DIY Kitchen Renovation


I've been a little hesitant about sharing our kitchen renovation here, because I wasn't sure if it would be inspiring or just reveal how crazy my husband and I are. :) We completely gutted the old kitchen in our 1950s rancher and DIYed everything except the countertop installation. The renovation took us roughly a year to complete. We have jobs and young kids, so renovating this house is something we do on the side as a hobby.

This was a total gut-job of both the kitchen and dining room, where the only surfaces that didn’t get replaced were some parts of the ceiling. The old cabinets were falling apart, the layout didn’t work for us, and the appliances were not going to survive the heavy use of a family of five much longer. Here are a couple of pics of the old kitchen:

We completely gutted the old kitchen down to the studs, removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and changed the cabinet and appliance layout. We added insulation, hung new drywall, installed new engineered wood flooring, installed all new cabinets, appliances, and fixtures, and put up new tile backsplashes. Here are a couple of pics of what it looked like during the renovation:



We spent just over $30K on this kitchen. By buying a fixer upper and doing nearly all of the work ourselves, we were able to spend a lot more on this kitchen and splurge on some higher end products than if we had bought a newer home or hired someone else to do the renovation for us.

We stuck with a very neutral and classic design, because we don't want to be doing this again any time soon. :) With this background, it's easy to add pops of color with accessories if we ever feel like it.

There are many more pictures in the link below if you'd like to see more. :)

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Anni | Whose Idea Was It To Buy This House

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

23 questions
  • Tpr2872444
    on Jan 27, 2016

    Do you or your husband have any experience in construction, electrical or plumbing? This is very pretty but is way beyond the skills of the average DIYer. How did you know the wall you took out wasn't a weight bearing wall?

  • Susan Gavin-Leone
    on Jan 27, 2016

    Wow! Impressive! One question regarding the placement of your microwave. I see that you put it under the counter. I was just wondering what made you decide to place it there. I keep thinking if I did that in my kitchen, all the bending and lifting of things would just aggravate my lower back. Did you do it for ease of access for you kids?

    • Karen W
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Susan Gavin-Leone thank you for clarifying what that was in that spot. I couldn't tell from the picture!

    • We just couldn't come up with another solution. We liked the look of a range hood over the stovetop. And we couldn't build it in with the oven since we wanted a double oven. And we didn't want it taking up counter space. I can see how it could be an issue for someone with back problems but it has worked great for us so far.

  • Terri
    on Jan 27, 2016

    What was the approximate cost to this renovation?

  • AKP
    on Jan 27, 2016

    Forgive me if this has been asked and answered, but I did not see it. Why did you choose not to install the countertop yourself? We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel right now, we also gutted - kept the walls, but redid the ceiling and floor. In the process of hanging cabinets now. We also have small children, currently "kitchening" in the laundry room with mud sink for dishes, and we were able to place the stove and refrigerator in there as well. A small appliance table holds coffee pot, microwave, blender, etc. Its crazy, but it works! Anyway, countertop question above. Thanks for post, feel like we are kindred spirits in this phase of chaos!

    • Melissa
      on Jan 27, 2016

      Where does it say they didn't install the countertops?

    • Deb J
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @AKP I'm not sure why they chose to have the counter professionally installed. I can speak from our personal experience. When we purchased our granite countertops, installation was included in the price and there was no discount for doing it ourselves. After watching them install our countertops, I definitely would have paid to have them do it! It's a 3 man job if you have any lengthy stretches and they have all the appropriate tools to carry the slabs and cut, file, sand and modify for the perfect/snug fit. Enjoy the remodel process! It's what makes all those fun family memories and you will LOVE your new family kitchen space :-)

    • Dayna Barnes
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Melissa In the post that the link points to. Looks like maybe it is a solid-surface countertop like granite or something similar, and I wouldn't DIY that, either.

    • Deb J
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Dayna Barnes Exactly! As my big burly 6'5" husband said, "lifting that is a b@!! buster, so let them do it" Lol

    • Leslie
      on Jan 27, 2016

      If I might clarify something here, Anni said she and Husband did everything in the renovation EXCEPT the countertops (opening paragraph). That means they installed all cabinetry, flooring, tiling, plumbing, electricity, appliances, etc etc themselves. The countertops look like quartz which, like granite needs to be cut and installed professionally. I have a small piece of granite shelving that is extremely heavy to lift. I can understand on that aspect alone why they had theirs professionally installed :)

    • Leslie
      on Jan 27, 2016

      Anni, simply gorgeous renovation, kudos to you and your Husband :) I must say this is the result of a great DIY and working together with a common goal. Even with family and full time jobs, with taking their time they had the opportunity to change their plans as they went, to accommodate what they might have found when gutting their kitchen or finding that they didn't like or wanted to add something they didn't previously think of. GREAT job!!!!

    • Hi Kindred Spirit, the answer is exactly what Deb said except our material is quartz, Silestone to be more specific. Good luck with your project! :)

    • Thank you SO much Leslie! You captured exactly what this was all about even better than I did. :)

    • AKP
      on Jan 28, 2016

      @Melissa second sentence in says they did it all themselves except for the countertop installation.

  • Ilene Dionne Robertson
    on Jan 27, 2016

    Beautiful kitchen we will be starting our kitchen in April and we want white cupboards also.... It's a 1950 home (mid-century home they call them now, oooh la la LOL) and we have never redone the kitchen except paint it white lol.... we are moving to the cottage in April so that hubby can work uninterupted.... I also love your bar/wine cooler corner, I think I want to incorporate that on one of the walls... Are your cupboards Ikea?

  • Suzzee
    on Jan 27, 2016

    What kind of flooring did you use?

  • Janice Rushlow
    on Jan 27, 2016

    It turned out gorgeous! What is the counter top made of?

  • Candy
    on Jan 27, 2016

    husband is pushing for a kitchen DIY makeover along the lines of yours..complete. My question of concern is how did you feed your family during a whole year of kitchen downtime? I cook and bake most everything from scratch and cannot imagine how our healthy and economical eating habits would suffer. Not to mention me, being cast out of the kitchen for an entire year.My eyes are brimming and my forehead furrowed just thinking about it.

    • Lreg
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Candy I have been totally without a kitchen since Thanksgiving. We have a rice cooker, microwave, toaster oven, crock pot, and the electric skillet. Fridge and freezer. Of course the coffee pot! I am using my laundry area as my 'executive kitchen'. I have had to be creative in cooking, but we haven't missed a meal either. We seldom eat out as we are busy doing the reno and frankly like what I am making., I have adapted to be able to bake in the toaster oven, it just has to be smaller. What makes this work is that we bought everything we could first. Then, at the same time I was packing up the old kitchen. We then demoed and had the trades lined up to do what we wouldn't (trust me the sheetrockers were worth it!). I'm not gonna lie and say it is easy but the end is in sight for us.

    • Wanday
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Candy You make do the best way you can and take a break from 'scratch' cooking (baking)! The end result will be worth all the time, effort!!!

    • CJ
      on Jan 27, 2016

      @Wanday FABULOUS!!!!! Better work than from a contractor. I'd eat canned beans cooked on the outdoor grill for a year to get this gorgeous make-over! Fantastic job.....

    • We had a temporary kitchen for most of it. We extended the plumbing and moved the old sink cabinet and dishwasher so they sat in the middle of the kitchen. We kept moving the other old appliances around and covered everything up with plastic when doing dusty work. The last couple of months when tiling etc. we already had the new appliances in use. BUT all of this took a lot of flexibility, and while it was worth it for us, I wouldn't say it was easy. :)

    • Wanday
      on Jan 28, 2016

      @CJ AMEN, CJ!!

  • Barb in Texas
    on Jan 27, 2016

    Gorgeous, I can't say enough about what an improvement it is. One question though, all those storage cabinets next to the fridge were apparently a blank wall originally, did you bump into a room to accomplish that?

    • Thank you Barb! Yes, it was a blank wall, but there is a staircase behind it, so we could not take any space from there. Instead we built out into the room. They are shallow cabinets though at 12 inches, which is the typical depth of upper kitchen cabinets.

  • Sherry
    on Jan 27, 2016

    The two lights over the sink, where did you purchase them?

  • Gramma Birdie
    on Jan 27, 2016

    This gives me so much more confidence in doing my kitchen the way I want it. Do you have a bird's eye view of the floor plan, with measurements? I am especially interested in the size of the cupboard that seems to have a wine cooler in it.

    • On my blog in the archives, there is a post in Feb 2015 with the kitchen layout in floor plan view. The whole bar is about 62 inches wide and the middle cabinet with the beer fridge is 24 inches.

  • Colleen Poisson
    on Jan 27, 2016

    where did you purchase the lights over your sink area ????

  • S. Roy
    on Jan 27, 2016

    I love it! Lots of time and money,but what a great kitchen! Where did you get the range hood? I need one like that......

  • Sle3287151
    on Jan 28, 2016

    Carpet tile sqaure you made a rug for under your bed renovation

  • Glenda Pino
    on Jan 28, 2016

    Are the carpet tiles adhered to the wood floor? Or ?

    • I assume you are referring to the post about our bedroom makeover? The carpet tiles are not adhered. The backing is sticky in that it keeps them from sliding but they are not glued or anything like that. You lift them off like any other rug.

  • Glenda Pino
    on Jan 28, 2016

    So the squares don't damage the flooring underneath? Who makes these squares? Thanks again for your reply.

  • Sandra Powell
    on Jan 30, 2017

    You did a beautiful job!! My question is what is your wall colour and cabinet colour?

  • Sha8104950
    on Jan 30, 2017

    WHAT KIND OF FLOOR IS THIS WHERE DID YOU GET IT AND HOW MUCH WAS IT

  • Pat
    on Jan 30, 2017

    For some reason the link you have is not working. Tried three times and nothing.

    • Jodi
      on Jan 30, 2017

      Me too!! Even tried typing in the http and get nothing.

  • Fadedgenes
    on Jan 30, 2017

    L.O.V.E. the flooring (and everything else!) Care to tell the brand and who carries it (lowes? home depot?). thanks for sharing

    • Fadedgenes
      on Jan 30, 2017

      nevermind, apparently I got so excited about the flooring I failed to scroll thru the other questions and see that you've already provided the answer to mine.

    • Eliza Spear
      on Jan 30, 2017

      It looks like engineered hardwood

  • Elizabeth Dion
    on Jan 30, 2017

    How did you prepare meals during your renovation? Ya'll did an outstanding job!

    • Vicki Lehmann
      on Jan 30, 2017

      You'd be surprised what you can make with a microwave, electric fry pan, slow cooker and table top toaster/broiler! Also, washing dishes in the bath tub is your only option unless you have a laundry sink...

    • Susan
      on Jan 30, 2017

      HOW RIGHT you are! I'm in the process of doing all the finish work myself in my home - some walls STILL don't have drywall and I don't have a stove...yet. It's just me so the hot plate, microwave, toaster, toaster oven and a NuWave Oven... I don't NEED a stove yet. Great job on your reno.... wish me luck

    • Meme
      on Mar 11, 2017

      fabulous job. yes its amazing what you can do with the appliances you listed and also you can make extra meals and freeze them to just reheat and serve

  • FMasMac
    on Jan 31, 2017

    You did a fabulous job! Where did you get the bar sink? Can you provide approximate dimensions? Thanks!

  • Sos12988015
    on Mar 11, 2017

    Where did you get French door beverage fridge

Join the conversation

2 of 408 comments
  • Irene Gronewald
    on Feb 22, 2017

    what a class act...whoa and whoa!!!

  • Carol
    on Mar 8, 2017

    Your kitchen is to die for!!!! Fantastic job you guys. You should be proud of what you accomplished.
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