The Kitchen Remodel Has Started!

Well friends, we have officially started phase one of our kitchen remodel. Whoot whoot! I’m seriously doing a little dance over here as I type those words, because I’m just so darn excited. If you’ve been around for a while you probably know that I don’t particularly like our kitchen. I rarely share it here on the blog or over on Instagram, because it’s just…blah. (You can see photos of it in this rare post.) Now it’s not awful by any means, but I think the best way to describe it is mismatched. The backsplash doesn’t even come close to matching the awful tile countertops and the whole thing feels tiny thanks to a very low ceiling. Apparently the low ceiling is nearly impossible to change unless we undergo a very expensive renovation, so we’re kind of stuck with that. BUT we can change out all the other things so that’s what we’re going to do. This past weekend we started the first phase, which I like to call “operation smash the wall”. Here’s what the kitchen looked like before we started the smashing:

Kitchen Remodel Progress Kitchen Remodel Progress

My problem has always been this darn wall. I’ve wanted it gone from the first moment I laid eyes on it. But apparently it’s pretty important…you know, holding the house up or some malarkey like that.

Kitchen Remodel Progress

My vision for this space has always been to have it nice and open from the kitchen into the living room. I think this will make the kitchen feel so much bigger and I’ll finally be able to see what my little people are up to when I’m cooking dinner. This was our focus last weekend–start smashing into that wall!

Kitchen Remodel Progress

We started by removing the cabinets and microwave, which was surprisingly easy.

Kitchen Remodel Progress

kitchen remodel

Then we (I use that term loosely, I should say my husband) cut out the drywall in between the studs. This is just the starting point, we wanted to get the wall opened up to see what we’re dealing with and how much we can do. It’s actually been like this for a few days now and I don’t even mind it. I can now see my kids fighting in the living room instead of just hearing them. It’s awesome!

Kitchen remodel progress
Kitchen remodel progress

Everything was going along swimmingly when we ran into a problem, just because every big project of my life has to be complicated. So once the drywall was off this back side of the wall, we discovered this wall is full of vent piping and an HVAC fresh air return, which was not good news at all. It basically means this wall has to stay in place. That is unless we want to shell out some major cash to move all of that, because let’s face it that is not within our DIY skillset. Uggggggh.

We had an HVAC guy come take a look and it’s a big mess now. Basically we have two options: we can put everything back like it was before or we find a way to re-route the fresh air return (on the right side of the wall) and settle on a small pass-through. Obviously there’s no going back for me, so we’re just going to do the best we can and figure it out. We’re still trying to sort out our options, but that’s where we are with phase one of our 1980’s kitchen remodel. Hopefully we’ll get a plan and have this first part completed in the next few weeks, then it will be on to the countertops. I’ll definitely keep you guys updated on all the fun we’re having with this project along the way, so stay tuned!

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21 Comments

  1. [email protected] Stroll Thru Life wrote:

    Oh I do understand the pitfalls of remodeling. We just finished our kitchen remodel and not only is it always full of strange obstacles, it costs way more than you think and is super messy. Hang in there, it will so be worth it in the end.

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thanks Marty, I appreciate that. It seems like kitchens and bathrooms are always tough and full of unexpected obstacles. Hopefully we can sail passed this wall of doom and not run into any other issues!

      Posted 2.16.17 Reply
  2. Lisa wrote:

    This reminded me of the episode on Fixer Upper where Joanna wanted to remove the wall above the stove and couldn’t. It actually turned out quite nice with the glass front cabinets on either side of the opening that looked into the other room. Not sure the episode, but if you watch Fixer Upper you might see it. Good luck!

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I totally know which episode you’re talking about Lisa! And funny you mention that because I’m working on a roundup of Fixer Upper kitchens that I’m using for inspiration as we head into this makeover. JoJo is the queen of kitchens, that’s for sure. I’ll be sharing it soon!

      Posted 2.16.17 Reply
  3. michele wrote:

    good luck with the reno …hope all goes easy… I think your home is just lovely!!!!

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thank you so much Michele, fingers crossed we don’t run into too many obstacles!

      Posted 2.16.17 Reply
  4. Charlene wrote:

    This may sound goofy but is there any way you could disguise it as the back half of your island or maybe a peninsula, with a breakfast bar on the outside?

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      We’ve totally thought about that Charlene! It’s definitely a possibility right now. I would LOVE that actually.

      Posted 2.16.17 Reply
  5. Julie B. wrote:

    Very excited for you! Are you going to be keeping your cupboards? I like them, and they look new. What color are they painted at this point?

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thanks Julie! And yep, we’ll keep the cabinets. They are painted with Hush by Benjamin Moore.

      Posted 2.16.17 Reply
  6. Brenda wrote:

    How fun, I’m sure it is going to turn out great!

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thank you Brenda, fingers crossed we can pull it off!

      Posted 2.17.17 Reply
  7. Kathy Squires wrote:

    Where there is wiring or outlet (as in stove), the wall is usually not the one to take down. I think half a wall, or a pass-thru is better than a whole wall. I prefer no cabinets and am using shelving for openess. Also re color I don’t care for dark (black) appliances like refrigerators. I think it adds to darkness in rooms. Instead of refrigerator sticking out, we opted for a counter-depth SS one. Good luck with your kitchen.

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Very true Kathy, this is the wall of doom that’s for sure. Looks like it will be staying in place.

      Posted 2.17.17 Reply
  8. ALISON HALL wrote:

    Dont you hate those hidden hicups !!Keep the pass though at lest -it certainly opens up the kitchen so much . Cant wait to see what you make of it

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      We’ll definitely keep the passthrough! No way I’m going back at this point. It’ll just take a little longer to finish up this first part, but oh well. Such is life in a fixer upper! Thanks for dropping by Alison.

      Posted 2.17.17 Reply
  9. Ohhhhh the joys of renovating. Isn’t it funny how they flip an entire house in one episode, but in real life you are always running into fun joys like this? I’m so sorry you guys hit a snag. I know how that feels, I felt like were “discovering” larger problems when we were renovating. I know you guys will make it work and it will turn out fabulous! Hang in there girl!

    Posted 2.16.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I know! They make it look so darn easy on Fixer Upper. Moving walls like ninjas and making everything perfect. Oy! Not over here, I’ll be lucky to get a medium-sized passthrough at this point! Oh well, it’s better than nothing. Thanks for dropping by Chelsea!

      Posted 2.17.17 Reply

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