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Things I regret about our kitchen renovation

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If you think we’re done talking about our home renovations, you’re wrong! Mahahahaha. We have a lot to cover! Last year I made the mock choice (lol) to participate in a 3 month home renovation campaign, which consisted of designing our kitchen, Jasper’s room, the small outdoor kitchen downstairs, the stairs, and the exterior of the house. It was all for an episode of a home renovation TV show that I shared here , here , here , here and more, and it turns out I have some regrets – surprise! Who would have thought I didn’t make the best choices at a very stressful time?!

A little about the show

A number of the design choices were made under heavy pressure due to budget and time and I wanted to share some information about what I would have done differently and what my current plans are for the spaces we did. I knew I had a very short time frame to not only come up with the concept, but order materials, find people to help, install it, design it and have it camera ready. Utah had (is?) a construction shortage, where finding workers and supplies within a reasonable time frame was difficult and lengthy. Contrary to what some may think, we are not given a budget for renovations or labor – the homeowner is responsible for everything.

Our original renovation plan

Before agreeing to make the offer, our plan was to take things slowly. There was nothing in the house when we bought it (see here), but we quickly added very first phase materials/furnishings so that it was livable with the goal of being able to figure out what we really wanted and what would work best for our family. Not to mention, taking it slowly means spreading our budget out over time, which is crucial to us.

Agreeing to do the show changed that plan. Now, I had to act fast. My regular work was postponed for about 7 months so that I could focus exclusively on the show. I say “focus on presentation” rather than “focus on home renovations” because those two things are a little different. Suddenly, our team was project managing a home renovation, photography, hair/makeup, wardrobe, and set design, on top of the normal workload of fabric shooting, wallpaper shooting, craft projects and more.

With all that in mind, you might better understand where my mind was at the time (hint: like a headless chicken) and today I’m going to talk about the kitchen. I knew that in order to provide nice “after” costs, I needed to work with sponsors to provide some larger items. I immediately began reaching out to sponsors for appliances, cabinetry and decor. These types of things usually take months and months to work out. We didn’t have that, and fortunately the appeal of doing a TV show and the potential for features were attractive enough for companies to quickly say yes. Thank you for trusting me! I’ve been working with sponsors on the blog for over a decade, and fortunately I already had great relationships with many companies or knew where I could go to make it happen.

Cabinets

First, the tanks. In my dreams, we had created truly custom cabinets with fun details and colors unlike anything you’d ever seen before. I didn’t have that budget or time for it, maybe I will one day, but not for a long time, so I was thrilled to be able to work with Cliq Studios again, whose cabinets are absolutely solid and time-tested. We love them! Of course, I wish there were more options in colors because you know I love a colorful cabinet. Understandably, cabinet companies tend to reserve their options for the safe few: white, grey, black and blue were no exception. I’m still waiting for a company to develop colored cabinets or at least provide more unfinished options so you can easily customize them.

Backsplash regrets

I chose the cream option for the cabinets thinking I could bring color elsewhere—tile, wallpaper, and fabrics. As you may remember from this post, my original idea was to make a really cool floral tile, but I couldn’t find anything that would work. I even tried a custom option that would have cost more than my car, but it didn’t work.

Then I found antique tiles from Portugal that I loved! Again, it would have cost more than my first baby, and would have taken months to come, so that idea was dropped as well. I mentioned how we then took a photo of the tiles and turned them into wallpaper. Spoonflower provided us with the wallpaper in its glossy option so any dirt from the mess wipes off easily. To be honest, it works great! However, I don’t like the design with the counters that we chose from the beginning.

Countertop regrets

When we first had our first kitchen plan, we used a countertop that I thought would be great, Calacatta Viola – it’s sexy and expensive at the same time. As plans changed several times, the calacatta viola was no longer my first choice and in the end, I don’t think it was the best choice for what we were after, but we had to order it straight away. It has also been installed incorrectly several times (gah!) and the corners have been permanently damaged and patched several times, which also bothers me because with something so rare and precious, you hope it’s done flawlessly.

With these issues in mind, my plan now is to find actual tiles to replace with the wallpaper design. Since the worktops are brown/purple/reddish in color, they should match it. I work with Fire tiles Get the tiles that will do the job. I have something fun in mind and I’m still working on the details. I have a tendency to exaggerate good things, so I want to make sure they’re just right.

Devices

Moving on to the appliances, we chose a really classic oven with a black Ilve hob. They had so many great color options and part of me is bummed that I didn’t get a colorful one, but it took some time to come up with an overall concept that worked with a colored stove and without seeing samples, I couldn’t take that risk.

Capture

The hood was given to us by Hodsley, who makes custom hoods. We got ours unfinished and painted it to match the cabinets. I love the look but would love to do something a little more dramatic with it. My plan is to either add antique brass or something that will add more of a focal point to the wall. I’m pretty sure it will require removing it from the wall (even though the installer said when installing it would never move again ;).

refrigerator

Now the refrigerator. We found a deal on a plate-ready fridge from Fisher and PaykelI will be forever grateful to Meta Coleman for giving me the idea for the refrigerator-like cabinet. I still love the concept! I will also be forever grateful to Pat for taking on this task. She nailed it! Kari from our team painted it quickly and did a beautiful job. Right now, I’m still working on deciding what tile colors I’ll be installing, so the refrigerator may or may not stay the same. I’ll definitely keep it in shape, but I might try to make it look more like a Scandinavian wedding dresser. I think it would be beautiful!

antique tiles

Finally, I collected some beautiful antique Delft tiles that I found in Denmark when I returned to visit, and I now have sixteen of them. I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate that into the design, but I’m still trying to figure it out. Any tips are welcome!

I would also like to do some sort of roof treatment whether that be beams or trim work. I’m pretty sure this will have to be done before the tanks, so I don’t know if it will happen anytime soon.

Things I don’t regret: This amazing kitchen island/worktable from Beck and Cap. They fit the space well, are very useful and add great storage! Another thing I don’t regret is that I didn’t install the hardware on the cabinets because I didn’t know what the end result would be and I’m really glad I didn’t do it yet because that’s what I knew I couldn’t mess with. But I also know that it will make a huge difference once it’s installed. I know we all want some impact on those doors!

Pick and drop table made of pine wood

As you can tell, I still don’t have a full understanding of what I’m going to do, and a large part of that is because I don’t have any firm deadlines – ha! So, I guess the one thing I’m grateful for is that the show helped me make big decisions quickly. However, I experienced so much decision fatigue in a short period of time that I still seem to be recovering 😉 So, I guess this kitchen renovation is not done yet. We’ll call it Phase 2.5.

I hope to have more to share with you soon! Let me know your thoughts – I’d love to hear them!

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