On the latest installment of Kitch Sitch*: After almost two years, it stills feels like the Green Kitchen Glamazon was finished just yesterday. I’d envisioned a bold and swanky green kitchen harking back to the era the Brigham Craftsman was built for many moons before it became a reality.
Since this was a major kitchen renovation, there were many steps I took to ensure the four-month project went off without a hitch. A detailed design plan, timeline and a calculated budget were critical in ensuring this kitchen renovation dream turned reality.
During the renovation process, there were a few risks—both big and small—I took that paid off big time in the long run. Not to mention, a few small mistakes and learning curves along the way.
Whether it was taking on tasks to save big bucks or simple details that tied the whole design together, I’m dishing the deets on what risks I took that reaped massive and everlasting rewards.
There’s nothing quite as cathartic as slinging a sledgehammer against a wall. My husband and I saved several shekels taking on the entire demolition ourselves. Since the kitchen renovation requiring knocking the entire space back to the studs, taking on the dirty work of demolition equated to a savings in the thousands. It took us ten days, but we got the job done.
Removal of a non loadbearing wall(ish)
Craftsman homes have fabulous details and I often choose to honor the existing footprint. However, this wide-open kitchen floor plan used to once be split into three separate spaces upon entry, essentially laying out a mudroom, butler’s pantry and primary kitchen space.
Once of the walls was removed prior to our residence here, but an overhang and shallow, non loadbearing wall remained. Though I love the compartmentalized features of Craftsman homes, removing this wall naturally opened up the space and gave way for a fabulous set of oversized pantries. Storage galore.
Repairing the plaster ceiling
One of my favorite features of this 1930s bungalow is the unique plaster ceiling detail—it’s different in every room! Some might say, “cover it up, it’s fugly” and I say, “you cray.”
Where the overhang and shallow wall once stood, there was a huge chunk of what I like to call “plaster swirlies” missing, which spanned the entire width of the kitchen. My contractor’s guys are craftsman at heart, and restored this detail by filled in the space with the old swirling technique. This simple, yet powerful detail makes the kitchen feel as though it’s been this way all along.
Restoring the original hardwood floors
I’d had a running bet with my mom for years leading up to this renovation. I was CERTAIN there were original hardwood floors hiding beneath 3.5 layers of tile. Once they were unveiled in a truly victorious moment, they were lathered in grossness, full of nail holes and had a few crappy planks where the old non loadbearing walls once stood.
Much to my contractor’s confusion, the risk here was to repair, refinish and restore the entire floor before the renovation began. After being mistreated all those years, I felt they deserved TLC from wall-to-wall. Our good friend amazed us with his craftsmanship and these babies survived the renovation just fine covered in a heavy duty floor covering until it was their time to shine.
Purchasing a luxe range
I get a heckuva lot of questions about my Hallman range. I wrote a popular review about my experience and two years and a helluva lot of cooking later, I’m still in love with it. This range is chock stock of character for a remarkable price. It’s gone up in price a smidge, but if you’re on the hunt for a luxe look, this range is certainly going to provide the biggest bang for you buck.
Finding the right countertop
A bulk of the kitchen renovation budget went toward the right countertop. The cost can certainly break a sweat ($5k give or take). I’d always dreamed of marble, but unfortunately the cost and practicality wasn’t fit for a kitchen that’s used often. I sought a durable, bright white surface that doesn’t stain easily, cleans up quick and would withstand the wear and tear over time.
Happy to report, these quartz countertops are exactly that and it really has paid off dedicating a large portion of the budget to this design decision.
Tall, touch-the-ceiling cabinetry
If you’re cabinets aren’t reaching the ceiling, you’re doing it wrong. I’m a clean woman you see. When the old cabinets were removed, I was pretty appalled at what was happening up there.
I’m a huge fan of utilizing open space—especially when high ceilings are part of the package. Yes; I totally get it when you’re like, “but I can’t reach that high!” Being 5’2”, I have run into these conundrums my whole life. I mitigated this issue by allotting one cabinet for a stepstool. It’s pretty, it’s practical, it’s right there when I need a hoist.
Of course, if you don’t have cabinet space available, seek out an attractive fold-able model to hang on the wall or to stow nearby.
Raising the window + DIY stucco
When my husband and I first walked into this house, we were into the kitchen because it was HUGE. Nevertheless, something felt a little off. On the day of closing, we quickly realized what it was: the previous renovation built cabinets right OVER the double windows without raising them. Clearly a budget decision, then imagine all the gunk that accumulated down there. Ew, indeed.
I wasn’t having it this way again, so the windows were successfully raised. Where I saved my shekels was executing the exterior stucco to fill-in the gap. It might not be perfect, but I’m pretty proud for exploring my local masonry shop and figuring it out.
Tucking away a smaller cubic-foot fridge
The old layout positioned a standard size fridge adjacent to a doorway. This felt bulky as it cut off the visual flow from the hallway/bedroom. I found a quaint, 15-cubic foot fridge that comfortably tucked away in an setback area of the kitchen footprint. Leaving enough room for a standard 30-inch replacement (just in case), the slightly-smaller-than-standard fridge fits a ton of goods and is one of the best risks taken on this project.
This topic can get touchy with all the “trend” talk, but I’m not of that ilk. In this particular design plan, the open shelving accomplishes a couple of things: it brightens up the expanse with a break in cabinetry and offers an easy access storage area for day-to-day things.
As for dust, the utilitarian items on these shelves are regularly used keeping them clean and dust-free. I’ll wipe down the shelves and static items as need be.
As for the mistakes, there’s a couple of things I learned throughout this renovation I would most certainly remember for the future…
One particular light switch
The light switches in this kitchen renovation make my heart go pitter patter. The brushed brass borders and easy push-click are such a gorgeous modern amenity. However, there’s one light switch placement where the push-click can turn into an unexpected light show. Had this switch been placed just a few inches over, it would not surprise guests when they’re leaning back at the peninsula. Alas for now, the Brigham happy hour raves continue for all of eternity.
Confirming sconce placement
The addition of four sconces was an exciting addition. These electric boxes were installed prior to sheetrock. From the ground, they looked perfect. Once the renovation was complete, I’d noticed one sconce seemed lower than the others. Low and behold, my electrician mistakenly installed one of the boxes an inch lower than the rest. It’s silly, but the lesson here is it never hurts to double check the measurements before it’s too late.
Can you guess which one is it? 💡🤔👇🏻
Painting brand new cabinets
Let me just say, painting cabinetry is 100% a budget-friendly move; I’ve got a whole DIY video tutorial about it! However, I bought all my kitchen cabinets brand new for $10k; the largest expense in the entire budget.
It took me roughly a month and a little sanity loss using my home as a studio. I’m a solid painter, but handpainting cabinets is never quite perfect. In retrospect, it would have made sense—both time and money spent—to have painter pros take on this job and finish it up within a few days. Live n’ learn, they say.
Sconce style oversight
I absolutely love the sconces I selected. When the rubber met the road (aka time to install), I’d miscalculated the depth of the glass shade without considering the extra inches the window trim would take up for two of the four. Oopsies. I remedied this situation with a clever wood cuff I procured from an Etsy dealer. Painted the cuffs white to blend in with the backsplash, and voila! Crisis averted.
Are you preparing for a kitchen renovation?!
Got anything stumping you?! Ask me down below, boo.