Sarah's Big Kitchen Renovation: An Adventure 18 Months in the Making.

18 Months

This year, for our house's 110th anniversary, we decided to give it a huge present: to finally finish the kitchen remodel we began 18 months ago.
A DIY kitchen remodel 18 months in the making
I'll admit this up front: We had NO. IDEA. what we were getting into when we started demolishing our dining room wall back in November 2012.
The view upon entering the kitchen.
We thought we knew. We came up with plan and a budget. Everybody said, "Everything's gonna take you twice as long as you think," and "Add at least 10% to what you want to spend." To be on the safe side, I doubled both to a whopping $6,000 and 6 months.
Formerly a bathtub, now a back entry.
We knew how inexperienced we were. We knew that we would have to DIY everything. We knew that our previous DIY experience of painting walls and refinishing floors was going to be woefully inadequate to the task. But, feeling like we had Google and YouTube on our side, we plowed ahead.
The south wall (before) and what's left of it
For 18 months, we plowed ahead. We tore the room down to the studs, and then removed some of the studs. And still the roof stayed up. We learned plumbing and electrical and HVAC and drywall, and still the house passed inspections. We tiled painted and built counter tops from scratch. We bought appliances on Craigslist and doors from a salvage yard and windows from the "oops" bin at a building materials outlet. And we still weren't done.
The new view from the dining room.
We replaced a bathtub with a back entry, a back entry with a whole wall of cabinets, and a whole wall of cabinets with a long-coveted doorway between the kitchen and dining room. The only thing that didn't move was the stove.
The stove wall, before and after.
I did everything I could to make sure that the new kitchen felt like a natural part of the old house. I scoured a local salvage shop for doors that matched the others in our house, then spent countless hours stripping and re-painting them. Over the course of five months, I re-created 600 linear feet of moldings to match the house's original millwork, so that the new room would fit in as seamlessly as possible.
The east side of the kitchen.
You might call it a labor of love, but I'd respectfully disagree. Instead of demonstrating that I have a heart, I think perhaps it simply demonstrates that I have no common sense. When the dust finally settled, we had spent nearly double our budget and triple our time...but we had managed to do the entire renovation without hiring a professional.
Future buyers, beware.
The old chimney, newly exposed.
You can see more before-and-afters (lots more "afters"!), as well as 18 months' worth of DIY stories, on my blog: Thanks for reading!

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Sarah's Big Idea

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


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2 of 88 comments
  • Maureen
    on Nov 4, 2014

    Very nice. It really makes the kitchen look very modern and pretty.

  • TMulhern
    on Nov 6, 2014

    What a vast difference! Your kitchen really has a wow factor in it. Great job. Nicely done. :)

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