Kitchen

EVERYTHING YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW

kitchen wide

…about the kitchen. Now the kitchen is deemed as “done”, we owe you guys a final post with details, budget  and resources all bundled up into one big post. I don’t know why we haven’t done this before–I think part of it has something to do with the fact that we still can’t believe it’s actually finished. It’s been a loooong process. Nevertheless, here we are with the post that includes all of the resources, links to more detailed posts, and the much-asked-about budget breakdown. We get a lot of emails asking for things like extra details, where we got the sink, the size of the subway tile, etc and thought it would be a good idea to have all this information in one post to have a one stop shop reference. So, here we go…

Kitchen Before & After / 7th House on the Left

RESOURCES // Let’s jump right in with a list of where we got what…

DIY Kitchen Demo / 7th House on the Left

DIY vs HIRING A PRO // We walked into this renovation planning on DIY-ing a lot of the projects. After all, we’d already gutted the entire kitchen and patched up the drywall ourselves and that went pretty well. Ash’s dad helped us out with the electrical work and we were learning some of the ropes as we went along. So why not take the DIY-ness a step further, right? Our plan was to order the cabinets from Lowe’s and install them ourselves (with the help and know-how of Ashley’s dad – he knows how to do pretty much anything). Plans changed about a week or two before the cabinets were scheduled to be delivered when we found out Ashley was going to have to have major emergency surgery. The doctors told us she wouldn’t be ready for any house projects until after Christmas, so needless to say, that put a kink in our plans. The date of Ashley’s surgery ended up being the day before the cabinets were delivered. In that case, we decided to pay the extra money to have a trusted Lowe’s subcontractor install the cabinets. We also decided to have the tile installed by a pro rather than DIY-ing. When it was all said and done, even though Ashley was chomping at the bit to get some grout under her nails, we’re glad we decided to hire pros for such a big project.

When to Hire A Pro / 7th House on the Left

While we’re on the subject, here’s our two cents about hiring a pro vs DIY-ing: If it’s something major like electrical work or plumping and you don’t have previous experience or know-how, it’s a good idea to consult or hire a Pro. Yeah, it’s nice to have a since of accomplishment and say “I did that!”. However, when it comes down to it, Pros have much, much more experience and after all, they’re professionals. Even though hiring a Pro is most likely going to cost you extra, it might end up saving you money in the long run because you’ll be getting good quality work, done right the first time and most likely not have to have any repairs for a longer period of time. Bottom line: Sometimes, it pays off to pay a little extra.

When hiring our pros, we started out with a good ‘ole Google search, but personal referrals really are the best way to go. First of all, you can’t always believe what you read online and secondly, advice from people you know and trust is always more valuable than a stranger’s opinion.

Kitchen Reno 411 / 7th House on the Left

Once in a while, we get an email asking for info on our assorted “guys” (as in “tile guy” or “flooring guy”). So, if you’re in the Richmond area and in the market for some “guys” for your project, here’s who we used in our kitchen renovation and who we recommend:

  • Flooring Guy: Frank’s Flooring, 804.332.0046, Ask for Frank
  • Tile Guy: MB Tile, 804.426.9732, Ask for Melvin
  • Cabinet Ordering Guy: Lowes, 804.417.8000, Ask for Gaylord
  • Cabinet Instillation Guy: MET Services Inc, 804.400.9430, Ask for Larry
  • Countertop Guys: AlphaStone, 804.622.2068, Ask for Greg

WHERE’S THE MICROWAVE? // Aside from resource questions, “Where is the microwave?” is easily the number one question that comes across our inboxes. We rarely use the microwave, so we decided not to give it prime real estate. We were lucky enough to inherit a large closet in the utility room, and when we widened the door and moved the water heater to the attached shed, that gave us even more room to work with. So, along with our cleaning supplies and extra paper towels, we also keep a rolling microwave cart in the utility closet. Whenever we use the microwave, which is maybe once a month (if that), we just roll it into the kitchen, use it, and roll it back. It’s easy and convenient, and it keeps the microwave from taking up valuable counter space.

Kitchen Reno 411 / 7th House on the Left

THE BUDGET BREAKDOWN // After researching a bunch of kitchen design magazines, we were thinking that we would end up in the ballpark of $40k-$50k. Ouch. However, we and our wallets are happy to say we didn’t quite hit that threshold. The entire kitchen renovation totaled to approximately $28-$30k – much lower than what we read in the magazines and lower than the average kitchen gut-job renovation in our area. This price includes everything from outlet covers and flooring to appliances and cabinets. The cabinets themselves (including installation) took up around $17,000 of that final number, the countertops came in at $3,985, and all of the tile (including labor) came in at $1,000 even. As for the prices of the other details in the kitchen, you can get an idea of the pricing from the links in the item list above.

One thing to note: Be sure to shop around for prices. For instance, while we were shopping around for kitchen sinks, we found the one we loved at Lowe’s, but it was listed for around $1,600. After a few Google searches, we found it online for a little over $900. Much better! Better still, Lowe’s did what Lowe’s does and matched the price. Score!

Kitchen Reno 411 / 7th House on the Left

WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY // Since the entire process took a bit on the long side, we had a good long time to think through every step of the process. Overall, we’re very pleased with how everything turned out, but there are a few small details we would change if we had to do it all over again. First off, the electrical outlet placement isn’t the best – we wish we would have moved most of them closer to the corners, where our counter appliances sit. We’d also like to have taken pan and cookie sheet storage into consideration. Right now, they are stored in a drawer under the coffee maker, but that’s really not the best place for them. Though, this snafu might be fixable with a little organization and rearranging.

POST BY POST // We couldn’t have a Mac Daddy kitchen post without having a list of the posts that include the nitty gritty details. This will hopefully come in handy if anyone is looking for a post about something – like why we decided to go with KraftMaid as opposed to Ikea (another question that comes across our inboxes pretty often). So, here you go…

Overall, the kitchen renovation process was very satisfying because we knew we were getting exactly what we’d envisioned – even though it took a little on the long side. Before, there was no “working triangle” to be had – it was more like a trapezoid. Now, we have what seems to be a much larger kitchen with a thought-out layout that works really well. From doing the demolition, electrical and drywall work ourselves, to designing, planning and picking out the finishes; our kitchen reno was a huge learning experience. To close out the post, here are a few things we learned along the way:

  • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. A few short hours of DIY demo can save you hundreds of dollars. It saved us $1,200!
  • Make sure you do your pricing homework. Like we mentioned earlier, we were getting ready to purchase the kitchen sink but with a quick Google search (while standing in the store!), we were able to find it at another store for $700 less. Lowe’s ended up matching the price we found online, no questions asked.
  • Don’t rush through the process, take your time and make sure every detail is right before you move on to the next one. Spending a little extra time (and money on take out) during the process will make living with your kitchen in the long run much easier and more enjoyable.
  • Learning to stick with what WE wanted and not what other people thought would look best was a big “learning point” for us. For instance, the cabinet salesman thought our floating shelves next to the sink idea was crazy and tried to talk us out of it, but now, it’s one of our favorite features in the kitchen.
  • Like my 3rd grade teacher used to say, there’s no such thing as a stupid question – it might end up saving you money. Same thing goes for buying appliances. You’re not going to know unless you ask. When we bought our refrigerator, we asked if it was going on sale anytime soon. That little question ended up saving us over $500.

We know this was a pretty long post for us, but hopefully this will answer some of your questions and maybe someone will find this post handy if they’re in the midst of renovating their kitchen.

Oh! Speaking of the kitchen… we (and our kitchen) are going to be featured in a certain national magazine coming up next month. We’re not allowed to spill the beans just yet, but when we can, we’ll be sure to share! 

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54 Comments

  • Reply
    A.J.
    February 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Hi, 7HLers! Did you have to get a building permit to do any of this? was much of the electrical moved? I’m curious because my dad is also an electrician, and he came and visited us (from out of state) and also helped us with our bathroom reno in our 1950s ranch. we had to get a building permit because we took it to the studs to replace plumbing and such, and our inspector is a (insert cuss word). He has been SO hard to deal with and has said he will not issue us another self-permit (and we have a kitchen reno on our minds next) although my dad’s work was impeccable. The ONLY thing the inspector could pick apart was that we didn’t have staples within 7 inches of each receptacle/switch. That killed the DIY spirit in us and frankly pissed me off. I’m just wondering how (or if) you had to deal with an inspector and if you had any issues since your dad did the electrical work.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Wow, sounds like you had a difficult time with the inspector! We didn’t move any of the existing outlets, just added one. Because of this, we didn’t have to move any studs and were told we didn’t need to get an inspection. So, that was nice!

  • Reply
    A.J.
    February 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    yes, it has been very frustrating! especially since my dad’s work was perfect except for the staples (which were actually intentional in case we ever needed to pull the wires out in the future. the staples would make that near impossible.) my dad’s theory is that the guy was just looking for ticky-tacky stuff to pick apart because he is from out of town and thus taking work away from local contractors. nevermind that I’M HIS DAUGHTER and he was also visiting us! grrr.

    • Reply
      Michelle
      February 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Inspectors can be complete ****. In my town, they think they are God or something. How dare you question anything and they never, ever make a mistake. Hmph. We found plenty in our builder grade home that we have more issues than you can shake a stick at. Furnace issues (ductwork not installed properly and it short cycles constantly), bad installation of windows, plumbing issues and to top it off… bad framing job. I have walls cracking all over the place and pulling away from cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. It probably was because your dad was from out of town. They are funny about that. But then, this builder did use a more local HVAC & plumber, and I have lots of issues. But, remember, they never miss anything and never, ever make a mistake. uh huh.

  • Reply
    Jeannine @ Small & Chic
    February 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I really appreciate the hybrid of DIY and hiring pros. I’m handy and I love a good project, but I agree that there’s a point when most of us should spend a little money and bring a professional in.

    I haven’t been following long, but I really enjoyed reading back through this process. Congratulations on making it to the end!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    February 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I love this post! It’s so great to see all of these details in one place and I’ll definitely be referencing this when we start our reno.

  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    February 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    What a journey! But it definitely looks like it was worth it. Can’t wait to hear more about this magazine thing!!!

  • Reply
    Molly W
    February 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I must say, to think you did that entire kitchen for $28k, it remarkable! Well done!

  • Reply
    Dani
    February 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, I showed my husband your kitchen and said, “This! This is the kitchen I dream of having.” You guys did a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Aww, thank you! : )

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      No, we haven’t had a realtor come out and assess the house just yet. We plan on doing that when the other renovations are finished. Average complete, gut-job, kitchen renovations in our area run higher than $28-30k – so we think we’ll be okay in that aspect.

  • Reply
    Powerpuff
    February 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Just curious, what are the dimensions of your kitchen?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      The overall dimensions are 17’x10′ – give or take a few inches, haha.

  • Reply
    Don P
    February 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Your kitchen looks as though it could easily be a $50,000+ kitchen. Very well done!

  • Reply
    Molly
    February 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I love how this turned out! We are also doing an all white kitcken with subway tile backsplash and darker floors. This is inpriation for us — we now know its possible and that we can do it!

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Love the whole kitchen! Great job!! Where did you get the rug in front of the sink?? I’ve been looking for something similar for my kitchen!

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Home Style Report
    February 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    You’re kitchen is to die for!!! I’m so in love with the floor to ceiling tile!

  • Reply
    Hannah @ Copper + Wood
    February 7, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Your kitchen is really lovely. The floors and the stools are my favourite things! Congratulations on a brilliant job, and Ashley, I hope you feel better. Surgery is hard work.

    Good luck with your next project – I’m excited about more posts!

    Hannah

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 7, 2013 at 6:10 am

      I am! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    February 7, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I am with others. Your kitchen is to die for!!! You guys did a great job with it. You must be so proud!!!

  • Reply
    John @ Our Home from Scratch
    February 7, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Big fan of your kitchen.. especially those countertops. If you had told me they were an imported Italian marble, I would believe you.

  • Reply
    Megan
    February 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Wow – this is fantastic. I don’t even know which part if my favorite, it’s all so beautiful! I am a huge white and stainless fan. So impressive.

  • Reply
    Amy @ Living Locurto
    February 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Really amazing! You did a great job on this kitchen. Love it!

  • Reply
    Cheri
    February 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I can’t wait to read your blog. Your kitchen is stunning.

  • Reply
    Pam
    February 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Your kitchen is just beautiful! Love the white, I’m gonna guess that since it was so dark before, you went the opposite way. Been there, done, that. I am especially interested in the island with the seating. I think I will steal your idea, just exactly what I’ve been looking for to finish our kitchen. Great job you two!

    • Reply
      Pam
      February 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Could you please post a photo of the other side of the peninsula? Is it storage/cabinets? Thanks!!

      • Reply
        Ashley
        February 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        There’s a sneak of it in this post. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    ashley
    February 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Where are the art prints from? Sry if you said this already 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

      We designed them, but you can purchase them from our store, Brown & Barkley here: http://etsy.me/Xw9D79

  • Reply
    adeis
    February 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Wow! Looks SOOOO much better! Wonderfull job! COngratulations!

  • Reply
    Kelley Howe
    April 3, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to list all your sources! A lot of it is what I have been looking for. Your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL. THANKS!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

      So glad they were helpful! : )

  • Reply
    Ryan
    June 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I’m sorry if I missed it, but where are the barstools from?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 27, 2013 at 7:01 am

      They are from West Elm : )

  • Reply
    Heidi
    July 10, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Hi! You’re kitchen turned out beautifully! I had a question about your sink. I want to get the same enamel apron front sink for my kitchen but I’m a little scared off by all the warnings of how easily they can scratch, crack, wear out etc. I’m curious what your experience has been with the sink and if you have any tips on how to avoid a mishap. Thanks a bunch!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 10, 2013 at 8:31 am

      We LOVE our sink. Once in a while a pot or pan may leave a gray scratch here and there but it comes right off with some Barkeeper’s Friend and a damp paper towel or sponge. We haven’t had and cracks or permanent scratches yet. So, so far, so good. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    CMurray
    August 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    What a beautiful kitchen! I just discovered your blog while searching on Pinterest for dove white kraftmaid cabinets! We are building a house and will be using kraftmaid. I picked out the exact door that you all have, and am wanting white- but am worried about the starkness of it. So two questions: did you ever consider the canvas color or using a glaze on the dove white to soften it- or were you looking for bright white? Do you feel it’s as bright as it looks in the showroom?

    Also I searched your blog for your ceiling and trim color- what white did you choose for those? It looks great with your cabinets! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks! Glad you found us 🙂 We never considered a glaze because we really wanted a crisp, white look. We borrowed a door sample from our local Lowe’s to get a feel of how it would look in the lighting/natural light of our kitchen. Our ceilings are Sherwin William’s “Ceiling White” and the trim was purchased along with the cabinets and are the same color. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Julie
    February 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I have a question about your range hood. I would like to do the same thing when I remodel my kitchen but was told by our Lowe’s designer that the minimum width of a range hood was 30″ and we had to allow 3″ on each side of it so it does not touch the cabinets. Yours looks very close to your cabinets. Can you give me any insight on this? Did you install yourselves? Any info would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      March 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Hi Julie! Our cabinet guy didn’t give us that warning – and our hood is actually just a centimeter from the cabinet. We installed the hood ourselves but had the cabinets installed by Lowe’s. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Kara B
    March 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    What brand/model is your range hood? Is it one you would recommend?
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      March 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Here’s a link to the one we have: http://bit.ly/1h3YqSy
      We love it and would definitely recommend it!

  • Reply
    Holly
    July 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Beautiful! My dream kitchen one day. Wondering where you got the long wooden grass planter on your counter. Been looking everywhere for one like it.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you! I bought it from Home Goods a while back, but I’ve seen it sold on Target.com. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1sLV9T8

  • Reply
    Kerri
    September 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Bumping a super old post, but I have to ask… Did you guys take the Kraftmaid molding all the way around the room? I ask because out entire main level is open concept, and we’re about to get molding put up. However, we just decided to redo the kitchen as well, and we want to take the cabinets to the ceiling. Our kitchen is in it’s own nook, but it’s still part of bigger room. We considered using the molding we picked for the main level for over the kitchen cabinets, but then you have to deal with paint matching. I just don’t know what the alternative is.

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Yeah, we took the Kraftmaid molding around the entire kitchen. It was a little extra (not too much if I remember correctly) but really made everything look seamless.

  • Reply
    Janice
    May 30, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Hi Ashley,
    Great blog! Thanks for sharing such great information. We are considering a similar door style to yours (KraftMaid). The Home Depot kitchen designer recommended that we use KraftMaid Evercore door which is an MDF door if we are going with a painted finish, especially white. He said that the solid wood doors tend to have cracking and chipping of the paint at the seams due to changes in humidity (Massachusetts). So I was wondering how your wood doors have held up over the last few years? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      January 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Aside from the one minor issue of splitting in the post, we haven’t had any issues with ours at all. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Bryan
    October 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Ashley, my wife and I are gutting our kitchen early next year. You guys did an amazing job! Our questions, how is the painted white finish of your Kraftmaid doors holding up? We are leaning towards Kraftmaid in a dove white finish or with a cinder glaze. Also, how’s the countertop holding up? We’re looking at possibly using a similar quartz. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 28, 2015 at 10:18 am

      We actually did a whole post dedicated to how we’re liking out Kraftmaid cabinets now. Hopefully that will answer your questions pretty well! Here’s the link: http://7thhouseontheleft.com/2014/04/qa-kraftmaid-kitchen-cabinets/

      Also, we love, love, love our countertops!! They’re holding up beautifully and are just as gorgeous as the day we had them installed. We HIGHLY recumbent quartz.

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    November 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Hi Ashley! Your kitchen was a total inspiration when we redid ours this summer. We are working on final touches right now and considering those West Elm bar stools. I was wondering now that you’ve lived with them for a while, are they comfortable enough?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      January 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

      We love them! They’re very comfortable and have held up beautifully!

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