How to Start a Kitchen Remodel

We want to remodel our kitchen.

So… now what??


My wife, Jenn, wants to take a sledge hammer to the plaster this weekend but we’re fairly certain there are a few things we should get in line before demo day.  Where will our stove go if we knock down the wall it’s built into? (Yes, our 1952 stove and oven were literally built into the wall and yes, they both still work and yes, we’ll be selling them because they are #vintagecool.) Is that wall “load-bearing” and if yes, what will a giant beam cost to keep our roof from caving in?  How long will all of this take? 

And then there’s the question of style… what color cabinets go with what type of countertops?  (I mean, will anything be as cool as our current canary yellow Formica with Jetson-style starbursts?)  If we want to have our current hardwood floors carried over to our kitchen, will they be able to match our 1942 oak boards with new ones? 

Oh and by the way, how many American dollars will all of this business cost?

While we have enjoyed our previous DIY reno projects, we’ve always had some sort of idea of how to complete a project, step by step.  And we’ve also had a lot of help.  We quickly realized that it was time to call a trusted professional (a similar conviction occurred before when we called our bathtub angel.)  Enter trusted friend and reputable interior designer… Kim Gorsline of Kimberlee Marie Interior Design.

Before we started to work with Kim, I really didn’t have a full understanding of what a designer can offer so I wanted to share it here.  First, Kim sent us some initial questions to guide our scheduled in-person meeting.  Very basic, low hanging fruit type of questions such as:

  • What is your ideal timeline for project completion?
  • What is your ideal budget amount?
  • What functions do you want to get out of your kitchen that are not currently achieved? Here are some common things people want to get your wheels turning:
  • Trash/recycle drawer/cabinet
  • Large drawer storage on lowers for things like pots and pans
  • Open shelving on uppers anywhere for display or do you prefer all closed?
  • Appliances - what ones do you want (like fridge, range, micro, dw, etc.) and do you want any specific functions i.e. gas range is really important or micro drawer over traditional microwave, etc.
  • Any special plumbing requests such as a water filter in the sink, wall mounted faucet, etc.?
  • Storage needs - pantry cabinet? Do you have a good sense of how many cabinets you'll need for dish storage?

Kim came over and walked us through some more specific design questions and after measuring every nook and cranny in our kitchen, she left.  And Jenn and I both felt different.  Our helplessness and confusion turned into the beginning of a plan.  We had a good sense of what things would cost and when we could stop living off of Subway sandwiches.  After we put Addie to bed that night, we both stood in the kitchen and began to dream about the opportunities afforded by a more open floor plan (being able to keep an eye on our daughter while we prepare dinner, hosting community and friend events with more wiggle room and flow, etc.)  Could it all really be right at our finger tips?

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