It took a lot of planning and time, but I’m very excited to finally be sharing the before and after of my kitchen renovation. I know that many of you have been waiting for the final reveal, so without further ado, here we go.
The Goal of this Kitchen Renovation
Light, bright, and functional were at the top of my mind every step of the way. The hard part was trying to find ways to make minimal changes with maximum impact on a small budget. The intention is to place this home on the market so structural changes were out of the question because they would extend the timeline, exceed budget and not see a significant enough return for when it came time to sell the property.
Keeping things simple, yet thoughtful, was the name of the game. I’m personally very happy with the final result and think we did a great job of maximizing countertop space, functionality, flow and aesthetics. All while keeping my stress levels and budget relatively low.
1. Replace Original Peninsula with a Centre Island
The original kitchen had a bottleneck design with a peninsula. This made it very difficult and frustrating to cook while anyone was washing dishes or trying to put things away.
Not only did knocking out the peninsula open up an additional laneway for people to pass through the kitchen, but it also created a much larger work surface and seating area. As a family that spends a lot of time in the kitchen, this alone was a HUGE HUGE HUGE improvement.
2. Relocating Sink, Dishwasher and Plumbing
The sink and dishwasher were originally located on the peninsula. To increase the usable work surface on the island, I decided to relocate all of the plumbing to the side wall. This allowed me to install a larger sink and maximize precious counter space on the island.
Replacing the older faucet with an industrial-style one makes cleanup much easier. I’m a big fan of the matte black finish because it hides any finger prints and is a breeze to keep clean.
I also went with a large, single bowl, undermount sink. This was a top priority for me because a) I have massive cutting boards and huge pots and b) undermount sinks make clean up a million times easier because you can simply wipe water, dirt or spills directly into the sink without anything getting trapped in between.
3. Reposition the Range and Hood
The kitchen plumbing originally came out through the side wall and extended through the base cabinets of the peninsula. To streamline the renovation and reduce costs, we positioned the sink as close to the original plumbing as possible. This saved us from having to spend time and money to divert the plumbing to a different location.
It did, however, require repositioning the range, which used to be adjacent to the plumbing.
The only other location for the range was on the inner wall of the kitchen, between the door and side wall. It’s a very convenient spot because it’s between the fridge and sink, and I have flanking countertops, plus the island at my back while I cook. Nearly everything is within arms reach or one step away.
4. Upgrading Electrical
One of the major things we did to bring this kitchen up-to-date was upgrade the electrical.
Let me put it to you this way, before the renovation we had one electrical outlet along the countertops and it was broken. Any small appliance we needed to use was powered via an extension cord coming from the side wall.
The kitchen now has 4 outlets along the countertops and one built into the island. We also ran dedicated lines to the electrical panel for the major appliances.
5. Recessed Lighting and Under-Cabinet Lights
When my parents installed their kitchen back in 1990, fluorescent light banks were all the rage. Laminate countertops and backsplashes were too for that matter. Not exactly my cuppa tea, but to each their own.
We removed the old fixture and replaced it with a pendant above the island and 6 recessed lights throughout. The recessed lights are controlled on a dimmer and their hue can be adjusted from soft white, to bright white or soft yellow.
We also installed under-cabinet LED lights. These really make a difference in terms of brightening up the space at night and adding ambience.
Electric vs Gas Range
By far the most common asked question I get asked is why I chose to stick with an electric range rather than a gas one. The answer is simple: I didn’t really have a choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I strongly prefer cooking on gas. However, it just wasn’t in the cards for this kitchen renovation.
To give you some context, the kitchen is positioned in the back, centre of the house, flanked by walls dividing it from a dining room on one side and family room on the other. The stove sits on the inner wall, opposite the exterior wall that leads to the backyard.
The only way to run a gas line would be under the floor of the kitchen or above the basement ceiling. Because the basement ceiling is finished and we decided not to change the flooring, a gas range just wasn’t possible.
Remember, light, bright and functional on a budget were what I was after. The kitchen is a deceivingly small and constricted space so choosing white cabinets, light-coloured countertops and a white backsplash just made sense. Black hardware, a black faucet and stainless-steel appliances were chosen to round out the design and provide a bit of character.
I went with white, matte, MDF shaker panels and rectangular, matte black pulls for the drawers and doors. MDF is significantly less expensive than solid wood. In my dream home, though, I’ll go with solid wood.
The countertop is Sparkling White Quartz. It was the most affordable quartz option and happens to be very easy to maintain, making it perfect for anyone with kids. At first, I wasn’t a fan of the sparkle, but have to admit that it’s growing on me. Far better than the original laminate countertops that were originally in the kitchen.
For the backsplash, I went with a classic, ceramic, beveled subway tile. It’s cheap as dirt, easy to install and keep clean, and looks about 10x more expensive than it actually is.
Appliances and Fixtures
I am a big believer in shopping around for the best deal and asking stores what their price-match policy is. For example, I originally ordered my fridge from Appliance Canada, but the order was delayed three times with no guaranteed delivery date.
With a string of live television appearances a week away, I had to cancel it and have Best Buy match the price. It was delivered with a few days thereafter with a dent on one of the sides. I guess the upside is that I got a discount because of it.
- Range: LG LSE4611ST (purchased at Appliance Canada)
- Range Hood: Ancona Slim 30″ (purchased at Costco)
- Fridge: GE GWE19JSLSS (purchased at Best Buy)
- Dishwasher: Frigidaire FFID2426TS (purchased at Appliance Canada)
- Faucet: WaterRidge Capo, Matt black (purchased at Costco)
- Sink: Transform 32 in. Stainless-steel Single-bowl Sink (purchased at Costco)
- Pendant Light: IKEA Ovanby
Why Not Change the Floors?
Believe me, I really, really wanted to. Here again, though, my hands were tied. The increased cost and timeline to change the floors weren’t feasible. Similar flooring runs from the kitchen to the entryway. So, if we changed the kitchen floors, we would have likely needed to do the same for the rest of the ground floor to keep things consistent.
More Shots of the Renovation
Soft- Close Hinges
The other thing I did was install soft close hinges on every door and drawer. HIGHLY recommend doing this if you can. It’s becoming more and more commonplace for this to be the standard on new cabinetry and it truly makes a world of difference.
Be warned: you might find yourself accidentally slamming other doors because you’re used to them closing themselves.
Make no mistake, this renovation was not exactly an easy project to tackle and I learned some very valuable lessons from taking it on. In a future article, I’ll share some of my insights and also talk about what I would do different if I had to do it again.
If you have any questions about the renovation, please ask in the comments box below.