Learn how to create a mood board here, like the one I made pictured above.
Backsplash + Countertops
We did white subway tile in our bathroom, so I wanted white subway tile backsplash in our kitchen to repeat the look and create cohesiveness. 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 option that’s pretty affordable.
For countertops, 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.
Taking out the old stove top and built-in wall oven meant we had to rework the location of the new appliances a bit. It’s actually more cost effective to have a combined range and oven, so we shifted it over slightly to add some extra counter space. 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. The dishwasher was the most exciting part of the new kitchen, I think. Washing dishes is my LEAST favorite chore. I like the look of stainless steel so that’s what we went with. for our appliances. 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 kitchen cabinets we had, 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 install all new cabinets.
Ideally, I wanted new cabinets. We’d have to rip out the whole wall of cabinets where the old oven and stovetop are to make room for the new range, which meant we’d have to install new cabinets on that wall to replace them anyway. I couldn’t find any stock cabinets available that matched our current size. I felt 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 have a tall enough clearance for things like a canister of oatmeal, so that was another bonus of new cabinets. It’s all about the little things.
New cabinets also meant we’d spend more than if we repainted our existing and replaced just the one side of cabinets next to the range.
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 cabinets like larger kitchens! I tried to reach out to the cabinet company and see where we could make a few adjustments (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. Home Depot cabinets 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 great thing about Home Depot stock cabinets is the variety of base and wall cabinet types. They offer a mix of wall and base cabinets, some with larger drawers that are great for storing pots and pans. You can really play with the assortment and pick cabinets based on your needs that fit your kitchen size.
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 actually looked pretty nice and the quality seemed like it’d work fine for us. The quality isn’t top notch and they use a cheaper wood than custom cabinets, but for the price and for the average kitchen, they will work great.
They cabinets were available in either white or a light grey. The gray color came with a shaker door style which I loved, so we went with it!
Ultimately, Jordon and I decided these cabinets were the best solution for us. We picked up all the cabinets in-store, and only had to order 2 that weren’t in stock. These are the pre-assembled shaker cabinets at Home Depot we bought. My biggest suggestion if you are buying the cabinets is to buy them in store if possible. That way you can check over each cabinet to look for damage and get top pick. We ordered 2 cabinets online that weren’t available in-store, and one of the cabinets arrived damaged from shipping. This is where the bad reviews come from. If you can hand pick each cabinet in-store, do it.
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! Not stressful at all. #kidding
We did keep the refrigerator as long as we could so we at least had some food for the time being, since the rest of our kitchen was out of use. We resorted to plugging in the microwave in the living room so we could still make oats and sandwiches during the 5 week kitchen renovation without a range.