Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality

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Many thanks to our sponsors in this kitchen renovation: KitchenAid AppliancesMasterBrand CabinetsPolycorFireclay TileDelta FaucetsSinkology, & Rejuvenation. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting the content that keeps Jojotastic going.

Not gonna lie, you guys. Editing this kitchen renovation progress report video was pretty hard for me. If you’ve followed the renovation on Instagram, you probably know some of the behind-the-scenes updates. I wanted to go ahead and share even more about what’s been doing on and (quite frankly) some of the drama we’ve been dealing with here on the blog. It was really important for me to show you guys both the good and the bad of renovating — and that everything isn’t always perfect, even in Blogland.

Before I get further into this post, I want to be clear: it is not my intention AT ALL to destroy my contractor’s business in any way. He came highly recommended and I have seen him do great work. However, that was not the experience that we received.
Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper
Does it look like I’m pooping?

Our Kitchen Renovation: Progress Report #4

I have rewritten this post a few times, trying to decide the best way to explain what has been happening. Essentially, we had to let go of our contractor a few weeks ago. There were a variety of reasons, but it all came down to his extreme levels of distraction that caused him to be unreliable and to take shortcuts. He had a lot of personal stuff going on in his life and I can’t fault that at all. Hey, we all have a lot going on, right? But here’s the thing: it was beginning to impact our entire project. He wasn’t able to dedicate the time to the project and was consistently late, which majorly affected our ability to actually finish the project in a reasonable timeframe. For example, our deadline for the reveal was November 14. And here it is January 24 and I still don’t even have electricity!

I absolutely hate confrontation of any kind, but I had to put on my big girl pants this time. This project isn’t just a personal renovation — it’s also a huge part of my business and I have contracts to uphold to the amazing brands who are participating in this project. Not to mention, that after 6 months of living in a construction site, I’m sort of over it. My stress levels are astronomical because my plate is so full (running my business, kitchen, planning our wedding, working on side projects, etc etc). It just was not sustainable to continue this way.

We brought on a new contractor and we are beyond happy with him. It wasn’t until the end of his first day on the project that I realized just how low my expectations were after what we dealt with for the past 6 months. In two days, he finished more on our punch list than our previous guy did in November and December.

Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper

Issue #1: the cabinetry installation

Also, we’ve discovered some issues with how things were installed and handled. For example, as you can see in the video, the dishwasher didn’t actually fit — and he was going to take a shortcut to make it fit! We came to find out that the cabinets hadn’t been installed correctly. They were too low to be standard counter height and they were horribly crooked. I discovered this one night when I was moving our dishes into the space. When I opened one of the pull out drawers, it wouldn’t stay open… at all. And keep in mind our MasterBrand Cabinets are extremely well-made! At first I thought it was because they needed more weight in them… nope. Then I thought it was because they were so new and maybe just really well-lubricated… nope. So I reached for the level and we were SO FAR OFF FROM LEVEL.

I’m an over-documenter, so the photo above shows just how crooked the cabinet was (notice how it’s leaning backwards). And the photo below is how much Sean and I had to raise + shim the cabinets in order raise them to the proper height and ensure that they were level. We spent an entire weekend doing this and it is SO well worth the time. Now our cabinets are absolutely perfect.

Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper
Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper

Issue #2: the feature wall

Remember in Sarah’s beautiful design plan how we are supposed to have an entire wall of marble for the backsplash behind our oven? While meeting with different fabricators for estimates, they pointed out that the new wall was nowhere near flush and that it was made of the wrong material to support the backsplash. Awesome. Just imagine my frustration.

You may remember from the before photos that this is a new wall. We added it so that the oven could be moved forward and we could gain a closet. When that wall was built, it was made of drywall instead of plywood. The plywood is a sturdier material for this project, so we removed the fresh, brand new drywall and replaced it. Basically, this means that we paid for drywall installation that we did not need. Thankfully, now the wall is finally ready for our backsplash!

Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper
Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper

Let’s talk about some good stuff now, ok?

Our KitchenAid appliances arrived and they are so. freaking. amazing. As you can see in the video, we currently have the refrigerator installed and are in the process of re-installing the dishwasher. One of the highlights of this kitchen renovation has been using our new fridge. The simple joy of having a glass of ice water still brings a smile to my face. Also, can you even imagine how many groceries I bought to stock the fridge after it was installed?? All. Of. The. Vegetables.

Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper

I also took some time to head over to my local Rejuvenation store to choose hardware! Honestly, at this point, I needed something to get excited about and picking drawer pulls was just the thing. I brought samples of our cabinet doors and spent about an hour placing different options on them. As one of those people who is really hands-on, this project was so helpful! I would highly recommend this if you’re renovating. Here’s a sneak peek of what we chose!

Sources: Upton Drawer Pull and Upton Cabinet Knob.

Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper
Our Kitchen Renovation: Expectations vs. Reality. update about our small kitchen remodel including cabinets, floor tiles, countertops, faucet finish, hardware, lighting. Designed by interior designer and expert @roomfortuesday with @fireclaytile @rejuvenationinc @kitchenaidusa @masterbrandcabinetsinc @deltafaucet @polycordesign @sinkology #sponsored #oldhouse #kitchen #kitchenrenovation #demoday #renovation #oldhome #oldhomerenovation #smallspaces #smallkitchen #kitchenrenovation #beforeafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #makeover #fixerupper

Remaining Tasks (in no particular order!):

  • install dishwasher
  • install oven and cooktop
  • hang open shelving over pantry
  • finish electrical
  • install LED can lighting in ceiling and other lighting
  • pot filler
  • countertops and backsplash
  • install interior of the closet
  • paint

In case you missed in, you can read more about our kitchen renovation + these posts might interest you:

Stay tuned for even more updates to come + be sure to catch our behind the scenes on Instagram.

photography & videography by Jojotastic.