Planning a Kitchen Renovation

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ever since we bought our place more than five years ago, Chris and I knew we want to do a kitchen makeover to make it work better for us. Thankfully, before we decided to go further, we read a personal finance article in which the author suggested for a new homeowner to move in their home for a while before doing any home renovation.

God blessed us with Max a little under a year after we moved in. We knew that our kitchen project got to wait until the kids are big enough to follow instruction. To motivate us and make it more fun, we set a goal: to pay off certain percentage of our house before we can begin our kitchen project. By God's grace we reached that goal beginning of this year and by now our youngest is old enough to follow instruction so the planning, communicating, and working can now begin. :)

Steps we took before we begin our kitchen renovation:
1. Identify the current problem: what can be saved, what need to be changed or update to improve the way we live and work. The above cabinet is an example of what we want to change: the opening on this lower kitchen cabinet is too small that the corner space is practically unused because we can't reach it.

2. Look for inspirations and save them in a Pinterest board
3. Communicate what we like or don't like and what we can save or choose to splurge on. Both Chris and I are strong headed, opinionated individuals with different taste and preference. However, we realize that our strength and weaknesses complement each other so we continue to brainstorm, communicate, exchange ideas, and compromise.
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4. Set a budget, save up, and stick to it although it means giving up our first choices but we realize that sticking to our budget is the wise thing to do.

5. Choose our battle: identify what we can work on ourselves and what need to be outsourced. Although Chris is handy, we know there are things better left for the Pro. However, we also think it would be fun to get our hands dirty and learn to do things that we can manage to do ourselves.

6. Look for the right contractor and schedule for a quote. We did this mainly by asking recommendations from our friends this way we can check out their works first.
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7. Start going to local building supplies to get ideas on what's available and compare the prices of the material. Don't forget to take notes or pictures. We were given the old price {before it went up more than 10% in a few months after our first visit} on a refrigerator because we took picture of the old price tag. 

What we find to be helpful:
a. Ask, ask, ask people who have done kitchen renovation for their tips, input, what they wish to do differently and so on.
b. Read, read, read. These days there are many details that people generously write in DIY website or blogs like Young House Love and Centsational Girl. We learned that although watching DIY videos on youtube is fast and convenience, reading detail instructions on blogs and comments followed would save us from making unnecessary mistakes {more on the later post}.
c. $1 Accordion File Folder from Target to organize all brochures, price list, images, samples, and receipts
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  Feel free to chime in if you have other things in mind