Our big kitchen remodel has finally begun and week 1 has been all about DEMOLITION! Oh heavens, what a loud, pounding mess it’s been. But it’s also been amazing, exciting and I’m so pleased with what’s gotten done!
Let’s start at the beginning. Our house was a short sale and we’ve been making lots of changes over the years. It’s a fantastic house with great bones, in a great location, so we’re happy to say it’s our “forever home.” But the kitchen! At first glance, it’s easy to say it’s pretty & it’s certainly a huge step up from our last kitchen, but look closer.
Kitchen Remodel: Before & After
Very, very little counter space. Yep. With the last remodel, the home owners even dropped the cabinets down to the countertops on the right hand side by the stove, so the amount of countertop even around that area is several inches!
I want to remind you that I have 5 children, so a family of 7 lives here. And oh yeah, I do recipe development and food photography for a living. Needless to say, the kitchen has always been a struggle and I’m thrilled that it’s finally time to renovate!
The cabinets were pretty and luckily, those found a new home. But the countertops were just too dark and not my style at all. They really made the entire kitchen look dark, even after we repainted the room to lighten it up. (Before the walls AND ceiling were both a dark brown color. And the adjacent bay window space where I’m standing while taking this picture? Yeah that are was a dark plum! We painted everything before we even moved in nearly a decade ago!)
Don’t ever Install Travertine. Please.
Let’s talk about the floors. Oh travertine. Please don’t install travertine in your home unless you’d like a part time job maintaining it. Now, don’t get me wrong, the floors were beautiful… right after I paid $1,500 for routine maintenance. Every single year. It makes me slightly nauseous to realize I could have had a new floor in just a few years if I’d foregone the cost of maintenance.
Travertine develops holes rapidly. We don’t wear shoes in the house and we are very, very careful with the floors, but it still develops holes. Filling them yourself is back breaking labor. I did it for years, in between professional maintenance. If you have a party, are moving folding chairs around the floor, etc, you are guaranteed to have at least a few 1/2″ gouges in the floor by the end of the night. It’s completely depressing.
I spent $$ on different cleansers, different hole fillers, etc. It was just really hard work keeping that travertine floor looking decent.
The last 2 years, I just stopped and by the time we took out the floors, we had some holes that were 3″ wide. You can kind of see them in the photo above – the right hand side, just above where the couch pokes into the picture. Yep. Fun times!
This is my pantry, before the remodel. It’s actually 90% cleaned out here. It’s just too small for our family. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy cleaning it out and organizing it. I’m ready for something larger!
This is the part of the kitchen remodel that I’m the most excited about. See that wall behind the fridge? It’s being taken out! Behind it, you can kind of see in this picture, but we have a very large 32 foot long x 14 feet wide formal dining room and living room. That’s SO MUCH SPACE that just does not get used for its intended purpose! So we’re merging the formal dining room into the new BIG kitchen and taking part of the formal living room and making a butler’s pantry!
Kitchen Remodel Plans: BIG Kitchen with a Butler’s Pantry
Here are the basic plans, if you can make sense of this type of thing. The rendering doesn’t have the correct colors of course, but it’s still a great visual of what we plan to do. Two big islands, a giant 60″ fridge freezer, and see the walkway into the butler’s pantry between the two sections of kitchen? I’m so excited!
Here are a couple more angles so you can begin to see the pan. We have made some changes to these plans, the island on the right is actually a bit longer, but you still get the general idea. Two dishwashers! Three sinks- one in each island and another in the butler’s pantry. It’s going to be so functional, I can hardly wait!
Here’s the formal dining room, pre-remodel. The wall with the vent on it has the fridge & pantry on the other side. I actually really, really love this room. It has a large bay window area and another big window on the south side, so it gets tons of light. I’ve had a really hard time envisioning what this space will look like without this wall, but I know it will be brighter!
Here’s the other side of that room, where the bay window is. In our remodeled kitchen, I’m going to have my photo space be right in front of the bay windows! The windows are actually too low to put in an actual countertop with cabinets and drawers, so instead we’re making a piece of furniture like a buffet that matches the kitchen cabinets & countertops and placing it here. That way, in the future, if I want to put in a built-in seating area with drawers underneath, I can.
During the remodel we are living in our basement, which has a full mother-in-law apartment, so we had the appliances upstairs taken downstairs being as they were still in great shape. More on the basement in a minute!
Utah Kitchen Remodel
So after 1 day of demolition, check out what it looks like…
I’m finally getting an idea of what this space will look like without the wall! So much brighter! And I love the dimension the 2 bay window areas give the space!
Oh my word, look how thick the travertine is. It’s been a chore to take out, that’s for sure! It’s really sad it’s so much work to maintain. The floor could have lasted another 50 years! It just wasn’t manageable for a big family like ours.
Here’s a slightly different angle. Light is so interesting! The 2 parts of the wall in the bay to the top left of the photo, they’re actually identical. No idea why the paint colors look different in this photo! Shadows & lighting.
Here’s what the space looked like after demo, day 2:
The travertine floor is ALL GONE! And so is the wall! How gorgeous is this space?! They took out the wood floor in the formal living room/ dining room too. You can see my husband to the left pulling nails out of the floorboards. He managed to save quite a few good ones! He does wood working as a hobby, so he can run these boards through his planer and have some really amazing pieces of wood to work with for the future. For free! Kind of, ha!
So you may have noticed the big pipe running through the middle of our kitchen. Yeah we knew that was there. Actually, that added on a good 3-4 month’s worth of planning before we even got started. We had a big meeting at our house with our general contractor, the plumbers, the HVAC guys, the flooring guys and pretty much anyone else who wanted to be in attendance. We all worked together to come up with a great plan to re-route the HVAC! Yay! As part of this we also need to switch to a tankless water heater. I’m actually okay with this as well! But they were both added costs, of course.
Everything in a kitchen remodel is an added cost!
Basement Kitchen: Living in a Mother-in-Law Apartment
Back to our basement! So, last year we did a light basement kitchen refresh, with the idea that this big kitchen remodel will be taking some time and we wanted the family to be as comfortable as possible during the process.
So we had the cabinets painted, added a backsplash and new countertops and installed LVP flooring. After we moved the appliances downstairs, it looked like a real kitchen! After living in it for a week, it’s actually working out really well and I don’t think we’ll have any issues down here.
The window shelving used to hold pretty kitchen items, but I knew during the remodel, it would have to work overtime for us. That’s one big thing about this kitchen, the cabinets are just so shallow, I can hardly fit our dinner plates in them! So we didn’t, we made good use of these shelves instead. I tell you, emptying the dishwasher is super easy now as 90% of it just goes on this shelf!
Sure, the rest of the basement is a bit interesting as we’ve got 3k sq ft of furniture in a 1.5k sf ft space, but it works. It’s a bit cramped, but it’s fine and I’m just so grateful to have this space to use in the first place!
Keep in mind that we have an entire floor above the kitchen that is being remodeled, that is where our bedrooms are. So we don’t have to sleep in the basement, it’s just for hanging out and cooking / eating meals of course.
So that’s our current status and plan for our kitchen remodel! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. I look forward to sharing this journey with you as we go along!