Kitchen Reno: Weeks 1-2

Written by Renovation

It’s been an interesting two weeks so far, to say the least. Everyone has always told me how much they don’t think I could survive a kitchen remodel. I’m not sure if I should take that as an insult or not… I think they may be forgetting I enjoy camping and used to live in an RV. I’m actually LOVING the process and seeing what gets done each day. I also keep repeating to myself how this is just a phase… that’s actually going by REALLY quick! Much quicker than anyone thought it would, including the contractors.

Unless you’ve been paying attention on Instagram, this is the last you saw of our kitchen. This was actually only after day one. So I’ll walk you through a bit of what has happened since then.

After two and a half days of demo, we were finally down to a blank slate! The wall between the dining room and kitchen was removed, the bulk head was taken down, the plaster wall removed on two walls, all plumbing was capped, electric turned off, flooring removed to the sub floor, and the pass through window was added to the living room wall. Once the wall was opened up, we saw the original insulation wasn’t in the best shape. So we decided to just replace it while we had the opportunity.

For the pass through window, the guys constructed a temporary wall in the living room just to be cautious since this is a load bearing wall. The wood that looks like studs here are actually in the living room, not in the opening itself. It’s 6.5 feet wide and standard counter height. We decided to make the opening counter height instead of bar height to give everything a feeling of being more open. This pass through window will be getting a quartz counter top, making it perfect for some additional seating for a work area, breakfast, or drinks during a get together. I also just can’t get over the amount of light this now brings into our once tiny, dark hole of a kitchen.

Over the weekend, Jordan and I had a pretty extensive to-do list and shopping list from the guys. We had to plan out our days to be most efficient. We had to pick out our can lights, tile, pick up some other electrical supplies and other various materials, and build all the cabinets for the dining room wall. Saturday, we headed over to The Tile Shop to pick out and order our tile as soon as they opened. It was incredibly easy because I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for. Unfortunately, the slate look-a-like I really wanted was on back order until mid November, so we ended up going with actual slate. The sales rep we were working with gave us a great discount to bring the tiles to the same price as the porcelain ones we originally wanted, which I was really thankful for! They seriously made it so easy, answered all our questions, got everything ordered that we would need, and 30 minutes later we were done and on our way!

We ran the rest of our errands to Lowes and Home Depot, then headed home and started building the cabinets. Guys… they are so easy to put together. Jordan and I watched a movie while we were doing it. We just needed to put together the internal box at this point anyway. The drawers and doors aren’t gonna go on until later. So I guess we’ll see if we are still singing the IKEA cabinet praises by the end of this.

Unfortunately, Sunday turned into a little bit of a panic early on. We only had one of the butcher block counters out of the two we would need. One of the lengths we needed was on back order from IKEA. But we were assured it would come in a couple weeks, so we would have it by the time we needed it. Well… it got me thinking that Sunday morning for some reason… I went into the kitchen with a measuring tape because something just didn’t seem to add up. I was right. The longest butcher block counter IKEA sells is 8 feet long, that’s what we had ordered for this wall. However, that section of wall was 10 feet… ummm. I believe the thought was this: we would cut the excess off the other counter for the dining room and use that left over piece for the main kitchen counter. However, that leaves a noticeable seam that I don’t think would look decent at all, let alone function on the most highly used counter in the kitchen! The fact there would be a seam hadn’t been mentioned while we were ordering everything. After we had already been at IKEA for an hour going over every detail as we ordered it, I just heard we would end up with the correct total length of counters overall and figured we were all good. Obviously not.

This is my one grip about the whole process so far, but it was easily fixed. So it really wasn’t that big of deal in the grand scheme of things. We ended up calling my Dad, who has a big truck, and asked if he could come and help us for the day. He gladly drove down, and we loaded up the one counter we had from IKEA to return it and cancel the back order. Once that was done, we scooted over to Lumber Liquidators, who we called earlier in the morning, and purchased a 12 foot and 8 foot section of raw maple butcher block. It was almost double the price to purchase from there, but the maple is supposed to be a bit more durable than birch, and we got the lengths we actually need to make the counters look their best. Plus $600 still isn’t that much to spend on counters!

The next week started, and the guys were here all five days and got so much work done! All the “behind the scenes” stuff was added in. So still not too extremely beautiful to look at, but is gonna make the new kitchen shine! All the new electrical was roughed in after many conversations and decisions about how many outlets, where to place them, which ones need a dedicated circuit and so on. The dining room cabinets were installed, the hearty backer was laid for the kitchen floor, Jordan added the new insulation one evening, drywall was added, and the tile was laid not even an hour after it was delivered.

The whole weekend I kept going into the kitchen and just sitting on the tile floor admiring it. It’s the first thing that’s gone in that feels finished and just looks awesome in the space! Since it is real slate, it has natural variations in width and depth. So it is slightly uneven here and there, as to be expected with real stone. We will also have to seal it every couple of years to protect it. The sealer seems to be a very easy process though, so we aren’t worried about it at all.

And there you have it! They’ve gotten pretty far with only eight days of work! Since this kitchen project hasn’t had too many surprises or hiccups, the guys actually think they will be mostly done this week. Then we will just be waiting for the quartz counter tops, and Jordan and I will need to complete our DIY portions, then have the guys come back and do the absolute final touches and connect the plumbing and appliances.

I’ll leave you with one more image of where we are as of writing this, just for a little sneak peek. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together by Friday! It’s going to actually feel like a kitchen! ….. and I may or may not dance around it the whole weekend in between painting and cabinet building…

Last modified: October 31, 2017

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