I do admire folks who have the courage and vision for a total kitchen remodel. It’s no project for the weak of heart or wallet. Read: I have no courage. I have a weak heart. I found my wallet at Goodwill. Ugh!
And this is not just a kitchen remodel. It’s a transformation of my kitchen/dining room/living room configuration. Oh, did I mention we’re reconfiguring the laundry room? Yeah, I’m over the top.
Over 40 years of home ownership across several states, I have lived with kitchens designed by former owners. Of course, when I selected a house, the kitchen was the most important element. My selections were thoughtful. But, you know, there’s always something you wish you could change.
When we moved back home to Indiana in 2014, I enjoyed the kitchen in our condo, but it was serious time for an update. Not that the existing kitchen didn’t work for me. I wanted something different. I wanted our common areas to work for me, my family, and guests, especially my husband. Our kitchen was galley-style. Whenever I worked in the kitchen, Richard would come to visit, always standing in front of any drawer, appliance, sink I was in the process of using. I was constantly shooing him away, sometimes with little compassion.
What have I learned so far?
Find people you trust.
This is a big deal. This is an expensive deal. The project will inconvenience everyone for many weeks.
I am blessed with some very special experienced professionals here in the Indy area helping me through the project. It can be an overwhelming undertaking without the right people on your team. I hired a kitchen designer to draw plans, Kate Horton, because I’m not an abstract thinker. Bought my cabinets from ADS in Whitestown from Bob Drollinger who is gentle and patient. Cabinets are freaking expensive – make sure you get the best quality you can afford.
My general contractor, Rick Parks, Rosewood Construction, LLC, is phenomenal. He transformed my master bath, so I have some history with Rick. He is experienced and patient. He listens and answers all my questions without coming across as a “know-it-all.” He gives good advice. He’s installing my cabinets, appliances, and flooring in addition to all the demo work, plumbing, and electricity. A one-stop-shop for me, which makes my project manageable with someone I trust to do the right thing.
Get the vibe. Trust your people instincts. If a contractor makes you feel uncomfortable, keep looking.
Noticed I mention “patience” a lot. I’m a newbie to all this remodel stuff, so patience is a quality I look for.
Have courage and ask for discounts.
I’ve saved thousands of dollars simply asking “Is that the best you can do?” Even going so far as saying “I can find this cheaper online and I don’t pay for shipping or sales tax.” This is a big motivator. Big Box Stores aren’t always the solution – it may be convenient but not always the bargain you’d expect. Hiring an independent local contractor may be cheaper and you’re supporting businesses in your community.
Anxiety – Be prepared
Did I make the right decisions? Are the cabinets properly configured? What about lighting – what is too much or not enough? The biggest concern of mine was to have proper flow through the kitchen/dining room for my very helpful accommodating family. I’m doing an open concept so the entire space will be kitchen/dining room/living room in one continuous design. My plan also includes room for Richard to sit at the island side of the kitchen to allow him to keep me company without getting in my way. YES! However, mine is an expensive transition – am I making the right decisions?
Self-doubt is inherent in an undertaking this size. Have faith. Be open to suggestions. Don’t be afraid to mix up the plan if you have second thoughts. Ask questions. Work with your professionals – good ones sincerely want you to be happy with the end product.
I’ve mulled over my transition since 2014. I’ve researched online and with consultants. With my sister and friends who are experienced remodelers. With my husband who ultimately has to live with my vision and won’t complain – he’s a good man.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
Here’s a blast from the 2014 past. This is the area we’re redesigning.
Holy cow! All that gold paint had to go! This side of the condo houses our kitchen, dining room, and living room. It’s one HUGE room, 35′ x 18′ at least, with tall vaulted ceilings. It’s one reason I fell in love with this property. The kitchen is on the other side of the half wall with a 24″x24″ passthrough above the kitchen sink. Well, okay. Let’s open up this space!
Here’s what my kitchen/dining room/living room looked like in 2014 after painting.
What a dramatic difference, eh? I choose Benjamin Moore’s “Revere Pewter,” because it is one color Candace Olson loves as a great neutral/greige. A little on the green-taupe side, I love this wall color.
Okay. I’ve got lots more pictures. Follow our progress with the links below.