MMDH: Before & After Kitchen
So... this is a major post! It's one I started thinking about before I even had a blog. Our first floor renovation was something that I dreamt about documenting at some point, although in the depths of it, while I was working for my old firm nearly full time and living remotely with an infant and a toddler... documentation of our renovation did not feel like a priority... LOL. Luckily, I took at least one photo from the same vantage point every time we visited the house, just to see how progress moved forward between check-ins.
I've already shared the before and after renovation details of the family room and porch that are adjacent to our Kitchen, here and here. I was waiting patiently until this post to share construction photos, as there was so much to take in during this thirteen week first floor gut renovation. Here are a few before shots of the kitchen splendor we were working with when we moved in:
I mean, the wallpaper, the ceiling fan, the wood grain laminate, the valance above the sink... SO MUCH! There were a few keepers for the time being, like the white appliances, hardwood floors... and... I guess that was about it. We knew the walls would eventually come down in their entirety, so the cabinets would need to be painted to get us by and not feel like we were living in a time warp.
We were living in my very supportive sister and brother in law's basement for two months before we found and closed on this house, so what was another month under their roof in order to get a few projects done in this place before we moved in?! [They actually do still talk to us, AND they let us move back in with them WITH our two kiddos when we decided to gut what felt like everything!]
Our initial refresh of the house included finishes only... no construction necessary to make the house livable and somewhat updated feeling. We started removing wallpaper with our loving family members the weekend following our closing. We had painters and floor refinishers scheduled to come in before we moved in. Every square inch of the interior was painted, including the cabinets. We kept all cabinet hardware, wood trimmed laminate counters and even the ceiling fan... LOL... it was a MONSTER in this space.
We lived in the house with these initial updates for almost 4 years and two kiddos... I never actually took completion photos after that round of updates, as I knew there were more to come! When Maizie was about 6-months old, we decided to start investigating the cost of our dream renovation. We started budget spreadsheets and talking to contractors, thinking that this was still a bit of a pie in the sky project. As we got further into the budget, we were starting to get attached to the new layout and benefits of having an open-plan first floor with little kids. A month or so of budgeting went by and we decided to bite the bullet and make it happen. We moved into my sister and BIL's basement with the kids, and didn't look back for 13 solid weeks!
The moral of this long story is now what I tell my clients before kick-starting any renovation project: as excited as you are to start demo, the luster fades a bit as you are living in or visiting a project over the course of a 10-12 week construction lead time. Time feels like it stands still at moments; anxiety kicks in when rooms within your house hit an uninhabitable state; you ALWAYS start with a contingency of funds that will cover any unforeseen conditions or alternates that turn into higher priorities as you get deeper into the project; and you will 100% think it was ALL worth it in the end.
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