LESSONS FROM A DIY KITCHEN RENO

LESSONS FROM A DIY KITCHEN RENO
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Oh, hey there. Fancy meeting you here. How've you been? Long time no talk. 

What's that you ask? Are you done with your kitchen yet? In, short? No. In long form? No. Because life happens. Work happens. Illness happens. And when you are doing it all yourself? It ALL adds to the timeline. 

The good news is...we are close. I plan to only share sneak peak pics from here on out, so that we can do the "big reveal" here in about a week. (Come on, it's probably my only chance to pretend I'm on HGTV.)

But I did want to share a few things with y'all...things I wish I'd known going into all of this. Because I know I'm not the only one out there tackling a kitchen reno. Right?

Here's just a few of the gems we've gleamed so far...

1. BUDGET YOUR TIME:

Let me be clear. These tips can apply to ANY kitchen reno, not just DIY. In any renovation, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you budget your time. But I'm gonna get down to the nitty gritty on that. 

We spend so much time budgeting monetarily. We plan down to the penny. But then we sort of pull a time frame out of the air, pad it by a few weeks, and VOILA...we have our timeline. Sound familiar?

Let me just save you some time and trouble here. MAP OUT YOUR TIMELINE BEFOREHAND to the best of your ability. Keep in mind, if you are working with sub-contractors, you will have to factor in their schedules. They may not be available right when you need them, even if you've scheduled them (life happens). Ask yourself questions to help you dial it in. Are you taking time off of work to do the reno? Do you plan to do most of it on nights and weekends? All of these things can help you perfect your timeline. And don't forget to allow for mental breaks, because you WILL get sick of it all, and need a weekend off. 

Trust me. Budget your time as well as you budget your money and you will save yourself LOTS of headaches (and marital squabbles).

2. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE BIG PROJECTS

When we first started planning our kitchen reno, I was terrified of the cabinets. I knew we'd have to get rid of our existing cabinets, and the thought of designing a new layout just about made my mind explode. I mean, I love designing, but the pressure of getting the kitchen cabinets right? That was a little too much pressure.

Knowing what I was up against, I did a lot of research when it came to cabinet providers. I finally chose Cabinets.com because of their free design service (which was KEY), competitive prices (best I found), and their styles and selection. Add their free shipping into the deal and it was a total no-brainer. 

And if I am completely honest??? (Because I always am.) I was still nervous. Because cabinets are a HUGE investment. But the more I talked with the people at Cabinets.com, the more I knew I made the right choice. They were so helpful. From sending samples of cabinets to choose from all the way to tweaking the design up to the last minute (because, have you met me???). Honestly, our designer (Suzanne) was a God send. 

Three months in, cabinets fully installed, and here's what I want to tell you:

The cabinets were the easiest part. Hands down.

I'm sure this was largely due to Cabinets.com, since they are pros and have mastered the process. But still. If you had told me a few months ago that the cabinets would be the EASIEST part of this whole renovation? I would have laughed. Directly at you. And probably snorted a little. 

Moral of the story: Don't be afraid of the big things, like cabinets. Do your research, make sure your cabinet company has excellent customer service and is willing to answer your every annoying question (thanks Cabinets.com) and you will be FINE. If I could go back, I would worry less about cabinets and more about plumbing. 

3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP:

When I was in labor with my first child, I started crying when they mentioned the epidural. I hadn't been at the hospital very long, but I was in SO MUCH PAIN. I started crying (muttering something about being a weenie) but reluctantly agreed to get the meds. Turns out, if I had waited one minute more, they wouldn't have given me the option....because we were about to find out that I was technically past the "safety zone." Oh, well. Alls well that ends well, right? #iregretnothing

Our kitchen reno was so very similar. We were doing everything ourselves, and when I needed help...I felt like a weenie asking for it. But ya'll. Ask for help. This also (not surprisingly) ties in with number one. 

You have to know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. If one specific project is taking you waaaaay longer than you thought? And it's holding up the entire reno? If you can afford it...hire help. There will still be plenty for you to do. Trust me. 

If you are wanting to install the cabinets all by yourselves, but you feel a little out of your league? DO NOT HESITATE to have your cabinet company install them for you. 

Know your limits. And know when to ask for help. And if you are doing this reno as a team? Communicate about both. (BOOM)

4. DEALS DO EXIST

Number four is a tad different, because you could argue I already knew this (because I did). But stick with me, because what I didn't know was where to find them. And now I have a cheat sheet. WHO'S YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND?!?!?

As you know, we've done our kitchen on a tight budget. So finding the bargains was ESSENTIAL. I spent a lot of time searching for cost effective solutions, without sacrificing quality, and I'm giving you the cheat sheet. Here are THE BEST places I've found for prices and customer service (willing to work with you on install, returns, quality assurance).

Cabinets: Cabinets.com 

Already said this but I loved them so much I'll say it again. I looked at cabinet companies for six months straight. And there was only one that offered free design services, awesome prices and sales, and had AMAZING customer service (which I knew was going to be key for designing AN ENTIRE KITCHEN). And before you ask, yes...I did look at IKEA. And although I love me some IKEA, the quality just couldn't compare to the Deerfield products that Cabinets.com offers. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things.

Hardware/Plumbing: Amazon

Y'all. You HAVE to shop Amazon for hardware. Simply the best deals, tons of styles, and the customer service is amazing. I returned so many different styles, because I wanted to see them ALL in my space. Such a lifesaver.

Tile/Countertops/Tool Rental: Home Depot

I knew the kind of tile I wanted from the get-go, so I stalked it like a psycho. And in the process, I was really able to see who had the lowest prices, best sales, and best customer service on tile, grout, etc. Home Depot for the win! They also had equally awesome prices for their laminate (ours is Wilsonart), so we got that there as well. We live too far away for their install services (#farmhouseliving), but that worked out fine since we planned to do it all ourselves.

Paint: Sherwin Williams

You guys. Tell me you know about SW sales. I'm telling you. Stalk their site! At any given time, they have a 20-40% sale going on on paints. Which is HUGE when you add it all up. I got real smart about scheduling my paint projects around their sales, and getting as much I could at a time. Plus, they can match any Benjamin Moore color. Woot!

Whew. How's that for a novel?

Seriously, ya'll. I've learned so much doing this kitchen ourselves. I need to do about three more of these posts, and make it a series. But for now, I'll let you rest your eyes. 

I can't wait to show you the end result. We are so stinking close! Sneak peek of the laminate countertops is below (they deserve their own blog post, but know that I am IN LOVE). Now, if we can all just stay well long enough to finish the rest!

Hope you are having a great week, friends. It feels so good to be back in the saddle blogging again. I have so much to share with you in the coming weeks. So buckle up!

XOXO,

Alli

 

 

 

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