Lindsey’s Kitchen Renovation – Part 1

Hi Guys- Sorry I’ve been MIA for a bit- Henry and I hit a speedbump (a painful one called mastitis) and it really rocked my world in a bad way.  I have not been able to do anything but try to feel better and take care of him so posts may be spotty.  Thankfully I have this awesome one from Lindsey, my longtime right-hand and project manager about the kitchen renovation she’s doing in the house she and her husband bought!  Follow along! I miss you. -Erin

Hi EOS readers! I’m super excited to share some of my renovation with you while Erin’s out on maternity leave. My husband Eric and I spent about 9 months searching, which means we looked at a lot of houses. We knew the general area we wanted to be in and that it had to be cute (my requirement) and have as much outdoor space as possible. And from the start we were looking for a project – something we could attack with our DIY skills and transform over time. Finally we decided on this 3 bed, 1.5 bath cape in a town north of Boston close to where we both grew up. Don’t let her pretty exterior fool you! She needs a ton of work (including significant structural repairs thanks to old termite damage, which had been ignored for many years).

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Our original plan was to replace the compromised sill, paint, refinish the hardwoods, open up a wall between the dining room and kitchen, give the kitchen a minor face lift (new countertops, backsplash and flooring) and make some cosmetic changes to the first floor bathroom. A 1 month renovation, tops. Fast forward to 3 months later and we’ve almost completely gutted the entire 1st floor and are planning to move in this weekend without a kitchen (are you ready to take on a renovation yet?). Granted we’re doing it all on our own (with the help of family and a contractor friend – THANK YOU!) while working full time so our timeline is much different than most. It’s been challenging but will be totally worth it in the end. Here is the kitchen when we first bought the house.

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The size and layout were fine, but the cabinets (which we had planned to save and repaint) were not in as great of shape as we had thought. Several areas were in disrepair and when we had to remove them to rebuild the subfloor and sill they basically fell apart. So, we scrapped them. We bought the house on a Thursday and I think by the following weekend the kitchen looked like this.

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As you can tell Eric LOVES demo. He filled 2 of these dumpsters by himself.

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Next up – removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen. Here’s the dining room at the start of the project and the wall in question is the one on the right.

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Here’s a view from the opposite corner as we started to remove the wall. It was load bearing so we knew from the beginning that we would have to install a new structural beam.

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And here it is all opened up with the new beam installed. Huge difference! It couldn’t be suspended in the ceiling so the plan is to dress it up with reclaimed boards eventually.

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At this point I was equally terrified and excited to design a new kitchen! Luckily I have some very talented ladies working beside me everyday to bounce ideas off of. The original layout still worked so I asked Allison to drop it into CAD. The open space to the left in the drawing below the previous owner had used for a breakfast table, but we’re hoping to have it function as more of an entryway (more on that another day). With the wall opened up we now have space for a small island (potentially with an overhang depending on how things feel during the install).

Retelle Hanson Kitchen

Once we had a rough plan together we started thinking about materials and costs. I knew I wanted a very classic look so the overall aesthetics were easy, but since we hadn’t planned on starting from scratch we knew that we would have to be conservative with the budget (under 20k). We considered Ikea cabinetry at first, which has some pretty affordable options especially in gray, but at Erin’s suggestion ended up contacting one of our longtime sponsors here at EOS, Cabinets.com, to see if they could help us out. I was put in touch with Jessica, one of their designers, to start the process. After sending her my floor plan and some inspiration we were off and running.

kitchen inspiration

Within 24 hours Jessica emailed me this rendering using their Deerfield Colonial II bright white cabinetry (as well as a few others with different cabinet colors and placement). Eric and I liked the overall design, but wanted to tweak a few things (increase the window size, add an island, etc.) All of the drawings/revisions are done free of charge and she was super helpful and responsive, which was great. We weren’t completely sold on white so while we hashed out the details with Jessica we ordered samples in white and gray to make sure we liked the colors and quality in person.

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Here’s an image of the samples we pulled together. The lighter gray cabinet is Colonial II Willow Gray, the darker is Shaker II Maple Creek Stone, and the white is as shown above. They have a bunch of options and the colors all come in several styles. The flooring we chose is Armstrong Prime Harvest hardwood in Dovetail – prefinished to save time and expense on the install (which Eric and his dad ended up doing themselves and it came out awesome). Side note – we weren’t able to salvage the original hardwoods on the first floor due to the extent of structural repairs that had to be done, which was a huge bummer! But as with every renovation you have to roll with the punches and I love how the new floors have turned out.

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After seeing the samples we toyed with the idea of doing white surrounds and a darker gray island but in the end Eric felt strongly about the lighter (Willow) gray and I agreed that it was perfect for us. Here’s our final rendering after a few revisions. The retail cost for this configuration ended up around $8,000 (including all of the detail work and trim).

final kitchen rendering Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.26.55 AM   Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.27.07 AM Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.27.53 AM

Overall we’re really excited about the design and can’t wait to see everything installed! After being built in Florida the cabinets ship fully assembled and are expected to arrive within the next few weeks. In the meantime we’re vetting options for a sink, faucet, hardware, lighting, countertops and all the other pretty details that go along with a new kitchen. I’ll be back to share more as our renovation progresses. Thanks for letting me take over EOS for a day! – Lindsey




65 comments

  1. To Erin – my baby turned 26 yesterday and I STILL remember the pain of mastitis. Thank goodness for warm compresses and antibiotics. Hang in there!
    To Lindsay – your new home and kitchen are just lovely. Enjoy the ride!

  2. Lindsey, you’re about to build my dream kitchen! My fiancé and I are still house hunting in MA so I’ll live vicariously through you. The house is so cute. Best of luck! Can’t wait to see the end result.

  3. Girl, I have been there with you in the trenches. With my second son, I had to supplement with formula, which I was not happy about. He was a good sleeper thank goodness – he was unlike my first son who would nap for about 15 minutes and never wanted to go to bed until after 11pm when he was a newborn!

    The word is, though, this will pass. It’s tough, but you will get through it. No one is expecting miracles from you – that you will post perfect pictures of your life every day. Your life is now changing diapers, doing laundry, feeding baby, and if you are lucky, you will get a shower!

    Enjoy your time with your precious boy. Sniff his little neck and hold him close. If you don’t post every day it’s ok – it’s more important for you to focus on your family! Best wishes!

  4. Nine months, that’s a lot in searching for a home. It looks nice from outside, indeed, nice choice, your neighbors envy you, I guess. Renovation? Huh, hard work, long time, not an easy task.

  5. This might be a tad stalkerish of a comment but I’m in the midst of house-hunting and obsessed with towns (and homes) north of Boston … Only issue is my husband and I both work in Newton/Chestnut Hill area so we’re worried about the commute. I know Erin’s office is in the Newton area – do you commute daily to her and if so, how bad is it (and if you don’t mind me asking – what town did you buy in?). This house is adorable and perfect and your guys’ wants are exactly what’s on our list – plus the area is really the best! Congrats on the purchase – you’re home! – and good luck with all the work!

    1. We’re in North Andover and the commute to Newton is definitely challenging (up to an hour each way depending on the time of day). The earlier I leave the better! My husband works in Andover and our family is there so it’s worth the sacrifice to be where we want to be and still get to work with Erin 4 days a week :)

      1. And it’s so beautiful up there! I’m completely spoiled by my easy commute at the moment so I’m just mentally preparing myself for the future. But it definitely seems like the sacrifices are worth it. Thanks so much for the reply!

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