Kitchen Remodeling With Kids: Fun for the Whole Family

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picture of living in a dining room, very very messy

Yikes.

When we moved into our house 5 years ago one of the major projects on our wish list was to completely remodel the kitchen. Everyone who owns a house has a wish list, right? The kitchen was a great size and had granite countertops, but besides that it needed a facelift. Knowing the cost of remodeling a kitchen we decided to push it down on the priority list until we could do it right. Well, that day finally came this past summer. We decided to hire a contractor, who is actually a friend of mine from Kindergarten, to help us do the major work and lay things out. This was somewhat hard for my husband because he is very handy and likes to do things himself, but he admitted that this was too large of a project, even for him. The compromise was that our contractor would do all of the major stuff and he would do some of the smaller jobs to help cut down on cost.

Our contractor had an architect draw up the plans, which was great because he helped us come up with some ideas that we hadn’t thought of. It always helps having an outside person look at things to give an alternate perspective. So after going back and forth and multiple drafts, we finally had a final plan in place. What we were told was going to be an 8 week project ended up being closer to 12 weeks, which I was prepared for because in the construction world you always need to anticipate things taking longer than promised. As much as we tried to prepare ourselves and to be as organized as we could, being without a kitchen for close to three months proved to be a major challenge and having two young children added to that stress.

Now that we had a final plan the next step was packing up the entire kitchen. I felt like we were moving although it was only one room. It’s amazing how you think you can do something quickly until you start doing it and realize what a daunting task it really is. I started with kitchen items that we don’t use very often such as wine/bar glasses, serving pieces and certain cookware items. I then continued down the priority list of frequently used items until eventually everything was packed. We turned our dining room into our makeshift kitchen. We put the pads on the dining room table, brought up storage shelves to use for a pantry and 6 foot tables for counter space. Fortunately we have a basement so what wasn’t going to be used in the dining room got packed in boxes and put in the basement. Otherwise we would have had to consider renting a storage unit for a few months. As inconvenient as it was it’s amazing how were able to be so functional even though we felt like we were living in disorganized chaos everyday!

We had a family vacation planned the last week of July and that is the week our contractor decided to start construction. Can we say stress trying to get packed for a week long vacation and getting all the last minute stuff packed up in the kitchen?! My husband wanted to do some of the demolition to save on labor. Our 4 year old son loved coming downstairs each morning to see what my husband had taken down the night before. The highlight for him was when our contractor came over the day before he started and marked stuff on the walls so his guys would know what to do. What else would a 4 year old love more than to do the same thing so with sharpie in hand he began writing his name and making drawings on the wall. As he was having a blast we made sure he knew he was only able to do this because the walls were coming down and never, ever is he allowed to draw on the walls again! I hope that sunk in his little head.

We came home from vacation and walked in the house that night and literally didn’t know what to do or where to go with all of our stuff. So this was going to be our “new normal” for the next 3 months….WOW! I had to remind myself constantly that it was all going to be worth it when it was finished! The next few months consisted of paper plates, plastic silverware, microwave cooking and lots and lots of dust! The dust and filth was one of the hardest parts. I finally just had to try and look past it. I took the approach of why clean because it wa just going to be filthy again the next day when the workers came back, right? Fortunately we were able to use the BBQ a lot since it was summer. We even got pretty creative with it. Have you ever boiled noodles on a BBQ pit before. Pretty resourceful idea my husband had! We even were able to eat out on our porch on days it wasn’t too hot which was nice to eat without having to be surround ourselves with the disorganization and dirt from the remodel.

Now that we are fully functional in our new, remodeled kitchen I can honestly say it was all worth it! There are of course still things that need to be done that my husband signed up to do, like a backsplash and finish touching up baseboards. We also still need to purchase some lighting and a new kitchen table. It’s only been since October that the kitchen was finished so why rush into anything, right?

It amazes me that we were able to do a complete kitchen remodel without putting anything in storage but if remodeling your kitchen is on your list of things to do you may want to look into putting everything in a storage unit to keep as much out of the way as possible. Have you ever done a remodel in your home? Share your story and what worked or didn’t work.