Our Kitchen Remodel Part One

Here’s the first chapter of the story of two *and a half* not so young and naive homeowner’s journey in the ferocious world of kitchen remodeling. Let me admit my first mistake, I was overzealous. I somehow forgot how UNhandy we really were and how LAZY I really am. Antz and I must have gotten 50 quotes from contractors for jobs ranging from plumbing *something we HAD to get fixed once and for all* to painters *because we take forever to paint one wall* Finally I called the best resource in town, fantastic Mr. Matt Manner of Extraordinary Real Estate. Matt sent over Karly *his contractor* and she adored our cute house but kept it real and told us we couldn’t afford her on our budget. *She could have pimped out our entire house, including a new foundation for $80k* but she was kind enough to recommend Rene.

Rene is INCREDIBLE!! He is an around the corner neighbor, does amazing work for extremely reasonable rates and is the nicest guy we’ve met, there’s nothing he can’t fix. Our first meeting with him he brought his daughter and their dogs to play with Olivia in the backyard. He gave us a quote within our budget and checked everything on our To-Do list *and even hooked up some things we didn’t plan to repair this year*. Rene is my contractor for life, if you are local, email me for his info, he does everything!!

Before our kitchen had orangey-yellow painted cabinets, cream tile countertop and backsplash and old broken hardwood floors
We had a wall mounted faucet, prehistoric plumbing and no dishwasher
Kitchen – Before remodel *I’m a fan of white appliances*

You may recall a few years ago we got fed up of looking at the awful linoleum floors in our tiny bathroom so we spend my birthday week installing new tile floors. Even though we never did a project of that magnitude, we some how managed to install a decent looking hexagon tile floor and put in a new sink/vanity and a taller toilet *because my legs used to fall asleep on the old one*

This gave me the false confidence to allow myself to think “hey, we can install the kitchen tile backsplash ourselves and save some money!” Little did I know, what a can of worms I was opening thinking we could do anything ourselves. I soon realized I would have to put this entire project in Rene’s more capable hands.

Back in April, Antz attempted to sand the upper cabinets while Liv and I were away visiting my Mom in the desert.

He stripped 4 coats of paint

After 48 hours of sanding all he was left with was achy arms, tons of dust and old paint particles in his lungs. I thought I was gonna have to take him to the hospital but a week later he felt better. He really did his best but we needed to have a pro take over. They sanded the rest of the cabinets and painted the upper cabinets for us.

{LESSON LEARNED} DIY isn’t for everyone. What I considered was saving a few hundred dollars ended up costing us time and energy. Small projects are fine but know when to call in a professional.

It really annoyed me that one of our recessed lights wasn’t working and our outdoor floodlight hadn’t worked in over two years. We searched everywhere for a decent electrician. We found in LA, their are more crazy folks posing as electricians than normal, affordable electricians. Finally, we noticed a guy working next door at our cute neighbor’s house. I channeled my inner Mrs. Kravitz and got nosey and found out the guy was updating the electrical at their house.

I loved Bewitched!

Then my neighbor, Lisa, posted on Facebook about how awesome the guy was so I asked him to come by our house for a quote. Later that day he came by and before the sun set we had a new motion light in our backyard, he replaced our front yard spotlight and repaired our kitchen recessed light, all for $200 bucks, a bargain!

{LESSON LEARNED} Steal from your neighbors! Well, not literally, but ask your neighbors and friends for referrals when looking for honest and reasonable guys. They will give you better reviews than Yelp *which I believe is rigged* and they get to pay it forward to the guys who get clients by word of mouth *again, contact me to hire Rene, he’s a superhero!*

So we got our lights working we could finally move everything out of the cabinets and Rene and his crew demolished our lower cabinets and countertops. It was surreal seeing the kitchen go from this

…to this in a few hours.

Demo-ed all the way down to the studs
New copper pipes!

Fortunately for us, having the entire house updated to copper pipes not only meant we gained better water pressure but we also got to upgrade our sad shower head we bought from Bed, Bath & Beyond 7 years ago.

Oh, hey there gross water stain! *I’ve tried bleach, CRL and an exorcism, that guy is here to stay*
Wow, our shower toiletries are so unsexy

Our new showerhead is RAD! This guy has adjustable heights, a billion different settings and the handle to turn it on and off is easy peasy. Hopefully next year will get the tub and tile wall reglazed in white.

One word, INSANE!

Let me share a scenario with you. Last winter, I am taking a shower of a lukewarm tickle of water *pretty miserable*. I’m trying to wake myself up so I can take Liv to school. I go to turn the water off. Now I turn off the cold water fine but I’m twisting the hot water handle for a long time but the water is still coming out. Antz had to shut off the water to make it stop. Our old plumber comes by later and replaces the valve that shuts the water off and gives me a $250 bill. Oye! Then within 3 weeks the exact same thing happens again. Our plumber had to replace a washer that wore out but only charged $50 this time. $300 bucks to shut the water off, LAME! This is the story of how annoying our plumbing has been for the past seven years. So to be able to flip this one handle baby and get a full stream of steaming hot water feels like heaven. Our next project will be having the shower wall and bathtub glazed in white.


So when the guys opened our walls to replace the pipes and he jacked up the sliding pretty bad which had me biting my nails. Then he patched it up and smoothed it out better than it was before. *80% of the time I had my heart in my throat while they worked on our house, unnecessarily* He then asks me for the house paint. Uhh, we gave it to David back when we fixed our deck and he used it all and then threw it away. {LESSON LEARNED} Never throw away a can of paint! We were lucky enough to inherit all our house’s paint colors from our previous owners and we are saving all our paint for any future owners.


Luckily the guy found a sample for me to take to Home Depot so I could match the color perfectly and my wall was back to normal.


I will be posting part two soon…featuring wall paint *choosing a color is really hard* and the famous floors. That will be a doozy!!

When I picked up Liv from school yesterday I got this present from her teachers, they said I can’t open it until Mothers day. I also got an Etsy package I’ve been anticipating for weeks now. YAY!
My first official Mommy’s day present from Olivia!
Etsy packages always look fun

Happy Happy Mother’s day to all you Motherlovers!!!

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