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Big Kitchen Renovation Part II: Paint, Cabinets & Hotel Stays

20 Nov

It has been a busy and hectic couple of weeks at 12 Oaks.


When I last left off, our kitchen was looking like this.


But now after some paint and installing the cabinets its really taking shape.

IMG_4006We also put in the stove and the fridge and installed a temporary MDF countertop so it could be somewhat functional.IMG_4008

IMG_4010The paint color is Analytical Gray by Sherwin Williams. It was the paint color we had in our living room and we just continued it everywhere downstairs and up the stairwell and hallway upstairs.

This week all the floors are getting done so we are at a nearby hotel for a few nights. Ben had to move all of our furniture into the den/office.

Here’s how it looked all cleaned out and after they sanded. You can’t tell the difference between our old floors and the new ones so it should come out beautifully.


I can’t wait to get back into the house Saturday and see them finished! The stain will match the upstairs and stairway color.

Also the siding of the addition is done. Just need to add the gutters and soffits. The back of our house looks massive now!

photo 1

You can kind of notice the old siding from new, but after a good power washing it should be less noticeable and we plan to paint next spring/summer 2Still left on the kitchen to do list after the floors are done is:

  • Picking out countertops. We’ve started looking at granite but might do a quartz instead.
  • Installing a new kitchen window
  • Buying and installing pendant lights
  • Installing our farm house sink and faucet
  • Adding crown molding and base to the cabinets
  • Installing dishwasher and range hood
  • Installing pantry door and framing out pantry shelves
  • One more coat of paint on the ceiling
  • Adding a backsplash
  • Adding cabinet hardware

Then we have to finish the downstairs powder room and laundry room. And nursery of course! Think we can get it all done in 10 weeks?

The Big Kitchen Renovation- Part I

6 Nov

Today makes Day 12 of living with no kitchen. Last Saturday, Ben and my brother Josh completely ripped it out.

IMG_3908That also included removing half the wall between the dining room, and the wall between the kitchen and powder room. And the front hall closet.IMG_3916Yeah we have very few walls left on the first floor. But it totally works.

Here is the blank slate.


Next came installing hardwood floors. They exist in almost all of our house except for the kitchen and entry way.


Then the electrician came in to install new can lights, outlets and pendants. Plus the plumber to remove the old toilet and laundry hookups, since that room is becoming a pantry.

Then Ben framed up the peninsula and pantry and it was looking like this.

IMG_3921Then from Friday until today, the drywallers have been doing their thing. This also included skim coating the entry way walls and staircase wall which had a weird texture on it. You might not tell in photos, but it looked pretty bad up close.

IMG_3922Thankfully, we escaped most of the drywall dust and spent a relaxing weekend up in Door Country.

Happening simultaneously was the framing of our small 2-story addition off the back of the house. Doesn’t it look like it was always meant to be there?

IMG_1547Don’t mind our terrible yard, we had to dig it all up for footings and a new sewer line.

So, here is how everything is looking now, ready for priming and then cabinet install.


IMG_3928Here is the new pantry! We took out the window to make room for lots of shelves.

IMG_3931Here is the entry way with the closet gone and french doors added to the office/den. It makes a huge difference.


The addition is still rough, but downstairs will be a powder room to the left and a laundry room with exit out back on the right.

Powder room (don’t worry the siding is coming off):


Laundry room:IMG_3932The upstairs part of the addition is off the future Master bedroom. It will be the master bathroom and closet. But we will take our time to finish this part.



Closet:IMG_3939So, a lot of changes in the past couple weeks. It’s been stressful but cabinets and appliances will be in by middle of next week. Siding is going up on the addition tomorrow. The end is in sight and we are getting so excited!

Creating an Open Floor Plan

1 Apr

Time to show you how we took down the main structural wall separating our living room and kitchen to create an open floor plan. I’ll preface this by saying, “Don’t try this at home.” My husband Ben is a professional contractor. We also consulted a structural engineer who told us what was needed to support the house.

living room wall removed

The engineer told us if we wanted to remove the wall we either needed a column (boo) or a header. We went with a header which had to be 26 foot long, 8.5″ wide and 18″ deep. It’s massive. A whopping 1,200 pounds. Which isn’t a big problem for new construction, but getting it into an existing house was quite the feat.

Luckily, Ben had the help of his friend Lee (we owe you, man!) Ben and Lee used the bobcat to lift it onto furniture dollies, and then used ramps to get it into the house. Next, they built walls on both sides of the existing wall that was to be removed.


The walls would take the weight of the house once the existing structural wall was gone. They covered the new walls with plastic to protect the rest of the house from dust. Then demo began.

To get the mammoth header into place, they used jacks and a block and tackle to slowly inch it upwards to the ceiling.

photo 2-8

photo 1-10

Look at that smile…photo 4-4Next came special made brackets and putting the posts into place. Finally, they took the temporary walls down and it was done!

After that, Ben patched the holes in the floor where the wall was. We also had the HVAC guy come out to re-route the ducts that were once in the wall.

So without further ado, here are some after pictures. It still looks crazy because there are holes in the ceiling, the posts and beam are bare, and the floors don’t match. Plus the kitchen isn’t remodeled. But you get the idea…


This is the view from the stairs:IMG_2821The buffet we have there represents where the future island/peninsula will be. So image it twice as deep with stools and pendant lights above. Plus we decided to make it 2-tier so you can’t look right into the kitchen at your dirty dishes from the couch.

Here’s the view from inside the kitchen:


From the front door:IMG_2802

We also rearranged the furniture in the living room so the 3-seater couch faces the TV and fireplace. So much better! IMG_2800

The next step is covering the beam in barn wood and creating some fake beams to go perpendicular to it in the living room. Plus adding can lights to them since there are no overheard lights in there. Then drywall. We also want to overhaul the built ins around the fireplace so they are cabinets on the bottom and then shelves extending to the ceiling.


Savvy readers may also have noticed the new French doors in the dining room. I’ll be back with another post on those next.

What do you think? Aren’t Ben and Lee amazing? Can you envision it all finished with a beautiful open kitchen? We can, and seriously can’t wait.

Floor Plan: Current & Future

20 Mar

While our house is under utter disarray (read: we’re removing the main structural wall of our house), I thought it would be a good opportunity to share our current floor plan and what we’re thinking it will look like after all of our renovations.

Oh and here’s a glimpse of what our house looks like right now. It’s crazy but we’re so excited, we don’t care that we’re cordoned off to one area of the house.


Ben created the floor plan using It’s a free tool and really easy to use. Or so I’m told. My brain doesn’t function that way, so it looked pretty daunting to me.

So here is the first floor as it exists today (or maybe yesterday?)


(Sorry if it’s too small to read, you can click on them and it will open in a new window where it’s much bigger.)

And here is the future floor plan as we’re thinking right now. It could change, but you’ll notice we want to:

  • Create an “open” floor plan by removing the big wall separating the kitchen and living room
  • Build a U-shaped island in the kitchen with stools
  • Turn the current half bath/laundry into a large kitchen pantry that you enter from a nook inside the kitchen.
  • The green area is a small addition where we would move the half bath and add a mudroom with cubbies and cabinets. A door from the mudroom would lead out to the pool and backyard.
  • The fridge is recessed into the pantry so it doesn’t take up a lot of room in the kitchen
  • We’re thinking of doing a half wall in between the kitchen and dining room, but still debating it, due to thinking about placement of a hood.


Moving upstairs. Here it is currently.


And then after the addition, it would look like this. You’ll notice we want to:

  • Swap the the master bedroom with the bedroom on the far right. This room is already bigger and has the BEST natural light of any room.
  • The addition turns into a master bathroom and closet.
  • We’d remove the 2 closets in the new master to make the room even bigger. You could put a little sitting area over there.
  • Take out the bathroom and closet in the old master and put in a small laundry room. That room still has a large closet (it had 2) and we don’t think our guests or kids will need their own bathroom en suite.
  • Expose the fireplace in the new master bedroom. There is already a chimney there and who doesn’t dream of a fireplace in their bedroom?

UntitledOther than removing that wall which started today, everything is still up for debate. Let us know what you think. Does anyone have a 2nd floor laundry? It makes sense because that’s where all your clothes are, but who knows. Do you think we’ll have enough room for a bathroom and closet in the new master? It’s probably hard to tell but that is a concern for us. What do you think of the size and shape of our island? We wanted it to be floating, but I don’t think it will work that way. Do you like the open floor plan feel? Share your thoughts.

I’ll be back next week to share after photos once the wall removal is complete. And we put in french doors off the dining room last week. Lots going on!

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