After I put a big hole in our wall to kick off our kitchen renovation, a few comments came in with a common theme...

"You are doing what over the holidays?  Are you nuts?"

Then there was me in all of my naive glory...

"Nah... we are going to take it easy.  We don't want to rush things.  We hope to take our time and all will be fabulous!  Plus, we don't have any plans to host, so really, it's no big deal...."

So the hole may have been a bit pre-mature and ambitious.  But there are no words for the excitement I felt taking that first swing and kicking off a project we have been talking about for years!

After the kitchen renovation initiation happened, the fam was hit with a horrible head cold and stomach bug; one after another we dropped into puddles on the couch.   That was almost an entire week set-back I didn't plan for.  Then, I realized that I was the last blogger in all the land without a Christmas tree or any decor.  So last weekend once we were all finally feeling better, we took our annual trip to the tree farm to select our tree and spent the day spreading holiday cheer.  The following day was spent emptying out and packing up every last cabinet in the kitchen.  So now I have boxes of kitchen stuff everywhere, bins of Christmas stuff everywhere, a tree in the garage and only a few weeks in and I finally "get it".  Add in the desire to get some new products released in my shop before January, I may have bit off more than I can chew.  Why do I do that?!  Darn over-achiever wanna be.  My husband always says, "Multi-taskers are only doing multiple things halfway right."  He may be on to something.

Anyway, I am trying to get some furniture re-arranged today so we can focus on decorating for Christmas (nothing big this year, but still something special for the kiddos).  However, I thought I would take a break to sit down and share our plans for the kitchen renovation ahead.

One of the 2,954,653 reasons I heart this blog, is because I was able to go back and re-read my first kitchen planning post from almost two years ago now.  The post outlined our wishlist items, and what I love most is that we still have many of the same ideas on that big wishlist today.  Knowing this is not an investment we want to mess up or regret, I am happy that we are going into this with a confident plan and sense of where we want to end up.  And as much as I would have loved to put a hole in the wall two years ago, I am glad we have been letting the anticipation build and that we have allowed our hearts settle on something we agree on.  Plus, it feels great to have the majority of the house in order before starting something so big, so that is a win as well!

Aside from the fact that our cabinets are not a color we love and our counters are about 13 years old but 20 years dated, the biggest reason behind the renovation is to open things up!  There is this crazy tall wall between our kitchen and our living room, and it has really become such a burden in day to day life.

With three growing boys and two large dogs, our kitchen area always feels cluttered, closed in and overwhelming.  If we have guests over for parties, there is a division between our living room and kitchen/dining area, so everyone congregates in one space or the other, but rarely both. 

With the wall up - each space is approximately 11 1/2" feet wide. 

Working with long and narrow rooms has posed some layout challenges as well.

Here is a look at the main area layout currently:

Once the wall comes a tumblin' down, we will be left with a layout like this:

Pretty amazing difference right?  I think so!

The biggest concern was losing the storage on the wall we are removing.  Here are a few ways we will ensure we are not losing any storage, in fact, we plan to gain with this update!
  • We wrote down everything we currently store in each cabinet and drawer in our kitchen, and came up with a new plan for each category.  
  • The new cabinets will be taller and make the most of our ceiling height.  Right now the cabinets are standard height, and we plan on installing cabinets that are 39" tall.
  • By removing the peninsula that currently jets out into our kitchen, we can relocate our dishwasher near our sink and extend the storage on the long wall.  A floor to ceiling pantry cabinet will be installed, and items will be easier to access in comparison to our current pantry situation.
  • The cabinets we are installing in the kitchen corner will make better use of the given space.
  • Although the island has not been designed, we are hoping to add in special storage solutions for our baking dishes and spices.
  • Where our beautiful hutch once lived, we will install six feet of lower and upper cabinets, as well as a serving counter for hosting dinners and parties.

Although I still haven't 100% landed on colors and finishes for every last item in the space, I do know that I would like white cabinets for the outer perimeter of the kitchen.  I am sure some of you are hanging your heads in disappointment, but I need to select something that I can live with for many, many more years to come.  I can't do colorful cabinets to be trendy or different, only to dislike them three years from now.  That doesn't mean that there won't be color and that everything will be predictable, but the main cabinets, white.

In fact, the cabinets have already been purchased and majority of them are sitting in boxes in our garage.  Based on reviews, feedback and the great 20% off sale, we opted to do an IKEA kitchen for the main cabinets.  Hello, soft close happiness!  However, we really want our island to be a piece of pretty furniture with maximum storage potential, so we plan to do something more custom with that.

The process of purchasing the cabinets was a bit of a headache.  As much as we love IKEA, the experience was typical.  Although we had already gone in weeks earlier and created a plan, the day we went in to finalize things and purchase the cabinets, ended up taking over five hours!  First, one of the items was newly discounted, so we no longer hit the 20% off discount threshold.  Once we found an alternative solution and were finally set to go, at the last minute we were told that our dishwasher to go with the cover panel had been discontinued and there was no possible way to purchase it any longer.  Back under the threshold we went, and we had to revisit our plans once more.  Of course, I know that all of this was a blessing in disguise because in the end, we ended up with a better design and added in some things we didn't think of round 1 (or round 2), but in the moment it was a tiring process.

Again, the colors are not decided, my walls most likely will not be navy, but here is the IKEA kitchen plan in all of its glory.

As I mentioned, there will also be an island filling in that empty space, however, because we did not purchase it from IKEA, it is not shown above.

I opted against any open shelving, and selected a few cabinets with glass doors instead.  As much as I love the look, I just can't imagine the dust that must accumulate over time.  We haven't landed on backsplash, hardware or fixtures, but the image above gives a pretty good idea of the layout and the design.  That pull out cabinet next to the fridge?  That is for our garbage and recycling.  Little things like that make my organizing heart race.  Other items I am most excited about are the framed in fridge (which will not have the large gap as shown) and the tall pantry!  We also plan on adding our own crown moulding to customize things a bit more.

In the dining room, more glass cabinets above and concealed cabinets and drawers below.

We have a few ideas up our sleeves for customizing the kitchen to feel less IKEA and more us, but I think we have a bit of time ahead of us before that can happen.

As we emptied our kitchen, we selected key items to keep out and boxed up the rest to store away during the renovation.  I also purged about 6 boxes worth of items that will either be donated or placed in a garage sale in the spring.  I joked with my husband that I must be really good at organizing, because I could not believe how much we were storing in such a limited amount of space.  But more on the packing process in a future post.  It wasn't as quick as I thought it would be, but hopefully we have a good plan in place to protect our sanity over the next few months.

I know that there are probably many more items you are wondering about, so feel free to ask below.  I will also be sharing plenty more posts in regards to selecting finishes, counters, tile, hardware, lighting, etc... Along with the kitchen update, we would also love to tweak things in our living room and still play with a ceiling treatment as well.  With all we are biting off on our own (we are planning on doing as much as possible ourselves while hiring out things like electrical, plumbing and hvac), we have decided not to rush the process or put stressful deadlines on anything.  Although, I am not sure how long I can grin through the chaos ahead.  I may need a few juggling tips from my favorite circus clown.

With our building permit in hand, we hope to finish tearing out the rest of the kitchen after our home is smiling with Christmas decorations.  Speaking of, I am off to make snowflakes with the boys.

Any tips you have for surviving a massive renovation are welcome!   Thank you my sweet pals!