No Updates, Just Planning

I betcha thought I was coming in Hot with a huge Kitchen Update! You would be very wrong! Since we last left off with major framing progress, I had to make a trip to New York and Collin has been working crazy hours, so the kitchen still looks exactly like this:


But where there is no physical momentum, there are things happening behind the scenes. I have been working on finalizing the layout and cabinet selections. I thought It might be helpful to bring you through this thought process, what options came up and how we decided on everything.

It is really important to remember that this is budget reno. Our budget for the entire renovation is $15,000. While not cheap, its less than an average kitchen renovation for moving the kitchen to a new room plus adding in the finishing the Den.

Step one is Cabinets. We can not get anything else done before finalizing the cabinets and layouts. We decided on RTA (Ready to Assemble) cabinets for budget reasons. The difference is between $1000 – $2000 more to get the already assembled cabinets, and honestly, with a budget this tight, we can put them together ourselves.

To start, I Googled RTA Cabinets. So many companies come up, so it feels a little overwhelming. To start, I picked a pretty standard size cabinet (the Pantry, 24″ x 96″) and used that as the baseline. Every website I looked at, the first thing I checked was the cost of the Pantry cabinet. If it was between $500 – $700 I would further review that website. If it was above that price, that meant the kitchen was going to be more expensive, for the same product. No thank you!

I had a small spreadsheet created where I kept the information on the quotes and the products I needed. I would go through each website, add the cabinets I needed to the shopping cart and see what the final price was and add it to the spreadsheet, along with notes. Here’s what I was left with:


Some of the options had different color cabinets, like gray, that while I loved, I decided ultimately were not right for this house. Also, another really interesting option is the IKEA Cabinets with custom doors through a company called Semihandmade. This was a great option if you want that custom look, but since we had decided on white cabinets, there was no need to spend the extra money.

We did visit a few showrooms as well, but the price was high in comparison. They did however offer us some great information about the layout. For example, if you have a corner sink, don’t put the dishwasher directly next to it, it wont open correctly/will be awkward. The information they gave me helped finalize the layout.



Its a small kitchen, but I think this layout will give it the most counter top space and functionality.

Next up, we have one more cabinet meeting tonight, just to check to see if the local discount cabinet store has a great option. If not, I plan on ordering cabinets tomorrow. Also, we have electricians coming in with quotes this week. Once the cabinets are ordered, we have 4 weeks to get everything else (including floors) done. With Easter falling in the middle of that 4 weeks, it is a tight time frame, but we will have brand new kitchen at the end, so it will be worth it!

Framing Weekend

This weekend was one of many first’s. We got a new tool, framed our first ceiling and spent the most amount of money at Home Depot in one transaction that we have ever spent, yay! We spent Friday night planning the shopping list for the next day in preparation for what we knew was going to be a huge haul.

Saturday morning, bright and early, we got up and headed to U-Haul to pick up a truck. We were picking up a bunch of 16′ boards, so we needed a giant truck. Our goal was to get almost all materials for both rooms. We do not want to have to rent another truck, so the list was long!

It took us about 2.5 Hours at Home Depot to gather everything we needed. Including, but not limited to: over 50 boards of wood, a window, 16 pieces of drywall, 35 joist straps and 5 different types of screws and nails.

Here’s the wood only, we had already loaded all of the drywall in the truck:


And all loaded up:


Now the fun part, when we got home we had to unload all of this in to the house. From start of the morning to everything being unpacked and the U-Haul being returned took about 5 hours. Way longer than I had anticipated!

After some lunch, we decided to work on framing out the back wall. This wall needed to be framed because it is currently plaster and it is where our kitchen cabinets need to be hung. We feel much more comfortable re-framing it, then trying to hang the cabinets on plaster and brick. We framed the wall on the floor and then lifted it in to place. It doesn’t go to the ceiling because the ceiling is going to be dropped:



After that we called it a day.

Sunday morning we were up again to get moving on the ceilings. We started the day with a trip to Home Depot because we obviously forgot something Saturday! We needed to grab a Powder Actuated tool. We have never used one before, but basically it is like a nail gun on steroids. You load it with a nail and bullets (22 Caliber) and then when you hit it it can attach wood to concrete, steel, brick, etc.

This thing was powerful, but really cool at the same time 🙂 With it, we were able to get the support beams attached to the walls.


Once they were up, we hung Joist straps every 16″ to hold the beams:


Once they were installed on both sides, we just slid the cross beams in to place and nailed them to secure:


We followed the same process in the den:


We still need to add some cross beam supports, but other than that, ceiling framing is done. Sunday night we headed out for some well deserved drinks and Sushi and fell asleep at like 8 PM (kind of kidding).

We can’t close up the ceilings until the Electrician installs the recessed lighting and pendant lights. After that is drywall and installing a new window. We have never done that before, so I’ll be sure to post details in the next few weeks!

Demo and Dust

Happy Friday!

Collin has off both days this weekend, which means we are preparing for some major progress over the next 2 days. Before we get started this weekend, I wanted to write up a quick post to update on this past weeks work, so that I don’t get too far behind!

Last we left off I had demo’d the drop ceiling in the Den and the curved opening. It is important to note that while I am capable of starting a project, I am horrendous at demo and clean up. For some reason it take me forever, I hate cleaning up all of the dust and I never get as far as I want to. So while my demo kicked off the project, Collin put my demo to shame in about 6 hours.

He had off on Wednesday and his job was to continue demo of the drop ceiling. I figured that was a manageable goal since taking down the den ceiling took me all day Sunday. He did that and way more:

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He took down the drop ceiling in the new kitchen, removed the second layer of ceiling in both rooms and even had time to demo the rest of the plaster off of the opening between the rooms. Not only that, but I came home to a relatively clean work area (minus the garbage pile to the right that the Garbage Guy needs to come get this weekend).

Tomorrow we need to spend part of the morning getting materials, then it’s framing and drywall for the next 2 days. The Den should come together relatively quickly, but the kitchen is a much bigger beast. After framing we need to bring in the electrician before we can drywall up the ceilings. I’m hoping we can keep moving on smaller projects throughout while we gather the funds for the electrician to rewire the kitchen.

Again, we just jumped in to this project, no real plans, but also, no real rush! But we are going to need to start finalizing the layout to make sure there are outlets in all the right places :). I’ll be back next week some (hopefully) major updates! Have a great weekend!


Start of Demo and Newest Project Plans!

Sorry for the silence around here! I started a new job last week, so I wasn’t really focused on the house too much. But that’s about to change because we are starting on a huge project and I’m so excited to bring you along for all of the details!

House Layout:

To start, I want to recap our house layout for anyone who hasn’t come over yet! This will make it much easier to understand where we are in the house in relation to the other rooms that have been finished already. The First picture below is the Before/Current Layout. The only room we have mentioned on the blog is the Formal Living Room (which was completed in this Post). The Living Room is our current TV watching/Hang Out Room and the Garbage room is where we keep our Renovation Garbage before the Garbage guy comes (usually Monthly) to pick it up. And yes – it is as lovely as it sounds 🙂 The kitchen is a very small addition in the back of the house, and there is currently no Bathroom on this level.Before

Here’s where the major reno happens. In the new layout, shown below, we are moving the kitchen to the center of the home and converting the beloved Garbage Room to a Den. This Den, in the future, could be a Dining Room as well, we just don’t have a need for that right now and would rather have a cozy movie room instead. The current kitchen will become a first floor bathroom and Laundry Room combo.



Before Pictures:

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We had semi-started these rooms a few months ago with taking down the wallpaper. Both rooms have a drop ceiling and the archway connecting the rooms feels very dated to me.


On Saturday, Collin was working so I decided to start demo on my own. I started with removing the drop ceiling in the Den. It came down fairly easy, but did make a big mess. There is another layer of ceiling underneath that will also be pulled down.


Then I got a little excited with the hammer, and decided to tackle the archway. It took a long time and gave me hand blisters that my manicurist will surly cringe at, but its done.


I spent the rest of Saturday night and Sunday morning cleaning and reorganizing furniture to make the front living room fit our sectional and TV while we under construction.

The Plan:

I use the word Plan very loosely when it comes to this kitchen and den. This next week we are going to work on continuing to demo the kitchen ceiling and removing the remainder of the wallpaper. Once Demo is done, we can schedule the Garbage Guy to come pick up the demo materials so that we can start framing with a clean slate.

After demo, we need to frame the ceilings and walls and install a new window, that would fit above the counter tops.

We are hoping to get both rooms to “done” (meaning drywall, ceilings, paint and new floors), before starting on installing the kitchen.

When doing a kitchen install and major renovation like this, the biggest thing is timing. We need to make sure that we get everything done in the correct order so that the subcontractors we have coming in (Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing) are not losing time trying to figure out where everything needs to go. Luckily, there is no rush on our side, so we are planning on moving through the renovation slowly to make sure don’t miss a thing!