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Ta-dah, here it is. The kitchen is done!

As I mentioned a few months back, we tackled the kitchen and bathrooms first. Yes, you might think we're flat-out crazy. Normally, I'd have to agree with you, but on this situation we made the right move!

We extended our stay in a rental and took the time to demo and remodel the bathroom on the main level, as well as the upstairs bathroom and — the biggie — our outdated kitchen. In doing this, we were able to have a space for our boys to have their morning breakfast and nighttime baths with a little order.

This decision helped us focus on completing the work quicker, too. It’s easy to forget about SO MUCH CONSTRUCTION DUST when you are in-between projects, and having us out of the house during the renovation helped us clean-up at the end of the day and allow the contractors to come and go as they please. So. Much. EASIER.

What decisions weren't so great? The green wall. Yes, it went away! We were reluctant to do such a bright color yet gave it a shot; and now it’s a warm orange. We went outside of our "normal" and even gave it a month or so to allow it to grow on us. And it sure didn't get better :)

We also wish we would have installed drawers closer to the dining room, instead of the 24" cabinet we have currently. However, as these are IKEA cabinets, we can swap them out and make this a little easier. How cool is that, being able to learn and fix as you go?!

OK, brass tacks: This is our intial to-do list:

  1. Remove the old kitchen cabinets and appliances

  2. Open the wall into the dining room to add a breakfast bar area

  3. New floor

  4. New cabinets and counters

  5. Revised layout, including closing-up a window

And a few notes about the project, and consider these lessons learned and a few tips and tricks!

  • We designed our layout and cabinets with IKEA. Their kitchen planners are very helpful and the cabinets are nice quality! And wow, are they ever cheaper than the competition, especially when you consider all of the handy tricks and gadgets within their cabinets. Be sure to read all the installation instructions, and you will need patience! Some of the pieces can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone that has done an IKEA kitchen before. Their advice will be priceless and save you from pulling your hair out!

  • Keep your eyes peeled during a renovation! We went with granite countertops, and made a last-minute decision to go with Home Depot as they had a big sale. We also scored an amazing deal on the Samsung appliances and purchased as a package also from Home Depot. Be sure to sign up for emails with Lowes, Home Depot, local stores, Menards, and so on. Watch for their weekly fliers! It ended up saving us about $2,!

  • We opted for a grouted wood laminate for our floor. We love the dark gray! It is a little warmer on the feet, as well as softer than tile to walk on. In fact, the boys love “picnic snacks” on the kitchen floor!

  • Don't feel like you have to do it all at once. While we splurged and spent a little more time in the rental, we made the sacrifice in not being able to do things like a backsplash right away to keep financials in line. And that's OK! It is giving us time to learn what we like about the new space and get ideas for what to do (we are thinking of totally different backsplash ideas than we were before the renovation!).

  • Buy online! We purchased most of the hardware and sink online. Again, watch for deals and read the reviews! It’s helpful to see how people like what they’ve bought, and also give you helpful advice to help you make your decision. I can’t say enough about how online reviews are life-savers for your sanity through all of these buying decisions!

Thanks for the time to check out our new kitchen! We are over the moon with how it has turned out. Tell us what you think in the comments below, as well as what projects you are working on.

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