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Kitchen renovation part 2: The prep

Renovating a kitchen for the first time quickly proved to be no easy task. There are so many moving parts, and the stage between demo and actually being able to install different parts of the kitchen was really tedious, and at times, anxiety inducing. I had no idea this phase would take as long as it did!

After Matthew and I tore out the ceiling fixtures and paneling, we hired a few local trades we've worked with before to help us finish the rest of the bones of the kitchen.

In the meantime, I got to work on the fun part - designing! I started by taking measurements of each usable wall space in the kitchen, and picking out cabinets I liked.

The design

If I renovate a kitchen fully ever again, I would look into custom cabinets more than I did (more on this in part 3 of my kitchen blog post series). To be honest, I was looking for an easy option that would get our cabinets here fast and without much DIY, painting or building needed before install.

I chose Luxxe cabinets from Lowe's in the color blended cream. This was a semi-custom and in-stock option, which had me excited.

After browsing the online inventory and determining the function I wanted for each cabinet (we decided to forgo upper cabinets and install open shelves instead), I was able to put some rough designs together.

Since we kept the layout of the kitchen the same, this part wasn't too complicated. Our kitchen is essentially built on three walls, creating a "U" shape, with two corners.

Wall 1:

Having grown up with a lazy Susan in my mom's kitchen, I decided to give each corner of the kitchen one and build everything off of that. Luxxe had an option that was 33 inches wide, which allowed for 18 inches on either side of the range once centered on the right-side wall. To the left of my range, a lazy Susan (the 33-inch lazy Susan has a 9-inch door) and a skinny 9-inch cabinet. To the right, a stack of three drawers 18 inches wide. I love the symmetry without both sides being completely identical. Not to mention, drawers are so much more functional!

Wall 2:

To the left of the right-side lazy Susan is the sink base. I chose a base that is 36 inches wide and could accommodate a farmhouse sink (one of my must-haves) and centered right under our 36 inch wide window. Left of the sink is the dishwasher, then a 15-inch trash cabinet. Then, a set of 24-inch drawers, and finally to the left of those drawers, the second lazy Susan.

Wall 3:

I knew I wanted a pantry next to the fridge, and those pieces take up the remaining wall on the left side. The pantry is 18inches wide (next to the 33-inch wide left-side lazy Susan), and a 24-inch tall cabinet sits on top of our fridge.

Phew! As far as layout goes, there isn't really anything I'd change. I sometimes wish I had more counter space between the pantry and the wall window, but hey - most fridges are standard size, and all I could fit between it and the lazy Susan cabinet was the 18-inch pantry. Not to mention the window that only leaves us 10 inches between it's frame and the wall corner (essentially, it's not a deep-enough wall to add additional right-facing cabinetry even if I wanted to). Old homes, ya know! It is what it is, and it's made for a better kitchen that I've ever had before!

Other must-haves that were on my list: Our pot filler and open shelves (more on these in my next post!)

And, because our kitchen is a "U" shape, I knew I'd have just enough room for a small work-space island with two barstools for hosting.

The build

First things first, we needed to find a way to vent the range hood out of the house. The previous owners had a range vent installed above the stovetop, but it was recirculating with a filter and not actually pushing greasy steam out of a duct. I cook a lot, so having proper ventilation was important to me (it's also cleaner!). We had an HVAC contractor add duct work for a hood vent over the range first, for about $550. This included permitting and him hooking up the vent to the new ductwork after we installed the hood insert.

We did need to rewire the kitchen, which actually became a bigger project than anticipated (we needed to rewire much of the first floor of the house, something that was on our roadmap to do anyways, we just had to have it handled a little faster!)

After working with our HVAC guy, our electricians rewired our kitchen for $3,750 which included upgrading to Romex wiring for all to-code outlets, adding a 4-prong outlet for our modern range cord and permitting.

We used our go-to general contractor to help us outsource new drywall framing and install, and plumbing. His total cost to us was $6,200.

This included:

- Framing for the exterior wall and ceiling

- New drywall for the exterior wall and ceiling

- Sheet-rock and drywall for the rest of the room

- Adding a plumbing box in the wall for the fridge

- Bumping the plumbing out of the wall for the sink

- Adding plumbing for the new pot filler

- Installing all new plumbing fixtures

Adding the plumbing for the pot filler alone was $800 of that amount.

Keeping in mind the rough cost of $600 for our floors to be refinished, our cost for prepping the room for our kitchen install was $11,900.

If you are in the early stages of planning a kitchen reno in an older home, the good news is that most homes have been rewired since 1920, and likely have drywall that can be repaired or patched, versus needing a complete replacement!

Once this stage was complete, we were ready to install lighting, appliances, cabinets, and countertops.

Check out my final post in this series for the install and kitchen sources!

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