The Unexpected Kitchen Renovation

I was going to write a deeply passionate post about what the hell happened that week last November when I walked down the stairs in the morning and into the kitchen only to discover that our dishwasher had basically sprang a major leak and destroyed our kitchen. But I don’t want to.

See, we lived with a broken dishwasher in our backyard for 5 months along with MDF floors held together together by red duct tape which I joked matched our Christmas decorations that year. It would have been comical except for the fact that the floor was rotting, the bottoms of the cabinets were rotting and I was hand washing dishes and drying these dishes in a kitchen that had left me about 30″ of counter top space to use for all my food prep. I was about one more day away from moving the family into the Hampton Inn just so I could get their free continental breakfast and not have to wash dishes as often.

So that kitchen renovation that we had planned on doing in a couple of years had instantly been bumped up to umm, about now. Or as our daughter likes to point out “Isn’t it funny how you just painted the kitchen cabinets last summer and now we have to tear them out?”

Super funny kid. Super, super funny.

Almost as funny as standing in the basement watching water drip from our ceiling onto the basement floor and watching the black rot continue to grow on your falling apart sub floor. So here we are. Halfway through the unexpected kitchen renovation that will be the reason our kids won’t be able to afford to go to College and I can only now sit down and properly go over everything that happened because well, I blog about renovations we do when they happen.

Now a good blogger would be showing you a mood board to showcase all the pretty design choices before the kitchen is started. The way my brain works and the way my husband’s brain works however, is that we have a general idea of what we like and then figure out the accessories and additions as it comes together.

It’s kind of why I love thrift store shopping. Sometimes you just find a piece that inspires you and you add it to your design. I love taking time to make sure that elements and furniture pieces we love are the right ones for the spaces in our home. So the only mood board we ever had for this kitchen was the one in our collective imagination. But because you all love mood boards, I made one of all of the items that we have so far and some potential ones.

And because I just needed a good photo to use for this post. Let’s be serious. (*whispers* I hate doing mood boards.)

The liner notes, from the bottom to the top of the room.

1) Floor Tile – Ceragres Slab Silver

I am doing an entire post dedicated the debacle that was our floor tile selection. Let’s just put it this way, if you think a trip to IKEA or Costco on a weekend will cause your marriage to end in divorce, go and choose a floor tile when you’re rushed. Then realize you made a mistake and tell your spouse you want to return it the day before it’s supposed to go in. We both love the final Ceragres tile we went with, but this was a tough lesson to learn and I am amazed my husband James is speaking to me right now.

2) Lower Cabinets – IKEA SEKTION LAXARBY

The dark lower LAXARBY were on our radar since our previous kitchen reno, mainly in part to this photo I came across right after we finished the renovation. I love everything about the feel of that kitchen.  I have however already discovered that the dream I had of using old fashioned latch locks on the cabinet doors has been crushed (as I shared on my Instagram) because the edges of the LAXARBY cabinet doors are beveled. Therefore they leave about a centimeter gap between the doors. Good bye dreams of latch locks. Now this kitchen was heavily influenced by the kitchens from deVOL Kitchens and Humphrey Munson. We wanted to create a kitchen that felt more traditional and yet still had our personal modern touches to it. Just wait til I find a place to hang our Skull painting.

3) Walnut Butcher Block Counter Tops – Lumber Liquidators

These are the counter tops we should have gotten for the last kitchen renovation. I love, love, love them. Love. There’s a post coming about why we chose this Walnut Butcher Block vs the counter top from the place that also sells meatballs and the Pros and Cons of having a butcher block counter top. I also have a great post about staining butcher block that if you’re contemplating getting butcher block you should read. It links up to a ton of other bloggers experiences with their counters and we talk about all kinds of wood stains and ways to seal your counters.

4) & 5) Handles

I love mixed hardware in a kitchen because life is too short to have the same handles everywhere. We went with the Hickory Hardware Studio Cabinet Pulls in a Satin Nickel and the Richelieu Traditional Metal Cup Pull in the Brushed Nickel and Contemporary Metal round knobs in I think the Brushed Nickel. I honestly can’t remember. They were right over the Cup Pulls (at Home Depot) and looked great together and that was that.

6) DOMSJÖ Double Bowl Sink

This sink was a huge debate. Huge. I wanted a single bowl stainless steel under mount. My husband wanted this one. We practically had to draw straws and barter over future design decisions for the house. It was like choosing the name of your child. You get this if I get that type of thing. He won. I am still writing a post about it as part of my therapy and being in the process of the stage of acceptance.

7) Delta TRINSIC Single Handle Pull Down Faucet – Matte Black

This is one sexy faucet, here is where we purchased our luxury kitchen faucet Seriously one of the best decision’s of the kitchen renovation so far. In our last one we had the TRINSIC Stainless Touch 2O but our kids thought it was a game to see how many times they could turn the faucet on and off “like magic” so this time we got the non touch version and in the Matte Black no less. Because I’ll get tired of black when they invent a darker colour.

8) Subway Tile. Maybe.

This is still an ongoing decision so I tossed that in there as we want a white tile and something that isn’t too eye catching but also not to dull. Subway tile is *everywhere* at this point so it’s one of those tiles where I love it and my husband is not that much of a fan anymore. So do we use it? Does it feel overused? Can we find another white tile (not shiplap – just stop right there…) back splash to use. Whatever we use it will be a white tile.

9) Upper Cabinets – IKEA SEKTION BODBYN. Maybe.

This is another one of those maybes. I have had this photo pinned as my go to for years now. The problem is the space, potentially putting in a window down the line and the BODBYN cabinets also can’t fit latch cabinet locks due to their beveled edges. BOOOOO! Then I came across this photo and this photo and it was like hang on, maybe we should try one of those instead. Good thing we still have a lot of time as the tile and #10 comes first.

10) The White and Wood range hood.

I had to convince my husband to get on board with this one. I have had this image from Houzz pinned so long that it’s been my go to for ages now. I think that is one of the most beautiful range hoods I have ever seen. It’s from Sullivan Building and Design Group and it is just magnificent. If we can get something like that done for this kitchen, it will be one of the best focal points of it.

If you’re wondering where the appliances are on that board…that’s another story. We haven’t decided on anything other than IKEA’s Built In Dishwasher and we just bought a gas range last year, which I’ll be honest I am not that enthralled with. I can’t even talk about our fridge. It’s 10 years old, has dents on it and the size of a boat. With the style of the new kitchen layout we need a counter depth fridge, preferably a single door counter depth, which are so hard to find in a good price point. After we get the fridge then we can frame around it and start on the upper cabinets as they are a big part of that side of the wall where the fridge is.

This blog is about to embark on a long series of posts on this kitchen (crafting has been put on a serious hold) but you can catch my daily mess and updates on my Instagram as I post there faster than I do here. I mean really, that mood board took way too long. I’m just saying.

So from this:

To something like this (this was the first rough draft). We’re getting there. Damn that full size fridge. Hey IKEA, offer counter depth fridges in your planner.


  • Reply
    Lynne Knowlton (@lynneknowlton)
    April 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Is that a bottle of wine on your island countertop? That’s going to come in handy 🙂

    I’m here if you need a sounding board, or a reallyyyyyy big glass of wine.

  • Reply
    Anna International
    April 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    About to start our kitchen renovation too (though in far less dramatic circumstances, sorry to hear that!) – well, in truth its a kitchen install – we are moving it from a tiny galley basement to our current dining room, which is going to improve our lives and home so much, I can’t wait. I just have to cross my fingers everything goes smoothly so we actually do have a working kitchen before my baby arrives in 3 months! Yikes! Best of luck to you! x

    • Reply
      April 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      I can relate. We have done a lot of crazy things in the weeks before our kids arrived. Then one arrived early and we were in the process of renovating. LOL! It all turned out great. Good luck to you and Congratulations on your upcoming arrival.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Kitchen renovations are stressful enough as it is, never mind one being sprung on you all of a sudden! I love where you’re going with this. I agree, stock up on wine 🙂

    • Reply
      April 22, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      I’ve um, what’s the word, resigned myself to the fact that this one is going to take a lot longer than we both anticipated. Can’t make money appear out of the sky. I am just grateful to have a functioning clean kitchen at this point.

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