When a little water leak in our ice line behind our fridge turned out to be a monster problem, I had no idea what we were in for. Floors were ripped out, cabinets gone, mold remediation teams moved in, and four months later, we still don’t have a working kitchen. While we are supremely grateful for the new kitchen we are about to receive, we had no idea how trying this kitchen renovation would actually be. So after months of living like vagabonds, cooking on camping stoves, and eating out like fools, I decided to pen The 10 Commandments of a Kitchen Renovation.
If you are about to embark on construction of the kitchen of your dreams, BEWARE. The road to sparkly stainless appliances, farmhouse sinks, and trendy light fixtures is paved with blood, sweat, lots of tears, and will likely bankrupt you.
the 10 commandments of a kitchen renovation
- Thou Shalt Go Over Budget – This is a given. No matter how carefully you create your Excel spreadsheets with exact costs of material and contractors fees, you will go over budget. We had $4000 in our “contingency budget”, and are down to $1800, with another 7-10 days to go. There are of course diamonds needed to polish scratches out of the floor, all those online purchases you have to return multiple times, the West Elm kick ass light fixtures, and the cost of eating out. Make sure you have at least 5-10% leftover in your budget for things you never saw coming.
- Do Not Covet a Timely Renovation – Something always goes wrong, so when your contractor gives you a finish date, add a month. We had drawers that were too small and the wrong crown molding delivered, which took over two weeks to rectify. Always expect the unexpected, and don’t plan the construction around a holiday. You will be disappointed.
- Honor Thy Paper Products – I am so grateful for the manufacturers over at Dixie for making paper cups and plates, and for the people who are likely ruining our environment by making plastic forks and spoons. Washing dishes in a bathroom sink and using a toilet as a drying rack just plain sucks. Just use paper, it will save your sanity.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill The Contractor (Or anyone else that screws up, multiple times) – OMG can you just show up on time people? I have to give our contractor credit, when he says he’s going to be there, he usually shows up 15 minutes early. It’s the days when he doesn’t show up that are making my hair turn gray. And making me want to poor gasoline on the mess and light it on fire. (Just kidding – sort of.)
- Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain (Though you will have plenty of opportunities) – Keep your temper in check. I recommend a meditation app and wine every night.
- Honor Thy Spouse, Even When Their Design Ideas Suck – You will likely not agree with everything your spouse likes. You have two choices, fight like cats and dogs or try to blend your styles collectively. We did both. And will have the most awesome contemporary farmhouse kitchen you’ve ever seen!
- Thou Shalt Supervise All Workers at All Times – Keep your eyes peeled ya’ll. I had to keep an eye on each piece of tile they installed (and yes one has a filler mark the shape of a penis – not sure how I missed that!) and make sure they are doing what you want done. Don’t be afraid to speak up, (in a nice way of course) to make sure you get quality workmanship.
- Thou Shalt Stop Obsessing About The Details – This is a hard one for me, but sometimes you have to let them finish the job before you can see the big picture. I fretted for weeks about drawer pulls, and ended up loving the originals I bought. Go figure!
- Thou Shalt De-Clutter BEFORE The Construction – I highly recommend the decluttering process prior to work being started. We are living amongst boxes full of crap from three junk drawers. It would have been so much easier to do this before they demo’d the kitchen.
- Thou Shalt Be Grateful You are getting a New Kitchen!- When you are at your worst, living in hovel and can’t find the magic in the mess, do not burn down your house. Remember, the payoff will be gorgeous and just like childbirth, it will all be worth it.
Obviously, these 10 Commandments of a Kitchen Renovation could be applied to any construction project. Wishing you much luck and calm vibes for your own renovation. Also hoping I have a shred of sanity left when ours is finally done. Cheers to home ownership!
Need some design inspiration? Here are my favorite white kitchens inspired by Fixer Upper!
And the best kitchen lights for your modern farmhouse design!
Live from the Playroom says
Bahahhaha – I’m glad you’re not drying plates on the toilet! Can’t wait to see the finished project!
I’ll share it if I’m not in jail before they finish.
Kathy Radigan says
My sister just finished hers, and it was a tough time for her and her family but her kitchen and extension are gorgeous!!! Though I must say I prefer watching other people go through it then doing it myself!! xo
J. Ivy Boyter says
I can’t wait until we decide to budget for a kitchen renovation! I’m eager to update the space with nicer cabinets and I’d LOVE to have some dark cherry Pergo “wood” floors or a less dingy looking tile! Our cabinets are as old as the house built in the 80s and they’re not in great shape!
But, thank you so much for reminding me what to expect in a remodel. It’s true … we went through the same thing in an unexpected emergency bathroom remodel less than a year after we bought the house 🙁
Stephanie D Lewis says
How do I live this let me count the ways….. 10!!! The Ten Commandments format worked perfectly for this topic and what hilarious spoofs with the language.thiughts of Murdering the contractor? Been there! And fretting about drawer pulls? Omg! I actually ordered mine from an artist on Etsy (dichroic glass!) so they’d be totally different than what’s out there and then one by one as the glass strips fell off (she used faulty glue!) the stainless steel bars, I realized I liked the plain bars (what everyone else has!) better!! So 11th commandment “Thou shalt not reinvent the wheel! Or drawer pull.” Absolutely loved this entire piece! Sharing!
Amber Harrop says
It is beginning to look fabulous though Kristen but how you haven’t lost the plot is beyond me – It would drive me potty !!
OMG I’ve lost my mind, trust me!!
Janine Huldie says
Your kitchen remodel came out gorgeous. But as much as we need to update, so much of the journey you listed above is why I am steering clear of it right now in all honesty!
Joy Butler says
I never took into account the fact that you have these commandments in having a kitchen renovation, awesome! Number 4 commandment made me laugh, hahaha! Am sure that my sister will laugh at it too once I forwarded this post to her. Oh, by the way, they’re having a kitchen renovation at the moment!
Kristen Hewitt says
Sending her good vibes!!!
Vanessa Blair says
My mom is planning to renovate our kitchen because it looks shady and worn out. It was discussed here that the deadline of the renovation may be pushed late, but she should be stressed because of it. Moreover, it’s advisable to hire professionals remodeling contractors for kitchen renovation’s best results.
Joy Butler says
Hey, I can’t help but keep on coming back to your really cool post! We still have an ongoing kitchen renovation and I see to it that these commandments are being followed. And yes, number 4 is still my favorite, however, I also do consider being grateful because I am going to have a new kitchen in two weeks more!
Kristen Hewitt says
yay! You’re almost there!
Kristen Hewitt says
I want to see your finished pictures!
Melissa Caron says
Thanks for the great tip to make sure that the cabinets you chose are durable, it will save you money in the long run. My kitchen is quite old and small, so I’ve been thinking of renovating it. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind as I plan out a new kitchen!
Kate Welling says
I like how you mentioned that you will most likely go over budget no matter how many spreadsheets you create! My kitchen needs desperate renovating, so knowing that I might not reach every goal I set is good to know. I need to find a company that can help me design my dream kitchen!
Hazel Owens says
Thanks for the tip to add a month to the date the contractor gives you since there may be problems that arise. My sister is looking to renovate her kitchen since it’s really tiny and hard to move around in with her three kids. I’ll have to let her know about the timeframe and see if we can find a contractor that is know for quick work so she can hopefully use her kitchen again sometime early next year.
Gilda Eve says
Wonderful ideas and designs for kitchens. This is really a helpful post. Thanks for sharing.
Sandra Patterson says
I think you make a good point about how you should always expect the unexpected when renovating a kitchen. My sister is planning on redoing her kitchen after finding extensive water damage. She might appreciate this advice; it might save her some stress when she begins the construction.
Stephan le Roux - Kitch Me Up says
Great post! I read this post after reading your “Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Reveal” and had a good chuckle. Your kitchen turned out beautifully. Well done!
Kristen Hewitt says
Ha thanks! It was a process that’s for sure!
Bella Markel says
Keep sharing such nice blogs with us. The ten commandments you shared in your blog regarding the kitchen renovation are great. Will try to keep them in my mind. Everyone should hire professional kitchen remodeling contractors to get satisfactory work done for their kitchen area.
Wondrous Kitchen & Bathroom says
Very thankful for these resources, they seem like they will really help with what I need to get done. Thank you very much for the post!
My Bath says
The ideas in this blog for kitchen renovation is very brilliant. For kitchen renovations project there is need to hire the professional contractors. The professional contractors have ability to give creative look to your kitchen which everyone like. Thankyou for this valuable post.
Blake Riley says
Ok so i was kinda excited about renovating my kitchen. I thought it would be all fun and games until i read your post. and now in my head im all like OMG!! It is going to be a nightmare. Should i do it?