Changing Hardware

Several years ago I had beautiful wood cabinetry that was worn in spots. I thought about painting them, but had a hard time losing the beautiful wood grain. They were maple and many of them had the rare Birdseye pattern in them. But I really wanted to try gray cabinets. I searched on Pinterest for gray stained cabinets. I thought this would give me the gray look while also keeping the wood grain pattern visible. I loved the pictures I found and decided on a gray stain. The next challenge is finding someone who will do the job. Refinishing a decent amount of gray cabinets is a JOB. I finally found someone to do it and quickly realized it would be disruptive (the kitchen would be torn apart for about three weeks) AND expensive (much more than painting them would be). At the time, my husband was not thrilled with the idea.

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White countertops

Whenever I visited a person’s home and see what they chose for their countertops, they typically choose some sort of color and/or pattern. If it’s laminate, the color could be green, beige, or a rust color. If it’s granite, there is some sort of stone look, but typically in a color with brown or reddish tones. However, if you watch HGTV, a countertop with color is NEVER chosen.

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Kitchen Cabinets...Old or New?

In a kitchen or even a bathroom renovation, you may have to decide what you can keep and what you should replace. If you’re trying to save money, you may have to salvage as much as you can. Cabinets are one thing that can be salvaged in order to save money. Also, many old houses may have original cabinets that you might want to keep to maintain the charm of the home. However, they may still need some freshening up.

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Getting Estimates

If you’re new to renovating, you may not understand how things are built. Do you know that you usually do the framing, then the electrical and plumbing, then the drywall, painting, and other carpentry? If you’re changing out surfaces, figure out which needs to be switched out first. It could be based on reasons like getting things dirty. It could work better to do the painting and then putting in the floors so that you don’t have to worry about a drop cloth. Doing electrical before you put in the backsplash and then having the electrician come back to install the covers is the way to do things. Or, your process might depend on style. You may need to see what the floors look like before you choose a countertop, for example. If you know the order of how things need to be installed, you might be able to be your own general contractor. If you can, you’ll save a lot of money.

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Before you do any renovations, you need to make sure you can afford the project. I get taking out a home equity loan so that you can make payments for a larger project. That may work for you as long as you can stick to a budget and be disciplined enough to make the payments. I prefer to make sure I have the money first, however. 

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A big shout out to the single ladies…and especially those single moms…this post is for you! After 17 years of marriage, I found myself single once again after my divorce. I found myself wanting to crawl under a rock for the first six months of being single. I just wanted to live a quiet and simple life as I dealt with the loss of the family unit I had once known.

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A good design is beautiful, but it’s also functional at the same time. If it’s not, you’ll end up hating it and changing it down the road. Anytime I design a space, it has to be both beautiful and functional. One aspect of functionality is to keep your kids in mind when you design a space. There’s the actual design that needs to keep the kids in mind and then there are other ways you can infuse your kids’ needs into the design.

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Having a plan for your renovation project may mean the difference between hiring an expensive designer/builder or being your own designer and general contractor and saving a ton of money. If you can plan the whole project out as I describe below, you may not need costly advice from the experts. You may just be able to do the whole thing yourself. So, what are some strategies for planning out a big project like a professional designer?

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When I buy a new house, I make sure to get a thorough home inspection. And I make sure to be there for the 3-4 hour process myself so that I can go through the house, understand how everything works, see what issues need to be fixed and when all the issues need to be fixed. If there’s anything unsafe or expensive, I would negotiate with the seller about getting it done prior to the closing. When I get my inspection report, which usually contains photos, I map out when I’d like to complete any of the needed improvements. I take out a document and type headings such as Fall 2019, Winter 2019, Spring 2020, etc. I take every needed repair and improvement and map out when I’m going to get the work done.

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Since I posted my first few blogs, I’ve gotten some feedback. My grandma told me I need to post pictures of my kitchen. So, I decided to use this blog to post pictures of how the kitchen looks before the renovation. And I’ll talk through why it needs to be changed.

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