Tips for a Great Kitchen Renovation

Looking for tips to make your next kitchen renovation go great? Follow my advice.

The moment the kitchen lid came crashing down on top of my head was the last straw: It was time for a kitchen renovation. I couldn’t take it anymore. Living through a pandemic with my husband and two boys full time at home took its toll in many ways, but the reality was our kitchen wasn’t functional in the way we needed it to be.

My kitchen was 30 years old. The cabinets would slam shut but wouldn’t stay shut. Clear packing tape held them closed and prevented a cabinet door from constantly hitting me in the face as I made my coffee every morning. The original oven still worked but we feared would die at any moment. And the stove! A tiny electric stove with four burners, two of them sized small but only three burners worked after my son melted a Lego on one of them (one of the big ones!) to see if it would melt. It did. Did I mention the teapot tile backsplash? I am amazed I was able to write a cookbook in it. It was definitely time for a change.

Tips for a great kitchen renovationTips for a great kitchen renovationTips for a great kitchen renovation

Tips for a great kitchen renovation

How it began

Since we had dreamed about a new kitchen for years (a decade?), we had plenty of ideas. Besides looking great, we wanted our kitchen to work for our family and that included much more storage and use of our 9 ft ceilings. While we had a decent sized pantry, it was angled out into the hallway in a way that was hard to find something. That and it had no lighting. Squaring the pantry and moving it more into the kitchen was one design element we wanted.

We hired a kitchen designer to help us with the layout. After several revisions, keeping in mind how we would use the space and where everything would go in the kitchen cabinets and drawers, we settled on a design we were comfortable with.

Great Kitchen Renovation Tip #1. Don’t guess. Measure all items you want in your cabinets and drawers to make sure they will fit before ordering.

Oh the choices!

There are so many choices available for every single element to make a great kitchen renovation. I easily get overwhelmed. Pinterest was a major help in collecting design elements that I liked. This gave me and the designer a sense of my style. Visiting a showroom or two and going quickly with my gut to narrow down between a few choices made it easier to choose.

I love to cook and wanted a high-end range. We went with a Wolfe 6-burner dual convection oven. In fact, this was the first thing we ordered (in December. It arrived in May).

Finding a contractor was the easiest part if you can believe it. We used a contractor that my neighbor used to renovate her kitchen. Why did we choose him? He stays on one job until he finishes it. And he works Saturdays.

Let the kitchen demo and reno begin!

Once everything was ordered and in, my contractor came to demo. In one day, my old sad kitchen was gone. Then we got the call that the kitchen cabinets that we were promised would be done and delivered the following week were delayed two weeks, thus delaying our kitchen renovation.

Great Kitchen Renovation Tip #2. Make sure all items for the kitchen are in before starting demo.

Things moved along swiftly with my contractor and his team. No big surprises were found. We converted our electric stove over to gas and the pantry was cornered off, enlarged slightly, and moved to the front in our kitchen. Our beautiful oven that we waited 6 months for was installed. And then nothing for two weeks while we waited for our cabinets to arrive.

Once the cabinets arrived they were all installed within 2 days. Except for the butler pantry/bar area: the ceilings are lower there and the upper cabinets didn’t fit.

Great Kitchen Renovation Tip #3: Double check all the measurements of the cabinet people.

Next, our sink was installed and templators came to template the countertops. We went with Bianco Calacatta Quartz because it was easy to maintain and looks great! Our countertops were installed a week later and it was then that they measured the backsplash (same quartz).

Favorite Design Aspects

A big dilemma was where to put the microwave. I didn’t like a lot of stuff on the counters and already decided on a hood over the stove. In the end, we decided to put the microwave (a drawer version) in the side butlers pantry area where it was accessible but out of sight.

Moving the pantry from an angled side entrance where the light was poor and space wasted to a front entrance was a game changer. The large custom barn door (74 inches) is an easily accessible and beautiful way to access the pantry.

For a sleek look and to not drill into the beautiful quartz, we went with under cabinet outlets. These can be purchased as a strip and mounted under the cabinets along with lighting.

A Rough Finish

The last few days were when the most problems occurred.

When the plumber came to put in our sink, he noticed the hole cut for the faucet was too close to the sink and he couldn’t install it. Luckily the quartz people came out quickly and we had room to drill the hole bigger in the back so it would fit.

Our contractor made an outlet for the drawer microwave, but the outlet was installed on wrong side and needed to be re-wired.

The last piece was installing the chimney hood over our range and our kitchen was done. Only problem: while the specs of the hood said it fit 9 ft ceilings, it didn’t. This caused a frantic rush calling part places everywhere for an extender kit. Luckily we found one in stock that was rush shipped to us in a few days at $310 for an extra foot of steel.

Great Kitchen Renovation Tip #4: When everything arrives for the kitchen, open them all up to make sure they will fit and what else may be needed.

The Long Finish

In all, the kitchen renovation went great! While my kitchen was totally usable after 6 weeks, (it could have been 4 weeks if the cabinets were on time), it took months to totally finish it. Why the long finish? We had to wait several months for floor guys to come refinish our floors even though we scheduled them way in advance, and then had to wait two months for the painter (also scheduled months in advance).

Tips for a great kitchen renovation



Tips for a great kitchen renovation


Tips for a great kitchen renovation

Great Kitchen Renovation Tip #5: Schedule other contractors in advance. Everyone is backed up.

We had the floors done while away in Yellowstone National Park for a week.

The hardest part of the kitchen renovation was picking the ideal paint color. The paint color wouldn’t just be in the kitchen, but the open family room and adjacent halls leading to the foyer.

I took a sample of the quartz to the paint store and they color matched a few colors from it. From there it helped narrow down my decision. The winning paint color: Benjamin Moore Calm. The name says it all. This is a very light, cool gray that looks great in the kitchen and rest of the house (no more boring beige).

Before the renovation, my storage containers were everywhere. Now they are neatly stacked in a drawer with this white mesh food storage and lid organizer.

Having a pull out drawer for easy to reach products that I use daily like oils and spices works great next to the oven.

tips for great kitchen reonovation

Getting organized with my vitamins and PCOS supplements and medications was a must. I found this lazy susan tired system that works great.

tips for great kitchen renovation

I love my kitchen and hope these tips help you have a great kitchen renovation yourself. Let me know if you have any questions!

Here is a listing of the products used:

Tiny Anchors Studio

Sweetwater woodworks

Waterstone plumbing

Hardware, Top Knobs

Blanco sink

Sub Zero Wolf Stove

Sharp microwave

Blanco Calacatta Quartz

Benjamin Moore Calm Paint

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Comments (3)
  • Suzanne Bissell

    November 4, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    It’s lovely Angela! I especially like the color of the island and the barn door. And the awesome drawer/cabinets. It will be a fun kitchen to cook in! Congrats on having it back.

  • Krista Kosmiskas

    November 4, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks Suzanne!

  • kitchenenablers

    March 14, 2024 at 3:27 am

    Great ideas.

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