Starting the Kitchen Renovation

Hi friends! Today I’m going to give you a glimpse into our current life. At New Years I decided to tackle a kitchen renovation (insert terrified remarks by my husband now). As you can see, there was nothing terribly wrong with our kitchen when we moved in. The cabinets had been updated at some point, the appliances were older but still functioning well, and we had granite countertops. These are our listing photos since I didn’t know I was starting a blog when I started the project 🙂

old kitchen
See the wall organizers–this is the first hint that the previous owner loooooovvvvveeeed Ikea
old kitchen
The lovely two-colored appliances
old kitchen
Definitely not terrible, but just not me. And, wait! Look how beautiful that ceiling was–I took it for granted in the 4 weeks I had it before disaster struck.

But, I couldn’t look past the pink-ish hue of the cabinets, the lack of a backsplash, the old and tired light, and the mismatched appliances. And, let’s not forget the giant hole in our ceiling that’s been there for over a year since we had a plumbing leak in our upstairs bathroom (something I 100% paid a professional to repair).

hole in kitchen ceiling with exposed pipes
Look how pretty those new professional pipes look against the old rusty one! Maybe it will distract you from the ugliness of the hole in our ceiling.

So, I scoured Pinterest to start getting ideas for cheap updates to the kitchen. I knew painting the cabinets was an option, but I also knew it was supposed to be much harder than just ‘painting the cabinets’. Luckily, I stumbled upon many blog posts that offered encouragement that I could, in fact, do this!

Timeline

Now before we dive into the details, a word about your timeline: This is not a weekend project. Let me repeat: This is not a weekend project. I knew it would take several weeks, but it takes MANY weeks, unless you can spend several hours during the day working only on this. And, during that time, your house will look like this:

messy dining room
It makes me cringe just looking at this

And this:

messy kitchen
That’s where our china serving ware belongs, right?

And this:

cabinet doors on floor in basement

I promise it’s worth the mess in the end, but I was definitely challenged by the mess and the clutter and not being able to use big portions of my house for a while. If you have a garage and can use it to store things or to put your cabinet doors in while painting, your house won’t be quite the disaster mine was. But, when you only have 400 square on each floor of your house, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room to uproot a whole room of the house without a little bit of chaos 🙂

To give you an idea of the timeframes I’m talking about, here’s a breakdown of how long each item took me:

  • Painting the cabinet frames: 1 week
  • Painting the cabinet doors: 3 weeks
  • Backsplash: 2 afternoons + 1 hour for caulking
  • Painting the walls: 5 hours (including 3 hours of dry time between coats)
  • Installing the new ceiling light: 30 minutes
  • Hanging the pot racks and shelves: 1-2 hours
  • Staining the bar top: TBD
  • Replacing the Kitchen Faucet and removing the water filter: 3 hours + a call to our handyman and $120 for him to finish the project
  • Replacing the appliances: 2 hours in Home Depot + 4 week wait for the backordered refrigerator and 2 hours for install
  • Fixing the hole in our ceiling: 3 hours by a professional
  • Painting the ceiling: 4 hours (including 2 hours of dry time between coats)
  • Installing under the cabinet lights: 1-2 hours
  • Installing a family command center: 1 hour

I haven’t finished the kitchen quite yet (hence, the TBDs), so I’ll update the rest of the timelines as I complete them!

Order of Events

Since each project had its own steps and challenges (and since I’m not quite finished yet), I’ve broken the steps up into their own posts. I installed the new light and completed the cabinets before I did anything else, but if I could do it all over again I would complete the kitchen mini-projects in the order below, to allow for less chance of messing up the cabinet paint when I painted the ceiling and walls:

Is It Worth It?

While this has been a ton of work so far, it’s 100% worth every bit of having our pots and pans in the dining room for a month and turning our basement into an obstacle course. I’m saying that just based on completing a few of these projects–I haven’t gotten to the rest, so it can only get better!

new kitchen cabinet
I’m so in love with this paint color and the new hardware!

I love every inch of these new kitchen cabinets! And, I love it even more because I did most of it, even if there’s already a few scratches and one of the handles is a little crooked, it still looks sooo much better. And, I bet when it’s completely finished, I’ll love it even more (I’ll update the post with new pics once it’s completely done).

Did my POTS impact this project?

I haven’t talked about my POTS yet, but it’s such an integral part of why I really got invested in home projects, so I’m going to share a little with you. Did my POTS get in the way of completing this project? Absolutely! I can’t count how many times I had to lay down to relieve lightheadedness and sweating and nausea, or the number of times I had to stop sooner than I wanted to for the day because I was more exhausted than I should have been for the work I was doing.

Oh, is that frustrating! To mentally be ready and wanting to do something and have your body not cooperate. I’ve been a healthcare provider for ten years, but this is the first time I’m truly experiencing a life-altering illness, and let me tell you, it sucks. Like really, truly sucks.

But, with each hour I work on one of these projects, I take a little piece of myself back. Instead of feeling the overwhelming fear that things are only going to get worse and constantly worrying about what POTS is going to take from me next, I’m starting to accept that I may always have these challenging symptoms in my life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fight back against the fear and work with my body to accomplish new things.

Next up–I’ll talk about prepping to get ready to refinish the kitchen cabinets. I can’t wait to share more with you all, and if you have any favorite tips or tricks for kitchen renovations, feel free to post in the comments below!

~Lauren

P.S. Since Sadie is missing from this post, here’s her saying hello!

black dog standing

6 comments

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  1. Aunt Kathy

    Lauren, so impressed with you! Especially with POTS tiring you out. Hang in there and keep up the great work. I am thinking about painting my cabinets too.

  2. The Hole in our Kitchen Ceiling ⋆ A Girl's Guide to Home DIY

    […] As luck would have it, we had another drain pipe start leaking about a month ago that needed to be replaced. Our lovely plumbers came back out and did an amazing job as always. While writing the check to pay for the new work, one of the plumbers asked if we were looking for someone to fix the kitchen ceiling. He said he could do it on the weekend, and he would charge us $300. I don’t think Steve or I could have said YES fast enough. It took another 3 weeks to find a date that worked for both of us, but, now look! We have a ceiling! And, right in the middle of our kitchen renovation! […]

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