Home Renovations: Part 1 – Project Overview

Since moving into our new house in 2019, it has always been our plan to renovate the kitchen in this house. It was the worst room in the house. The last owners before us did some renovations, but it was clear that they skipped the kitchen to do other things in the house – quite possibly because they knew how big the job would be. I can’t say I blame them completely for that: after what we have been through just trying to find the right company to work with, it has been a very difficult process.

First, I will say right off that we got an excellent price for the house – the only house at the time in the neighborhood that went below market. It was certainly miraculous that we even got the house at all at just the right time. That being said, we knew it needed work when we bought it.

So, we went looking for contractors who would not only help us with designing a layout for the kitchen, but also do the general contracting work – a “design build” company. The first place we contacted was the best-known company and gave us an informal high-ball range that shocked us to no end. We found another company that we liked who also would create a whole house plan that could be implemented in phases, and we would own the design. We liked that.

We started planning with them. Then: COVID. Boom. Lockdowns, market crash, supply problems, and demand. And by demand, I mean that with everyone stuck at home looking at their boring walls, the entire country decided to do home remodels all at the same time.

We put our plans on hold.

Not only did we do that, but we did other projects in the meantime as well: master bedroom full remodel, including new floor and closet, new door and small deck removal; back yard cleanup; my office floor and repainting; new garage cabinets. All these took time and money away from our main goal of the kitchen.

A year later, we tried to pick up the pieces again only to find out how bad the situation was. We weren’t satisfied with the plan and tried to work with the designer to change it – and were less satisfied with the results. Then, their price went up higher than we had originally discussed all while the stock market had taken a dive – along with our main savings. So again, we waited. A few months later, we went to a storefront design company that helped us work through a wonderful plan. We like what we saw, and the designer was very helpful at getting everything in we wanted – except for the price which was WAY higher than the last company. We moved on again.

Finally, we remembered a local cabinet maker from the Seattle Home Expo back in 2019. We thought we’d check with them on the cabinets and see if they had suggestions on how to make it work. Of course, they did! They worked out a design along the lines of what we were happy with out of the last few attempts and then found a contractor who would help us with the build out and install – and all roughly within our original budget.

So, at the first part of the year, we signed on with them. Yes, it’s a year later now, but we had to work through several details: exact cabinet placement, accessories inside the cabinets, exact dimensions of the room (harder to nail down in an open space like our kitchen), and appliances (both new and old). Once the details were finalized, the cabinets were ordered, and demolition began.

First, I’d like to share the very nice photos from our house when it was originally listed for comparison:

A view into the kitchen

The original size of the kitchen – not using all available space. The new kitchen will remove the door and right-hand window and extend the counter a couple of feet past where the door is in this picture.

There will also be an island instead of this peninsula. The ovens will move to where the closet is on the left. The space in front of the peninsula will become the dining room and be smaller than it is in this picture since the kitchen will extend several more feet into that open area.

We have a camera in the room to take still shots for a stop-motion video of the whole remodel process. I’ve included some more photos below of the last picture before demolition of the main kitchen peninsula and one at the start of demo.

View from the video camera.

Just starting demolition.

A view to the side where we will have a new buffet area and what will be the new dining room.

I will have some more updates later. There is much going on and much to tell.