Who’s ready for a Kitchen remodel blog post?

Many of you know, as a first-time home buyer selecting your home, (almost) everything needs to feel perfect, the curb appeal, neighborhood, the master bedroom size, your closet, the outdoor space—but in my case that kitchen did NOT cut it.

Steve and I waited until 1 year after owning our home to gather the right plans, data, specs and funds to start on our kitchen project.


Roll those

Vision pictures please

from my Pinterest… throw me a follow



Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.05.54 PM


Of course, curiosity of our SpaceCrafters

Kitchen before on hawthorne before 2 before


I mean, we like bowling alleys, but this was a bit too extreme. I still remember when the real estate agent showing me the home said, “Well these look new, they look gray from afar and are kind of neutral”.


A good friend, had told me before buying the home, do not start one room without having another room be fully finished.

We were prepared to not use our kitchen for 4-6 weeks, OK maybe even 2 full months (we don’t have any pets or kids, so going out to eat is our thing).
So we gave ourselves 1 year after our closing to prepare, save and plan. Then when October 2015 came around …on the 19th the wall came down, literally. 


I wasn’t aware of the exact #demoday until I walked in from work early to this.


IMG_6724 IMG_6725

excited little girl

Clearly I had been waiting to take that wall down for a long time!



It was clear to us early on, we would not be doing everything ourselves. We did try to learn from Home Depot, Menards, tradeshow booths (too many of those) and it came to picking out materials and designs ourselves, then let the experts install, wire, place etc. I mean come on, we are a Millennial couple both with full-time jobs, volunteer in our community and have our share of good friends.

Our plan was to do nothing to the kitchen ceilings though, to AVOID adding an additional layer of cost. That eliminated some of my projects that dealt with lighting and beams, however we did make some incredible alterations to save.

So we are started testing out counter sizes.

Kitchen Goals:

  • MORE counter-space
  • MORE storage, particularly getting the pots and pans OUT of the plastic round-about in the corner
  • BAR / entertaining space with at least 2 person seating




For countertops and the sink we used Bob’s Wood Specialities in Burnsville, after bidding out over 5 different big and small companies. Bob’s is a locally-owned company and the Son ended up coming by to help measure the first time.


We used a LOT of blue tape to create the custom island this MN Design Gal had in her head and Bob’s had to make it come to life through their work.



The cabinets themselves were ordered during the 11% Menards sale. Most cabinet brands have every few months a sale of 10-15% off. If you aren’t in a hurry, shop and wait.

Reminder if you want those soft closing slider drawers and garbage pull-outs, they are CUSTOM CABINETS.
You can buy inserts for in-stock cabinets that could work OK, but we wanted this to be seamless and work well for our everyday use. REMINDER to allow 4-6 weeks for cabinets to come in. So once that wall came down, we had to order quickly to keep up with our 2 month timeline…

RANDOM ADDITION TO THE KITCHEN PROJECT—this appeared to be something we wanted to fix after thinking of the potential elevating the use and appeal of the storage area. It also is the 1st thing you see when walking in the house from our garage.

before cabinet area

With a few measurements, and having to let the custom wine shelving go bye-bye…we decided to purchase the Menards’ cabinets for that area as well.


Be aware, cabinets come in huge boxes!

I guess fun for Kids later—we just had them flat in our garage for well, weeks!



Pardon the mess.

Did I mention that all items need to be removed from the lower cabinets when you have countertops done?

IMG_7167 IMG_7164

A little bit of configuring happening here.


With countertops planning, they will come to measure (after your cabinets are mounted properly to the floor.)

IMG_7389 IMG_7388

In your Kitchen remodel, did you check your dishwasher and how that is mounted between the floor and countertops?

In our case, our 1992 dishwasher had the original flooring underneath, so it wasn’t the same level as the kitchen floor which is marble. So meanwhile, the dishwasher quoted-out—so we bought new and raised the dishwasher so it could be pulled out in the future for repairs and friendly new owners of our home in 2021. 😉


Notice above, the existing cabinets has filler wood, that we painted white later.

TIP: paint the filler wood BEFORE installing the countertops.

Filler wood (or just filler) is there so there isn’t a gap between the NEW and OLD cabinets. Seamless transition countertops.


To the left, the final design of the custom eat-in bar with more storage underneath provided by Bob’s.

Did you notice in our Kitchen we have 2 large windows behind the sit-in area?
That is why it was tricky from the start.


Meanwhile, remember the additional storage project? Steve had the brilliant idea to cut the wall to have an easier transition from the garage to the kitchen. It opened it up again about 20% and was worth the $400 investment.



IMG_7752Steve did agree to put the Menards’ very trendy Leather color tile up (bought them with the 11% fill your bag sale folks)—the day before we were having a Kitchen-Warming-Party (so serious) Just so you know, he had 3 weeks folks to start and finish and instead decided to wait until the day before. #TrueStory

He did pick the peel and stick, but they do not warn you, that you need the proper tools to CUT the glass.

Just think about that one for a minute.


Notice the working glasses! Great job babe! 
IMG_7935Did Steve get the backsplash done in time for the party?

What did the Kitchen project look like in the end?

Did the couple regret using any of their materials or vendors?

Stay tuned for Part II to the Kitchen Blog Post.

Got to run and take my Real Estate Exam test. (For real wish me luck folks).  

Always thinking,
Tricia Jo