After 24 days of chaos, our kitchen renovation is finally done! While three weeks doesn’t seem long to be without a working kitchen, it was an eternity in my mind. In retrospect, the whole process was relatively smooth. No major catastrophes or delays to cause a setback. Probably the hardest thing for me was trying to work while listening to construction noise all day. And the dust. We’re still cleaning that fine, white powder that seems to be everywhere in the house.
So what did I learn from the renovation? First of all, you can have a nice kitchen on a budget and you can design it yourself. You just have to do a lot of research, watch a lot of HGTV and go to open houses in your neighborhood to get ideas. I was fortunate to have worked with Geri from Geri’s Kitchen and she helped me pick out our custom cabinets and developed the overall layout.
I did the rest of the design on my own. Over a period of two months in preparation for the renovation, I selected the granite, the backsplash, lights, sink and appliances. That’s the fun part but also overwhelming. I had a color palate in mind but you never really know if it will tie in together nicely until you see the finished kitchen. I drove around to a lot of places with a sample cabinet door and a plank of flooring in hand to help me pick out the granite and backsplash tiles. Picking lights was more difficult than I expected. I knew I wanted recessed lighting, and lots of it. I ended up selecting LED lights because they are energy-efficient and don’t generate heat. More expensive upfront but worth the savings in the long run. The pendant lighting gave me the most heartburn. Because I couldn’t afford to blow up the dropped ceiling, that limited my choices for pendants. In the end, I found onyx lights that work perfectly over the new island.
People have been asking me what are my favorite aspects of the new kitchen. I love all of it but if I had to pick a few highlights, they would be:
- French-door refrigerator
- Island that features a special cabinet just for my Kitchen Aid mixer (and there’s an outlet in the cabinet)
- Pull out shelves in all the cabinets
- Built-in trash and recycle bins
If I can offer one nugget of advice: be prepared for serious sticker shock when it comes to appliances. I had an inkling that the appliances were going to be costly but nowhere near what I had expected. It’s alarming to know that the average stainless steel refrigerator starts at about $2000 and that’s for a basic side-by-side model. I also had no idea that a slide-in range (versus a freestanding range) was so expensive! And don’t even get me started on the wine refrigerator. That appliance is hard to come by in Hawaii unless you’re willing to pay big bucks for a high-end version. I ended up ordering one online via Best Buy and they shipped it to the Iwilei store for free.
I still can’t believe I have such a beautiful kitchen. It seemed like the impossible dream for so many years (12 to be exact). Now my husband said we should sell. I told him the only way he’s getting me to leave this house is if the next one is renovation-free and has a kitchen that is as perfect as mine. I think we’ll be staying of awhile!