One year ago we renovated this kitchen as part of the One Room Challenge. Translated: In six weeks, we did this:
I’ve had a lot of questions about this renovation, and I thought it might be helpful to do a quick retrospective about what we are are happy with a year later. And what we regret. Hopefully there is something here that will be helpful if you are planning to renovate your kitchen.
So, how is it holding up? Here you go:
It’s holding up great!
Still, as with any renovation, there are things we learned, things we would do differently, and things we are really, really happy that we did.
Let’s break it down:
What we learned our kitchen renovation
(There are a couple straggly affiliate links in here somewhere intended to be useful. You can check out more about what that means here if you like.)
Lesson 1: Don’t push go right away.
This renovation was a thought a few years before it became a reality. In that time we solidified what we wanted to do. And if it sounds like we are just indecisive, I’ll tell you that we flip homes for a living.
What we did right:
Easily the smartest thing we did was to properly prep and paint our kitchen cabinetry. I don’t believe in shortcuts when it comes to this task, and I’ll preach that soapbox all day long.
I’ve got a tutorial about that process here, so I won’t bore you with it again. I took the time to sand every last drawer, door, and box. Doing so allowed for optimal adhesion and evenness. We taped off the entire kitchen (it took forever) and painted the entire thing with our Wagner Flexio 4000. Since then we have upgraded to the Wagner Control Pro 150 HEA sprayer. I love my Wagner sprayers and recommend the Flexio to anyone. But if you want to amp it up and do some heavy lifting, the HEA sprayer is the bee’s knees.
Perhaps the most frequent question I am asked is about what paint we used. We primed the cabinets with Sherwin Williams oil based primer, then finished with two coats of their urethane trim enamel. The color is Alabaster (SW 7008).
And here is how the cabs are holding up today:
It’s perfect. Not a single issue.
The thing is – a kitchen is really not much more than a bunch of boxes and some appliances – I mean when it comes down to it. So I think this was probably the single best decision we made in doing this kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, the hours of sanding sucked beans. But not having to redo your work because you cut corners? Priceless.
Do we regret painting the cabinetry white?
Nope. I love a colorful kitchen. I really do. But we wanted to go with something that we wouldn’t be itching to change in a few years, and by that standard, this felt like the safest choice. And we love how it brightens up the space.
This is what you really wanted to hear, right?!
My husband and I have an easy consensus on this one. While we are very happy with the kitchen, if there is one thing that we would do differently now, it’s the countertops.
AKA: The only real regret from our DIY kitchen renovation is the only part we didn’t DIY.
We hired a local company to fabricate our quartz countertops, and while they look just fine (if you don’t know about the flaws), we are super unhappy with how that went and with some details of how it turned out. If we did it again, we would do thicker, more dramatic concrete countertops – and save thousands of dollars.
The bottom line is I guess…
Lesson #2: No one will care about the quality like you do.
Be careful in hiring out. Concrete would have looked more dramatic (in a good way), cost A LOT less, and would have been completely under our control.
Did you really tear out your Brazilian cherry floors (engineered hardwood) and replace them with laminate?!
The engineered hardwoods were not holding up well to kids + pets + life. We had a positive experience with laminates in our last home, and really had no hesitation in using them again. These floors are from Select Surfaces and are their “Driftwood” color.
I will say that there is a range of quality in laminate flooring products, as with everything. These install easy, and they have held up great. Our washer leaked on them a couple times. The mudroom area takes its share of muddy boots and paws. But they have held up without any issues.
You can read more about the laminate choice and installation here.
Where did you get those lights?
In person this question immediate follows “Wow, it’s so bright and cheery in here!”
The lights – pendants, ceiling, undercab, and chandelier, all come from Kichler Lighting. The pendants and dining chandelier are from the Moorgate collection. We used retrofit kits to transform the existing can lights to LED downlights, and it made a huge difference in the lighting tone and in energy use.
Here they are in action.
Changing the lighting in this house is probably my number one favorite change. It makes a dramatic difference – I would argue as much so as changing paint colors or flooring.
How do you like the farmhouse sink?
We love it! I can see how it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But we love how big it is. I do clean it every month or so with Bar Keeper’s Friend, but that process is really fast and easy. There are no stains and it looks as good as the day we installed it.
Where does the tile come from?
Home Depot. In stock, and inexpensive. It was an eleventh hour sub in, and we think it turned out just fine. Would I do different tile if I did it again? Eh, maybe. But I’m not sweating it.
Did you get new appliances?!
Actually, no one has asked me this. I just wanted to add that our fridge bit the dust in a big bad way (taking all of our food, including fresh salmon my husband caught) with it a few months after the renovation. Fortunately it was November, and there are some screaming good appliance deals that time of year. So we upgraded.
Do you like to cook?
Okay, no one asked that, either.
Are the white cabs hard to keep clean?!
This is usually phrased in the form of a statement, as in: “You know, those white cabs are sure going to be a pain to keep clean.”
Fact: They clean up easier than the unpainted cabs did. TRUTH. Every couple months I spend five minutes wiping them down. And I’m kind of a neat freak. A little bit.
How did you live through the mess?!
One day at a time.
In all seriousness, if you are going to do any renovation, be sure to seal off the area. Dust gets everywhere, and that crap is not good to breathe.
Also, we ate out waaaayyyy too much. Ugh. I gained weight. Don’t do that. That’s a regret.
Lesson #3: Have freezer meals ready for the duration!
Man, I wish I had done that.
How do you renovate with kids?!
One day at a time.
Would you do it again?
No, because we did it well enough not to have to. 🙂
But seriously, yes. And knowing us, probably we will.
Welp, I think that is about it. Be sure to leave a comment if I missed anything. I hope this was helpful!