I haven’t gone into much detail about our cabinet situation because my mother taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all. Yeah… it’s like that. Here is a summary of the situation and then I will move on and never speak of it again.
We chose a large, national chain, ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinet company. This company is often featured on major home décor and renovation TV shows, so we felt like we were going with a company with a good reputation. In my research, I did see that there were lots of negative reviews regarding their customer service. So I actually prepared myself by lowering my expectations in that department.
Honestly, after endless back and forth, and piles of cabinet door samples, they were the only company we found that had what we wanted in our price range. Other RTA companies had the white shaker cabinets we wanted, but many of them used MDF for the doors, and the company we chose had solid wood doors.
I do want to start off by saying that I absolutely love my kitchen cabinets. The quality is amazing. They have all the bells and whistles like soft close drawers, upgraded crown molding, and extra-tall upper cabinet height. Everything about them is everything I ever wanted and I could not be happier with the cabinets themselves. However, I did not lower my expectations enough in the customer service department. It was some of the worst customer service we have ever received anywhere. And with the stress I was already under with this renovation… I could have done without that.
That is a very short version of a very long story (and anyone who knows me knows short stories are not my specialty).
I usually like to link the sources to anything I share on here, because I know that kind of thing is helpful to me when others share it. However, since I would probably not recommend this company, I don’t feel good about linking them. I’m not going to put them on blast either because that’s just not my style. If you are interested in knowing the cabinet company we chose, feel free to contact me directly and I will be happy to tell you.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on shall we? We’ll start with a reminder of what the kitchen looked like before.
Mmmm…. All that grimy goodness.
And now a reminder of what our kitchen looked like for over 11 weeks. *eye twitches*
A couple of days before cabinet day, we officially spent the night in our house for the first time! It took us 77 days from the time our contract was accepted to close on this house. And ironically, exactly 77 days after closing we were spending our first night there. I gotta tell you, it sure felt good to sleep under the roof that we’d been paying a mortgage on for a few months.
We made a makeshift setup in the breakfast nook for coffee and microwave-friendly breakfast. (Have you guys tried those microwave egg-cooker things? They are where it’s at!)
One day, a few weeks prior, I was having one of my moments of feeling particularly stressed over all the hiccups and delays. I needed something to remind myself that “this too shall pass.” First-world problems… I know, I know! But I shared a few weeks ago about how this renovation was weighing on me in a much deeper emotional way than I really expected.
Those overwhelming moments had become a regular occurrence for me at this stage in our journey, but I was getting better at finding tiny little distractions to help me turn my mood around. So I had gone out and bought a bottle of our favorite champagne and stuck it in the refrigerator in the garage, saving it for when this day would finally come.
That first night, I somehow managed to find our champagne glasses among the countless boxes. Thanks to my pity party night with my mom, we had a made bed waiting for us in an empty room. So there we sat, and we raised a glass to our new crazy chapter.
It’s a grainy, poorly-lit, cell phone selfie. Our eyes are tired. No makeup. My hair is a mess and our PJs are wrinkled. But there’s nothing I would change… this is a real picture of us in a real moment.
It may seem small, but I will remember this moment for a long, long time.
Early in the morning two days later, our contractor came to install our cabinets!
I must have looked like an absolute creeper, because I literally just sat in the doorway on a barstool with my coffee and watched them all day. I mean, why would I go watch TV or something when it was like having a real HGTV show happening right in the middle of my house?
I sort of wanted to ask how many homeowners sat in a chair and stared at them working all day… but I thought it was best just to sit in silence. You know, to make it less awkward, right?
Total dork status… but it was so fun to watch it take shape.
Every now and then they would need us to weigh in on something. Little things like we needed to skootch something over an inch this way or that way, or we had to move a switch to make a cabinet fit.
Also, hubby and Kimber like to do tricks for company. Even in a construction zone.
We pretty much kept the same footprint of the old kitchen layout with a few minor adjustments. The old kitchen had a small built-in desk to the right of the refrigerator, but instead we added a second pantry cabinet for more storage.
We also did deep drawers instead of cabinets to left of the sink. And we went with extra tall uppers since the ceilings in our kitchen are so high. But other than that, the layout and footprint is pretty much exactly the same.
It really went faster than I expected. They were there until late in the afternoon on the first day. The next day a smaller crew came back to finish up some of the details and add the cabinet hardware.
Just look at it! I can’t tell you what a sight this was after months of waiting!
I love the clean, cohesive look of using the same pulls for the cabinets and the drawers.
It’s funny how all the details in a whole-house renovation can make your head spin (I talked about this same struggle selecting our light fixtures). There’s a fine balance between wanting to select the right finishes, and over-obsessing over the tiny details. I could probably write a whole blog post about how long it took me to select EVERY. SINGLE. STINKIN’. THING. But I’m pretty sure nobody’s got time for that.
All that was left at this point was countertops and backsplash, and we would actually have a complete and functioning kitchen! We weren’t originally planning on doing a backsplash right away. That was one of those of smaller details that we were planning on doing down the road to save money.
But when they ripped the old kitchen out, the 3” laminate backsplash did not come off well and we had some serious drywall damage. Not just a little something here and there that we could fix with some spackle.
We had giant chunks of wall missing.
So we were faced with spending more money to fix the kitchen drywall, or just putting that money towards doing the backsplash now instead of later. We went with option two. I’ll be showing you guys soon what we picked!
This renovation really was a roller coaster. A back and forth of things happening really fast, then screeching to a halt, then happening really fast again. But finally going to bed there at night with the kitchen cabinets (the biggest hold up, second only to the actual freaking closing) actually installed, and correct, and finished was a kind of weight lifted that I can’t even explain.
Up next: Countertops, backsplash and a few compromises. How to renovate your home and stay married at the same time. 😉