A handful of lessons learned from our kitchen re-do

Hey Friends ~

All your encouraging words before and after this big project have been the wind beneath my wings.  If it wasn't for you, I'd still be sitting there looking helplessly at those dark brown cabinets, the appliances on their last legs, and the sad, worn out flooring.  

And speaking of the wind beneath my wings, I asked my husband what he learned now that we've completed our kitchen re-do.  Tim's a long-time Habitat for Humanity home builder and is exceptionally handy when it comes to trouble-shooting, tinkering, and fixing stuff.  I respect his experience, abilities, and his pro-active smarts.  

Here's what he told me (and I've added my two cents underneath his rather matter of fact statements.) 

1.  Don't get hung up on a few dollars.  Quality matters.
We're always looking for ways to save a buck.  But when it comes to a kitchen or bath, you want to get the best you can afford.  This will involve putting money away well ahead of time, knowing prices, looking out for deals, comparison shopping 'til you drop, and skimping on non-essentials so you can invest in what will matter most in the long run.

We splurged on professionals to paint, lay flooring, and install the backsplash.  We saved money by using leftover wainscoting from other projects, buying the cabinet hardware from Amazon (these and those), and refusing to go with outrageous quotes from hucksters.

2.  You don't have to have it all planned out when you start.
Yes, you have to know where you're going.  Enjoy tearing out pics from magazines, bookmarking online room ideas, or creating a Pinterest board.  If you spot a design detail that brings a smile or a deep sigh of satisfaction, take note, especially if you find yourself repeatedly gravitating to similar elements.  

Refuse to make decisions on every last detail before you begin.  You'll just get frustrated, discouraged, and find yourself dragging your feet.

3.  Start with the cabinets.  The other things you can change your mind on.
The cabinets set the stage for a kitchen.  We were happy to keep ours because they were in decent shape and we refused to change the floor plan.  Once you figure out what you want to do with them, focus next on appliances.  Trust me, everything else will fall into place.

PLUS ...
Educate yourself.  Talk to everyone you know who's survived a kitchen remodel.  Ask where they shopped, what worked for them, who they hired.  Look for professionals with lots of five star reviews and don't be afraid to pick their brains and ask for free estimates.  If they don't respond in a timely manner or they act like they're doing you a big favor, say good-bye. 

In the process be patient with your partner/family.  Be prepared to negotiate with big doses of kindness and give lavish grace when you disagree.  Relationships are always more important than home improvement projects.


Want more?

How We Saved Six Figures on our Kitchen
The Nester (my all-time favorite home guru)

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