Well, it’s official: we’re renovating our kitchen. I mentioned in this post that our plan was just to have some of our cabinets redone, but that plan is out now that our island countertop broke—talk about scope creep! So, now we’re fully remodeling the kitchen, including a new island and new island countertop. (Remember when I said we weren’t going to remodel the kitchen??) If you give a mouse a cookie…
Honestly, this transition to fully remodeling the kitchen has been mostly overwhelming…but a little exciting, too. I have our mood boards (mostly) ready to go, and I can’t wait to share them! But first, I wanted to share a few things we’ve been thinking very carefully about.
After remodeling the kitchen at our last house, there are a few kitchen renovation mistakes we made and lessons we learned that we’re keeping in mind today. Hopefully, there’s some nuggets of wisdom you can learn from, as well.
Ready to learn from our kitchen remodel mistakes, regrets, and learning moments? Let’s dive in.
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1. If you’re doing custom cabinets, customize them!
I know there are a lot of cabinet options out there that come pre-made, but we went with custom in our last home, and we are doing custom again (actually the same company!). Ultimately, for our specific situation, we just wanted someone else to deal with the exact measurements, getting everything built, getting them up…you get it. Plus, we really loved our cabinets at the last house—they just felt high quality.
Anyway, in our last house we did custom cabinets but didn’t actually customize them as much as we could have, and it was probably our top kitchen remodel regret. We had a spice rack installed, and we put in a trash can cabinet—but otherwise, we didn’t really add custom elements.
In this kitchen, we learned our renovation lesson. We’re adding a built-in step stool so I can use more of the upper cabinets, we’re putting in a trash can again, and we’re having a special drawer built for our knives so I can get the knife block off the counter. We’ve also customized the utensil drawer so it isn’t a standard stack with each drawer the same width, and now we’re customizing our island as well!
My advice? If you’re going custom, go for it. Get fussy with the height of a cabinet, install a drawer to hold knives, have specific dividers built—whatever would make your kitchen *super* functional, go ahead and do it. It may add some expense, but it’s a relatively low amount if you’re already going custom.
2. Stick to your guns if you know you have a usability preference.
This is actually something we *did* do in the last house, were very pleased with, and will do again: we had a double basin sink.
Now, I don’t really care if you have an opinion on sinks having one bowl or two: in our family, there is a dirty dishes side of the sink, and a clean side for rinsing. And we just like it. It’s how we use the sink, and we know ourselves well enough to stick to our guns and get a double bowl sink even though everyone on the planet is going with a single bowl right now.
Maybe it’s not a sink, but how you use your cabinets, how you store spices, or how you’d like your trash can—whatever you’re particular about, stick with it.
Know thyself well enough to defy the trends and just get the thing that’s going to work best for you. You’ll never regret it!
3. Bother people with questions.
I wish we’d been much more particular at our last house. Everything turned out beautifully, but there were a number of questions I didn’t think to ask or didn’t want to bother someone with, and that’s very much the wrong attitude to have.
This is so much more than a kitchen remodel mistake—we’re applying this lesson all over our house! You’re spending a lot of money with your subcontractors, so you get to ask as many questions as you want.
This time I’m asking all of them: Do we have to do a tile backsplash or can we consider slab? Do cabinets need knobs or can they have pulls? Can we mix honed and polished stone? Can we change this measurement by an inch?
Ask every little question, and make things exactly how you want them—because once it’s installed, I promise it will bug you that you didn’t ask.
Lessons Learned from Our First Kitchen Renovation
So there you have it: a few critical kitchen remodel mistakes and lessons that we learned from our previous renovation. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start—if you have any advice to add, be sure to drop it in the comments!
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