I’m diving a little deeper into the behind the scenes of our big remodel today! I definitely learned a lot throughout this 6 month journey. I thought it would be helpful and insightful to go over some of the details such as where I found inspiration, how I came up with our design plan and of course, the hard lessons I learned along the way. First, I’m going to start out by answering a few questions that some of my Instagram followers had.
Do you wish you would have done more yourself in order to save money?
NO. 100% no!
Haha, when Kyle and I moved into this house 4 years ago, we did almost everything ourselves! It was so much work and because we aren’t professionals, there were some “cut the corner” areas in our home. I wanted professionals in here doing that they do best and I was willing to pay for it. We flipped a house a little over a year ago and felt burnt out when it came to big renovations. With that being said, we definitely saved some of the smaller items to be done ourselves. Currently we are painting the rest of the house to match the white in the kitchen. We are going to be ripping out several built-ins and doing some custom shelving. When we have the rest of the old floors replaced, we will do the demo work ourselves.
Is it hard to have an all-white kitchen with little ones?
Surprisingly no, it’s really not. I feel like having white cabinets is like having a white car. Most of the time it always looks clean and bright….unless you get up real close! I do wipe down the cabinets, and trim about every 1-2 weeks but ultimately, they stay nice and bright.
Were you able to stay on budget?
Ha! Not even close. But I’ll talk more about this later on and give you some helpful tips of how you can stay on budget.
What are your tips for living in demo zone?
PAPER EVERYTHING! Plates, cups, utensils, etc. We ate out a lot during the process but when I did manage to cook, clean up was a breeze! I just wasn’t willing to do dishes in the bathtub and risk clogging up our bathroom plumbing. Get out of the house! We got a YMCA membership for those months and that was heavenly! We were able to escape all the loud noises and our confined living space. Sometimes we went twice a day! My last piece of advice is to declutter and organize. If you’re going to be living in tight quarters for a while then the best thing you can do to try and maximize space is clear out of the stuff you don’t need and don’t use anymore. If you’re planning on switching up the decor once your remodel is finished then you might as well get rid of it now!
Instagram has replaced Pinterest for me in terms of inspiration. Studio McGee is my favorite account to follow for inspiration! My simply simple is another account I love for her minimalistic and simple style. I started following lots of home decor accounts and taking some mental notes of what I liked and what I didn’t like. If you have been following this remodel then you know that I definitely changed my mind a lot and I didn’t go with my first design plan. From there I started putting pieces together and tried to create an overall view of what I wanted. I knew I wanted white, bright and clean. Having that overall goal in mind made it easier to pick out products. I would always ask myself
“Is this going to help me achieve that light and airy feel I’m going for?”
Know yourself and your habits. Do you like to switch out your decor a lot? I’m the girl that literally buys new Christmas decorations every year because I always want o switch up the theme! This trait of mine is ultimately why I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go with a white subway tile backsplash instead of a patterned, trendy concrete tile. I had a strong feeling that 5 years from now I was going to wish our backsplash was a little more neutral. As seasons change and styles come in and out of fashion, I know that I may not always LOVE our kitchen design but there’s one thing about our kitchen that I will always appreciate no matter the latest trend, which is the bright airy feeling it has. I’m never going to complain about our kitchen feeling too open and cheery.
My advice when it comes to design is to take your time and dig down deep. What is your ultimate goal? With every decision you make, ask yourself if that decision is going to help you achieve your goal. For example, if you feel like your space is too dark, then choosing a dark gray paint for your walls is definitely not going to help you create that brighter environment. As stressful as it is, try and have fun with it! And don’t be ashamed if you have to return 14 different pendant lights before you find the perfect one! 😉
This will be different for everyone but making a list of what’s really important to you and what isn’t will help you decide where to focus your budget. For some, cabinet’s might not be a big deal and that’s the area you’re willing to save money on. For others, maybe it’s countertops? In our remodel, the flooring was something I was willing to negotiate on. I originally wanted a cobblestone look to our laundry room floor but when I realized those tiles were going to be $7.00/sq foot and a couple grand extra in labor, I quickly changed my mind. Instead, we went with a simple tile from Home Depot and decided to have it laid out in a herring bone pattern. It was only $2.50/sq ft but I think adding the interesting pattern gave it the wow factor I was looking for without spending thousands extra.
Doors. With the exception of our front door, I really didn’t care what material our new doors came in. The french doors are actually fiberglass instead of solid wood, which saved us a TON of money!
One the other hand, cabinets were a really big deal to me. I feel like they are the foundation of your kitchen and especially with little ones, I wanted to make sure they were really nice quality and the finish was rock hard. I’m very happy with the quality in our cabinets!
Unfortunately, we went over budget. The biggest lesson I learned through all of this is to be proactive and stay on top of the budget. Carve out a time to meet with your contractor consistently throughout your remodel and go over numbers. Things change all the time. Something comes up and now you have to spend more on electrical or plumbing or whatever. The numbers add up so very quickly and I regret not being on top of it and just assuming “it will all balance out”.
We have only had a few months to live in our new remodel so I’m sure this perspective will change over time, but right now there only a few small areas that I would choose to do differently.
- The kitchen sink fixtures. At the last minute I decided to add a hot water spout. It ended up being way more expensive than I originally thought. Honestly, we could have purchased a brand new refrigerator that had a hot water feature, for the amount of money we spent adding the hot water tap on the sink. But more annoying than that, is that I found out Delta (which is the brand we used for the faucet) doesn’t make a hot water tap. Which ultimately meant that I could not match the brass finish and had to choose a completely different finish for the hot water dispenser. I chose a matte black finish to give it contrast. Every time I look at the sink, it drives me crazy that the hardware doesn’t match! They weren’t cheap fixtures, so switching them out right away is not going to happen.
- I also wish we would have gotten a little more creative with our kitchen island. We have SO many large drawers that are completely empty. Part of me wishes we would have utilized that space for a wine fridge or even a way to hide the microwave. There’s just so much unused space and I feel like it’s a waste. Knowing that I have minimalist tendencies, that is something I wish I would have thought out more!
- Dying the patio concrete. Did you even know that you could do that?! I didn’t! I wish I knew that when we poured our patio last year and added to it this year during the remodel. Concrete fades and even though they “seal it”, it still stains and weathers. I really wish I would have known that dying concrete was an option because I would much rather have it darker!
That pretty much sums it up for now! Maybe I’ll update this post next year when we have had more time to live in our new space. If you would like to know which contractors we used, please go ahead and shoot me an email or private message me through my social media channels. Thanks!