How to Plan Your Kitchen Remodel: Tips & Ideas

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, we were just beginning to move back into our house.  And that it has been almost 2 years since we flooded.  But…. we made it!!  WOOHOO!!  So in honor of our one year anniversary of moving back in, and our two-year celebration of surviving Hurricane Harvey, I thought it was time to conquer the beast:  How to Plan Your Kitchen Remodel:  Tips & Ideas 

There is sooooo much to cover on our kitchen remodel, that I will have to divide it up into several posts.  Today, I’ll go over all of the changes that we made to our existing kitchen and give you a resource guide with links to the products we used.   More posts to come later!!

*** Scroll to the END of the post for the RESOURCE GUIDE ***  

***NOTE*** This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small compensation if you purchase something from these links.  Please read my disclosure and privacy policies below.  Thanks for your support. 🙂



I just wanted to take a little stroll down memory lane before we begin.  Since we have been in our current house now for 14 years, the kitchen has definitely had the most updates.  

To see more of our kitchen changes throughout the years, click Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room, 5 Tips:  Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White (And the Mistakes I Made), and Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Living Room.











So….. I will first say that planning our kitchen remodel – was literally a nightmare.  It would have been a  large project even if we were doing a planned (or scheduled) kitchen renovation. But because of the flood, it was a horrible situation.  

And….. I will also be the first to admit, that there are some circumstances that absolutely cannot be controlled when $135,000 homes flood during a catastrophic hurricane disaster.  Items were  – like quadrupled back-ordered – if that’s even a real word!!


BUT….. there is a REAL problem when your contractor tells you that he will only contract with 10-15 homes (max), and you find out that he’s actually taken on 30 homes.   Yep – you read that correctly – 30 homes!!!

We were home #8.  He quit after 8 months, lied, and took our money.  Can you imagine if you were home #30?  

*** I will be writing a post soon on how to choose a contractor, so that you don’t get taken advantage of like we did.  For now though, just check out the section below to give you a guide to a couple of important items to consider. ***




Here are some helpful tips and advice that I highly recommend when hiring out a contractor, or subcontractors to do your kitchen renovations.


  1.  Use Pinterest and save inspiration photos for your dream kitchen remodel.  
  2.  Set up a must-have list, and realize you will have to compromise on certain things.
  3.  Know that you WILL be inconvenienced for the entire length of the project.
  4.  Set up a realistic budget for your kitchen project.
  5.  Know what you want to do:  cabinets, countertops, flooring, lighting, appliances?
  6.  Talk with close friends who have had a kitchen remodel, and get honest feedback.


  1.  Get pictures of other projects they have done, and check references.
  2.  Go over the time frame that the project will take (6-8 weeks?, etc)
  3.  Set up a penalty charge for each day project goes over completion date.
  4.  How many projects (or homes) will they be working on while doing your job?
  5.  Will the contractor check on the work daily, or send a foreman?
  6.  Go over the budget & change orders slips process.
  7.  Tell your contractor what your “remodeling personality” is upfront.
  8.  Do not let your contractor tell you what YOU will like or want.
  9.  Ask to see fabricator’s seam lines:  especially if using white quartz.
  10.  How will they protect your new countertops & flooring?
  11.  Will he use subcontractors or his own crew?
  12.  If using multiple subcontractors – ask to see each one’s work.
  13.  Ask where they will be doing their work:  driveway, front or back yard, etc?
  14.  Ask where they will keep their trash and debris?
  15.  How often will they pick up their trash and debris?  daily or weekly?


  1.  Measure your existing kitchen dimensions.
  2.  Take a lot of pictures of your existing kitchen.
  3.  Pack up everything: you won’t use, you might use, and will definitely use – separately.
  4.  Set up a “mini” kitchen somewhere in your house to see what you’ll need.
  5.  Print and HANG your inspiration photos on the wall for the workers.




Here are some helpful average kitchen remodel cost averages to give you an idea of what you might be spending.   Of course – these are just meant to provide you with a GUIDE.  Check out these websites – they have a ton of helpful information!!


According to Home Advisor and Home Guide, the average cost of a kitchen remodel in 2019 is roughly $12,500 – $35,000.

To make it easier, this cost can be broken down by the total square feet of your kitchen.  Basically, you will (most likely) spend anywhere from $75-$250/square feet for your kitchen renovation.  On average, you will spend ($16,6000 – $23,784) or $150/sq. ft per Home Advisor and Home Guide.


Home Advisor also states that the industry suggests that a good number to spend on your kitchen remodel is 5% – 15% of your home’s value.  So, if your home is worth $300,000, you could spend on average $30,000 to update your kitchen.

I’ll touch more on this in a separate post.  I just wanted to give you an idea of cost, and provide you with some very helpful websites.


Here just a little guide to show you what kitchen items cost by percentage.




Here are all of the changes that we made to our existing kitchen 

resource guide with links to the products we used.  *** Scroll to the END of the post for the RESOURCE GUIDE ***

These are the STEPS in order of how our kitchen remodel (should have been) was done.  


  1.  Walls Removed to Living Room
  2.  Custom Lower Cabinets, New Door Fronts Upper Cabinets
  3.  Added Top Cabinets with Glass Inserts & Dummies
  4.  Closed up 2 Windows in Backsplash Side Wall
  5.  Lowered Dishwasher
  6.  Created L-Shaped Island
  7.  New Doors:  Pantry, Storm Door, & Screen Door
  8.  Trim Added to Kitchen Banquette
  9.  New Trim & New Baseboards 
  10.  Paint Colors – Cabinets, Trim, Walls
  11.  Added Quartz Countertops
  12.  New Backsplash
  13.  Hardwood Flooring
  14.  Lighting:  Island, Breakfast Nook, Under Cabinet, Extended Cabinets, Can Lighting
  15.  Hardware to Cabinets
  16.  New Appliances

Ok, let’s get to it!!




Once it was determined that we needed to get rid of the lower cabinets (recommended by the mold inspector for precaution), those cabinets were removed.  The contractor should have also demo’ed the tile floor and the backsplash at this stage, since we were changing both of these items. 

And why didn’t he……remember the 30 homes (he contracted with) mentioned above?  This is what happens when your contractor gets greedy, and fails to supervise his jobs and workers.  


As a result of him not doing his job, this oversight created a HUGE ordeal for our family!!  We were not living here at the time (living with my mother-in-law), so it would have been perfect to demo while we were out of the house.   

He waited until the FIRST weekend we moved back into the upstairs to demo – creating EXTREME NOISE AND DUST for about 6 hours!!!  Oh…..and then they had to come back and demo all the rest of the tile:  the powder bath, laundry room, and master bath – ANOTHER WHOLE DAY AGAIN!!!


Notice anything about the picture below?  Yep – they didn’t even bother to COVER our ovens, buffet, refrigerator or even our glass chandelier (both not pictured).

And since we knew the lower cabinets were not staying, we went ahead and created the open concept living room – kitchen combination.  Click Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Living Room for more on that post.







On the sink wall, we removed the entire “arch section” and built in spice rack (can’t see it here), and added the top portion of cabinets.   We also lowered our dishwasher so we would have a flat countertop.

Then we had glass inserts added to the cabinets on both sides of the sink, and a solid front for the middle section (where the can light is hidden).


The lower cabinets and island were all custom built, as well as all of the shaker style doors.  We were able to keep our upper cabinets, so they just made doors to match.


And now, with all of the changes made.  What do you think?  


Here (below) we added “dummy” upper cabinets to the left side (above fridge) and actual cabinets on the right side.  




Above:  Just another contractor flub – no carpenter (subcontractors) supervision.  This lower cabinet was NOT even supposed to look like this – shouldn’t have had any open shelves!  

Literally, I had a photo taped to the wall of what I wanted, and they built this while I was out of the house one day.  So, I just left it because I was SO TIRED of them building what THEY WANTED, and asking them to REDO THINGS!!


Once we knew that the all of the lower cabinets were going to be removed, it was time to figure out a new kitchen design layout.  I also knew that we would have to keep a support beam (column) in a certain spot, so I needed to design an island with a column included.


Basically, how did we want the kitchen to function for our family?

Here are the three options that I drew out to give me a visual idea of my potential new space.

Option 1:

This option would give us the “open concept” feeling with having a direct entrance from the living room to the refrigerator, sink, or pantry…….but now it was closing off our breakfast nook (left of picture).

Option 2:  

This option would also give us direct entrance to the same areas (like option 1), plus it would not block off the breakfast nook area.  The only issue is that the island would be irregularly shaped, and it wasn’t the look I was going for.

Option 3:  

The L-shaped island was the winner!! and honestly the best option for our kitchen layout.  Since we were not planning on moving any major appliances, gas or plumbing lines (to save money), this option was going to give us everything we needed.

We would still be able to have the direct entrance into the kitchen from the living room, without blocking off the breakfast nook, and it gave me the clean lines look I wanted.  


And why am showing this other angle?  Do you notice anything maybe a little off?


Shocker – another contractor flub!!  His carpenters built the island 4″ closer in to the sink wall, making the LIGHTS no longer CENTERED with the base of the island!!

Remember how I strongly encouraged you to take measurements of your existing kitchen before demo and work begins? Well, I did – and they STILL didn’t look at it!!!!!

Once again, we came home from our girls’ volleyball tournament, and they had the frame already built.  My measurements were right there in the kitchen for them to look at (in case I wasn’t there FOR THEM TO ASK ME)!!  

So, I extended the countertops out 6″ (farther than originally planned) on the fridge and oven side to balance out the flub.  I just needed to check that the oven doors could still open without hitting the countertops.  AND make sure the dishwasher would open without hitting the island base on the sink side – UGH!!!


  1.  Pantry Door – JELD-WEN 24×80 2-Panel Roman Interior Door (24×80)
  2.  Pantry Door Knob – Bubble Door Knob polished nickel mine (satin nickel, chrome, bronze)
  3.  Screen Door – Steves & Sons Primed White Premium Fiberglass Door (32×80) 
  4.  Nickel Handle – Delaney Satin Nickel Privacy Handle
  5.  Keyless Entry  – Kwikset Powerbolt Satin Nickel
  6.  Screen Door – Anderson 3000 Series Fullview Black Storm Door (32×80) nickel hardware

Sometimes, it’s just all in the details.  The pantry door with the curved arch was a must-have to match the arched window above the sink.  All of our doors have this top arch, and it brings in some farmhouse style to our house.

And the knobs!!!  They go with my glass knobs for the top cabinets with the rope lighting.  I love the fun bubbles, just to keep things from getting to serious in here! haha!!



So, I wanted to show you a wide view of the kitchen area because the trim was one of the biggest projects or our entire remodel.  This was a must-have on my list.

We had trim added to all windows, kitchen banquette area, cabinets, doorways, room openings, column and beams, island base & feet, and baseboards.







Here was my inspiration for our Craftsman trim (below).  This company is incredible – check it out if you have some time by clicking on the source link below.  

We chose something close to #4 on their guide.


Here it is on OUR door casings and openings.


And on the top kitchen cabinets – from the side view.


Our baseboards are 3 pieces put together.  5 1/4″ board (similar here), and 1 3/8″ top piece (and then shoe moulding where it meets the hardwood).  Or use something similar to this.

Finished height is 6 1/2″H.

Here is a picture of the top casing and board (not pictured is the shoe moulding base).

 A closeup pic.

We did not want the shoe moulding (quarter round) bottom piece – but you can tell – that we ended up with that anyway,  The carpenters had to add this piece because the baseboards should have gone on  after the floor installer was finished (to achieve the “clean lines” style).

Another time where the contractor was NOT supervising his subs.


Again – love all of the info and detailed work of Windsor One.  We chose to something similar to the 2nd pic – last row  – below.   




We chose Sherwin-Williams Silver Strand (satin) – walls

Snowbound (oil-based semi-gloss)- trim and cabinets, (flat)- ceilings, and (satin)- pantry walls.   

To see our house paint colors click here.

Below pic:  I just wanted to show you our previous paint colors and floors (ON RIGHT SIDE)  and our new paint colors and floors (ON LEFT SIDE).

We used to have alabaster – which I loved – but it had just a little hint of yellow in it for our house.  So, this time around, I went over one notch over to snowbound which works out great for my other colors. 


We used to have more “red” tones or warm tones, and now we have more “cool” tones.  




We used Arizona Tile “Tipperary” 3cm 2 slabs, but unfortunately it is discontinued.  “Vittoria” is very similar – See RESOURCE GUIDE at very end of post.  

Now, this is was our second choice – but it is beautiful!!  We originally chose calacatta gold quartz (read below), which has more prominent grayish-brown veining.  But this one has just enough gray specks and smaller veins to achieve a similar look.

We found our beautiful calacatta gold quartz -3cm – 2 slabs (126×64) at EXPO (Stones), Houston, TX.  

So, this was by far the biggest contractor and fabricator flub – that ultimately ended our working relationship with our contractor.  Well, basically he stopped showing up, and then he just quit.   

*I will do another post on countertops also.  It is another topic that has a lot of info to cover.*


Long Story Short:  Our contractor’s fabricators were not experienced in cutting quartz (or quartzite), and ruined both of these countertops in our kitchen (and bathrooms).

Here is what it looked like by the first contractor and his fabricators, 2nd actual attempt.  This is the calacatta gold quartz- which is now on our master bathroom and powder bathroom vanities.




This is done correctly by our 2nd contractor and their fabricator – FIRST ATTEMPT.



Since they ruined our ORIGINAL kitchen quartz and our bathrooms quartzite, we ended having to use the damaged quartz in the bathrooms.  UGH!!! 

We had them cut the long slabs into master and powder bath vanities.  And we had to throw the quartzite away – cry-cry!!


And this is what NO ONE told me, not the first contractor, and not even the girl who worked at the countertop place he sent us to:  if choosing more than 1 slab of quartz (or any other countertop material that needs to match), they NEED TO BE FROM MATCHING LOTS. 


We chose Tile Bar, Eden Rimmed Modern Gray Penny Round.  Click here for tile that is similar.




We used Earthwerks “Smoke” – TIM375 from EZ Floors, in multi-planks style.  This hand-scraped  engineered hardwood comes in 3″ and 7″ Wide planks, and multiple lengths to create a more authentic look. 

I absolutely love our floors!  BUT….. they were not protected correctly, and they were not installed by a PROFESSIONAL hardwood installer.    So, they actually RUINED THEM. 

Here is a picture of what the original dark smokey-brown color to them.


Here is what unprotected hardwood floors look like.

In fact, the contractor accidentally told us that our job was the FIRST TIME his sub contractor guy had ever done hardwoods- he usually does tile floors.


***TIP***   If doing hardwoods for your flooring, purchase the wood and installation service provided by the hardwood company.   We actually bought our own hardwood (out of pocket) and were in the process of getting EZ Floors to install it, when our contractor tried to change pricing on other items.


Basically, all of the dust settled into the hand-scraped pieces, that you CAN NOT get out!!  More info on blue and white rugs, click here.



Lighting is definitely one of the most important components of a kitchen remodel – so don’t over look it!  We already had can lights – but the contractor did move most of them. 

And them we added 3 island pendant lights, a breakfast nook pendant, top cabinet rope lighting, and under cabinet lighting (light pucks).

Breakfast banquette area with pendant.

Top cabinet lighting (rope lighting).

Under cabinet lighting (puck lighting).



We used stainless steel ladder pulls in 4 different lengths to accommodate all of the different drawer sizes, and taller cabinet doors.  And then we used clear glass knobs for the top cabinets and lower cabinets (shorter) with doors.

  1. Cabinet Hardware Template Tool – Align Cabinet Hardware Install Template
  2.  *Cabinet Pulls (26) – Liberty Stainless Pulls  – 3 3/4″ (13), 6 1/4 (3), 7 9/16 (6), 11 5/16″ (4)
  3.  Cabinet Knobs Glass (22) – Home Goods Tahari – 8 pack (3), similar here


***TIP*** Basically, I sketched out our kitchen cabinets, and added different options until I found a look I was happy with.  Then I divided the sketches into sections and hung them up so the workers knew where I wanted them to go. 

They would just check them off as they completed them, and it really came in handy!!  I highly recommend this!  Here is the coffee bar sketch that I saved so you can see how it looked.


And here it is finished.  This also helped me to know how many knobs to order, because it does get VERY confusing.



  1. Kitchen Sink – Kohler Undermount Kitchen Sink
  2.  Faucet – Moen Glenshire P/Down Faucet
  3.  Bosch Dishwasher – Bosch 800 Series 24″ Dishwasher or here
  4.  5-Burner Stove – Kitchen Aid Stainless 36″ Gas Cooktop with Downdraft or here
  5.  Microwave Drawer – Bosch 800 Series 30″ Built-in Microwave or here
  6.  Double Ovens – GE Profile 30″ Double Wall Ovens
  7.  Refrigerator – Samsung 27.8 cu. ft. Food Showcase French Door Refrigerator

So, my 2 favorite new appliances are our 5-burner gas stove and drawer microwave.   We had 4 burners before, and I will admit that the extra burner does come in handy!! 

And then the microwave  drawer rocks!!  Who knew such a small change could make such a big difference.  I highly recommend this if you can add it to your kitchen!!


We also added an undermount sink (since we lowered the dishwasher), and changed out the faucet and water softener spicket.   And I LOVE our new dishwasher.  It is so quiet now!!

The fridge and double ovens we were able to keep – yay!!  And I still love my double ovens – so glad we changed these when we first bought our house.



Our Kitchen Dimensions:  Roughly 16’L x 13’W= 208 square feet.  Breakfast Nook:  10’L x 6.5’W.  Ceilings = 9’H.  

  1.  Cabinets – Lower Custom, Upper – New Doors Only, Upper Extended – Custom
  2.  Pantry Door – JELD-WEN 24×80 2-Panel Roman Interior Door (24×80)
  3.  Pantry Door Knob – Bubble Door Knob polished nickel mine (satin nickel, chrome, bronze)
  4.  Screen Door – Steves & Sons Primed White Premium Fiberglass Door (32×80) 
  5.  Nickel Handle – Delaney Satin Nickel Privacy Handle
  6.  Keyless Entry  – Kwikset Powerbolt Satin Nickel
  7.  Screen Door – Anderson 3000 Series Fullview Black Storm Door (32×80) nickel hardware
  8.  Paint Color Walls – Sherwin-Williams Silver Strand (SW 7057)
  9.  Paint Color Cabinets – Sherwin-Williams Snowbound (SW 7004)
  10.  *Quartz Countertops 2 Slabs – 3cm (126 X 63) – Arizona Tile, Houston – Tipperary*
  11.  Backsplash – Tilebar Eden Rimmed Modern Gray Penny Round, similar here
  12.  1/2″ thick Engineered Hardwood Floors – EZ Floors, Houston – Earthwerks – Smoke TIM375
  13.  Island Light Pendants – Polished Nickel Dome Pendants (3)
  14.  Breakfast Nook Pendant – Parisian 3-Light 14″ Clear Glass Pendant Polished Nickel 
  15.  Cabinet Hardware Template Tool – Align Cabinet Hardware Install Template
  16.  *Cabinet Pulls (26) – Liberty Stainless Pulls  – 3 3/4″ (13), 6 1/4 (3), 7 9/16 (6), 11 5/16″ (4)
  17.  Cabinet Knobs Glass (22) – Home Goods Tahari – 8 pack (3), similar here
  18.  Kitchen Sink – Kohler Undermount Kitchen Sink
  19.  Faucet – Moen Glenshire P/Down Faucet
  20.  Bosch Dishwasher – Bosch 800 Series 24″ Dishwasher or here
  21.  5-Burner Stove – Kitchen Aid Stainless 36″ Gas Cooktop with Downdraft or here
  22.  Microwave Drawer – Bosch 800 Series 30″ Built-in Microwave or here
  23.  Double Ovens – GE Profile 30″ Double Wall Ovens
  24.  Refrigerator – Samsung 27.8 cu. ft. Food Showcase French Door Refrigerator
  25.  Bar Stools/Counter Stools – Gray and White Counter Stools
  • (#1) Quartz – Tipperary IS discontinued.  This one is similar Vittoria – a little busier than Tipperary, but close.
  • (#11) These cabinet pulls are cheaper in 3 3/4 pulls 10-pack or 25-pack (if you are needing a large amount)* I used this size for quite a few cabinets around our entire house, so it was more cost effective for me to buy the packs.


Have a Great Back to School Year Everyone!!


To see more of our kitchen changes throughout the years, click Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room, 5 Tips:  Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White (And the Mistakes I Made), and Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Living Room.

Related Posts:

My House Paint Colors:  House of Blues

12 Best Navy and White Area Rugs:  Under $200

Home Tour:  Coastal Farmhouse Master Bedroom









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Opening Up Kitchen Wall to Living Room

Out of all the changes that we have made to our home, opening up the kitchen wall to the living room was the best decision for us.  Now, it wasn’t our first choice (thank you Hurricane Harvey flood), but it definitely was the right choice!!  We had already opened up the kitchen wall to the dining room about 5 years ago, and then shortly after we had our kitchen cabinets painted whiteAND then we flooded – UGH!!  So…..needless to say, this was the perfect time to Open Up the Kitchen Wall To the Living Room.


So, where did it all begin?  From dark cabinets with 2 arches, to white cabinets, to flooded home, to open concept living area.  What a journey -right???










And Now…..


AND YES!!  I know my green lamp shades and pillows are supposed to be in the summer dining room – but we have our Easter Tablescape set up right now.  So, the green decor got a new home for a couple of months.  What do you think – do you like it?

***NOTE***  This post contains affiliate links which means that I will receive a small compensation if you purchase something from these links.  Please see my privacy and disclosure policies below.  Thanks for your support 🙂

***Shop: Bar Stools, Island Light Pendants, Breakfast Light Pendant***



So, just like our kitchen wall to the dining room, we had similar problems with the kitchen walls to the living room.

  • PROBLEM #1:  Walls Blocked Natural Light
  • PROBLEM #2:  Limited Traffic Flow Into Kitchen
  • PROBLEM #3:  Limited Number of Guests for Entertaining
  • PROBLEM #4:  Angled Room

PROBLEM #1: Walls Blocked Natural Light

You can see from the pictures below, that both of the arched walls block off the natural light coming in from the kitchen.  And since both of these walls provided some sort of function, we had to figure out  what we could live without more.

The raised bar top provided extra counter top space, extra cabinet storage, and extra seating for guests.  The built-in bookshelf provided a mini “mudroom” space to store backpacks, shoes, and dog accessories.  In the end, you just have to decide what is more important for you and your family.

We chose more light – lol!!

***These are the last pictures taken from our home before we flooded.  The sheetrock is cut up to 4 feet, in case you are wondering why it looks like that.***


























PROBLEM #2: Limited Traffic Flow Into Kitchen

This problem ties in a little with problem #1.  The only way we could enter the kitchen (from the living room) is through the larger arched opening .

In fact, we always had to push the living room furniture (sectional) into the corner so that it wouldn’t block that entrance.   You can see that it is still kind of hanging out into that opening.

On a personal note… does bring tears to my eyes to see our “former” living room.  Home is home – ya know – no matter what it looks like?  OK…..let ‘s get back to it 😉









PROBLEM #3:  Limited Number Of Guests for Entertaining

The layout of our former kitchen was great for setting up a buffet-style type of party, but limited the amount of guests we could have in one area.  We could put roaster ovens on the counter tops and keep hamburgers, or brisket, etc…. warm, and let our family and friends just move down the line.  But the angled cabinet/counter top design caused a traffic jam because you could only serve from ONE side, and you would bump into the island.









Now don’t get me wrong, this kitchen layout definitely served it’s purpose over the years.  But once open concept living started to take off in popularity, we (well – I) began to dream of a new kitchen design.

PROBLEM #4:  Angled Room

In the pictures below,  you can see that our kitchen/living room space is designed with this unusual angled  layout.  The home builder must have “bumped” this part out to enlarge the kitchen dimensions, but in doing so shrunk the living room dimensions.

This angled cabinet/counter top/ceiling structure created challenges for the living room furniture placement because the bar stools crept into the living room area.










We couldn’t put the two club chairs closer to the hall entrance (by the clock) because we had to keep the walkway to the kitchen open (back to problem #2).











As soon as the workers cleared out all of the lower cabinets (due to the flood), we could finally begin visualizing the space.  I sketched drawings of the existing cabinets, and replaced them with 3 new cabinet layout options (so that I knew where that column would join the new island).

***NOTE***  I’ll do a separate post on kitchen cabinets – coming soon.









It is amazing to see our kitchen like this because it looks so much bigger with the cabinets out – right?  Plus you can tell exactly where the cabinet bases sat, so it helped with the existing spacing needed.

We were not planning to move our plumbing or gas lines (to save money), and had to work around them when planning out the new design.









We decided to keep the (one) column, and do the (two) beams installation due to money – period.  We were quoted ~ $5,000 for this option, but to remove both beams and support column (FULL open concept) we were  quoted~$20,000 – $25,0000.  HUGE difference in money!!    So, yeppers – the decision was pretty easy for us!!

I also knew that I could work around the beams and column, and try to make them “disappear” as much as I could.  And I haven’t regretted keeping them not once!!

***NOTE***  These prices were just what we were quoted, so it may be different in your area.


Now that the cabinets were out, it was time for the installation of the beams.  They used these framing boards to actually hold the second floor from falling down – really!!  Amaizng!  In fact, the workers asked that we did not stand under the framing or too close – in case something happened.  Safety first!!

Just a little FYI.  The left side of the wall was not load bearing, but the right side was.  So, we chose to do the left beam just like the right beam, so that they would look exactly the same.

Do you like the toilet (picture to the right)- haha!!
















Picture below right – the area to the left side (the half wall) was originally going to be a pony wall that had a small bookshelf in it.  Since we already had that small “mudroom” cabinet there before, I felt like we still needed something for backpacks, shoes, etc.

But once they cleared out the original framing, all I could picture was ONE large area.  Plus, the pony wall columns were done incorrectly anyway (and they would have had to be redone)!!  ARGHHH – the contractor STORY is a whole other post!!  Trust me!!








There was never a question in my mind that the beams and column would be wrapped with wood.  The contractor wanted to cover the 2 support beams with sheetrock and then paint them…..and I knew that was not going to look good.  So happy I stuck to my guns – right??




















***Our trim, cabinets, and ceilings paint color is SW Snowbound 7004 – just a FYI***

***Shop: Bar Stools, Island Light Pendants, Breakfast Light Pendant***

SOLUTION #1:  Let in More Natural Light

By removing both of the walls to the living room, we now get a ton of light into this entire space.  We get all of the light from the kitchen breakfast area, as well from the kitchen island side.

Since our house faces west, we receive the best light in the evening through our dining room.  That is why we decided to open up that wall several years ago.




SOLUTION #2:  Better Traffic Flow Into Kitchen

Opening up both walls into the kitchen really helped with traffic flow from the former bar side of the kitchen.  We love this entrance!!  It is so much easier to go grab a snack from the pantry or grab a drink from the fridge because of this opening.  Plus, now we can use all four bar stools (instead of just 2) because the tv is viewable from all angles.  And if you have kiddos, you know how important this is!!




***Shop: Bar Stools, Island Light Pendants, Breakfast Light Pendant***

SOLUTION #3:  Increased Number of Guests In Kitchen for Entertaining

Now, guests can move around to the dining room, to the kitchen breakfast nook, to the outdoor patio, and to the living room……while still feeling like they are all together.  We can now serve from both sides of the L-shaped island, and also have guests sit at the island for extra seating as well.  Win-Win!!



***Shop: Bar Stools, Island Light Pendants, Breakfast Light Pendant***

SOLUTION #4:  Able to Move Furniture into Middle of Room

Now that we don’t have to worry about the angled living room, our furniture can be moved away from that corner.  We still have to keep the walkway open from the foyer to the kitchen, but at least the couch is in a better central position.


If you want more information on the shiplap accent wall, white brick fireplace, or shiplap built-in  click Adding a Shiplap Feature Wall to Living Room.




So, what do ya think?  Was it the right decison?  Let me know!!


If you have any questions about anything, shoot me a comment.  I’d love to help with anything I can!

Have an Awesome Weekend!! 

Love & Hugs 🙂


Want more inspiration try:

Adding a Shiplap Feature Wall to Living Room

12 Best Modern Farmhouse Bar Stools

55 Incredible Barn Doors

41 Shiplap Ideas

35 Brick Fireplace Ideas (part 1), (part 2)

Home Tour:  Coastal Farmhouse Master Bedroom











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5 TIPS: Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White (And the Mistakes I Made)

White kitchen cabinets have been trending for several years now, and don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.  It does seem like there has been a slight shift toward other colors such as gray and navy, but white still remains to be the most popular choice. 

If you have been wanting to paint your dark kitchen cabinets white but still can’t seem to commit,  you are not alone.  It took me 5 years (yikes!!) to decide to have our cabinets painted white, and immediately I wished I would have done it so much sooner!!  Let’s Get to It:  5 Tips:  Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White (And the Mistakes I Made).


(And The Mistakes I Made)

***Just wanted to give you a FYI for this post- these are NOT my best pictures. *** But I am kind of happy about it because there is absolutely no staging here- just real life.  I took these pictures before and after we had our cabinets painted, and then we flooded during Hurricane Harvey. 

So, I never had the chance to go back and “stage the kitchen.”  In fact, some of the pictures are actually after we flooded….I just cropped the pictures to take out the missing sheetrock/walls.  I am thinking I might show that part too.  Anyhoo…..just trying to keep it real.

Here are some before and after pictures to help you visualize.  BEFORE…… 

and AFTER…..


(And The Mistakes I Made)


MY PAINT COLOR:   Sherwin Williams Alabaster (SW 7008)

How do you decide on color?  Look through pinterest & and make inspiration boards……. or ask friends what color they used.  It will give you a starting point so you can narrow the paint color choices down to 3 colors.  Then get samples of the 3 choices and paint them on your existing cabinets (or paint poster board, etc… and hang them up on your cabinets).   

If you are still having problems deciding…..go back and look at your inspiration boards.  What accent colors are in the pictures you saved?  Do the accent colors lean more towards warm tones (yellow- based like oranges, cinnamon reds,  & golds) or cool tones (blue- based like pinks, purples, & silvers)?

Look at the flooring color also.  Hardwoods and tiles with reddish or gold tones will pull out more yellow (warm) tones, and white tiles will bring out blue (cooler) tones.   You saved all those inspiration pictures for a reason….it’s YOUR likes.  Trust yourself- you got this!!


and AFTER…..



I know there are people who have used latex paint, and I have seen some people even using chalk paint, but I (personally) prefer oil-based paint for the cabinets.  The look of the cabinet is clean and smooth, plus you can wipe grime right off.   Latex paint seems to “hold” onto smudges more than oil based, and is less durable with scratches, etc. 

I think chalk painted cabinets are fine to do if you are not looking for long term results.  Since we have 2 kiddos AND 2 dogs, choosing oil-based paint was an easy decision for that reason alone.  Now with that said…..the SMELL is horrible!!  And I mean for about 2- 3 days horrible- really!! 

And the cleanup is much more difficult with oil based paint (turpentine clean up) vs. latex paint (soap & water clean up). Then in about 2 weeks, you have forgotten that it was done and all is good again.


and AFTER….. (area under the oven is part of where it shows the flood damage).


WE CHOSE:  Sprayed Technique

I chose to have our cabinets sprayed (by a painter who used a high grade paint sprayer), not hand painted.  I have seen cabinets painted with both techniques, and I personally prefer the sprayed look better (***for me***).  I do not want to offend anyone here. 

The hand painted cabinets are gorgeous, especially if they are aged or antiqued with dark glaze.  The hand painted technique gives the cabinets a more authentic look and seem to fit more in a traditional style home.  I feel the the sprayed technique gives a smoother, cleaner look and seems to fit more in a transitional or modern home. 

The sprayed technique doesn’t look “painted,”  looks like they were manufactured that way.   Really it’s just a personal preference – they are both great techniques.  Either way you will finally have your white cabinets 😉




WE DIDN’T:  Mistake

Move or cover all of your kitchen contents.  If not, you may get over spray (with sprayed technique) or paint splatter (hand-painted technique).  Bottom line:  if you even THINK that something will get damaged or don’t want to clean the inside of your cabinets afterwards, make the necessary preparations.

Move your contents out or have your painter put something to block your contents….AND double check their technique.  I asked our painter, and he said that I did not need to move everything out of our cabinets and I ended up with this (see below)!!! 

This is NOT DUST, IT IS PAINT.  It took me 2 weeks to clean EVERY. SINGLE. THING……and I mean EVERYTHING!!  I had to soak it all for about 30 minutes to an hour, then scrub gently with the scouring part of the sponge- BRU-TAL!!! 

When I asked our painter about it, he said that for some reason, our cabinets were made differently than other cabinets (he had done) and the paint got through.  He should have checked…..AND I should have checked also. 

So, now I am strongly encouraging you to check.  It will be worth your time in the end.

Those rings (below) are PAINT rings….not dust rings.  Just thought it was important to show you so this does not happen to you too 🙂




OUR TIME:  One week

This is an important consideration when planning your kitchen cabinet paint job.  You will be completely out of your kitchen if you get your cabinets sprayed, but will still have partial use of your kitchen if you have your cabinets hand painted. 

When they spray the cabinets, they will have to put plastic/tarps up to protect appliances and between the connecting rooms…. so you will have little to no access.   If you choose to get your cabinets hand painted, parts of the kitchen will still be covered to protect things, but you will have access into the kitchen.  You don’t have to worry about over spray with hand painting either.

***FYI*** If you are going with the sprayed technique….have your painter put plastic or covering up on BOTH SIDES of your connecting rooms/openings.  Our painter covered/taped up from the inside of the kitchen opening, and it STILL went through. Have them put plastic on the connecting room side also (like living room or dining room sides). 

That way if the over spray passes through the kitchen side, the connecting room side will block it.   It’s just an extra precaution, and so worth it.  Otherwise you may end up like me. 

The picture below is a PAINT LINE, not dust- again!!  The problem with this, is that I couldn’t even tell until I moved our couch and rug back.  Just trying to save you any headaches before they happen by sharing some of my nightmares!!  The PRICE we pay for gorgeous cabinets- right??!!




(I don’t have the exact picture – sorry)!

I love the pictures showing the opening to the dining room side.  We decided to open that wall up (had a small doorway), and it opened up the kitchen and let so much more light in. 

It’s amazing what paint and a little remodeling can do to make a space feel bigger and brighter.  Want more info on the this, Click Opening up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room.  Want to see what it looks like now click:  Opening up Kitchen Wall to Living Room.



Would I do it all over again….YES,  even with all  of the mess.  I LOVED how much brighter our kitchen looked.  There is just something special about a white kitchen. 

UPDATE:  We are making all kinds of changes to our kitchen right now, and I can’t wait to show yall!!  Stay tuned for more details and pictures coming soon!!

***POSTS ARE READY***  Click Opening up Kitchen Wall to Living Room, Hurricane Harvey Flooded:  The Makeover (part 2), DIY Bar Stool Metal Foot Rest Tutorial. 

So, what is your preferred choice?  What was your experience like- good or bad?  Shoot me a comment- learning is living.

Have a Great Week!! Love & Hugs 🙂

Need more kitchen organization info or tips click:

12 Kitchen Updgrades (You Can’t Live Without)

15 Easy Solutions-Kitchen Organization 2018.


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Opening up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room

I have always liked our kitchen, but the floorplan for the connecting dining room was awkward.  The wall between the two rooms had a dead space on the kitchen side that really couldn’t be used for anything, and the dining room side had two panel doors that were taking up space that the room really couldn’t afford to give up.  I knew if we could open the wall up between these two rooms, the dining room would feel bigger…… and the kitchen would get more natural light.  Plus, it would just give the area better flow between both rooms.   Let ‘s get to it!  Opening Up Kitchen Wall To Dining Room.

To see more of our updated kitchen click Hurricane Harvey Flooded (part 2) –  for our most current pictures.  To see our painted cabinets makeover (before we flooded) click Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White.

***NOTE***  This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small compensation if you purchase something from these links.  Please see my privacy and disclosure policies below.  Thanks for your support! 🙂


BEFORE from dining room side:



The panel doors take up space on the adjoining wall and just don’t allow for enough room to move around the table.  When there is a Captain’s chair placed at the end of the table, the doors bump into it which is highly annoying.

I first thought about putting a single or double barn door here to save space, but quickly realized that decision would solve only one problem-  the “hinged door” problem.If I was going to change this area and spend the money, I knew opening up the wall would give me the best option for both rooms.








BEFORE from kitchen side:



Here is the dead space to the left side of the opening on the kitchen side.   I have tried everything in that space, and nothing seems to work properly.   I have used a rolling microwave cart, hooks for hanging functional items, decorative items, etc…. but there is just not enough room.

The rolling cart was functional so I could bump it up to the island to gain extra work space, but moving  it back and forth got old quick.  Anything that attached to the wall, only interfered with walking traffic.  Plus, when the pantry door opens (door to the left), it would bump into anything new I tried.  BRU-TAL!!





BEFORE from living room side:



The kitchen floorplan is designed at an angle (at the bar area shown here) so that the area of focus nauturally directs the eye to the pantry door & dead space.  Since the height of the panel doors was the same height as  the pantry door, I knew something was lacking here.

This little area is also my “mama” space where I have my morning coffee and check emails.   It was essential to my sanity that I had something more inspiring to look at than a blank wall.










Taking out the doors completely changes the look and function of both rooms, and adds extra space to the dining area around the table.  There are no longer doors bumping into chairs or guests.

BEFORE …..                                                        AFTER…..


The dead space is  completely gone, and is now replaced with a view of the outside.   The awkward wall area is removed creating  better traffic flow between rooms and more light.

BEFORE…..                                                      AFTER……



The opening to the dining room is higher than the pantry door which allows the focus to be  diverted into the dining room.  The pantry door is still in view, but the lamp and buffet draw your attention away from it.  The extra height also allows for more natural light to shine into the kitchen, and helps make the kitchen feel bigger.

BEFORE…..                                                        AFTER…..

***FYI- In this picture, the pantry door is still the old builder grade paint color, but has been changed.  I’ll show updated pictures later when I do the post on painting the cabinets white.  One project always leads to the next….am I right?  Click Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White to see that post.


So, how does something like this come together?  Let’s take a look at the process.  Clear your dining room and kitchen as much as you can, and cover everything.  It WILL get dusty.

First, the panel doors and frame come off.  You (or your contractor) decide where to cut the wall, and move any electrical switches, plugs, etc…  I wanted to keep the light switch, but removed the plug.

I also asked that they make the opening the same height as the arch on the other side of the dining room opening.  This will also help the room feel more balanced.


Then, they will cut out the frame and put in bracing boards on top and sides.  They will add sheet rock, and begin the tape and float process.


Closeup of tape and float and adding texture.


Next they will add the trim pieces to match existing trim, or you can buy new trim for all of it.

At this point, I chose to prime and paint the trim myself to save the $300 painting quote.  (no picture)

I also had them change out my chandelier in the dining room and the foyer, because there’s ALWAYS something new to add to every project.

The dining room light pendant is by Regina Andrews from Horchow.


And the light pendant in the foyer is E.F. Chapman Darlana 6-Light Pendant, polished nickel.


E. F. Chapman Darlana Large Lantern, Polished Nickel









Have a Great Day!!  Love & Hugs 🙂

Want to see more of our Dining Room try:

My Easter Tablescape

Home Tour:  Summer Dining Room

Fall Home Tour (Dining Room)

Christmas Dining Room



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