Random Thoughts on Our Kitchen Reno

kitchen remodelpatiently waiting

This week our kitchen work has reached a feverish pitch. After passing inspection it’s finally time for installing the floors and the drywall. Next week they come measure for our white quartz counter tops and then it could be only 7-10 business days before installation–it’s possible we could have a working kitchen by…



Here’s right after we tore down the old kitchen walls. Remember?


Late night floor laying the other night.

These are 1/2 inch thick, 12 inch wide pine floors milled from trees that grew on the property here and cut here at the sawmill years ago. The kitchen was the only floor downstairs that isn’t wood so when we noticed that the mudroom was planked with the same wood, we sacrificed its walls in order to use the wood on the floor. They are tongue and groove and we installed them the same way they were installed in the rest of the house. Simply nailing them in by hand with cut nails. This is my favorite part of the kitchen!


And now, a ceiling!!!

DSC_8749Shawn & Chad making the ceiling & walls!


And walls!

It’s so fun to finally get a feel for the real shape and size of the room. Back there where the fridge is was a closet with a washer and dryer, to the left of that was a pantry with a big closet door. That wall is phase two of the kitchen, I still haven’t decided if I want white or grey cabinets on that wall and I’m not forcing myself to decide until I get a better feel of what we have. Once it’s complete that refrigerator wall will have a pantry and be a place for the mixer, making pizza dough and storing stuff.




This is the wall where the range will go all tucked into that inset part.


There is some discoloration where the ends of the wood were covered up on the walls of the mudroom so the sunlight didn’t darken them yet. We can sand and address that in the future, for now it’s nice to have floors almost done. Plus, I secretly LOVE the imperfection and story of it all.


We had one super yellow board, he’s down at the threshold to the kitchen now, a perfect spot to show him off.


This week I’m not really even trying to make dinners, our kitchen is covered in plastic and dust and I’m not stressing over it. Mom & dad have brought dinner over a few times and we can live with take out a few more days.



This will be an inset shelf one day. The backside is the stairs to our basement. So it was a wall that had to stay.

DSC_8792southern living

We’ve never planned a kitchen before and I really don’t know what I’m doing. Funds are limited, we are paying cash for everything and we didn’t plan on doing the kitchen until after we closed on the house. That’s the long way of saying that I am and was unprepared to do a new kitchen.

However, I have lived in 13 other houses with kitchens that had lots of pro and cons. I knew what was important to me (I wrote about it here: natural light, lots of counter space, & a place for people to gather) and made sure I could incorporate it. I’m sure I’ll have some regrets– but if I waited until I knew I had the perfect design I’d never be able to start. And now that we are knee deep in it, I’m so glad we won’t have to deal with this mess in the future.

When it came time to plan the kitchen, the first thing I did was find some good inspiration. I really needed a plan for the space once we knocked out the walls. Southern Living to the rescue with their July issue. I also pinned kitchens like crazy to my Kitchen Pinterest board.

Here are the steps I took in planning our kitchen, I’m sure I did it all wrong but so far it’s working:

1. plan the shape that would allow the kitchen to open to the rest of the house and use all the space we had (removing two walls and two closets and incorporating a hall almost doubled the size of the kitchen)

2. find a layout that works within said shape (thanks Southern Living!)

DSC_7264a mock up of the sink placement. I ALMOST purchased a really tall faucet but after using my umbrella to visualize the height, I felt like it was too much for the space

3. make at least ONE big decision

I’ve found when I’m doing any creative project that once I have one decision made, all the other decisions become much easier. It’s a Lovely Limitation really. I don’t always get to choose what this decision is. But I KNEW I wanted white cabinets. And I KNEW I wanted to use the walls for the wood floors. Once I had those decisions made it was really easy to pick appliances and counters and other items for the kitchen.

wes priddy lake norman Wes Priddy & Kent from Total Renovations of Lake Norman, if you need an honest review of their work, email me, I’m happy to share our experience

4. hire smart people to help

My husband is SUPER handy. But he doesn’t care to learn about electrical wires and plumbing. We hired out for that. Chad’s done drywall once years ago so we are paying a family friend to come teach him how and work with him.

workers with Wes Preddy contractor lake normanJake & Josh, thrilled to have me take their picture

5. assume it will take twice as long as you imagine

a45213f033fb6eb95cf8c05d7593b517southern living, see more of the kitchen here

This kitchen layout was exactly the push I needed to move forward. At first glance you can hardly tell it’s a kitchen! But see how the island is parallel with the range wall? And the range wall is inset? That’s how our range wall will be in relation to our island. In our kitchen, the range wall is smaller due to the basement wall on the left. Also, our range is larger. So we’ll have the range flanked by two 15 inch cabinets and that’s it on that wall.. It will be offset compared to the center of the island. I’ve had to deal with that.

Our island will be considerably longer than my muse at 10 feet. We’ll have a big hood over our range that takes up most of the wall, so no long expanse of shelves. But, I think I’ll be able to have 4 counter stools instead of three, plus two cabinets on this side of the island flanking the stools. Win!

floor and cabs

We went with Ikea cabinets and the Adel fronts. Here’s a door front next to our floors. Once the kitchen is done and I actually use them, I feel like I’ll have a better place to talk about them from. But so far I’m really happy with our choice.

I haven’t picked out the hardware yet because I want to feel the space once more things are installed.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.47.39 AM

Here’s kind of where I’m going. But I can’t afford any of that lighting so in the next-ish post I’ll fill you in on how I’m thinking about lighting.

I’m really happy with the progress so far and mostly, I’m secretly thrilled and surprised that I’m confident in my choices. I KNOW I’ll wish I did things differently or made different choices but that’s not stealing any joy from me about having the privilege of creating my own kitchen–and that kind of shocks me. I am THOROUGHLY enjoying getting to do this! I think I’ve just reached a place in my life where I know that done is truly better than perfect and no matter which shade of white I choose for the tile, this kitchen will look so much better and serve our family well.


  1. My sister-in-law, owner of my favorite kitchen ever, used Adele cabinetry with Carrera marble. The cabinets were wonderful and she absolutely loves them. Your design and muse are gorgeous, but I cannot wait to see what your ideas are for lighting…because I will probably have to steal them from you. It all looks incredible! Glad you are enjoying the process!!

  2. Michelle Holland says

    I look forward to your posts to see the progress of your new home! I love that you are enjoying the process and living in the moment and not worrying about all the decisions that are being made. Life as it should be, living in the Grace of our God, He is so good to us!

  3. Have you thought about a single basin sink? That is the one thing I would change in my kitchen.

    • That’s what I was going to say! Actually because I lived with a double sink in every house I ever lived in and last winter finally got a single deep basin sink and I LOVE IT. Mine is actually stainless steel and has drop in inserts in case I want the double functionality, but we almost never bother using them. It is seriously so great. I can’t imagine going back to a double at this point.

  4. I have ALWAYS wished I had put in two dishwashers! It may sound crazy but I resent the time I put up and take out the SAME dishes almost daily. How much more convenient it would be to just move them from one dishwasher (clean) to the other (dirty)! I have never heard of anyone doing that, but I would sure like to try!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your house renos! I love seeing the before, durings, and afters. I found your site from your friend Angela at Button Bird Designs and I’m loving it. You gals rock! I was so exited to see your 31 Days Link so I participated and I just want to thank you for giving us other bloggers a chance to be a part of that. I only had my site up for a month when I did it and it was a wonderful challenge!
    Thanks again for your great posts!

  6. Nancy Barbour says

    I love that you are reusing the wooden walls as flooring, and the story of how the wood was milled from trees on the land there is inspiring. Having walls in place is exciting. Just wait until those cabinets are put together and in place!

    I know I should have told you about this sooner, but there is a wonderful resource for remodeling your kitchen at That Home Site at the GardenWeb.


    You will fit right in, Ikea kitchens are favored by quite a few on the forum and white farmhouse kitchens have their own following there. The Totally Kitchen Obsessed (TKO) folks who congregate there there even maintain a separate Finished Kitchens Blog on blogspot that is searchable.


    I found the site as I was finishing my 2003 remodel and it was still helpful to me. Check it out and see. Be sure to read the “New to Kitchens – Read Me” entry. It holds a wealth of information. I am Nancy_in_Mich and my first kitchen is in the old Finished Kitchens Blog. My second new kitchen – where I used someone else’s 24 year-old cabinets – hasn’t been posted yet. I still have a few things to finish, even though the remodel was three years ago! If you want to read arguments for and against single bowl sinks, I am sure you can find a few in the search function!

  7. Curious if you are going to have the dishwasher in the area where the faucet is located.

  8. Love, love, love seeing it all come together! Thank you for sharing the process with us! :-D

  9. great post. I love what you say about making a few BIG choices and working from that.

    and I was SUPER giddy to see your design board. Love it!!!! xoxo

  10. Long time lurker. When you said you have no idea what you’re doing, I wondered if you had thought of your work triangle? That’s the basis of an efficient, easy to work in kitchen. Get your work triangle figured out (I’ve often put masking tape on the floor to map things out during renos) and everything else will fall into place:
    *Each leg of the triangle between sink, fridge and stove should be between 4 and 9 feet
    *The total of all three legs should be between 12 and 26 feet (no more than 26!)
    *No obstructions (cabinets, islands, etc.) should intersect a leg of the work triangle
    *Household traffic should not flow through the work triangle

    Hope that helps.
    Of course if you already knew about this, then I sound sort of foolish but whatever….

  11. Its amazing to see all of this come together, seemed like it required a lot of hard work ! thanks for sharing!:)

  12. It’s fun reading about your experience — we’re doing something similar over here, and living in our house while renovating. It puts an interesting twist on the renovations!

  13. “I’m secretly thrilled and surprised that I’m confident in my choices.” I love this. I know the feeling!

  14. Love the exuberance you share in your post. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Good choice on the white cabinets, they are timeless and your kitchen will always look fresh. I too have white quartz in my kitchen, one countertop not all, you will LOVE it. You can set hot pans on it and not have to worry about resealing over time like you do with granite. And quartz is easy to clean and doesn’t chip.

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  16. Esther Betzinger says

    I’m so proud of you guys for paying cash for everything! I truly know how hard it is to have to wait for something you want, but God truly does bless our being good stewards. Four years ago we decided to use the envelope system, and in 17 mo with lots of discipline and hard decisions, we were able to pay off nearly $50,000 in debt before building our new home! I wished I lived close so I could come see your new home, you have been blessed. Just wanted to say that we put the ikea sink in our new kitchen and I LOVE it, so does everybody else, lol!! Can’t wait to see some more updates.

  17. Pinterest is the greatest place ever to figure out what you want in a kitchen. We redid ours about a year & a half ago and we started out planning to go with darker wood cabinets. So, I pinned and pinned and pinned – then looked at my board and realized that most of the kitchens I loved had white cabinets. So, we now have white cabinets, dark wood floors, dark granite countertops… =) I can’t wait to see your final kitchen. I know it’s going to look great. And Congrats on the all cash remodel, we did the same! The mortgage is the only debt I want.

  18. LOVE your plans for your kitchen! I am sitting here trying NOT to hyperventilate, because I have been dreaming of a white kitchen with white subway tile, a white farm sink, butcher block countertops, dark wood floors, white trim…on and on… BUT last weekend we ordered our cabinents, and I must have had some out of body experience, because when it was all said and done I ordered off white cabinents with a brownish glaze and dark distressed base cabinents!!!! Have I ruined all my other plans?!?! It is like I changed that one big decision, and now I am at a total loss!!!! Any advice?!?

  19. Love, love your kitchen. My builders are just knocking down an internal wall between dining room and kitchen as I write this so your pinterest kitchen inspiration couldn’t have come at a better time! I had already pinned lots of the same images but there were many more I hadn’t seen – thank you!! Jenna, islandbluebird.com

  20. Nice Plan i love your creation

  21. Where did you get your stove/oven?

  22. Looks great. It would be a treat if Mr. Priddy actually paid his subcontractors the agreed/contracted price on projects, so that we wouldn’t have to sue him though.

    • I’m so sorry about that, that’s why I want people to email me if they want our opinion and to hear about our experience, this post is not an endorsement of him at all.

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