The time has finally come to reveal our kitchen make-over. What started out as a 6 week project turned into the 7 month project from hell! Anything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong. Even after months of pre-planning, Gannt charts and double checking everything. We had cabinets that didn’t fit; doors that were warped; fridges, microwaves and vent hoods that didn’t fit; walls that undulated; ovens that didn’t work… I’m glad to say that this nightmare project has now come to an end, and boy was it worth the wait!
Here’s a reminder of what it used to look like…
And here’s the new kitchen…
Full list of products used:
Cabinets: Austin cabinets in Urban Stone by Cliqstudios
Countertop and backsplash: Calacatta Gold by Silestone
Flooring: Vintage French Oak by Lumber Liquidators
Cabinet hardware: Knobs by Emtek style 86152US3NL, pulls by Emtek style 86123US14 both in polished nickel
Window: 400 Series by Andersen Windows & Doors
Paint: White Veil by Behr
Kitchen chandelier: Halo by Gallery
Dining room chandeliers: Rosalias modern cage light by Warehouse of Tiffany
Oven: Slide-in gas range by Samsung (model:NX58H9500WS)
Refrigerator: Counter-depth refrigerator by Samsung (model: RF23M8070SR)
Faucet / tap: Alea pull-down faucet in polished nickel by Pfister
Instant hot water faucet / tap: Insinkerator in polished nickel
Sink: Apron front sink by IPT Sink Company
Stools: Gelsomina counter stool by Joss & Main
Upholstered dining chairs: Kenleigh tufted side chair by Wayfair with upholstery nails added
It’s easy to underestimate the potential havoc property renovation has on your home. Plaster dust, exposed outlets, and tradesmen letting the dog loose are a few issues that could occur. After having lived through a number of property renovations, I wanted to share my tips on how to survive them and not repeat the same mistakes I did.
We’re currently on week 5 of our 8 week kitchen renovation. And so far it’s not been too bad. However I can’t say the same for previous renovations!
Tip 1: Box everything!
One mistake I made from a full house renovation I did back in 2006 was to unpack boxes when we moved in. Don’t!! Leave everything in boxes (as much as possible) whilst you’re doing the renovation. Otherwise things get dusty, you have to keep moving things from one place to another, and it’s just stressful.
Also consider what you are going to need whilst you are packing up, and leave the commonly needed items at the top of the box pile, and make sure to label them. This will help you find that must-need item when rooting through your piles of boxes!
Tip 2: Don’t do the whole house at once
Another mistake I made on that same renovation was to attack all rooms at the same time. This leaves you with no safe haven to escape all the dirt, dust and mess. I’d recommend completely finishing a room first that you can use to relax in. The master bedroom is probably a good bet.
Tip 3: Set up a mini kitchen
Whilst you’re renovating the kitchen area make sure you have a mini kitchen set up somewhere else in the house, preferably with running water. This is much easier to do in the US than it is the U.K. as laundry rooms are more common and often have a sink. I’d also recommend buying an electric skillet, mini fridge and microwave. That way you’ll be able to cook a variety of healthy meals without always having to get take-out.
Tip 4: Buy a chest freezer and meal prep
To be even healthier and more prepared, you could even buy a chest freezer and do a whole load of meal prep before the renovation. We’ve done this on our current project and it’s been great. We literally cooked all day Sunday for a few weeks before the project started and froze about 100 meals in disposable containers. Now all we have to do it reheat them in the microwave and throw away the container!
Tip 5: Cover everything!
What little you do leave out of boxes, make sure you cover otherwise you’ll be dusting for weeks!! If you’re knocking walls out or sanding plaster it’s also a good idea to put up temporary plastic sheet walls to contain the dust, as it literally gets everywhere! Make sure the walls are completely sealed and stay sealed. Much to our disappointment one of our sheet walls wasn’t sealed and I literally spent an entire day dusting every single item in the room.
Tip 6: Clean up regularly
It may sound counter intuitive, but clean up regularly, even if it is a building site. I recommend buying a Shop-Vac or Karcher so you don’t ruin your vacuum cleaner. But make sure to get as much of the dust and debris up throughout. A tidy site is a safe site and will make the renovation a whole lot more bearable.
I hope you find these tips useful. I wished I’d known about some of them for my earlier renovations instead of having to learn the hard way! Hopefully you can avoid those same mistakes.
Comment below what tips you have for surviving your home renovations.
Have you ever browsed listings like Craiglist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace and loved a piece of furniture but thought “If only it was white/black/grey”? You may have skipped past it because you thought it was too difficult to make it look like you wanted it to. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s super easy to make-over furniture. This blog post explains how to paint furniture with chalk paint in just 6 easy steps. To see how to paint furniture with spray paint and regular acrylic paint read my blog here.
I decided to chalk paint a bookcase we brought over from the UK. It’s a pine bookcase we paid about £30 for and painted in Downpipe Grey by Farrow & Ball (on the left). Which I do absolutely love, but with repainting the lounge to a darker shade it would’ve looked lost. So I decided to paint it in Old White by Annie Sloan to contrast with the brown paint we’re doing.
Here’s how I did it in 6 steps, so you can try it on a second-hand bargain find too!
What you’ll need:
Dark wax (if you want to age it)
Some lint-free rags
I recommend Annie Sloan chalk paint, it’s a little pricey at $40 per quart but has better coverage and color than others I’ve tried. I also used the Annie Sloan clear and dark waxes. Make sure the rags are lint-free with no fluff or dust on them, otherwise you’ll end up waxing bits of fluff into the finish.
Step 1: Firstly give your furniture a light sand. You don’t need to sand things when using chalk paint, but it helps to get rid of any imperfections that you don’t want showing through at the end.
Step 2. Start painting! Chalk paint is quite thick, so if you don’t want it to look so textured you can water it down to give a smoother finish. I didn’t thin mine down, I wished I had now. But the texture definitely picks up the dark wax at the end if you’re distressing it which gives a nice effect.
Step 3. Keep painting until none of the old color shows through. It took me three coats, and I probably should’ve done four, but I have no patience!
Step 4. If you want it to stay looking perfect and clean, then all you need to do now is apply the clear wax. I applied it with a rag, rubbing it all into the grain. Then rub off the excess with another clean rag.
Step 5. If you want it to look distressed, start sanding off the edges to make it look worn.
Step 6. If you want to make it look really old and worn, apply the dark wax. This step takes a lot of skill to apply it well without making it look too dark. I ended up mixing a tiny bit of the dark wax with some of the clear wax so it didn’t make it too dark. If you do apply too much dark wax, just apply more of the clear wax over the top until it lightens up. Or if all else fails, try sanding it back a bit more before it dries.
And that’s it! 6 easy steps to paint furniture with chalk paint to transform a bargain into a beauty! You can also paint other things like books, lamps, fabric etc. Annie Sloan’s website has some great tutorial videos and tips. You can check it out here: Annie Sloan website.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear how your chalk paint projects go. Share in the comments section or tag me on Instagram @britflipper.