Our First Ever Kitchen Renovation: Landing On A New Layout
Welcome to the official kick-off of our first ever KITCHEN RENOVATION here on the DIY Playbook. We’ve tackled a lot of projects over the past five years, but we have never undergone a full kitchen reno. To say that we are super excited is quite the understatement. But let’s be honest, we’re also feeling a bit nervous, overwhelmed, anxious and just about every other emotion as we approach demo day. At the same time, we’re trying to convince ourselves that we’re READY! (technically, we feel far from ready but it’s time to stop overthinking it, and instead, “rip off the band-aid” so we can get this show on the road).
Here’s The Plan
I am planning to post a kitchen-related post every Tuesday from now until the kitchen is completed. Much like Casey did for her bathroom reno, I feel like this is an organized way to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress. Of course, I’ll be sharing more real-time updates on InstaStories (and saving them in our highlights) but you can count on more detailed updates here on the blog every Tuesday. I’m sure I’ll sneak additional kitchen posts on other days when we’re really in the thick of it, but you can definitely count on weekly updates for now. Sound like a plan?
First Ever Kitchen Renovation
Since this is our first ever kitchen renovation, we have a lot to learn and I plan to share alllll the things we learn along the way. Heck, I’ve already learned so much and we haven’t even started the demo. Nailing down the design, figuring out the layout, ordering all of the materials, finding and hiring a contractor… there’s so much to discuss. I promise I’ll get to those things, but today we are going to chat about the BEST investment I made so far. We hired an interior designer to reconfigure our current kitchen layout.
Why Hire A Professional?
You guys know we love a good DIY and LOVE saving money. But we also realize that investing in a trained professional at times is important. This was one of those cases.
We love designing and decorating, but we are NOT trained interior designers. Neither Casey nor I have any experience drawing blueprints or reworking floor plans. We have no clue how to create official plans that outline electrical, plumbing, and all of those technical details. However, interior designers do.
I knew our current kitchen layout was not working and had some ideas to adjust the floor plan. But I wanted to hire a pair of fresh eyes in order to weigh in on my ideas and see if she had any additional ideas. Plus, I needed an expert to draw up those blueprints (with electrical + plumbing details) after we decided on the winning design.
How Did It Work?
I reached out to a designer that came highly recommended from Kim & Scott, our friends and fellow DIY bloggers here in Chicago. I told her I was interested in hiring her to help me layout a kitchen that was far more effective for our family. Although she offers design aesthetic services as well, I opted out of those additional services and just hired Jen to help me land on a new layout (complete with updated blueprints).
Jen came over to check out my kitchen, measure EVERYTHING, and discuss what wasn’t working/what I wanted out of my “new kitchen”. She listened to my insight and reassured me that she would get back to me with a few layout ideas for the space.
New Layout Ideas
Fast forward a few weeks and that’s exactly what she did. She and I went over her layout ideas, which came with inspiration photos that proved to be very helpful. Jen and I talked through the pros and cons of each layout, which was also very helpful as Matt and I weighed our options.
After these conversations, I was officially sold on the value of hiring a trained interior designer. She came back with a few layout ideas that I would have never even thought of.
For example, she pitched the idea of adding a window seat (complete with full storage). Jen also pitched the idea of swapping the range location with the current refrigerator location to open up the floor plan. She also confirmed that taking out our peninsula would be a great solution to create an open concept for this improved space.
What Else Did She Do?
Jen also drew up blueprints for all of our contractors to refer to, specifically with electrical and plumbing guidelines/measurements/etc. She also is immersed in the world of kitchen renovation planning so she was able to give me some great tips to consider before I started picking out my cabinetry and making design decisions. Between the kitchen layout ideas and all of the other “tips” she shared to avoid kitchen design regret, I definitely thought this service was WELL worth the investment.
Her services, from start to finish, cost us $1,000. I know that seems like a lot of money (because it is!), but I’m also glad we splurged in this area. Not only did we land on a layout I would have never thought about, she was able to provide invaluable insight as we kicked off the design and decision-making process.
Plus, she provided all of the blueprints we needed to move forward for contractors, permits, and even cabinet/appliance ordering. Her measurements were EXACT on the blueprint, and that in itself has been extremely valuable throughout the “prep” process.
Hiring Jen was the very first step we took in getting serious about our kitchen renovation. We still have/had a lot of work ahead of us after working with Jen, but it was such a great place to start. I highly recommend hiring an interior designer/architect if you are looking for a new layout and need new blueprints.
To me, it was definitely worth the investment and gave us a concrete plan moving forward in the process. We finally had a tangible plan we could give to contractors as they quoted the parts of the kitchen we are not DIY-ing. Those same plans also helped us decide on appliances, and cabinet layouts/measurements. They have already proven very valuable.
Since this post is already getting a bit lengthy, I’ll wrap it up here. I promise I’ll dive into the details of what the plans are next Tuesday! We can review what is NOT working in our kitchen and what NEW layout we chose. I hope you love the plan as much as I do, I can’t wait to share!
Follow Our Kitchen Progress
- Finding Kitchen Inspiration
- Choosing Kitchen Appliances
- Hiring a Pro to Draw Up Blueprints
- Our New Kitchen Layout
- From Inspiration to Renovation
- How to Order Kitchen Cabinets
- Beginner’s Guide to Kitchen Demo
- First Steps of a Kitchen Makeover
- Surviving a Kitchen Makeover Without A Kitchen
- Kitchen Updates: Ceiling, Floors & Doors
- Our New Lowe’s Kitchen Cabinets
- New Appliances Installed
- Everything You Need to Know to Prep for DIY Backsplash Tile
- Step-by-step Backsplash Tutorial
- How To Style (and Organize!) Open Shelving
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.