Kitchen Reader Reno

KITCHEN UPDATE + READER RENO

reader reno kitchen

We know, we’re long overdue for a kitchen “reinstall” update. Well, the kitchen is still “in limbo” so to speak. We’re sure some of you are wondering what in the world is taking us so long. Rest assured, we ask ourselves that same question pretty much everyday. I guess what it comes down to is with this being our first house, we’re just being super slow to make such a huge decision. We’re wanting to make sure it’s the right one and we’re going to be happy with is forty years down the road. Okay, maybe not forty, but you get what I mean.

From time to time, we have a slight glimmer of “maybe we should have kept the old cabinets…?”. But that thought goes right out the window when we think about making all of the “demo mess” now rather than before we moved in. On top of the dust and overall mess of ripping out the cabinets, there was also the flooring… remember, the kitchen used to be tile. We also closed in a window to make a new space for the fridge and ultimately make the layout much moreΒ convenient (more about the future layout here).Β Aaaaaand, if that wasn’t enough, when we ripped out the kitchen cabinets, we found at least two gallons of loose pieces of dog food under the “sealed” cabinets. Who knows how long that could have been there or what that could end up attracting. We wouldn’t have known it was there if we didn’t take out the cabinets.Β So, yeah. When we think about all that, all of the “maybe we should have” thoughts go bye-bye. No regrets here.

Living in our temporary kitchen has become second nature to us (read more about our current set up here). We’ve learned to use an electric skillet to cook just about anything (even boiled eggs!), storing dishes in moving boxes and super low “countertops” (aka folding tables) are the norm, and we don’t mind grilling out a lot. Come to think of it, we’d probably be grilling a lot even if we had a full kitchen. And the addition of the new refrigerator has been a major improvement on what we were working with the first few months. On top of all that, my parents live not far from here. So if I get an overwhelming urge to bake a cake, fortunately there’s a full functioning kitchen to my disposal 24/7 close by. Focusing on the positive.

As for where we are now in the process we like to call our “kitchen reinstall”, we’re in “extensive research” mode. As you know, we’ve talked about getting cabinets from Lowe’s and Ikea. We’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of both options – the pros and cons, the do’s and don’ts. We’re feeling highly educated in both cabinet options but we’re still not completely sold on either one. We know that probably sounds totally crazy and you’re like, “go ahead and make a decision already!”. We’re getting there. Slow and steady wins the race, right? We hope so.

Now that we’re educated in options one and two, we’re looking into a option number three: custom. Okay, no, not Bob the Builder – but maybe a guy named Bob. Who knows. A few months ago, I got an email from a reader, Megan – who, come to find out, was in my gym class in high school! – asking about our cabinet decision. She went on to say she was just wondering because her parents recently totally remodeled their kitchen (and added a mud room and sun room). They also had a consultation at Lowe’s (the same designer we had) but ultimately decided to go with a local cabinet guy who custom-built their entire kitchen for a fraction of the price they would have paid at Lowe’s andΒ every aspect was customized to their wants and needs – shaker-style cabinets including lazy susans in the corner cabinets, an island, banquette area, microwave nook, etc. Basically, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Megan included a link to her blog with before and after photos of her parent’s kitchen reno overhaul and I must say, the difference is truly amazing!

Here’s the before…

reader reno kitchen

…and the after!

reader reno kitchen

I know, right?! And get this, both of the above photos were taken from the exact same spot! It doesn’t even look like the same house! The cabinets are great and the exact style of what we are looking to have in our kitchen – including the deep bottom drawers as opposed to regular cabinets and a few glass-front cabinets.

reader reno kitchen

Here’s the before and after of the old kitchen wall and their new entry to the mud room…

reader reno kitchen

I also love the thick molding around the windows and doors and who doesn’t love a good banquette area?!…

reader reno kitchen banquette

Needless to say, my response to Megan email included, “Would you mind giving me his contact information?”. We’ve already talked to the “cabinet guy” and we just need to get him our measurements/details in order to get a ballpark figure of how much it would cost. I’m excited to delve into the world of custom cabinets and learn more about the process and the ins and outs. And you never know, we just might make a decision. Ha!

Once we nail down the pros and cons of custom cabinets, we’ll be sure to fill you guys in on our thought process. That’s what this blog is all about, right?

So now time for you to dish the details… have you had experience with custom cabinets? What do you think the pros and cons are? Or how about any other avenues like Lowe’s Street or Ikea Boulevard? Tell us about it in the comments section. We’d love to hear your input…

Oh and by the way, if you happen to notice any weird things going on (broken links, missing images, etc), we’re currently working on publishing some of the upgrades we mentioned in our State of the Blog Address a while back. Thanks for your patience!

Bob the Builder image found here.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Jen Allyson
    October 19, 2011 at 11:44 am

    my husband built our cabinets (is still building the other half of the kitchen actually), so it doesn’t get any more custom than that! It has been an amazing experience to dream up anything I want and have it come to life. And most likely with any custom cabinet builder, you’re going to be working with a much higher-quality product than any of the mass-produced items via ikea or even lowes (lower end) and also get it for cheaper. I’m sure if you go with a custom guy, you’ll be more than happy with your decision and the cabinets will look amazing!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Wow! Talk about CUSTOM! You’re right, you can’t get any more custom than that! We admire you guys! I just asked Greg if he thinks he could whip up a few cabinets, he said… ” Uuuummmm.” I think that’s a “No”. Haha!

  • Reply
    Ban Clothing
    October 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I am afraid to tell you that if there was dog food under your cabinets you shouldn’t be working about what it would have attracted if you left it…. this is what mice do. They likely stole the dog’s food and brought it under your cabinets. I had mice once and this is the exact same thing they did. I am surprised my dog wasn’t starving considering the amout of food the mice had been stashing under the cabinets.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Oh my goodness!! Good thing we sealed every single possible hole in the entire house during the first leg of the renovations. We haven’t seen any evidence of one single furry “friend” since we’ve been living there… except for Bentley of course. Ha.

  • Reply
    Christin
    October 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    That kitchen is GORGEOUS!! I would love to have a kitchen like that some day. You know, when I have a house. πŸ™‚ I’m sure it’s a hard decision to make sure you pick stuff that works and that’ll you love for years to come. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the after photos!

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Impatient Gardener
    October 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Wow that kitchen is fantastic. Just wonderful. I don’t have any experience with kitchen cabinetry, but I did have a banquette made for our kitchen and a build-in for our bedroom by a local cabinetmaker who is just awesome. I always found his prices to be very reasonable so long as we took care of the finish work (not his thing). I’ve read that sometimes custom cabinets are not all that much more than what you pay from say a Lowe’s or something. I have kitchens on the brain because I dream of doing a bit of kitchen sprucing up (refacing the existing cabinets) and I know I’d hire my custom guy again in a heartbeat. I was lucky to find a great person and I’m sticking with him!

    Oh, and the dog-food carrying mice reminds me of growing up out in the country. Every winter we would have to dump our ice skates out before wearing them for the first time. For whatever reason the mice though that was the best place to stash dog food. One year the ice skates were filled to the top with kibble!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Lewis in Love
    October 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Wow, my jaw dropped on that reader renovation! I absolutely love everything. The color, design, wow!!!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Just wanted to give you a heads up in the post you wrote “We also closed in a window to make a new space for the fridge and ultimately make the layout much more convenient (more about the future layout here)” << that "here" isn't a link & I assume it should be. Thought you may want to add that in. πŸ™‚ Best of luck with the final decision (hope to hear/read soon!)

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks for the heads up! All fixed : )

  • Reply
    Erin
    October 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Wow, that kitchen is fantastic!!

    We are getting ready to remodel our kitchen as well and we’re thinking we will go the custom or semi-custom route. We’ve heard some great reviews of local cabinet shops and the prices are supposed to be as reasonable as Lowe’s if not more! We’ve been in our house for over 2 years now so we have a pretty good idea of what we’d like our kitchen to be, now it’s just getting there!

  • Reply
    sara b.
    October 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    We had our kitchen reno’d in March/April with custom cabinets. Amazing! The difference in quality both over IKEA and the low to mid-range Lowes/HomeDepot cabinets is unmatched. I had been planning my redo for 10 years and looked at LOTS of ideas. Some of them became outdated. LOL. Anyhoo, the cost was more than 1/3 less for custom vs. semi-custom. Another bonus…matching paint colors, custom-made solutions for my ideas, and the cabinets are precisely the correct size…no filler strips anywhere. In the 6 months since the job was completed, I have had no regrets and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    October 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    My parents also looked into getting Lowe’s or Home Depot and then ended up going with a local custom cabinet maker for a fraction of the price. It was such an amazing option!

  • Reply
    Ashley Parsons
    October 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Whoa, this looks amazing! Great job!

    Wanna do a room for me? πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Mailbox Journey
    October 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I’m in love with that thick molding.

  • Reply
    Monica W.
    October 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I work for a garage door company and I know that if a homeowner were to go to Lowes/Home Depot they end up paying more than if they were to just go through us, so I believe the fact that your friend’s parents got more bang for their buck through a custom cabinet place. BUT – what is nice is that Lowes allows financing (which attracts many customers)

  • Reply
    Jen
    October 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Hello there! We actually just completed a 5- month-long kitchen overhaul. We moved into our house about 2 1/2 years ago and knew we wanted to do something with the kitchen. We eventually decided to open up the kitchen to the family room/dining room area and go for a new, more functional layout (which meant bye-bye for our 1950s pine cabinets).

    After shopping around, we went with Ikea for our cabinets and appliances for a couple of reasons: we couldn’t beat the price and consumer reports for Ikea cabinets are actually pretty good. Everybody has different needs/dollar power, but, for us, there was no way we could have done some other “musts” (opening up the kitchen, updating the electrical in our house) without going with the Ikea (and we got our stuff on sale!)

    We’re very pleased with the results so far! Here’s a peek if you want to see:

    http://alwaysaproject.blogspot.com/2011/10/kitchen-complete.html

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Awesome, thanks for the link! You guys did a fantastic job… Love the big farmhouse sink!

  • Reply
    Jennifer S.
    October 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I love the before and after you included…the wall with the windows and doors makes that make over. Be still my heart.

    I feel your pain. We are in limbo in our office/living room. This is our forever home and I just want to be absolutely sure about what we do with it.

    As for the kitchen…well…we are on a pretty tight budget. We were comfortable spending less on our cabinets in order to get some of the other things we wanted. We purchased stock, Home Depot cabinets, on sale. Our corner cabinet has a pretty, wire, functional lazy susan with 2 shelfs. We personalized them by purchasing the pull out drawers for about 25 bucks each and installed them ourselves. We bought them one day and they were installed and functional the next. Priceless, for us. We considered custom cabinets from a local builder, but the time factor was important to us and we didnt have a need for much customization. Also, inquireys into custom on a previous reno did not prove to be economical. That was about 4 years ago, though, times are different now.

    Our stock cabinets look beautiful and I know will look even better after we install base boards and the pulls(it might be as it is with kids, though. They are ours so, of course, we would think they are beautiful) . We don’t have small children, so they wont be subjected to much wear and tear there, but I am a messy cook and they have stood up well to my drips and pot banging.

    So basically, for us, they function just as well as I imagine the high dollar cabinets do and they were quick to go in. But, if you are looking for a very high end finish and have need for more customization, a local builder might be the answer. Hope it helps.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    August 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Hello, your kitchen looks fabulous. I am pricing out cabinetry now, always a price shock with reno’s. I wish I had the time to build the cabinets myself, because material costs are no where near what they charge. OUCH. I wanted to know if you would mind sharing your paint color for the wall in the “during” shot? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 25, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Thanks! It’s Martha Stewart’s Cobblestone.

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