What It’s Really Like To Remodel Your Kitchen When You Have Kids

Tips when you remodel your kitchenAfter 13 years, it was time to remodel our kitchen. Our appliances were beginning to fail, the counters were scratched and the cabinets showed years of wear and tear. After much planning and saving, my husband and I decided 2012 was finally the year for a new kitchen.
Since we have two kids, we were worried not only about the expense, but how we could minimize the impact of the remodeling process on our everyday lives. Being careful planners, we naively thought we could manage it like a work project. We did a budget, researched the best appliances we could afford, hired private contractors and finalized the design. My husband was the supreme project manager, with neatly organized contract folders, timelines, and spreadsheets. He was constantly going back and forth between the different vendors to ensure everything was on time.
Of course, as any person who has remodeled their kitchen will tell you, things have a way of not going according to plan. There are so many moving pieces that even the best of planning comes short. You not only have plumbing and electrical wiring to worry about, but also delayed deliveries, minuscule measurement errors that can turn into a nightmare when trying to actually make everything fit together, and lighting issues that may require adjustment.

The bad
The worst part is not being able to cook at home. With two children, it is not a minor issue. You can deal with it for a few days. But when a couple of days turn into a week or more, it stresses you out and will also impact your budget. Believe it or not, it also alters your kids’ routine and can throw them off for a bit.
We managed by setting up a small fridge, small camping electrical cooktop and microwave in the dining room. It was better than nothing. But is was very limited and in the end we relied on takeout, microwaveable mac and cheese, and pizza. A lot of pizza. My kids actually weren’t unhappy, but I was. Lunchboxes consisted of sandwiches and prepackaged sliced fruit packages. Not a tragedy, but not a model of nutrition.
The mess was another headache. A kitchen remodel will really mess your house up for a few weeks. There is dust everywhere. The noise is also a problem if you work from home.

Was it worth it?
In the end, was the inconvenience worth it? Definitely! My new kitchen is my favorite place in my entire house. Not only that, the kids also love it, we have a place for everything we need, and we all feel we did it together. Take a look at a few pictures to get an idea of what the kitchen remodeling process was like. Check out the tips at the end of this post in case you are going to remodel your kitchen anytime soon.

  • A glimpse into my old kitchen 1 of 15
    A glimpse into my old kitchen
    The cabinets were peeling, the countertop was scratched and we didn't have enough storage space.
  • First step: getting rid of the lowered ceiling 2 of 15
    First step: getting rid of the lowered ceiling
    We wanted to maximize cabinet space and open up the kitchen so the first step was getting rid of a lowered ceiling that was covered in "popcorn".
  • Everything was removed 3 of 15
    Everything was removed
    And I do mean everything. We redid the kitchen completely.
  • Changes are not minor 4 of 15
    Changes are not minor
    Wiring and plumbing needed to be adjusted.
  • Cabinet frames 5 of 15
    Cabinet frames
    First the cabinet frames were installed. Doors and handles came later.
  • The kitcehn sink 6 of 15
    The kitcehn sink
    We designed the back of the kitchen sink area to be used for storage as well.
  • The pantry (hopefully) 7 of 15
    The pantry (hopefully)
    If you use your imagination you can visualize the pantry here.
  • Backsplash’s done! 8 of 15
    Backsplash's done!
    Our daughter helped us pick the backsplash tiles, which were a combination of glass and stainless steel rectangles.
  • Installing the hood 9 of 15
    Installing the hood
    After the backsplash, the next step was to install the hood.
  • Almost done 10 of 15
    Almost done
    Schedule appliances to be delivered when the cabinets have already been installed.
  • Lighting helps 11 of 15
    Lighting helps
    We picked the lighting carefully. We also installed small lights under the cabinets.
  • The new space 12 of 15
    The new space
    The kitchen area is much modern, streamlined and has much more counter space.
  • Finalized cabinets 13 of 15
    Finalized cabinets
    We combined dark wood and glossy white to avoid making the small space too dark.
  • New appliances 14 of 15
    New appliances
    The new kitchen appliances really make me happy because they are functional, efficient and look great.
  • Another view of my new kitchen 15 of 15
    Another view of my new kitchen
    The new kitchen is our favorite place in our home.

Tips When Remodeling Your Kitchen
1. Whatever your contractor tells you, plan to being unable to cook warm food in your kitchen for several days, even weeks if you need to make major plumbing or electrical changes.
2. Explain to your kids that the family routine will change for a few days. This includes added noise, areas they won’t be able to play in, and changes in snack habits or school lunches.
3. When planning your budget, create a line item for eating out or takeout. It adds up! But it is worth the expense. Honestly.
4. Incorporate kids into the remodeling process. We took our children to different stores to look at different backsplashes. Our daughter is super proud because she helped pick out the final design.
5. Be practical.When changing flooring consider how slippery it is, how easy it is to clean and whether daily wear and tear will quickly damage it.
6. Use disposable plates, utensils and cups. You probably won’t just be unable to use a dishwasher for an extended period of time, but you won’t have a kitchen sink either.
7. Don’t plan the kitchen remodel close to any important dates such as birthdays or holidays. You will create even more stress for you and your family if the remodel gets delayed. And in my experience, it always does.

Read more of JeannetteĀ“s writing here or check out her blog in Spanish.

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