Our Kitchen Remodel - Part I

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We had some friends over a few weeks ago and within one hour every single person was in the kitchen. This is how it always happens, I'm sure you're familiar. And it's not like we even had food in there! No matter what, people gravitate toward the kitchen.

I like our kitchen, but there's a few tweaks that it could make it a lot better... For example, lighter countertops. I'm not really feeling the dark granite at this point. Like everyone else on Pinterest, I'm after that pretty white marble look. It's just so bright and clean looking, I can't help myself!

And I'm dying to get some white tile backsplash going on.

For Chris and I, this kitchen is huge; the biggest we've had in Chicago. However, I understand that for the rest of you it might seem pretty small. My friends in Nebraska have kitchens that I could live in. Literally. I would live in my friend Tyeler's pantry if she invited me.

The good part about working with a smaller space is that new countertops and backsplash shouldn't break the bank! That's what the contractor's have told us anyway. Speaking of contractors, those people are like unicorns. Hard to find and even harder to get into your house. And basically impossible to get a call back from... We're waiting on three different quotes, all were supposed to be back to us about two weeks ago, so I'm sure they'll come any day now...

I thought briefly about doing the open shelf look and ripping out the cabinets, but then I remembered I'm lazy and don't like to dust/clean my plates every other day. We have a few pots we keep in our island and I have to wash them every other day or they get filthy. So while I love the look at the "no-cabinets," it's not practical for me and my lazy lifestyle.

And now for some pics of kitchens I'm lusting over. We won't be getting new cabinets, so I think just switching up the hardware could really help, which is why I love this first image.

Notice the open shelves? So pretty, yet so impractical (for me.)

And I'm also dying to get that damn farmers sink. I'm fearful that one will break the bank and may not happen this time around.

Just looking at these pics gets me very excited and anxious to get moving on this. If you're in the Chicago area and know of a good contractor, let me know! I'm starting to lose hope on our first three.

Our pendant light, breakfast tray, and kitchen runner (pictured below) can all be found at Hayneedle. I've gotten quite a few questions on the rugs in our photos and most can be found there, along with several other pieces you see in our kitchen.

What does your dream kitchen look like? Better yet, if you have your dream kitchen, give me some pointers! Things I should or shouldn't do!


  1. My biggest tip is this: never settle. Take all the time you need to find exactly what you want. It took us THREE YEARS to find the right backsplash for our kitchen. And while it drove me crazy having nothing for so long, it was so important to have exactly the right thing that it makes the long search totally worth it.

    And lighting is incredibly important! The one thing I wish we had was a pendant light above the kitchen sink. I didn't think of it in time. But we do have recessed lights and under-cabinet lighting which is critical to see what you're doing. In my old shitty kitchen, my own silhouette would cast a shadow on anything I was working on on the counter. So annoying.

    Anyway eric and I totally gutted and redid our kitchen ourselves and we have lots of tips! That kinda was the eventual point of my "girl versus kitchen" blog but ... yeah.

    We can chat if you want!

  2. How many things are you remodelling all at once?

    My biggest tip would be to pay attention to lighting. It'll save electricity in the end AND great lighting makes way for great kitchen/food photos. We all know how important the 'Gram is!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  3. I can't wait to see what it looks like! as someone who literally doesn't design anything, i'm excited to see how yours will look!

  4. I love the white countertops with the light green or light blue cabinets. So nice. You guys have a really nice kitchen right now, but I don't blame you for wanting to make it your own! I love the open shelf look too but unless all of your plates and dinnerware are perfect and minimized it could look cluttered really fast. (And what do people with those do with their food and cans unless they have a pantry?) The kitchen in our current rental house is really outdated, like solid pine cabinets above and below an old formica countertop. Yikes. I'll be glad to move on from it. Pine everywhere.

  5. We are currently trying to figure out our kitchen plan - we just spent like 2 hours at IKEA last night! From what I have researched I would definitely go with quartz countertops over marble. Marble stains pretty easily and you have to seal it once a year or so. I also second what everyone says about lighting! Also that green and white kitchen, swoon!!


  6. Farmers sinks are THE TRUTH. We have a stainless steal one and even though I'm not one to leave dirty dishes overnight in the sink (unless to soak off something I burned etc), it is nice to throw everything in there if we have guests over for dinner or if I'm cooking and it all kind of stays somewhat hidden until I'm ready to deal with it, if that makes sense? Tiny downside is that my scratches because it's stainless steel and I STILL haven't gotten one of those plastic guard things to put down but I don't think I'll ever go back to the double sided life.

  7. Oh and I'll add one more thing. We have a tiny little 17 inch tv in our kitchen too. We have spent the last three New Years eves hosting parties, and we don't watch the ball drop on the 65 inch tv in the living room. We all gather and watch it on the 17 inch tv in the kitchen. You're right, the kitchen is always the heart of the home. No matter how small.

  8. We had so many hopes and dreams about our kitchen when we first moved in and then we got an estimate from the contractors on all the things we wanted and it was like $40,000. I almost shit my pants. So for now we are keeping it as is LOL! I agree with you on open concept shelving - I love it but there's no way it would work for us. We also plan to flip this house pretty quickly so I often wonder how that open shelving works for resale value?! Who knows. Either way I'm excited to see how you guys reno!!

  9. How much are you looking to spend on your farmhouse sink? We just got one from overstock and it was very reasonable compared to others I found..we've been using it since November and am totally in love! https://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Fine-Fixtures-Fireclay-Butler-Large-29.5-inch-Kitchen-Sink/6467219/product.html

  10. Kitchen remodels are my FAVORITE. I am a draftsman (I draw design and construction plans), my firm does mostly commercial work but we will take on a residential here and there and the kitchen is always the best. It is easily the hardest part of the home but also the most fun. If you need any recommendations on material companies or anything, I'd be happy to give them! Or not.. you seem to have this pretty together! If there is one thing that I can say is a definite must, it would be to do the farm sink at the same time as the new counter tops. Because farm sinks are set in, your counter top literally sits on top of the side of the sink and its a real bitch to pull those up and install a new sink after the fact. A great place to find farm sinks on the cheap is salvage yards or floor models from local showrooms. I hope you guys get the kitchen of your dreams!!
    PS- Contractors respond rrreealllyyy well when you happen to have an extra case of beer hanging around that just falls into their lap. Ha!

  11. Just finished redoing our kitchen and it was seriously (weirdly?) so much fun! I actually found the exact cabinet hardware I wanted off of Amazon for more than 50% less than the SAME THING at Lowe's! Also, we used white Quartzite which looks just like marble but its cheaper and better for people like me who spill red wine all over every single surface of their homes.

    1. One last thing -- get the farmers sink!! I almost backed out of it because of our budget and I am so glad that I didn't. Ours is white but I love the stainless steel ones too!

  12. Something to remember if you do end up getting a farmhouse/apron front sink: measure, measure, measure! My parents ordered one online and when it came in, it looked like it could've been a tub for my 50lb dog! They would've had to cut out part of their existing cabinets to fit it. So make sure you get one that you can fit within your existing cabinets.

  13. Love what you did with your kitchen! Pinterest is a dangerous tool for home owners! If only you could snap your fingers and have all the changes made - and for free :)

  14. I want an all white house but ours is an all tan house and my husband isn't budging. haha. Damn Pinterest. But really, don't do marble...it's sooo pretty, sooo pricey and sooo pourous. If you are really someone that wants practicality go with something that looks like it but really isn't it like quartz. Save you money and save you heartache when you spill something late night and forget to clean it up until the next day because #drunk. ;) If you don't do the farm house sink, just do an undermount sink...shop around because you can find deals!

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