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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12 Kitchen Upgrades (You Can’t Live Without)

We all have that dream kitchen in mind with like a zillion inspiration pictures to support it…..for that one day when dreams become reality.   But for most of us, that dream might take longer than we would like.  Plus, by the time we get that dream kitchen, there will be new upgrades and inventions that have replaced our awesome ideas.  Ring any Bells? 12 Kitchen Upgrades (You Can’t Live Without).

So, until that day, why can’t we add some upgrades to our existing kitchens right now?  We’ll get a little taste of what is really important to us, and know what works best and what doesn’t work at all.

So let’s get to the 12 incredible, jaw -dropping kitchen upgrades that will have you drooling….. the ones you just can’t live without 😉  If you’re joining me from 15 Easy Solutions- Kitchen Organization 2018 or Get House Organized:  Top Ten List, welcome!! 

Want more kitchen inspiration try Opening up Kitchen Wall to Living Room or Opening Kitchen Wall to Dining Room.


12 Kitchen Upgrades (You Can’t Live Without)



1- Utensils Pull Outs & Drawers

Cooking utensils have a way of cluttering up a drawer very quickly.  To avoid this, use an existing cabinet or drawer and have it turned into storage for utensils, measuring cups, bowls, etc. 

Use crock/canisters for frequently used utensils in an upper tier shelf & store other supplies in lower tier shelves.  The canisters make grabbing utensils much easier and the drawer ensures that all clutter stays hidden under your counter.





























2- Floating Cutting Boards

Attach a wooden cutting board with a hole cut out to an existing drawer, or use it as a pull out shelf (all by itself).   The key is to make sure it is installed over a pull out trash can – like picture below. 

The hole is a great idea so that you can wipe peelings & other scrapings directly into the trash can.  Can’t get any easier than this!!











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3- Hinged Cabinets

Use these hinged cabinets to hide appliances you use everyday, or ones you leave out on top of the counter.  These work much better than cabinet doors, drawers, or the roll down bread bin versions, and still keep counters from looking cluttered.  You can attach a pull out shelf also to gain additional surface space.
























4- Storage Drawers at Sink

Instead of cabinets and/or hinged doors to store supplies under the sink, try using drawers.  You won’t have to worry about products falling down on each other, and you’ll be able to see all of them at one time. 

Use a u-shaped drawer to go around the dimensions of the sink.   Use a small drawer for items like sponges and brushes and a large drawer for detergent and cleaning supplies – genius!!





















5- Pet Center

We can’t forget about our furry friends either.  Use a larger pull out drawer for food, toys, leashes, etc….and a smaller drawer for food containers/bowls. 

Both designs can be pushed back in (under the counter) when not in use and helps to keep walkways clear.  Plus, all of their goodies will be stored in one place.















6- Spice Rack Pull Outs & Doors

Store spices under the counter in small or medium sized pull outs for easy accessibility.  You can have this installed right by your stove so you don’t even have to leave your area while you’re cooking. 

You can also store a ton of spices and other products in pantry doors.  This definitely will save space in the kitchen by freeing up cabinets and drawers.






























source: private

7- Charging Station

These are becoming more popular and important than kitchen appliances- LOL!!  Designate a drawer and have electrical sockets added for computers, phones, i-pads and more. 

Use it with or without partitions depending on what works best for you and your family.  Choose an area in the kitchen that can handle a lot of traffic.















8- Pop Up Hinged Shelf 

These are something else!!  The hinged shelf goes from under counter storage to out of cabinet shelf (and work center).  The shelf fits onto very sturdy hinges so that it can hold the weight of heavier appliances, and then pops up to create additional work space. 

They can be designed with or without an extra storage bin underneath (see picture to the right).  Use a pull out shelf for the area at the bottom of the cabinet for additional appliances.
























9- Toe Kick

Use unused/wasted space under cabinets with toe kick drawers for storing items that can lie flat.  Have them installed with pressure sensor (toe touch) so that you can release drawers for easy access. 

These work great in smaller kitchens or when extra storage space is needed.



















10 – Corner Cabinet

Corner cabinets are tricky because there always seems to be wasted space in such a big storage area of the kitchen.  If you’ve tried a lazy susan, but are wanting something different, try one of these. 

Each design uses the entire space, and makes getting items in the back of the cabinet so much easier.  You’ll be able to see everything in the cabinet without sticking your whole body in!! 😉





















11- Under Cabinet Ideas

Use the space under upper cabinets for more than just lighting.  Cookbooks, tv’s, & charging stations work well on hinged devices, and lighter items like spices, measuring cups, & mail work in racks or bins. 

Try storing knives in pull out drawers to keep them out of little one’s reach.  Don’t like to see clutter?  Try the hinged design, or pull out shelf.


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12- Built In Appliances

Coffee built in – I love this built in coffee unit with pull out tray for coffee fixins.  What a genius idea so you can save much desired counter space, and you don’t make a mess with sweeteners and creams.










Microwave Drawer –  How did we live without this? This is a great idea for  the trending under counter microwave craze.  The drawer makes it easy to drop things directly into it, instead of bending down and breaking your back to put things into it. 

Plus, you will save space by not having the swing door option.  This saves a lot of room in a cramped kitchen.










Wine fridge – Add a wine fridge to a beverage station or to kitchen island.  They give the kitchen a modern look, and a more custom feel. 

You can also add a wooden wine rack built in to keep your “extra” bottles in – LOL!!




















What do you think….which one is your favorite?  My favorite is the coffee station because I LOVE my coffee, but we are adding the microwave drawer for function (of course), spice rack pull out, and electronics charging station. 

I also love the utensils in the canisters pull out drawer- such a genius idea.  Let me know which one you try – I’d love to hear from you!!


Want more kitchen inspiration, try 15 Easy Solutions- Kitchen Organization 2018 or Get House Organized:  Top Ten List, 

Want more decorating inspiration, try  10 Ways to add Buffalo Check , How to Staining Banisters Dark with Java Gel, and The Shiplap Guide:  Shiplap, Tongue & Groove, and Plank Walls (Part 1)




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