Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Five Unconventional Tips from my Kitchen Remodeling Experience

During this past Spring, I embarked on the epic journey of talking, walking, and sleeping remodeling, of waking up in the middle of the night with cabinetry cold sweats, and of becoming hyper-vigilant of trim and back-splash selections at local restaurants.

We're all taught the basics of kitchen remodeling - "Hire someone you trust." "Work within your budget." "Don't take the first quote." But what else could one learn from past experiences? From this endeavor, I picked up five unconventional nuggets of information that I'm hoping people may find useful during their remodeling process.

Tip 1. Relocate your shit purposefully. And neatly
I cannot emphasize this enough, especially if you're living in a one-bedroom condo. I can tell you from experience that having a bedroom, a closet, a side closet, and the floor absolutely littered with kitchen and bar articles gets old very, very quickly.  You forget that you're actually going to need to get to your clothing. Half of my room was nicely packed and orderly, the other half...terrible. And as a result, I found myself tripping over my wok handle on a daily basis.

A messy room just breaks the flow of your general well-being. Life will feel chaotic. Retreating into your bedroom won't provide you with any solace if it looks like a set from Hoarders. I had trouble sleeping admist the chaos.

So channel your 7th grade Tetris skills, steal computer boxes from work, and take time to carefully relocate your kitchen. With purpose. 

Tip 2. Used technology to your advantage
Compare two different ideas: Mood boards and color palettes are mainstays for a seasoned interior decorator. Swatches of fabric, strokes of paint, and samples of material are carefully constructed to provide holistic glimpses of the future. However, in the words of our friend Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that." (Jump to the 0:30 mark to hear the original quote and 0:52 for the sweet sweet remix).

Therefore, do something that every kid with an Instagram account is doing right now. Download Diptic, take photos with your phone, and use this handy app as a replacement to the hot glue gun burns, the embarrassing trip to Michael's, and an evening lost to making interior decorator-quality color swatches.
This Diptic was pretty aggressive. The granite hadn't come yet and the floor wasn't in, but I impatiently wanted to test color samples
Get fancy with Microsoft Paint to convey ideas:
Pictures are better than words. Enough said.

Tip 3. Take Pictures...lots of them
I took pictures throughout the whole kitchen process. Pictures for memories. Pictures to show friends. Pictures because well, pictures. But lots of pictures means that if you need to revisit a possible issue you may have unwittingly and accidentally documented your issue during your paparazzi frenzy.

We used a series of pictures similar to this one in order to "remember" where we placed the electrical junction boxes

Tip 4. Ask for opinions but trust your gut
Definitely ask for opinions; however, make sure you ask a follow-up question to their response. Ask why they answered the way they did. 

I couldn't decide on the granite for my kitchen. And knowing me, if I have trouble deciding on a small purchases, I'd be screwed with the granite selection. You can't fuck up granite. You can't say that you want to return hundreds of dollars of heavy rock. It's a gigantic piece of stone. Once it's in, it's in. (No pressure)

I posted the above photo on Facebook and these were the responses that I received: 

  • "Left reminds me of Swedish west coast. Red granite."
  •  "Left might pick up tone in floor"
  •  "Right is more manly.....are u....manly?/ So the question is, do you want your granite to say "oops I missed a spill", OR.... "Welcome to my kingdom, I have sex here....a lot".
  •  "Manly schmanly - the darker it is the harder to clean."
Even though I'm may be missing out on the whole sex-kingdom thing, I took some of my friends' advice, used Diptic, and chose the lighter color. 

HOWEVER, think hard about buying that easy-to-clean, ceramic counter top stove. Even though it's been a few months since the remodeling, I'm still bitter about my decision here. Everyone said "it'll be so much easier to clean" however, I didn't ask myself a critical question. "Will this decision kill my cooking style?"

I should've gone with my gut (I could careless about how easy something is to clean!)

For me, the cast-iron skillet was the mainstay of the kitchen. Besides moonlighting as body armor, my cast-iron skillet made the greatest steaks ever. And now...after the range had been ordered......and installed.....I read the warning pamphlet: there anything that you can actually cook on this?

Tip 5. Immerse yourself for easier decision making
House Porn. Really. really is house porn. Download the app. Visit the website. Stare at thousands of photos. Favorite some. Make Ideabooks. Stare at more photos. Eventually, you'll find yourself subscribed to their newsletter, idealizing designer photos, and holding up the iPhone app to compare cabinetry pulls at Home Depot. But don't fret at your temporary domestication, you've rifled through what feels like 10,000 photos, so snap decisions should become second nature.

For example, my contractor called me one morning at 7:30 AM to ask me what kind of grout I wanted for my tile backsplash. (At 7:30 AM I can't even find the "on" button to the coffee maker).  Actual decisions?!? Fuck...

In my groggy state, I blurted something along the lines of:

" really would be....grbsh bashws....contrasty?..zzzz..lets do gray?"

That decision ended up hitting the mark and I can only think that my snap judgement and instinctual response was based on the hundreds of photos I had seen on Houzz.


If you have any other remodeling questions, definitely let me know. I posted a few photos below. 


  1. Thanks a lot for the tips. It surely is helpful to immerse yourself with designs that can be found on blogs and magazines because it will widen you imagination as to the type of design that you really want. :)

  2. It is truly a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Deck Builder in Birmingham Al

  3. There was a lot to learn from your kitchen remodeling experience. I always support the point that we should hire professionals for our home renovation as it brings better results.

  4. Getting rid of a bedroom or bathroom or decreasing the living square footage.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It's Nice to know your experience!! Remodeling is a very tedious job. We have to invest our money very carefully, but shouldn't compromise with the quality of material. Good quality material will give the long life to our kitchen and reduces the maintenance expense. Kitchen countertop is the busiest place of our kitchen so the stone must be robust and durable. Granite is the best option for the kitchen countertop. It is the widely used material in home construction because of its unique qualities.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.