Kitchen Renovation 2015

The kitchen when we bought the house.
Our kitchen has bothered me since the day we bought the house. It came with nice, new IKEA cabinets in a warm brown and granite countertops, but it was severely lacking in storage. And it was dark.

As soon as we moved in, we added more cabinets, but the place was still inefficient and dark.

When Steve and I talked about our retirement finances, we decided that we would spend some of our savings on a kitchen renovation, when he was available to do most of the labour. (It is absolutely wonderful being married to a man who knows how to do carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work!) Follow along as we turn the raw material into a dream kitchen.

1. Fear of Commitment

We're about to take on a big project, but I'm feeling really ambivalent about saying the word, "Go!"

2. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Today, after two false starts, we finally made it to Lee Valley Tools and IKEA to purchase some of the fixtures and all of the cabinets for kitchen renovation.

3. Kitchen Renovation, Phase I

Because this corner of the kitchen contains neither appliances nor water hook-ups, it is the logical place to start our renovation, as it will (conceivably, we hope) cause the least disruption.

4. Slow and Steady

Project managers love to trot out the "time-cost-quality" saying: You may choose to minimize only two in any project. If you want to improve the quality, you're going to have to increase time or cost or both. And if you want to reduce time, you're going to have to increase the cost.

5. Corners and Counters

At first glance, it doesn't look like much has happened since last week, but it has.

First of all, the fridge now has running water and, luckily for us, a small part of the water line broke while it was being moved. Ordinarily that would be bad news, but in this case, it turned out that the joint was calcified. Once it was replaced (an inexpensive repair), our water pressure was better than ever.

6. Kitchen Update: Changes, Counters, Backsplash, Budget, and Timeline

Every time I have started this update, I've been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of this project and what has been happening with it. Not a day goes by but we have to make changes, redo work that we'd thought was finished or reevaluate priorities and budget.

In other words, it's just like every other project on the planet: no matter how much you plan ahead (and we really thought we had it covered), there will be surprises.

7. Rude Awakening

Tonight, as I prepared dinner, I actually giggled, I am so incredibly happy with the workflow in the room, how much counter space I can spread out in, and how conveniently all the cooking tools are grouped. Oh, and how bright the room is, now that most of the lighting is installed.

8. It's what's on the inside that counts.

A pretty kitchen is a wonderful thing, but if it is poorly organized, then its beauty really only runs skin deep. With our renovation, we really put a lot of emphasis on the organization behind of all our stuff -- the insides, as it were. So today, let's take a peek behind the doors and inside the drawers, to see what's lurking.

9. Counter Revolution

I was actually a little nervous about installing a lighter-coloured granite when we have dark cabinets, but I needn't have been. They are in, and they are gorgeous.

My final selection of the "vanilla cream" granite was based on how well it went with the ceramic tile floor. Candice Olsen, a Canadian designer whose work I absolutely adore, once mentioned that when she designs kitchens she always makes the counters match the flooring.

10. Colour me happy!

We have, at long last, painted the kitchen!

The last time I wrote about our kitchen renovation, I prophetically wrote, "We have arrived at the stage in this project where it is easy to run out of steam. The space is functional and attractive. But there is still a long list of things to be done. Not least of them is the backsplash. Every time the water splashes onto the counter, I wince."

11. Tuesday Coffee Chat: DIY (Backsplash Installation)

Many of you may justifiably be wondering why I haven't posted about our fabulous new backsplash, especially given that I posted some sneak previews on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

Here's why: as do-it-yourselfers we've encountered some snafus that would be completely preventable if we were professionals.

12. The Big Reveal

Done. The kitchen is done. Done like dinner -- never was that phrase more appropriately used, I think. Let me show you the glory that is now my kitchen.


  1. That sounds like a very determined gameplan. It's really best and wisest to plot those out with the kind of rigorousness you have displayed. That should serve you well in the long term, as you'll be able to spot the potentially problematic areas this early, enough to craft a back-up plan. Just watch out for potential plumbing complications, so that you'll know what to get and prevent. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

  2. They leave you lots of 'spaces', but only a few to move around and work with. The one they left for the fridge is just a joke. These are in your hands now, and it's awesome that you are seizing this opportunity. Great work noting all the flaws in the present kitchen before you go, and it's pretty cool that you fought it out. I mean, look at the results!

    Homer Collins @ Pinnacle Renovations


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