If you thought we were done with sharing about our home renovations, you’d be wrong! Muhahaha. We have so much more to cover! Last year I made the delusional (lol) choice to participate in a 3 month home renovation blitz, which consisted of designing our kitchen, Jasper’s room, out kitchenette in the basement, our staircase, and exterior of the house. It was all for an episode of a home renovation tv show that I shared about here, here, here, here and plenty more and turns out I have some regrets–surprise! Who would have thought I didn’t make the best choices in a time of so much stress?!
A little bit about the show
A number of design choices were made under intense pressure because of budget and time and I wanted to share some about what I would have done differently and what my current plans are for the spaces we did. I knew I had a very short time frame to not only come up with the concept, but order the materials, find people to help, get it installed, and styled and ready for camera. Utah was (is?) going through a construction shortage, where finding workers and supplies in a reasonable time frame is hard and long. As opposed to what some people thought, we were not given a budget for renovations or labor–the home owner is in charge of everything.
Our original renovation plan
Prior to agreeing to do the show, our plan was to take things SLOWLY. There was nothing in the house when we bought it (see here), but we quickly put in very phase 1 materials/furnishings so it was liveable with the intent that I’d be able to figure out what we really wanted and what would work best for our family. Not to mention, taking it slowly would mean spreading out our budget over time, which was pretty crucial for us.
Agreeing to do the show changed that plan. Now, I had to act fast. My normal work was put on hold for about 7 months so I could focus exclusively on the show. I say “focus on the show” rather than “focus on home renovations” because those two things are a little bit different. All of a sudden, our team was project managing a home renovation, filming, hair/make up, wardrobe, set design in addition to our normal work load of fabric launches, wallpaper launches, craft projects and so much more.
With all that in mind, you might better understand where my brain was at at that time (hint: like a chicken with its head cut off) and today I’m going to talk about the kitchen. I knew that in order to afford a beautiful “after” I needed to work with sponsors to provide some of the big ticket items. I immediately started reaching out to sponsors for appliances, cabinets, and decor. These types of things normally take months and months to work out. We didn’t have that and thankfully the pull of doing a tv show and potentially getting featured was appealing enough for companies to say yes quickly. THANK YOU for trusting me! I’ve been working with sponsors on the blog for over a decade so thankfully I already had great relationships with many companies or knew where I could go to potentially make it happen.
First up, cabinets. In my dreams we would have created truly custom cabinets with fun details and colors that was unlike anything you’d ever seen before. I did not have that budget or time for this, maybe someday I will, but that is not for a long while, so I was thrilled to be able to work with with Cliq Studios again, whose cabinets are totally solid and time tested. We love them! Of course, I wish there were more options in colors because you know I love a colorful cabinet. Understandably, cabinet companies tend to keep their options to the safe few: white, grey, black, and blue and they were no exception. I’m still waiting for a company to develop colorful cabinets or at least provide more unfinished options so you can customize them easily.
I chose the cream option for the cabinets thinking that I could bring in color elsewhere–tile, wallpaper, fabrics. As you might recall from this post, my original idea was to do a really amazing floral tile, but I couldn’t find anything that would work. I even tried a custom option that would have cost more than my car, but it just did not turn out.
I then found an antique tile from Portugal that I loved! Again, it would have cost more than my first born, and would have taken months to come in so that idea was also scratched. I mentioned how we then took a picture of the tile and turned it into wallpaper. Spoonflower provided the wallpaper for us in their shiny option so any dirt of mess would easily wipe up. To be honest, it works great! However, I don’t love the design with the counters we had chosen from the beginning.
When we first had our first kitchen plan, we went with the countertop that I thought would be lovely, a calacatta viola–it’s both dramatic and expensive. Because plans changed so many times, the calacatta viola option was no longer my first pick and ultimately, I don’t think it was the best choice for what we are going for, but we had to get it ordered right away. It also got installed wrong a few times (gah!) and the corners were permanently ruined and patched up a few times and that also bums me out because with something so rare and precious, you hope it will be done impeccably.
With those issues in mind, my plan now is to find an actual tile to replace with the wallpaper design. Because the countertops are brown/purple/reddish, they need to go with it. I’m working with Fireclay tile on bringing in a tile that will do the job. I have something fun in mind and am still working out the details. I have tendency to go too much of a good thing so I want to make sure it’s juuuuuust right.
Moving onto the appliances, we chose a really classic oven with the black Ilve stove. They had so many great color options and a part of me is bummed that I didn’t get a colorful one, but it would have taken awhile to come up with an overall concept that worked with a colorful stove and without seeing samples, we couldn’t take that risk.
The hood was one that was given to us by Hoodsly, who makes custom hoods. We got ours unfinished and painted it to match the cabinets. I love the shape but I’d love to do something a bit more dramatic to it. My plan is to either add on antique brass or something that will add on more of a focal point to the wall. I’m pretty sure it’s going to require taking it down from the wall (even though the installer said upon installation that it’s never moving ever again ;).
Now, the fridge. We found a deal on the panel-ready fridge from Fisher & Paykel, and I will forever be grateful to Meta Coleman for gifting me the idea of the cabinet that looks like a fridge. I still love the concept! And I will also be forever grateful to Pat for tackling the assignment. She nailed it! Carrie from our team quickly painted it and did a beautiful job. Now, I’m still working out the colors of the tile I’ll be installing so the fridge may or may not stay the same. I will for sure keep the shape, but I may try and make it look even more like a Scandinavian wedding cabinet. I think it will be lovely!
Lastly, I have been collecting some beautiful antique Delft tile that I’ve been finding in Denmark when I go back to visit and now have sixteen of them. I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate that into the design, but am still trying to figure it out. Any tips welcome!
I’d also love to do some sort of ceiling treatment whether it’s with beams or trim work. I’m pretty sure this needed to be done before cabinets so I don’t know if it will happen anytime soon.
Things I do not regret: That incredible kitchen island/work table from Beck and Cap. It fits the space well and is so so helpful and adds great storage! Another thing I don’t regret is–I didn’t install hardware onto the cabinets because I didn’t know what the final outcome would be and I’m really glad I haven’t done that yet because that is one that I know I couldn’t mess with. But I also know it will make a huge difference once it’s installed. I know we all want some pulls on those doors!
As you can tell, I still don’t have a totally firm grasp on what I’ll be doing and a big part of that is because I don’t have any solid deadlines–ha! So, I guess one thing I am grateful for is that the show helped me make big decisions fast. However, I encountered so much decision fatigue in such a short amount of time that I’m still recovering apparently 😉 SOOOO, I’m considering this kitchen renovation not quite done. We’ll call it phase 2.5.
I’m hoping to have more to share with you soon! Let me know your thoughts–I’d love to hear them!