The Kitchen Conundrum

Probably No Room For An Island

Back in 2010 when we bought this house, we didn’t think too much of a galley kitchen.  Yes it was small and wasn’t exactly our ideal layout, but we figured since there was only two of us, how bad could it be?  The existing kitchen had nice, white cabinets and granite countertops.  Sure the appliances were dated, but they were functional.  Plus, we had grandiose plans to knock down walls and open up the floor plan, so we knew the kitchen layout would just be temporary.  I’m literally laughing as I write this.  Oh how wrong we were.

Fast forward to several years later.  We now have two resident dogs and many times a third.  We’ve had numerous parties and get togethers with friends.  Additionally, we’ve started fostering children.  All of a sudden that galley kitchen has become a nuisance.  The dogs have realized that the kitchen is where the food is at, so anytime we go to cook a meal, they are there at our feet.  When we have people over, everyone wants to congregate around the food, but once you have more than three or four people in the kitchen, it gets hot and crowded.  The foster children don’t care about being in the kitchen, but when we are in there, we can’t keep an eye on the kids in the living room.  A crossroads had been reached and we finally decided to start looking into ways to make our kitchen more functional.

A Realistic Home Makeover

Like I stated previously, our idea was to open up the floor plan on the first floor.  The kitchen, dining room, and living room all flow well into each other, but they are separated by narrow door frames.  Based on the placement of the kitchen, we knew we wouldn’t get a perfect flow, but we could open up some walls and get something more suitable to our lifestyle.  We booked an appointment with a contractor and hoped for the best.  What we quickly figured out, was not exactly great.  Every wall we wanted to break into was load bearing.  Every wall.  It was worst case scenario.  We could spend an outrageous amount of money renovating and opening up the floor plan and it still wouldn’t be our perfect layout.  After sitting on that idea for months we finally decided that it wasn’t worth it.  After all the money we would have to invest and all the renovations we would have to do, we made the decision to cut our losses.  We would do much smaller renovations that were functional, but would also allow us to sell the house in the near future.  It wasn’t an easy decision, but after ten years, things changed and we needed something different.

Take special note of the horrid lighting and dated vinyl blinds

Once we decided to do a more reasonable kitchen remodel, we reached back out to our original contractor.  We waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We heard nothing back, after multiple attempts.  Apparently being ghosted by contractors isn’t unheard of, so we asked around and found another contractor we liked.  He came out to our house, ran through everything and said he’d get right back to us.  We waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We called and emailed several times and got promises of an estimate “soon.”  It never came.  After much frustration we decided to reach out to yet another company recommended by a neighbor on the NextDoor app.  To our shock, we got an immediate response.  We completed another walk through and held our breath.  Shockingly, we actually got a quote back.  After being ignored several times, we just jumped on the opportunity to hire someone with a good reputation.  It did take a few months to actually get on the construction schedule (thank you COVID!) but we had an official start date in early January 2021.  Hallelujah.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

The plan was to leave the cabinets, countertops, and backsplash in place.  The dishwasher had recently been installed, so that would stay too.  Everything else was going.

One layer of floor and wall tile gone!

We thought there was hardwood flooring underneath all the tile.  Unfortunately, it was just sub-floor.

The wall tile, lights, appliances, and floor would all be replaced.  A pantry would be installed, a new bar ledge would go in, and new pendant lights would be hung.  We picked out light fixtures, tile, and appliances.  Again, thanks to COVID, construction materials were in short supply.  Appliances were particularly hard to find.  Thankfully, we were able to find everything we needed, even with a limited selection.

Before Microwave and Range

After Microwave and Range






















All we could think about during the demo and much of the reconstruction was the movie The Money Pit.  If you aren’t  familiar, it’s kind of a cheesy 80’s movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in which they spend an unexpected large amount of money on unforeseen repairs to their fixer up mansion. Our expectations were, that similarly to not being able to widen door ways or remove walls, that something would come up at any minute that would require either more money or a drastic change in plans. Thankfully, neither happened. In fact, the worst accident to occur during the construction was our fault. We had forgotten that the contractors had disconnected the garbage disposal and while doing the dishes one evening realized we were standing in a pool of dirty dish water! It was an easy cleanup and looking back, if that was the worst to happen to us, we’d take it.

Old fridge

New fridge













No pantry? No problem! Except it was a problem since we had very little storage space.

It’s true adulthood when you’re so excited about a pantry!





































We are extremely pleased with the final product. So much so, that we hired the same gentlemen to do our master bathroom remodel, but that’s whole different story. It’s been a couple of months since the completion of the kitchen remodel and we were finally able to show it off to some of our vaccinated friends this past weekend. The feedback we received confirmed that we had made the right decision months ago to cut our losses and go forward with the smaller projects…..that doesn’t involve load bearing walls!

Our favorite modifications are the new lights and butcher block

This article has 1 comments

  1. Katherine Reply

    Would still love to see this in person. What a journey you all were on!!

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