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Builder Basic to My Dream Kitchen (before & after)

Carrie H
last year

Demo began 10/20/22 on our 2001-built home and the last touches were done on 1/13/22. We worked with a contractor and separately hired floor and countertop installers. This was our first renovation - don’t ask how we decided to tackle the Big One first, it was probably not well thought out. I learned SO MUCH from folks who’ve shared their knowledge on this forum. From big stuff like design choices to little things like cabinet overhang, I figured out what I wanted by seeing what folks here had done and recommended. Thank you! (as I write this there are line breaks, we‘ll

see if they stay when I post…)

In case it’s helpful to others planning their remodels in the future, here’s what we used and some takeaways.

Cabinets- Kemper Choice in Coconut and Tundra (which is not espresso but a warm medium wood tone)

Countertops - MSI Calacatta Valentin quartz

Sink - Kraus 33” Kore work station stainless steel farmhouse sink

Faucet - Kraus Bolden

Backsplash - Bedrosian Cloe white 3x8” ceramic tile

Floor- Arizona Tile Kaplan 12x24” porcelain tile in Marfil

Floor and backsplash grout - Custom Prism in bleached wood

Range - GE Cafe dual-fuel 30” range

Hood - Zline 36” hood

Cabinet lights - WAC strip led lighting

Pendant - Shades of Light

Chandelier - Kichler Harmony from Lamps Plus

Paint - Behr Swiss Coffee

Hardware - Liberty from HD

Things I’m thrilled about:

  • My giant stainless farmhouse workstation sink. It is so functional it makes my heart sing.
  • Adding trim to windows and sliders really elevated the room.
  • Cabinets to the ceiling - I love the look, plus more storage, and no dust-catchers!
  • Tile backsplash - I kept coming back to the Cloe tile, and it’s perfection. I agonized over the grout choice and the bleached wood color is a warm white that works for the tile and our color scheme.
  • Our new pantry door came in toward the end of the reno when we were anxious to be done. It was too light & orange, so we had the vendor refinish it. Despite wanting to just let it be, I’m glad I held my ground so I wouldn’t be bummed looking at it every day.

Things I learned:

  • When creating a budget don’t rely on the cost of the lowest end version products if you don’t typically buy the least expensive products. Be honest with yourself about your taste and choices!
  • Adapting to changing changing circumstances is the name of the game. Lots of things will go wrong and you just have to focus on your goal, and problem solve, and try not to get caught up in the roller coaster.
  • When planning the island placement leave a little more room to account for the collective impact of counter overhang, door fronts and pulls, and the range sticking out a bit. Ours is fine but would have been even better with a couple more inches.
  • Speak up earlier and more firmly about my choices. I found myself going along only to backtrack and have something redone to get it right. I learned to hold my ground and trust my instincts but wish I’d started that sooner.
  • You need to be available preferably in person at key points - e.g., when the floor guys and the countertop template guy came by, and at the beginning of key construction points such as cabinet, hardware and backsplash installation.
  • We probably did not *need* a solid pantry door (though she’s pretty).
  • Think in advance about how your rooms are connected and changes in one area impact adjacent space. I thought we’d just paint one wall; no the whole room, ceiling and entry hallway had to be painted to go with the cabinets and trim.
  • Watch out for decision fatigue! I didn’t research what molding I wanted above our cabinets and just winged it after making our cabinet selections because I was tired. Months later our contractor put up what I’d picked and it was too big and chunky. He actually noticed and suggested an alternative option that we liked better. But we spent $ on molding we didn’t use. Blerg.

It really is true that when you redo part of your home you become especially aware of other parts that need to be redone. Next up, the primary bathroom!

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