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. 🙂


HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

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.

BEFORE WE PAINTED THE CABINETS:

 

AFTER PAINTING THE CABINETS, BUT BEFORE THE FLOOD:

 

AFTER THE FLOOD:  

 

NOW AFTER THE REMODEL:

 


HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

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!!

THE OVERBOOKED CONTRACTOR PROBLEM:

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. ***



HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

KITCHEN REMODEL CONTRACTOR PLAYBOOK:

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

TIPS BEFORE HIRING A CONTRACTOR:  (3-6 months before)

  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.

TIPS WHEN HIRING YOUR CONTRACTOR:

  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?

TIPS AFTER HIRING CONTRACTOR – BUT BEFORE WORK BEGINS:

  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.


HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

KITCHEN REMODEL COST PLAYBOOK:

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!!

AVERAGE COST: 

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 VALUE:

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.


COST ESTIMATOR PLAYBOOK:

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

source: improvenet.com


HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

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.  

PROJECT LIST STEPS PLAYBOOK:

  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!!



HOW TO PLAN YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL: 

TIPS & IDEAS

STEP 1:   WALLS REMOVED TO LIVING ROOM

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.  

THE DEMO PROBLEM:

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!!!

THE UNPROTECTED ITEMS PROBLEM:

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.

WITH CABINETS:

 

WITHOUT CABINETS:

 

AND NOW – NO WALLS:


STEPS 2-5:   CABINETS, CABINETS W/GLASS, WINDOWS REMOVED

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).

BEFORE:  

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.

DURING:

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

AFTER:  

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

BEFORE:

AFTER WITH TOP CABINETS:

THE CARPENTER PROBLEM #1:

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!!


STEP #6:  CREATED NEW ISLAND

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.

KITCHEN FUNCTION:

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?

THE CARPENTER PROBLEM #2:  

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!!!


STEP #7:  NEW DOORS- STORM, SCREEN, & PANTRY 

  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!!

 


STEPS 8-10:  TRIM & BASEBOARDS

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.

KITCHEN BANQUETTE BEFORE:

BANQUETTE WITH TRIM:

AFTER:

Click here for more information on coastal farmhouse dining tables and navy blue and white rugs.

KITCHEN ISLAND AND FEET:  

INSPIRATION TRIM: 

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.

source: windsorone.com

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.

INSPIRATION BASEBOARDS: 

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

source: windsorone.com

 


STEP 10:   PAINT (WALL – SW SILVER STRAND), (TRIM/CABINETS – SW SNOWBOUND)

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. 

COMPARISON:

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

AND NOW:

 


STEP 11:  QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS  

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.*

THE FABRICATOR PROBLEM: 

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.

NOTE:  BAD SEAM, CHIP

BAD SEAM AGAIN:

 

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

***AND NOW, GOOD SEAM:

***GOOD SEAM:  

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!!

BEST TIP EVER:

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. 


STEP 12:  NEW BACKSPLASH

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

 

 


STEP 13:  HARDWOOD FLOORING

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.

THE UNPROTECTED FLOOR PROBLEM:

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.

THAT IS A BIG NO-NO!  

***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.

AND NOW……WHITEWASHED WOOD.

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.

 


STEP 14:  LIGHTING 

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).

 


STEP 15:  HARDWARE TO CABINETS

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.

 


STEP 16:  APPLIANCES

  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.

 


RESOURCE GUIDE

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
*NOTE* 
  • (#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!!

LOVE & HUGS 🙂

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:

Coastal farmhouse dining tables 

My House Paint Colors:  House of Blues

12 Best Navy and White Area Rugs:  Under $200

Home Tour:  Coastal Farmhouse Master Bedroom

Find Your Style:  Four Farmhouse Mood Boards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading