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Kitchen Renovation Project – Part 1

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Come on in and check out the before images.Why we are renovating our kitchen

    Welcome to my Kitchen. My workspace where the magic happens and beautiful desserts have been created weekly since 2011. I have been dreaming of a kitchen remodel for the past 2 years. I’ve been going back and forth and changing my mind and backing out over sticker shock and dragging my feet! Maybe even longer – I don’t know… I just know that my kitchen drives me CRAZY and I am so ready for better organization and a better functioning kitchen. Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project is hard, but taking the first steps down this journey sure are exciting. I hope that you follow along in my adventure.

    In the beginning – 2004

    A brand new house in 2004. Big hopes and big dreams. 13 years later, it's time for a kitchen renovation.

    I was so in love with  my new house and my new kitchen and my new dish set and pot and pans and all the space I had in my kitchen when we bought it in 2004. I was still in my 20’s, not blogging and so thrilled to have a real house and two car garage with a yard that I could garden in. It was awesome! I got to pick out the cabinets, the counter tops, the appliances and it was all brand new and sparkly clean! We were maxed out on the budget, so we picked out the standard oak cabinets with no fixtures. We picked the builder grade laminate counters and paid a little extra for the wood bullnose around the edge. The appliances were what came with the house but we upgraded the dishwasher for a quieter one. All in all, it was great. I didn’t need anything fancy. We were paying a small fortune for our house and couldn’t afford much in the way of extras. We figured, we would upgrade when the time was right.

    Well, that time has come. Thirteen years of cabinets and drawers with no handles or pulls. Years of the windows being blocked because the table doesn’t really fit in the space. Hours spent trying to organize “all-the-things” in spaces that were too small or awkwardly arranged.

    My Pain Points

    Welcome to the Pint Sized Baker Kitchen. I'm going to renovate my kitchen!

    I have some definite pain points when it comes to my kitchen. I know that everyone has something that they wish they could change about their kitchen, but I am so over the hassles and frustrations that I’ve been dealing with. I know that there are many people out there that would love to have a kitchen this big, or a ton of cabinets like I do, or even just an island in the kitchen. I know that this is totally a first-world problem, but working in my kitchen everyday for the past six years has really, really gotten to me. It’s time for a kitchen face-lift.

    The Trash Can

    Our trash can took up residence under our island and as much as I try to evict it, it ends up back here. I’ve wanted to get a nice rectangular one, but the pop up lid was too tall, or the space was awkward, or the price tag was astronomical. This white, plastic trash can has been with us since before moving into the house! It has served me well, but it’s time we actually started recycling and had a real place to hide our filth.

    Partial Overlay Cabinets

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Clutter in the cabinets and on the counter tops.

    I have come to hate my cabinets. And I mean HATE my cabinets! I hate the partial overlay cabinets with the darn bar down the center. It’s constantly in the way and I just hate it. I can’t fit large items into the space, cups and cookbooks get lost behind them.

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Lost space between the drawers adds up around the kitchen.

    And the drawers are so much worse.  I loathe the drawers on the lower cabinets. I lose over 5 inches of space between my drawers. Five inches is a lot of space when you have a million spatulas, graters, and whisks. Not to mention pretty much every OXO kitchen tool with big, fat handles (which I totally love and won’t give up). I’ve got 6 spaces between my drawers – that’s nearly three feet of lost space between drawers! UGH!

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Poor cabinet organization.

    I had to google another synonym for “hate” to describe how I feel about the bottom cabinets.  I came up with abhor – to regard with disgust and hatred; to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion. I abhor my bottom cabinets. They too have the center bar between them which blocks adding large items, then they decided to put a small half shelf in there. This little half shelf has caused me more frustrations and headaches because most of my pans are too long to store up and down, can’t fit them in on their sides, and laying them flat is out because of the darn center bar. I finally convinced my husband to CUT the shelf in half just could I could store my 15″ baking pans! And if I want to get my large stock pot out from the cabinet, I have to remove 5 frying pans first, just so I can have to space to get it out. It’s ridiculous!

    Kitchen cabinets that are just not organized and don't fit my baking dishes.


    Lack of organization in the pantry is a huge pet peeve. Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project.   Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Pantry is big, but the wire shelves are not organized.

    Now I know that some people out there would kill for a huge pantry like this. It’s a big food pantry and it has served us well. With that said, my family doesn’t seem to be able to actually close the doors. 90% of the time at least one door is hanging open. I will put a lot of the blame on us but the latching ball at the top is cheap and quite frankly, it sucks at keeping the doors closed. It probably doesn’t help that we have weighed down the doors with sprinkles on one side and spices on the other. The Elfa organizers just worked so well to keep all the little containers neatly arranged.

    The “eat-in” Kitchen

    I want to open my drapes and let in the light! Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project.

    When my husband and I  moved into the house it was just the two of us. Two happy clams with stars in our eyes and a small bar table and two stools. It fit perfectly in our eat-in kitchen. There was space to walk around the small table and stools, I could open the windows and let in the sunshine. Then we had a baby… We got a small table and chair set from IKEA and we set up a high chair. The table was bigger so we pushed it up against the window to make space to walk to the computer and the crap corner to find any lost bills. I started missing my windows. The drapes stayed closed because they were a pain to open with the table right up against them. We have since gone through two more tables here and they too were pushed up to the window. I want my window back. I want to open the drapes and watch the birds at the feeders. I want to be able to OPEN THE WINDOWS in the spring and let the fresh breeze in.

    The Crap Corner

    We all have it. Somewhere in the house is a spot that collects papers, pens, power cords, crayons, rubber bands, glasses, and treasure left behind to be unearthed later. My crap corner has taken on a life of it’s own. We have a  nice computer area in the kitchen and we use the computer everyday! It’s great for finding recipes and checking something quickly. My kid can play games there while I can supervise what she’s watching on YouTube. I love the desk! LOVE! However, the space next to the desk gets so polluted with mail, toys, bowls and utensils, cups, to-do lists, and God knows what else. This area is clean for like five minutes and then the gremlins come back and destroy it. I.GIVE.UP!

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Dull and boring cabinets that need a face lift!The Ceiling Gap

    Unlike a thigh-gap, the ceiling gap is a total eyesore. I have ten inches of dust collecting space between the tops of my cabinets and the ceiling. Having high ceilings is great, but that area is the grossest, nastiest, area in the entire house. I never knew what to put in that space and the few things that I did put up there are covered in grease and dust. It’s all going in the trash when the project starts.

    My Plan!

    You won’t believe my luck! I was chatting with our new neighbor, Tristian, (who has the exact same house floor plan as I do) and we were talking about our dream honey-do list. I mentioned that I want to remodel the kitchen but that I didn’t know where to start. She looked right at me said, “I work for Reico and design kitchens for a living.” shut.the.door! Within a week, she had a dream kitchen planned for me! We’d remove the half wall with the sink. Move the stove for a built in double wall oven. Move the sink to the computer window. Have a big, center, two level island with seats for four and a cook top area. Cabinets with pull out shelves, and lit glass cabinets to the ceiling. It was beautiful.

    Kitchen and Bath Renovations at Reico in Maryland.

    It was also way, way, way beyond my budget. Like $50,000 just in materials. Not including the labor to install it all.

    Talk about a blow!

    So, we chatted some more and made more designs. Got the price down some, but not enough. Then Tristian told me that what I want and what I can afford just don’t match up. My dream of moving plumbing, moving gas and electrical lines and completely renovating the kitchen was just not going to work. I had to make some compromises.

    On my KEEP LIST:

    • Full overlay cabinet doors
    • Larger island
    • Drawers on the bottom cabinets
    • Pull-outs in the cabinets
    • A built in pantry with pullout shelves
    • An oven vent that goes outside (ours vents through the microwave)
    • Recessed lighting

    Items that I had to let go:

    • Moving any major appliance
    • Moving water, electrical, gas lines
    • Tearing down walls
    • A heated tile floor
    • Glass door cabinets to the ceiling

    Beginning a Kitchen Renovation Project. Kitchen in 2016 with new plans for 2017!

    So, while all the cabinets will be a remove and replace job, we have worked on addressing many of my pain points. I am excited to share more of my kitchen renovation with you in the weeks to come. Watch for more on my Instagram Feed (#PSBKitchenRemodel) and Stories.

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    Images, text and all other content Copyrighted©Karyn Granrud, Susanne Queck and Wunderlander Verlag LLC, or ©Pro Stock Media via Unlicensed republishing permitted. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn on qualified purchases.


    Karyn Granrud

    5 thoughts on “Kitchen Renovation Project – Part 1”

    1. Wow, how exciting Karen!!! I have the same problems: wasted space, not enough space, cabinets that hold nothing with shelves that have no purpose other than to waste even more space, etc. Don’t even start with the sticker shock of prices.

      I can’t wait to see your new kitchen! The draft looks amazing, and regardless of how you tweak things to keep it around your budget, it is going to be such a happy room for you. You are going to be my inspiration, so I will be your online cheerleader, and taking notes………

      So, so happy for you! Good luck!

      1. That sticker price is a killer!! It’s still too darn expensive, but after looking around and pricing a few different items, it all costs a lot! I’m excited. I’ll have to start packing up my kitchen in a few weeks and that totally overwhelms me! Thanks for the good wishes!!

    2. I love remodeling, even though it is a pain to clean up afterwards! It seems there is always extra dust everywhere! Over the past 3 years, I did partial remodeling in my kitchen, because I like the basic layout. Last year, I had a new porcelain (stone) floor put it , and love it! The floor will probably outlast me! Good luck with your remodel!

    3. This was a great read! I love remodeling and all things organization, so it was fun to see you go through the points bit by bit. I have half shelves, too, and I hate them! Outside of that, I love my kitchen, but I never thought about just cutting them down. I may tackle that soon! Good luck with the reno. Can’t wait to see pics…

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