Monday, October 17, 2016

34 IHeart Kitchen Reno: Checking In

A reader recently asked (and kindly reminded) me about our kitchen and where we are at with things. And honestly, since my last update, not much had changed until very recently. And with no changes, I didn't really know how to approach a kitchen update... In the same respect, I feel so awful that many of you have been waiting on that "final reveal" we all love, and that I have yet to deliver.

It's been awhile since we have sat down together to have a good heart to heart chat. So today I thought I would pop in to say, full renovation updates and photos are coming! I just don't have an exact time frame. Things are finally moving again and I am crossing every last appendage that we are able to finish without any additional snafus.


It has been a little discouraging for me to watch us start out strong and then run into roadblock after roadblock, each one slowing us down or setting us further back. There have been so many beautiful kitchens that have started and finished around blog land, and with each one, I had let myself feel a little smaller. It caused me to stress, lose sleep, lose weight, lose my mind (which looking back is a bit silly but honestly it really wasn't good for my anxiety)... There were a few delays that were not entirely in my control, and I realized that I needed to take a break from worrying about the space and shift to enjoying it. I just should have made sure to update you all, even if that meant letting you know I had no update. Instead, I just let it become a giant elephant in an unfinished room. I am really sorry about that.

We have learned SO much since we began this kitchen, dining and living room renovation. We ripped down a wall, stripped everything back and rebuilt a lovely space with our own hands; everything from installing the cabinets, flooring and moulding to putting in an incredible beamed ceiling. I still plan to share all of those lessons learned in an upcoming post, as I hope we can save others some of the troubles we were faced with along the way. On the flip side, living in an open concept design has impacted our lives for the better in so many ways, and I can't wait to talk more about that as well!

In the meantime, here is the CliffsNotes version of where we are at this very moment...


We ended up needing to have a portion of our island completely reconfigured/redesigned. There was a lot of back and forth over quite a few months, and because the cabinets were custom made, it took some time to receive the updated pieces as well. We also opted to wait quite a few months for a new-to-the-market downdraft ventilation to be released (because two different previous models didn't end up working out as planned). Everything is here now and ready for installation, and our island counters were just sent back to the fabricator to be modified to fit the new changes. I am so happy and relieved to finally have some resolution to a problem we had been troubleshooting for almost a year, and to be moving forward again.

In terms of the remainder of the space, it's been really great for us to just live in it and get a feel for how things have changed with the updated living arrangement. When we revealed the living room for the One Room Challenge, we still hadn't even installed floors or trim just outside of the camera view. We posted live each week, we rushed furniture arrangements, decisions, purchases, and styled shelves still tacky from fresh paint. In the moment, I was just so ridiculously happy to have a partially finished and furnished space, that I think I was blinded by a few choices I had made during the process. And I don't beat myself up for that... I can't go back in time and I am all about learning and moving on. But that is why we haven't done much in the space since, other than move around a few pieces of our furniture to try out some alternative layout options. I know now more than ever that it just isn't worth rushing a finished space for blog content, it doesn't allow me to truly understand our needs or to think as intentionally about my decisions (which ultimately can translate to costly mistakes). And probably why I started to fight the need to always have a room "reveal" vs. just working on spaces organically.


Now that the kitchen side issues are being worked out, we did realize we have enough room to add a second sofa in the living room side (wahoo!) and my dear friend Grace offered some great ideas and advice for me to finish things off while creating harmony within the newly open concept design. I am still nervous to commit to a backsplash decision (thinking bold), but that is my last dilemma at the moment and it feels so great to know that the end is in sight.

I could gab on about this project for hours, but I hope to break up my thoughts into a few posts once the island is re-installed and functioning as it was meant to be from the start. In the meantime, just know that I am endlessly grateful for your encouragement, ideas, support and comments checking in on the progress. It hasn't been easy living in an unfinished space for so long (especially for someone who likes things done quickly, correctly and thrives when everything is in its place), and even harder doing it publicly. But you all are the best support system a gal could ask for. Truly. I hope the final photos of the entire space are worth the wait for us all.

34 comments:

  1. All I heard was this reno made you lose weight and now I want to destroy everything in my house and rebuild it. ;)

    Give yourself grace, you're so awesome and your public is just excited for you because your taste/execution is so fabulous!

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    1. Thanks so much sweet Casey! And I recommend traditional exercise, its cheaper and much more therapeutic! 😜

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  2. So excited we'll be getting more updates soon! I've recently redone my kitchen with the same Ikea cabinets, and a similar-colored countertop (quartz in carrera grigio). I, also took a deep breath when the big stuff was finished, and haven't even started looking at backsplashes. Maybe I'll get inspiration from the options you consider!

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    1. Congrats on getting through the tough stuff and I hope you find joy in putting together the finishing touches. :)

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  3. Your home is gorgeous and I love the pretty splashes of color you chose throughout the kitchen!

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    1. Thanks so much Kristi. I am excited to get it all finished up and continue some of those colors in the adjoining spaces as well.

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  4. Your kitchen is already beautiful!! Excited to see the final pictures, but give yourself a pass on it taking time - it will be amazing in the end.

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  5. Could you share where you found your beautiful runner? I'm looking for something similar for my kitchen. We're two years out from a kitchen Reno and I still haven't chosen a backsplash or runner - be kind to yourself. I also have three young boys. All wil work out in the end. Thanks for all the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you! Here is the runner source: http://www.rugsusa.com/rugsusa/rugs/rugs-usa-re21-vibrant-adileh/Orange/200SPRE21A-2608.html

      I love it, we have had it almost a year and it still looks like it did the day we got it (it's thick and colorful so it holds up to stains and traffic in this busy spot).

      xoxo!

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  6. First, I just love your blog. Second, please be gentle with yourself. I love seeing where you are with the kitchen, but I've also enjoyed all the posts in between. Keep up the good work and don't feel guilty. We readers are so lucky you share your projects with us. Take your time and enjoy.

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  7. One of the best things about your blog is the reality of it. While 7-week kitchen gut-jobs seem to be the norm in blogland, that just isn't realistic for actual people, you know? Your ORC postmortem, this project's failures, how you've truly embraced to let your house grow organically, THESE are all wonderful things and one of the many reasons your blog is so popular. Don't feel bad for being a wonderful human.

    I can't wait for the more detailed updates.

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  8. I think you need to give yourself a break - your kitchen is beautiful! And you've done so much work (on it and the rest of your house)! Also, I was wondering if you could share the source of your runner, it's gorgeous :)

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    1. Thank you, Kate! Here is the runner source: http://www.rugsusa.com/rugsusa/rugs/rugs-usa-re21-vibrant-adileh/Orange/200SPRE21A-2608.html

      I love it, we have had it almost a year and it still looks like it did the day we got it (it's thick and colorful so it holds up to stains and traffic in this busy spot).

      xoxo!

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  9. Glad you feel like things are moving in a positive direction! I can't imagine the stress you've been dealing with, but I hope everything is worth it in the end.

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  10. Your kitchen looks gorgeous, can't wait to see the final results! I'm just about to start gutting and rebuilding my kitchen and working out the final details in the planning stage. My floor plan is almost identical to yours looking at the photos, minus the downstairs part. Has removing the wall in between the kitchen and lounge been a good choice storage wise? And do you feel like the kitchen needs to be super clean all the time knowing it can be seen from the front door?

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    1. These are such great questions and I really want to go into great detail in a future post, so I will try to keep things short.

      There are two spots that have bothered me since day one that I am still troubleshooting; proper entryway/storage (which we will probably just end up adding on to the front to solve this problem) and the garage door entry. Neither we really have many alternative options with, but I found that they became a bit more challenging visually and functionally once we removed the wall. It was also one less wall for arranging furniture and it took me awhile to realize that our previous living room arrangement wasn't going to translate to the current one.

      I am surprised by how much storage we were able to add throughout that makes up for the storage we "lost" taking down the wall. The pantry holds twice as much as our previous version, but it is just a single cabinet vs. an entire built-in closet. Our garbage is now hidden in the cabinets, we have storage in the island and the storage along our dining wall was more than what we needed or used. Our new cabinets are taller and we were just sure to try and account for every last item before even finalizing our kitchen cabinet plan. I live pretty simply in terms of what we keep and use for kitchen gadgets/cooking items, but overall I would say we gained "more effective" storage.

      There is defiantly the factor that everything is visible when you walk in. My family knows that I am really relaxed about all of our other living areas as long as the kitchen, dining and living room stay fairly picked up (we are lucky to have an entirely second living area for work and play downstairs as well). It is pretty easy to maintain; we put in a very large/deep kitchen sink which hides plenty of dishes/deep pans, we do quick 10 minute pick-ups and clean up after meals... It is also important to note that my "clean" tendencies have definitely sizzled as I have grown older, and my overall worry about what people think if they see us "living" in our house as diminished as well. :)

      Finally, the biggest and best impact is that we can all be together yet spread out comfortably. I was surprised by how much the wall was making the spaces confined, small and closed off from one another. We have been able to host more family and guests without space or crowding issues, which was what the change was all about and what makes us enjoy our home more. :)

      I wish you all of the best with your upcoming renovation Kimberley!

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  11. Love the work you've done, I always look forward to the updates!

    Our kitchen is going to be remodeled early next year and has a similar L layout with an island. I want to add an pantry cabinet in our kitchen and think it will go in the same place as yours. We also have a sliding door in the same place as you do. Do you ever feel like the pantry cabinet feels awkward next to the door? Right now I have an upper and lower cabinet, and I have a fear that a full height cabinet will block light or make the space feel too confined. I think it looks great in your kitchen, just hoping living with it feels the same!

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    1. Hi Jeanna,
      I don't find it to be too awkward, I just wish we had a few more inches of space between the two. :)

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  12. I really enjoy your blog and I wish that you never felt the need to apologize to any of your readership. This is your life and your home first and foremost -- my heart went out to you as you've shared the struggle of trying to achieve the balance of doing/reporting. Wanted to express my gratitude for what you've been able to share. There is a vintage chandelier over my dining room table that was inspired by your find. We spent a good week building built-ins around our fireplace and in a bump0-out in our dining room that was inspired by your creativity around the house. We're all just in this together, one foot forward at a time. xoxox

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    1. Thanks Shana! I just felt bad that so much time was going on with little to report. To me, reading blogs are becoming invested in a story (just like watching a show), and to have it just drop off with little resolution or ending would be like a show just being canceled (which drives me bonkers).

      Your comment made my day, thank you for sharing that you are finding ideas and inspiration here that you are enjoying in your own home. That is 100% why I love to do what I do. ♥

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  13. Ohhhhhhhh, I don't even know you and yet I want to reach through the Internet and offer you a hug. It feels to me like you're being WAY too hard on yourself. Your kitchen and home are beautiful! And your blog content is amazing! It's hard for me to even fathom that you're losing sleep over what you feel you owe your readers, when everything I find on your blog feels like (and is!) a gift.

    My husband and I are renovating our home, too. (Have been for the past 2 years, and with no end in sight.) I waited SO long to get into this home and to then "have at it." I knew going in that it would be expensive. I knew working with contractors would have its challenges and that it wouldn't all be smooth sailing. I knew we would hit DIY snafus. (And all of that has been true.)

    But I still THOUGHT that choosing what we wanted and seeing it all come to life would be a lot more fun than it is. It is SO SO stressful and hard to get "perfect." We've made some great choices and some whopping mistakes. I've second guessed myself up the wazoo. I get stuck and stop often and feel overwhelmed and wonder what I was thinking. And NO one on the Internet is looking at my mess.

    I agree with your reader who said simply to give yourself some grace. I think you deserve it. xo

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    1. Well said Kirsten. I was so excited about the entire process and we planned it for so long, that it was easy to become discouraged when it didn't all go as planned. I have since learned to give myself some slack, but I did go through a period where it caused a bit too much unnecessary stress. Lots of reminding myself that it is just a kitchen after all.

      I think it always helps to chat with others going through similar things. My hubby can feel defeated if we have to do things twice, so I have to remind him that it happens to everyone; from our friends to the pros and designers. It's so great we have this outlet to share our stories with you all, and for you to share back.

      I wish you nothing but the best as you complete your huge project. I am cheering you on from here, and I appreciate that you took the time to comment and share your personal story.

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    2. Thank you! I know your blog will continue to inspire me during our crazy remodel! Keep doing you. It's wonderful. xo

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  14. Stop and take a deep breath. Your home is beautiful and at the end of the day - it's not cabinets or flooring as home is the people in the home. Give yourself grace and enjoy your family and the fact that you have a wonderful home no matter what -- some do not not have that luxury. So it's okay. Do not let others dictate your schedule or your sleep patterns. Enjoy every blessing and every moment in your life. Life is precious. You're talented and amazing... Dianne

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    1. Absolutely! I have reminded myself of that frequently over the past year and a half. We are ridiculously lucky to even have any of these problems. Thanks so much Dianne.

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    2. In total agreement. We all have to remind ourselves not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but at the same time I do totally understand the anxiety. Big hugs!!

      [Also, just a tip that I had to learn the hard way. A sofa with a low back is essential for tv viewing when the tv is above eye level. It gives your neck somewhere to rest and be supported.]

      Best of luck in completing your renovation with as little stress as possible and on your own schedule.

      xoxo,
      Kellie

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  15. Wow -- Jenn you are awesome and have accomplished so much so please don't feel you need to justify anything! Everything will get done when it gets done and we are all just thrilled that you share so much with us! No pressure! :-)

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  16. Congratulations on being honest about your kitchen renovation. We too have been renovating for the past two and a bit years. This is how it goes on real life - things don't work out, you wait for the right things and mistakes happen. Unfortunately these realities are often either ignored or glossed over. It's not fair to readers to let them think then that there's something wrong with their plans and contractors when or doesn't go smoothly. We have made some mistakes, including an extremely expensive door on my wardrobe due to a communication breakdown! We had no splashback or wall finishes in our kitchen for more then 18 months. We still celebrated Christmas and had people over and to stay. Then we did make the right decision for us and found the perfect wallpaper. It was worth every minute of waiting. We will be living in this house for a very long time, hopefully!, so it's worth taking time to get it right!! Look forward to seeing your updates when they happen.

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  17. Jen, you are a true inspiration to many of us. I appreciate that you share with us your talent, ideas, thoughts, and your precious time. We are in a middle of a very long, long remodeling project, my husband doing mostly all of the work. Sometimes I feel like a lost puppy because I do not have a clear vision of what I want or where to start. Your blog clarifies many things for me and gives some ideas. So, thank you for your site! I can't wait to see your completed kitchen, it is coming together beautifully. I do have one question for you. Our stove will remain in the island, so I am curious what brand is your downdraft. Our electrical cook top is an older Jenn-Air model that we are planning to replace with gas and we definitely want to keep a downdraft. Thanks, Elena.

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    1. Thank you so very much Elena! I agree that it can be challenging keeping focus in the middle of a very long process, especially because so much can change and there is always that trickle effect thing that happens too. :) I wish you all of the luck as you continue on.

      The downdraft we selected is the Cattura: http://www.bestrangehoods.com/cattura

      I can't offer a review yet as it is sitting in my living room waiting to be installed, but it seems to be a really great option, and offers a lot of venting flexibility depending on your cooking configurations. (and their customer service has been really great for us thus far during the exploration phase).

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  18. Your post reminded me a lot of what I have heard the Petersiks share on blogging! I love when you post and what you post. I hope you are enjoying it most in the everyday which is what truly matters! Take care and thanks for sharing! Xoxo Erin

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  19. Thank you for being transparent. Please Grace yourself.

    Do you mind sharing the source for your entryway mirror above the shoe cabinet? I dont think I've seen it on the blog before.

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    1. Hi LeAndra,

      The mirror is from Wayfair: http://bit.ly/2eiNDjX

      Thank you!

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