I can’t even tell you how excited we are about our kitchen renovation reveal and how well it turned out! And I’m even more excited to share our process and how we got here. Because it definitely didn’t always look this pretty. Our kitchen renovation was a long time in the making. So to say we finally have a fully functioning, updated, BEAUTIFUL kitchen is such a dream.
Without further adieu, let’s dive right in to the before and after.
Here’s what the kitchen looked like before. This was taken during the process of painting our cabinets, hence a few of the cabinet doors removed, which we did a few months after moving in.
After we painted our kitchen cabinets a pretty blue, it looked like this. We painted to get rid of the terrible orangey cabinets and it looked better. But at this point we still had linoleum floors and counters and the old, original appliances.
While we knew we wanted to renovate the kitchen eventually, it wasn’t in the budget to do it right away. There wasn’t really a set plan we decided on where we’d renovate “next year” or anything like that. It came down to when we had the time (and knowledge) to do it ourselves once we saved enough and felt ready to tackle it.
Since we cook a lot and hardly ever eat out, we’re always in the kitchen, but it just wasn’t an inspiring space to hang out. The oven was so small with only one rack, and the stove top was old and the knobs were wearing off so you couldn’t see the burner temperatures. Not only was the kitchen really ugly, but the appliances didn’t work that great either.
After 3 (!!!!) years of living in our home, we finally tackled the kitchen renovation this past summer. It was kind of a last minute decision, actually. We had talked about starting within the year, but to make it even more stressful, we decided to start the reno just a a couple months before our wedding! Because why not ha. Nothing like a hard deadline to get everything finished in time! Excited doesn’t even BEGIN to express how happy I was to rip out the out-dated kitchen.
But first, let’s talk designs.
The Design Plan
As the type A planner that I am, I had our design plan figured out well before we actually started demo. We weren’t adding on or changing the footprint of our kitchen, but we’d be updating counters, floors, hardware, lighting, backsplash, appliances, and cabinets.
The overall vibe I wanted for the kitchen is the same as the rest of our house: light, airy, cozy with a mix of rustic + modern elements.
I did some research, pinned, and created our design plan. If you want all the details of my step by step process for coming up with a room design plan, read this blog post.
Related Post: How to Come Up with a Room Design Plan
When we put in our wood floors in the living room, we purchased enough for the kitchen, knowing we were updating those floors at some point too, so we had the flooring figured out.
Related Post: How to Choose Wood Flooring: Laminate vs. Hardwood
We did white subway tile in our bathroom, so I wanted white subway tile backsplash in our kitchen. I’m a big fan of classic backsplash that you won’t tire of after a few years. Subway tile is always a practical yet beautiful route to go.
For counters, it was between white quartz or butcher block. Quartz counters were over double the cost of butcher block, so that’s ultimately why we chose wood counters. While I do love the look of butcher block, this isn’t our forever home so we didn’t want to spend more than what we’d actually get back when we decide to sell, so butcher block made sense. They do require a little more maintenance, so that’s something to keep in mind. I researched how to care for butcher block a ton and found that with a little extra care and some mineral oil, they will hold up for years.
We obviously had to get a new range, but we also were installing a dishwasher (finally!!), getting a new microwave that mounted above the range to allow for more counter space, and a new fridge. I like the look of stainless steel so that’s what we went with. Usually you can get a discount if you buy appliances in a bundle package which is what we did at Nebraska Furniture Mart.
On to kitchen cabinets…our biggest dilemma.
While I love the blue cabinets, I wanted our new cabinets to be more neutral. We went back and forth on whether we’d keep the current cabinets and just paint them, or if we’d get all new cabinets.
Ideally, I wanted new cabinets. We’d have to rip out the whole wall of cabinets where the old oven and stove top are, which meant we’d have to install new cabinets on that wall to replace them. But I couldn’t find any stock cabinets available that matched our current size. It would look odd to have mismatched cabinets on one side of the kitchen, so replacing them all sounded like the best option. The old cabinet shelves also weren’t adjustable and didn’t allow clearance for things like a canister of oatmeal, so that was another bonus of new cabinets.
To see how much new cabinets would cost, we got a quote from a semi-custom cabinet company and were shocked at how much it cost. They always say new cabinets are expensive and they aren’t kidding. And we don’t even have a ton of cabinet space! I tried to reach out to the cabinet company and see where we could make a few adjustment (I wanted some open shelving) to maybe lower the cost a bit, but they were horrible about getting back to me so after the bad customer service, we nixed that idea. They did provide a handy blueprint we were able to work off of and check prices for stock cabinets at Home Depot. It ended up being one fifth of the cost, plus there was no lead time (we only had to order a couple cabinets online, the rest were in stock in our local store).
The main concern we had with the Home Depot stock cabinets was quality. If you read the reviews online, they are not great. Most of the them said they were cheaply made and arrived broken in some way. Ugh. I went to our store to check them out myself first hand, and after looking, I thought they looked pretty nice and the quality seems like it’d work fine for us. They were available in either white or a light grey, but the white had a different front door style I didn’t like, so we went with grey, which I initially wanted anyway.
Jordon and I decided these cabinets were the best solution for us, so we went for it! We picked up all the cabinets in-store, and only had to order 2 that weren’t in stock.
At this point, we had a garage full of cabinets, appliances ordered, and all other design selections finalized.
We were ready for demo!
Jordon was eager to rip out cabinets, so I emptied them and packed everything up. He started ripping stuff out one day while I was at work. Nothing like getting texts of your newly gutted kitchen while you’re away!
We did keep the refrigerator as long as we could so we at least had some food for the time being. We resorted to plugging in the microwave in the living room so we could still make oats and other simple foods during the 5 week kitchen renovation.
It’s always nerve-racking on demo day because you never know exactly what you’ll uncover. We lucked out and everything was pretty normal, except, after ripping out the stovetop and lower cabinets, we discovered there was a vent that came up from the furnace that out-jetted from the wall. Right where we planned on placing a 12 inch wide cabinet wasn’t going to work anymore, because we needed a wider cabinet to be able to cut the back of it in order to fit over the vent. We were forced to switch the cabinet layout a bit which was a bummer. I planned on adding open shelving around the range, but that had to change and then we could no longer have cabinets on both sides of the range either. But, there was no other options.
Switching around the layout a couple times caused us to have to return a couple cabinets and order a couple new ones. This ended up setting us back a couple days because we were waiting for the new cabinets to arrive. All of our cabinets were in good shape, but we did have one that arrived a little broken. Luckily, it was only broken in the back and we were able to salvage it since, we didn’t have time to wait a week for a new one to come in.
One other fix we had to do was add a different electrical plug to fit the new range and wire the microwave so it was on a different circuit line.
Jordon was somehow able to install all the cabinets himself, leveling them and securing them to the wall. Once the cabinets were in, we could start on the wood flooring. Installing the wood floors took a few days with all the measuring and cutting. When the floors were in, we were ready for the appliances delivery. This was an exciting day! Our kitchen would finally be somewhat useable again. I was ready to have a stove back so we could stop eating microwave foods. Surprisingly, we didn’t eat out once during the week in the 5 weeks without a stove. It was just lots of cereal, sandwiches and oatmeal.
However, we ran into an issue when the appliances arrived. When we picked out appliances, we made sure the size fit within the cabinet space, but we forgot to account for the doorway leading into the kitchen. Oops! The guys dropped off the appliances but the fridge didn’t fit through the living room/kitchen doorway. We ended up having to remove the doors from the new fridge, and even remove part of the molding on the door frame to just barely able to squeeze it by, with only centimeters to give.
With the appliances finally installed, we could start on the countertops. We bought slabs of butcher block from Menards and cut them to fit. I researched a ton on how to seal the wood and found two options. Use a food grade sealer or use natural with mineral oil. Using a heavy duty wood sealer would protect the wood better longer term, but the sealer also changed the color of the wood and made it much more orangey than I liked. So I decided that applying mineral oil every few months was the best option for us. I may do an entire blog post on how we care for our butcher block counters, so if that’s something you want to see for sure, let me know!
In between the big projects happening, we also finished things like repainting the walls, painting all the kitchen trim, and I painted the side entrance door the same blue we actually had on our previous cabinets.
Once the counters were in, we were in the home stretch and could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Up next was tiling the backsplash, installing kitchen cabinet hardware, hanging window treatments and the new chandelier. We used our existing kitchen table and chairs and installed a really fun orb chandelier from West Elm which adds a nice modern touch.
One unique piece we had made for our kitchen is the metal shelf. Since we were limited to open shelving on just the one side with the issue we discovered during demolition, I debated what I wanted to use for open shelving. At first, I was thinking open wood shelves, but I wanted to tie in the matte black accents from the chandelier and door knobs. Then, I had the idea for a black metal shelf. I sketched it up and a local welder from my hometown brought my vision to life! I love that it’s different and unique yet ties together the space perfectly.
After 5ish weeks of work, we finished the kitchen renovation! And with enough time to spare before our wedding :) It was definitely a long few weeks living in a construction zone and spending every available minute on the kitchen. It was a lot of work, but we’re so happy with how it turned out! Every time I walk in our kitchen I’m amazed we tackled all of it ourselves and how good it looks! It’s truly just as I had imagined.