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Our Modern Farmhouse Kitchen: The Reveal!

September 24, 2015

You can look at the “before” picture and see why I didn’t want to buy our house.

While there were many reasons, including an overgrown yard, pastel 1950s tile in every bathroom, and some of the worst wallpaper you’ve ever seen, the kitchen was the main reason. I even thought about entering it in the “America’s Ugliest Kitchen” contest on the DIY network, on many occasions.

It still has a long way to go, but now, more than 5 years after we purchased the house, I’m finally feeling proud of our house and how far it has come. We have always envisioned a “modern farmhouse” style kitchen in this relatively small space. Something both classic and on-trend.

Our budget was $20,000 (which we exceeded by a small amount – not too surprising, since we ended up going a bit over-the-top on certain fixtures and appliances).

The renovation project took about 3 weeks, and was a complete gut job. Here were the steps our contractor completed, in a nutshell:

  • A complete re-wiring of all the electricity in the kitchen
  • New lighting installation including recessed lighting, ceiling fan, under-cabinet lights, and a pendant above the sink
  • Relocating the sink to another wall (so it could be next to the window), and installing a gas line so we could switch to an electric range
  • Installing all new cabinetry, including a full-length pantry (one of the things I’m most excited about!)
  • Installing new granite countertops
  • Installing new ceramic tile flooring and subway tile backsplash and an accent tile “stripe”

We are still unpacking and getting settled back in after living out of boxes for 3 weeks (thank goodness for microwaves). But we are still so giddy about this major upgrade, which feels like we’ve waited forever for.

Even 4-year-old Lucie is so excited!

Home Improvement

Surviving a Kitchen Renovation

September 3, 2015
how to survive a kitchen renovation

As I type, I am on my living room couch surrounded on all fronts by snack boxes, plastic dinnerware sets, and takeout menus. Everything that used to be in our kitchen, including our refrigerator and a large china cabinet, are also in the living room. Along with boxes full of everything else we unpacked before our kitchen renovation. 

How to Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Exhibit A: Living Room

And then there are the boxes of tile, new appliances, light fixtures, tools, extension cords, and all of the other things our contractor needs to work his magic. Those are currently occupying the dining room.

How to survive a kitchen renovation

Exhibit B: Dining Room

We don’t live in the sort of house where we can just hang out in another wing. It’s tight quarters in here, even without a major renovation going on. And since we’re spending all of our money on the kitchen, we can’t afford to jet and hang out in a hotel for 2 weeks. We are currently squatters in our own home.

First world problems, I know

The hardest part, honestly, is waiting for our dream kitchen to happen! But I thought I would offer a few tips for surviving a kitchen renovation — and being a squatter in your own house.

1. Put the following on your grocery list. You’ll have no kitchen sink, so while you’re renovating your kitchen, life’s going to be a “picnic.” When you’re not eating out, you’ll want to make clean-ups as easy as possible, without that handy kitchen sink and dishwasher. Luckily, we were able to keep our fridge plugged in in our living room. If you can’t do the same, consider borrowing (or buying) a “pony fridge.”

  • Bottled water
  • Ice or ice trays (that ice in the freezer is going to run out quickly)Dish cleaning wipes (like the kind you may have used in your college dorm)
  • Dish cleaning wipes (like the kind you may have used in your college dorm)
  • Ice or ice trays (that ice in the freezer is going to run out quickly)Ice or ice trays (that ice in the freezer is going to run out quickly)
  • Propane for the grill
  • Disposable cutlery
  • Paper towels
  • Disposable plates and bowls
  • Disposable cups (don’t forget the coffee cups!)

Now, I am sure there are more eco-friendly ways to get through a renovation, without creating this much trash. While we are recycling everything we can (like the paper plates and plastic water bottles), we’d love to hear your ideas for cutting back on trash.

2. Fire up the grill, and go for the pre-marinated meat and basically anything where the “prep” work is done. There’s no reason not to eat healthy…actually, being limited to the grill might make you eat even healthier. Fill that baby up with fluid so it’s one less thing to worry about during your reno.

Dinner ideas (when you’re limited to picnic-ware for cooking) include: 

  • Grilled, pre-marinated pork tenderloin w/ a salad kit (you can mix up the salad in the bag, so you don’t have to wash a bowl)
  • Grilled, pre-marinated chicken breasts w/ frozen veggies (prepared in microwave)
  • Salads with pre-cooked chicken strips and pre-cut veggies
  • Sandwiches

Since you won’t have all of your knives or a cutting board handy, pre-cut fruit (like bagged, sliced apples and baby carrots) are the way to go for healthy snacks.

3. Save money eating out. We’re eating out a few times a week, at least, especially on those weeknights where we have to make a last-minute run to Lowes (which is often). Try making your dollar go further.

Cash in your credit card rewards points. We cashed them all in on restaurant gift cards right before we started, and were able to get around $200 total. We did a combination of chain restaurants and fast food/pizza.

  • Clip coupons and search online for restaurant deals. Every little bit of savings adds up!
  • If you have kids, see which nights of the week kids eat free at your local chain restaurants. There’s a handy list of Atlanta-area “kids eat free” restaurants here.
  • Hit up the restaurants that are having “spirit night” benefitting your kids’ schools. If your school is like ours, they’ll be sure to remind you by sending your kid home with a sticker on her shirt.

4. Don’t forget to leave the wine opener unpacked, and in a place you’ll remember where it is. Because priorities.

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We’re less than a week away from the final reveal, and couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be sure to update when it’s finished.

Have you been through a kitchen renovation? What are your tips for living out of your living room?