Eight weeks. That’s the estimated time it takes to completely demo and rebuild a kitchen. Yes, that seems like a long time but this isn’t an HGTV show, it’s real life. Considering that all the workers are only here from 8am-4pm Monday-Friday, 8 weeks seems like a reasonable amount of time.
Before we became debt free, we wanted to reno the kitchen. Of course, we were going to take out a loan for that because that’s what people do. Then, we got on the becoming debt free plan, so the kitchen project was put on hold. Of course, becoming debt free also meant that we no longer borrow money.
So we started saving money. ALL (aside from what I needed to go see Elton) that money that used to go towards our debt was now going into the “Kitchen Fund”.
In all of our research about renovating a kitchen, the very first thing that the “experts” recommend is to hire a designer. So, we started working with Danielle from Port City Design Group to design the kitchen. Then, we needed a general contractor so Danielle recommended we work with Cliff from Solstice Builders.
These are the two most important people in the project! First of all, Danielle was able to take my “not drawn to scale” pencil to paper sketches and turn them into beautiful 3D renditions so we could “see” what the kitchen would look like before it was done. Cliff was then able to take those drawings, work with us on a materials list and then give us a budget. You know how much I LOVE a budget!!! Cliff is also responsible for creating the schedule and making sure all the trades are coordinated to put the kitchen back together.
Side note: a project this size DEFINITELY needs a general contractor, I highly recommend it!
The original plan was to start the kitchen project in August of 2014 to be done by Thanksgiving. The budget came back MUCH higher than expected. So, we trimmed the budget and it was still more than what we had saved.
Sometimes, living a debt free life can be very, very frustrating! We ultimately decided that we did not work really hard for almost four years to become debt free just to “throw together” a new kitchen. So, we put the project on hold until we could save some more money.
With the kitchen fund complete, the updated project start date became April 7th, 2015 AKA Demo Day!
This was our kitchen before Demo Day:
View from the front door. The kitchen sink, dishwasher and counter space are on the other side of this free standing wall.
Pantry (had 4 wire shelves in there) and part of the back wall shown here. Back wall was pantry, counter space, oven, counter space and fridge. The top row of cabinets did not go all the way to the ceiling.
Another view of the freestanding wall.
View from the dining room. The freestanding wall is on the left.
Visual – we could not open the dishwasher and the oven door at the same time. There was only three feet of space in between the cabinets!
The aftermath of Demo Day – everything is GONE!!! We are official at the “point of no return”! It’s out with the old and in with the new!
We are reusing as many materials as we can. The bamboo flooring that was the kitchen floor will be re-purposed into a new desk in our office for me. We are also reusing the 2×4’s from the pantry wall for the desk legs. The old kitchen cabinets will be re-purposed for laundry room and garage storage. The oven was donated to a Church. The dishwasher was already broken so that went to the trash. Our refrigerator is currently in our living room as is the microwave and the toaster oven.
Oh yes – our “kitchen” is now in the living room!
The dining room table is behind the couch on the right. On the left are three storage bins, then a small cabinet that is our “pantry” and a six foot long table that holds the coffeepot, microwave and toaster oven. This is also our “prep space”. The biggest challenge with this entire project has been meal planning without a microwave. Eating out every night is not really an option for us so we make do with the microwave, crockpot and the camp stove out on the front porch!
This has certainly been quite the adventure so far! Stay tuned for more updates!