Our kitchen renovation is FINISHED!!!!!! We started demo on our kitchen in February 2021, and after six months of living with our “basement kitchen”, got our cabinets and countertops installed. We’ve been slowly but surely working on the final details and as of the end of October 2021 it is officially complete. I’m excited to be able to finally be able to share all of the before and afters and details of this kitchen remodel with you here!
Our kitchen was boxy, dark, and hadn’t been updated since probably 1980 (or earlier?) with the exception of a new microwave and oven, likely just for resale. It shared walls with our dining room and living room, and had 8′ ceilings with a soffit above the cabinets. I did actually like the downlighting in the evening, and it had a great amount of storage, but that’s about where the perks ended. It felt cramped with the walls and an awkwardly placed island. The linoleum floor, formica countertop and backsplash, and 1990’s (or older?) fridge and dishwasher were a little less than desirable features, too!
The Design Plans
I detailed my initial design plans back in January of this year and was pretty specific there, so be sure to check out that post. My goal was to create a modern, fully functional kitchen that felt light and bright but also cozy. I wanted to include traditional features like detailed cabinet hardware and bridge-style sink faucet, warm wood tones, and traditional shaker-style inset cabinetry.
I fell in love with the idea of a dark countertop, and although soapstone was out of our budget, I found a charcoal gray honed granite that checked that box for me. Warm beige cabinetry paired with medium toned red oak on the island, range hood, and floating shelves creates a warm and inviting combination. Antique brass hardware adds another level of warmth as well, and I tied brass into the cabinet knobs, sconce light, and island pendants.
The footprint of this kitchen is not very large- it’s 155″ by 128.” Removing the walls and vaulting the ceiling made a huge difference and opened it up a lot, but it didn’t add any more wall space. Because of that, I wanted to maximize every inch of usable space and add lots of hidden storage. (I plan on writing another space about all of those “secret” features!)
Our cabinets were custom built, so I was able to design every single feature, which I loved. I don’t know that the cabinetmaker loved it as much as I did, haha… I sent him a list of about 20 details and features to include.
There were a few changes throughout the process compared to the drawings below, but you get a good idea of what the original plans were here.
We hired out the major pieces of this project, but also did a fair amount of work ourselves. Our main floor renovation was extensive- it was a complete gut of our kitchen, living, and dining rooms. In involved removing the walls between the kitchen, living, and dining rooms, vaulting the ceiling, redoing the staircase, gutting and remodeling this kitchen, replacing the flooring and windows, adding a gas fireplace, and more. (I recently revealed our living room, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t seen it yet!)
Here’s the list of what we hired out vs did ourselves in this kitchen:
|Design & sourcing
|Reframing (including ceiling vault)
|HVAC & Plumbing drains
|Insulation & Drywall
|Electrical work & lighting installation
|Cabinetry build & installation (including floating shelves)
|Countertop & sink installation
|Cabinetry knob/pull installation
|Vent hood installation
Demo only took a couple of days, but the framing process took quite a while. A 24′ beam had to be recessed into the ceiling in order to support the roof. We also had to have some plumbing vent work done, as the original pipes didn’t work with the new ceiling line. During this time, they also replaced the window, and Josh did the electrical work. We put a lot of time into figuring out the exact position of each light fixture so they would be centered over island and sink, and the recessed lights would be evenly spaced as well. We also put a lot of thought into outlet placement. The large beam you see on the back wall is the floor of the 4th floor of our house, and it just so happens to be where we would ideally place outlets. We had to work around that, and decided to install them horizontally which happens to work out very well.
Demo and framing took place in the dead of winter- February and March- so it was an extra chilly winter in our home. (We lived here during all of it!!) Insulation finally happened at the beginning of April, which in MN is still essentially winter, so that helped out our heating bill quite a bit!! After insulation came drywall and priming, and then Josh and I painted and installed the flooring. We waited on our appliances for a LONG time (8 months for our range!), and our cabinetry also took extra long to get as well thanks to backordered materials.
We finally got our range just in time for the cabinets to start going in. We ran the flooring under the island, and then under just an inch or so of the perimeter cabinetry. This not only saves money, but makes it easier to replace the flooring without ripping out the cabinetry if we ever needed to.
Our countertops are honed granite, called Elegant Gray, purchased through Stone Countertop Outlet. I was able to choose the exact layout of the stone pattern. I wanted to see as much veining as possible, so I went with the choice below.
I love them so much!!! The honed finish is soft under your hand, but granite is a hard stone so they are scratch resistant. They are considered a “living finish”, meaning that they will patina over time with exposure to oils. I don’t mind this as much as I was bothered by the etching of the marble in our previous home!
After countertops went in, the finish work went relatively quickly… lighting, tile, window trim, and cabinetry hardware. It was so much fun to style it all and fill the cabinetry after so much time without a real kitchen!!!
Gone are the days of a dark and boxy kitchen… our kitchen now feels so light and bright, but still very cozy and comfortable.
I had ordered stools that got backordered for about 5 months, so I purchased two of these Pottery Barn stools from Facebook Marketplace to get us through that waiting period. When I got the stools I had ordered, I realized that I actually preferred these, so I ended up buying one more! I love the texture that the leather adds, and the brass nailheads tie into the rest of the brass in our kitchen, plus I love their vintage bentwood shape.
I wanted to include floating shelves for our dishes and glassware, but also still wanted uppers for storage. We added two large floating shelves to the right of the range, and I love how they bring in the warm wood tones to the corner of the kitchen. It had been quite a few years since we had new dishes and glassware (probably about 6 years), so we had some missing pieces and they weren’t in the best shape. I got new white dishes and reeded glassware that we love!
Our cabinets are painted Symmetry by Sherwin Williams, a warm greige color. The island, range hood, and shelves are quarter sawn red oak, stained English Chestnut by Minwax. Our tile backsplash is called Portmore White, by TileBar. I was set on inset cabinetry- I love the elevated, classic look, and I combined flat front drawers with shaker doors for a traditional feel.
I wanted the island to feel substantial, even though it is only 70″x40,” so I went with paneled sides. The stools tuck in nicely and I love how the side panels mirror the shaker doors and the range hood.
I was lucky enough to partner with Build with Ferguson on our sink. I debated a single vs double bowl- we had done a double in our previous kitchen, but I’ve always loved the look of a single bowl. Ferguson has a great selection of home improvement products including trending and traditional styles, unique finishes, and new technologies at competitive prices. They have so many sinks to choose from, so it was no surprise that I found an awesome compromise to my double vs single indecision: a beautiful stainless steel Signature Hardware “workstation” sink that has some amazing bonus features!
The sink I chose is 32″, and comes with a cutting board, flat colander, dish rack, and metal grid for the bottom. It has a small ledge inside that you can set the cutting board and colander on for cutting and rinsing.
With a double bowl sink, we had one side for dirty dishes and one side for drying clean dishes. With this sink, we have a drying rack accessory that we can use when we need it, but otherwise we have the entire 32″ sink to store and wash those dirty dishes!
Be sure to include Ferguson on your list of go-to suppliers for renovating. They have knowledgeable product experts to help you find exactly what you need for your project, and they’re available by in-person appointments at their showrooms, phone, email, or chat every day of the week!
I love how the natural light shines through our south-facing window over the sink. During the day, we hardly ever need additional lighting! I wanted to create a layered lighting plan that would create a cozy and inviting kitchen in the dark. The two oversized pendants above the island are on a dimmer switch, as are the recessed lights. There is a sconce above the sink that also provides nice additional lighting, and by itself it creates a pretty glow on the tile. The range hood also has builtin lights that we turn on in the evening as well.
We splurged on a 36″, all-gas, professional range by KitchenAid. We absolutely love it, and have been ruined forever by having a 36″ range now… we will never go back to a 30″ in any future home, haha!
We loved having a bottom freezer in our previous home, and found an even better version: this refrigerator is by Bosch. We got the “pro handles” which match the range handle.
To make the kitchen feel a little bit bigger by having more cabinetry, I was pretty set on getting a paneled dishwasher. We loved our Bosch dishwasher, so we got the exact same one in a panel-ready version.
I also didn’t want a microwave anywhere visible above the countertops, and we didn’t really have enough storage space in the perimeter cabinetry to be able to hide a microwave in the cabinets. Instead, we went with a builtin microwave in the island.
Our vent hood is Vent-a-Hood. The wood cover was also custom made, and the vent itself is awesome- we haven’t had a real vent hood before and once again, we have been spoiled for all future kitchens, ha!
A commonly asked question throughout this process was “how much did this cost?” I can answer SOME of that here for you, but not all of it. I want to be transparent with you all: this was a MAJOR renovation. I recognize that everyone’s budgets are different- some people will be shocked by the numbers, some people will think it’s a bargain! Our previous kitchen renovation was less than $20,000! This kitchen is closer to $40,000+, but it is a much more custom kitchen, and it is in line with the value of our home and neighborhood we live in. There is a lot that goes into budgeting and design decisions for a kitchen remodel, and we wanted to be on the higher side of mid-range for value and aesthetic purposes. We view this kitchen (and home) as an investment, and we are fairly confident we will see a higher return on our investment someday when we sell.
One thing to consider when thinking about budgeting for your own kitchen renovation is that every project is SO different. There are going to be so many hidden costs, like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and structural work, that are often hard to estimate until you open up the walls. Labor costs and product availability/shipping costs are also very different depending on your location- big city vs rural, midwest vs coastal. My advice, if you’re new to remodeling, is to seek out at least 2-3 quotes for your project, and work with an interior designer either through your contractor or even hire the designer first. Coming up with your “dream design” prior to your contractor meetings is helpful for them to be able to give you the most accurate quotes. From there, you can either add on or pull back on things over the course of your project depending on your budget.
Because this kitchen was part of our main floor renovation, I can’t attribute all of the renovation costs only to this kitchen. Vaulting the ceiling, the flooring, the electrical work, painting, insulating, etc. affected the entire floor. I’m not going to share the labor costs, because again, it was spread out for the entire floor. Our contractor team did SO much work for us. We paid about $93,000 total to our contractor team, which included work on this floor AND our entryway floor: permits, plumbing, HVAC, structural engineer, 7 new windows, a new front door, dumpsters, labor, project management, insulation, cabinets, and other miscellaneous materials (drywall, stairs, new subfloor, framing etc. etc.).
We spent our own money above and beyond that on this kitchen as well, in the form of appliances, lighting, electrical, countertops, tile, flooring, paint, plumbing, hardware, stools, miscellaneous materials, and decor/organization/every day items.
Here is a breakdown of the cost of the “big ticket items” in our kitchen (again, this is excluding labor and electrical/plumbing/HVAC work):
|countertops (including installation)
|cabinetry (custom design/build/finish)
|gifted, but would have been $600
|appliances (fridge, range, microwave, vent hood, dishwasher)
|lighting (sconce & pendants)
|flooring (entire main floor)
|gifted, but would have been about $400
Hopefully these numbers are helpful to see for a breakdown. When thinking about your kitchen renovation, the most costly items are usually your appliances, cabinetry, and countertops, so these are great items to pull back on if you need to save some money. For example, we had wanted to do a Wolf brand range originally, but saved over $2000 by going with a KitchenAid. I had also wanted to do soapstone countertops, but saved $1000+ by choosing honed granite instead. Finally, I had actually gotten a quote for a semi-custom kitchen, but it ended up being the same price as the fully custom kitchen, and they didn’t even have the exact finishes or features that I liked.
Renovation Before and Afters
Let’s take a peek at some before and after views, shall we?
Shop our Kitchen
Paint color (walls and ceiling): White Snow SW 9541 Sherwin Williams
Paint color (cabinetry): Symmetry SW 9601 Sherwin Williams
Stain color/wood: Quarter sawn red oak, stained English Chestnut by Minwax
Countertops: Honed granite, Elegant Gray
Flooring: Novella in Hemingway by Hallmark Floors
Phew, that was a long one! There was so much to share, and I still have more to talk about! Be sure to follow along on my Instagram account for the latest posts and project info. Let me know if you have any kitchen-specific questions below!! Thanks for reading!!!