This is my kitchen. It was not part of our original cottage, we added it in 2003 right after we purchased the house. The entire space is an addition, so there was a lot to consider before we started the renovation.
I wanted vaulted ceilings and wide plank wood floors. I wanted glass cabinets and subway tiles and I wanted that hood. I went to several kitchen planners and brought my ideas to the big box stores, too. I consulted with our builder and combed through countless magazines and catalogs. I was prepared and planned down to the last pot holder.
Or so I thought.
After months of conceptualizing, I knew exactly what I wanted and I was going to get it all. Of course, when it comes to renovation, the dream and the reality are not always the same thing.
There are budgetary constraints, compromises made between partners and the input of the builder ~ the old form versus function debates. I opted for form every single time.
My builder did not.
Needless to say, I didn't get everything I wanted, but I figured that's ok. I will settle for "this" or "that" now and in the near future, I will change it out and get what I really want.
Big mistake. Big.
Here's the deal, my best renovation advice, especially when it comes to the kitchen, the most lived in, most valuable room in your home ~ choose wisely during the initial renovation.
The chances that you will go back and change something out again shortly after a newly remodeled room is complete is remote at best. Things come up, like preschool tuition or the need for a new cesspool or car and since your kitchen already functions fine, your dream item will be relegated to the back burner, again and again.
Additionally, living through construction of any kind is difficult.
Living through a kitchen demo is the worst. You have no water, no work surface, you get sick of take out after day three and the joy of disposable paper plates wears thin in a week. Once you get your kitchen back, the thought of ripping it out again, or any part of it, is almost unbearable. I say do it once and do it right.
There are things that bother me about this kitchen every day. They are things we were going to change out...soon...and yet, other than necessary repairs or swaps, it's looked exactly like this for over 10 years.
What's so wrong with it, you ask? Well nothing earth shattering, just things I wanted from the get go that were sacrificed for the greater good.
For example, I wanted a farmhouse sink (I know, everyone does), but my contractor told me that they were more expensive and so many of them leaked. The aprons were not always flush, blah, blah, installation was harder and therefore would cost more. He also told me that they were a passing fad.
My husband heard all of this and we ended up with a boring basin. It's perfectly pretty, but not what I really wanted and when it comes to creating a feeling in a room, true style, the devil is in the details.
Well, you see those electrical outlets and the bank of light switches? Yeah, so can everyone else, very easily. I wanted them to be lower, down near the countertop and sideways so they could be hidden behind accessories. No one wants to see them, but that's not code. They need to be high enough so that they do not pose a shock threat. The electrical inspector won that round.
However, I should've spent the dough to have them mounted under the cabinets, I cannot stand to see them. We would have to completely retile the backsplash to move them now. That is not happening. So I am stuck with them and they are a terrible eyesore.
I wanted mahogany countertops. They are not practical, according to my husband, and they cost too much. I lost that battle, as well. I fell for the old someday ploy.
Hmmm, that's a conveniently vague time frame, don't you think?
I wanted the window to rest directly on the counter, but the contractor told me that would lead to rot, since water tends to spill into the space from the sink...which should've been a farmhouse styled version.
Did I mention that already?
It's taken me 10 years, but I think I found an easy fix for that one. Just don't tell my husband yet.
Oops. Hi honey.
Lastly, we went for the bargain model fridge instead of the built in and the gap on top bothers me to no end. It also sticks out about a foot past the countertop. We were going to upgrade when it kicked.
The high end dishwasher and stove have both been replaced. That super sale, basic refrigerator is still working perfectly. Just my luck.
I always advise people to decorate with what they love, don't follow trends for the sake of fitting in and listen to decorators who want to sell you their style. However, listening to contractors and safety inspectors is different. It is prudent to consult an expert, but generally there are ways to work your desires into the plan.
My advice is to think about every detail, decide on your must haves and build a contingency plan before the first day of work begins. Decision fatigue and the desire to complete the project, whatever it takes, sets in quickly, especially when you are washing sippy cups and oatmeal encrusted bowls in the bathtub for the third week in a row.
Do it once, do it right and don't get sucked in by all the "someday" talk, because take it from me, someday, is just a pretty word for never.
Do you have a renovation regret?
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