kidney Foundation. For the most part, rip out is pretty painless and it went fast. We had Corian countertops which are not as heavy as natural stone or quartz countertops.
“Bye-Bye” 1990s Kitchen!
Photo credit: newroomstyle
On cabinet day, the guys arrived early and got to work fast on installation. It wasn’t easy because we have brick floors and there was a lot of leveling needed, but they did a fantastic job. My only concern was the L-shape bar area came closer to my window than I realized. So, I began to wonder how I could do a countertop overhang for bar stools. Keep reading to find out more about that one.
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Appliance day is all about making sure all the right product was received, and there are no scratch and dents on the stainless steel. Well, our warming drawer had a couple of scratches. So, we ended up on the phone with customer service, and they told us we could get a replacement drawer delivered the next week.
Need that warming drawer without a double oven. Love!
Countertop Measure Day
Photo credit: atlanticcustomgranite
When our measure-tech came to my house, I was anxious to meet with him to discuss the need to put an arc off the kitchen bar. Initially, it was not a design that I had in mind, but I did some research online and found one that I liked with a more transitional shape to it.
Our kitchen in total was 58 square ft with the arc. In 3 days, my project manager called me to approve the final quote and schedule installation.
A few issues: Time to spend more money.
Photo credit: media.architecturaldigest
We had an electric stove in the old kitchen, but it had a gas hookup. We discovered that the connection was too small and not up to code. We needed to pay an additional $800 to fix. Also, for the undercabinet lighting, we needed to add more wiring for electrical. When it comes to remodeling, you honestly don’t know what you are up against until drywall and cabinets have been ripped out. Time to take a deep breath and eat more pizza!
Photo credit: media.architecturaldigest.
At the end of the week, our installers came to install our new quartz countertops. I was both excited and nervous about this day because I was not sure how the arc would turn out. Once installed, I was delighted with the outcome.
Also, they did a fantastic job on my seam. If you do choose quartz countertops, you need to know that seams will always be more detectable than on natural stone countertops.
Plumbing Hookup and Tile Day:
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After choosing my subway tile, I needed to decide on a pattern. I knew that I wanted my narrow kitchen to feel wider, so I picked minimal grout lines with grout that matched the tile.
Our plumbing hookup was pretty painless, but we decided to add a water filtration system for fresh drinking water. We were tired of spending money on water bottles. It did take a little extra time and cost a little more, but we love it.
Painting the Kitchen walls:
Photo credit: hips.hearstapps
Paint is something that makes many homeowners nervous. It takes time and money, so you want to get it right on the first try. I prefer lighter color walls to darker walls any day of the week. I do not like my paint to dictate the color scheme of my home. But, I also knew I needed to go a tad darker for some contrast in my white kitchen.
So, I chose Winds Breath by Benjamin Moore. It is a true neutral, but there is a hint of grey in it. The good thing is that it does not turn pink or purple like so many grey colors tend to do.
Cabinet lighting and punch out:
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Honestly, the cabinet lighting became a bit of an ordeal for us. I am very particular about the lighting when it comes to LED. I want the light to be as warm as possible. We tested several brands to get what we wanted. Once we found it, I opted for rope lighting inside my cabinetry because I really wanted a soft glow there. For my lighting over my sink, I chose a brass swing arm lamp.
Love my faucet and swing arm lamp!
Kitchen Remodel Complete
Photo credit: agapehomeservices
Once completed, we were exhausted but beyond ecstatic that we had a new kitchen. For some final touches, I found chairs for our kitchen peninsula and a rug for our cooking prep area. The brick floors are beautiful but unforgiving underfoot.
Well, that is my tale of the good, the bad, and the ugly of a kitchen remodel. Are you ready to get started on your project?
Low-maintenance quartz because we love making a mess!
Ta-da! Because who doesn’t love a dog in a kitchen?