Design and Decor Our Home

My Kitchen Remodel That I Personally Designed

I’m beyond happy to share my Kitchen Remodel that I  personally designed with you! It’s a dream come true for me, probably because I am a huge fun of Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper. I wanted to experience making my own kitchen design, to personally pick the type of cabinets, countertop, colors, tiles and other things that come along with doing a kitchen remodel.

Remodeling is not one of my strong suits and it’s also not a strength that my husband has either. This is the reason why our first home was a new construction. It’s also the reason why my husband was against buying a fixer upper house, aside from unexpected expenses that come along with it. However, after watching countless hours of HGTV shows specifically, Fixer Upper, Love it or List It and The Property Brothers, I came to a conclusion that renovation is not expensive at all. In the show, the usual renovation budget they presented was ranging around 20K to 60K and at the end of the show the whole house was beautifully renovated. So, I kept telling to my husband that the remodeling cost and buying a fixer upper house could be a good thing. Due to my constant perseverance and persistence, my husband finally gave in. In the early part of 2020, we bought our 2nd home, a total fixer upper house. I got what I wanted!

In February 2020, we bought a totally outdated  1950s house. Of course, this is what I prefer but my husband was not as enthusiastic. It took our contractor 3 months to renovate the whole place. However, in this post, I will only be sharing our kitchen remodel. I will show you the before and after pictures and then tell you how we went about taking this house and making it my dream home. I hope after reading this post you will be inspired and encouraged to take on kitchen remodeling as your next project.

Before Pictures

As you can see, this was a very small kitchen. It is 105.7 sq. ft to be exact. It had an old 1950s model oven, outdated oak wood cabinets, original laminate flooring, no dishwasher, horrible lighting, and was completely closed off . When you walked into the kitchen you literally felt like you were transported into the 1950s (could be also a good thing, like a time travel experience, hehe). It was quite clear that the “OPEN CONCEPT DESIGN” had not yet been discovered.

This was the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area and living room area. The oven was also sticking out from the wall cabinet, it seems that the original owner of the house just pushed the oven in without considering how it would look.

This is my favorite part of the old kitchen, the refrigerator sticking out in the side door hallway! (not really, this was actually something that I didn’t like at all)

I can still remember my husband asking me so many times “do you really want to buy this house, the kitchen is so tiny and I cannot see what we can possibly do to make it a kitchen that you would like to have”.  I told him with confidence, “do not worry about the design, I will take care of it!”

My Kitchen Remodel Plan

This was my favorite part, PLANNING! This is where I was able to put my personal touch on the remodel and make every part of the kitchen my own! Below are the highlights of my kitchen remodel plan:

  • First Things First – To Have An Open Concept Kitchen – We needed to tear down the wall that was separating the kitchen from the dining and living room area.
  • Remove And Replace Kitchen Cabinets – I did not even consider the kitchen cabinet refacing aside that I really didn’t like the face of the cabinet but dishwasher needs to put in. So, I think it is smart decision to get rid of everything, since it will be a completely gutted kitchen remodel.
  • Remove the Kitchen Soffit – I wanted the upper cabinetry all the way to the ceiling because it would provide additional storage. The kitchen was small so it was important that I used every inch of space possible.
  • The Stainless Steel Sink Out and Farm House Sink In – I always wanted to have a farm house sink and this came from watching the show Fixer Upper too much!
  • Remove The Old Laminate Flooring –  Besides the fact that the floor was really in need of some upgrades, I really wanted to have a wood look laminate flooring in the entire house.
  • Out of Place Refrigerator To Be Out For Good –  I wanted my refrigerator to have its own place in the kitchen and definitely not sticking out in the hallway.

During Kitchen Remodel Pictures

All Kitchen Cabinets, stainless steel sink and kitchen soffits are gone.

We tore down the load bearing wall and the support beam already installed.

Surprise! Surprise! Truly there are always surprises behind the wall. When the wall behind the refrigerator was torn down there was a wall duct stack behind it.

Finally found a place for the my future refrigerator.

Kitchen Cabinets installed.

Almost Done!

After Pictures

Layout – I extended the foot print of the kitchen by a foot towards the dining area. This was to have a place for a dishwasher and to have a decent sized farmhouse sink. Now my kitchen is up date, no more 1950s feel, and with my pretty farm house sink! I really love my farm house sink, I couldn’t be happier!

Cabinets – I actually like the classic white kitchen but my husband likes gray so much. So, two accommodate both of our wishes, I decided to have two toned kitchen cabinets. This allowed both of us to be happy.  The two toned kitchen cabinets provide additional visual interest and create a more relaxing look, while the white upper cabinets make the kitchen look and feel bigger. We chose the Shenandoah Cabinetry  at Lowe’s, and with the help of the kitchen designer, I was able to have a functional kitchen as well as kitchen that I like. The kitchen designer at Lowe’s suggested to build a microwave into our lower cabinet and I was and am thankful for that. This allowed us to have a clear counter without a microwave sitting on it.

Countertops: The moment I saw quartz countertops in some of the model houses that I visited, I fell in love with them in an instant. I like the clean and simple design, I think its very classic and timeless. Besides that, quartz countertops are known to be maintenance free and durable. I chose a Calacatta Verona Quartz with soft white background and subtle veins from MSI.

Backsplash – When it came to a backsplash, my first initial choice was a glass tile but I was not sure if glass tile would stand the test of time or would it soon be of out of style. Because of that uncertainty, I decided to settle with a classic and timeless subway tile, Hudson Subway White 12 in. x 12 in. Porcelain Mosaic Tile that we bought from Home Depot. I browsed a lot of pictures on Pinterest and I always ended up liking the white subway mosaic tile, and after it was installed, I really like the result. It looks simple and clean, just they way I like it.

Kitchen Peninsula – Basically we didn’t have room for an island so adding a kitchen peninsula was the only option. Although, I like to cook on a gas stove, I decided to go with an electric stove because it is easier to clean and I can use the stove as a counter space when not in use. Our contractor suggested to get a slide in with a glass smooth top range. I was glad that I took his advice because I can really use the stove top as additional counter space.

Open Concept Kitchen – We finally have an open concept kitchen. There is no more wall separating the kitchen from the dining and living room area. Natural light illuminates every corner of our kitchen which I truly love. I can literally cook while entertaining when we have family over. I am not missing out anything even though I am in the kitchen cooking. Love it!

No Range Hood –  We cannot have a range hood because of some design issues. There is no place to put a vent hood without sacrificing the integrity of the support beam. So what I do is to check our ceiling and cabinets every now and then to see if there’s grease on them. So far, I have not noticed anything and hopefully never will!

Refrigerator Designated Place and Small Closet Pantry – Finally, the refrigerator no longer sticking out in the side door hallway and we were able create a small pantry closet around it. The removal of the small closet in the main door hallway was really the right decision to have a place for the refrigerator. Yes, the contractor charged us an additional labor charge because of the duct wall stack behind the wall but it was really worth the money!

We also changed the front and side doors and all the interior doors of the entire house. I must say that the black color side door gave an additional esthetic appeal to the whole kitchen. Plus, we added 4 recessed lighting fixtures in the kitchen which really makes the room feel bigger.

Before and After Pictures

Kitchen Remodel


Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel


Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel

I also included the exact measurement and layout of my kitchen:

Kitchen Remodel

How Much The Kitchen Remodel Cost Us

In my introduction, I mentioned the cost of renovating a whole house. I came up with this cost estimation after watching HGTV Home Improvement Shows and this is one of the reasons I was able to convince my husband to buy a Fixer Upper house. Therefore, it is only right to include the total cost of my kitchen remodeling adventure. However, we failed to really record the details of every expense. Below are just the items that we accounted for but it will still give you an idea of how much it would cost you to get a total gutted kitchen remodel.

My Tip: Every now and then Lowe’s Kitchen Cabinet Department offers 30% off on their cabinet brands and we were fortunate to get it.

  • Kitchen Cabinet and Knobs –  $7,518.43  (discounted price)
  • Quartz Countertops – $3,874.88
  • Farmhouse Sink – $383.50
  • Faucet – $199.99
  • Kitchen Appliances – $3,079.61
  • Labor – $11, 000

Total Cost: $26,056.41 (not including the floor, backsplash, recessed lighting and other materials).

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from this undertaking:

A totally gutted kitchen remodel will cost you a lot of money even for a 105 sq. ft kitchen, especially if you will hire a contractor to do it.

  • DIY Kitchen remodeling will truly save you a lot of money, the only problem is not everybody has the skills to do it.  So, if you are like us, who did not have good carpentry skills, hiring a professional contractor was the only option. We were just lucky that we met a good contractor that we could work with before we bought our fixer upper house. My tip for you, if you are wanting to buy a fixer upper house and hire somebody do to the renovation work for you, please find a reliable contractor first before buying a fixer upper house. Why? Contractors have different costs and most of them will quote you a ridiculously high price. So, you really need to be diligent and have patience when looking for a professional contractor or most of your allocated budget will be eaten up with labor expenses.
  • Do not base your renovation budget on HGTV Home Improvement shows  because their prices are just not accurate in the real world. It’s still mind boggling that a 30K renovation budget can make a whole house beautiful.

Kitchen Remodel

Was Kitchen Remodeling Worth It?

Definitely a big YES! Even though we spent more than originally planned, I can definitely say that I am very happy with the result. I actually enjoyed the whole process of making something old new again.

After the renovation project was done, I immediately developed a special connection with the house and a feeling of contentment even though my kitchen is not even comparable with the “gourmet kitchens” that you commonly see on Pinterest. For me, this is enough reason why it was worth it to undertake a kitchen remodel project!

If you are seriously considering having your kitchen remodeled in the very near future, the following information may help.

Did you know that according to the Zillow Digs analysis conducted last in April 2016, Barn Doors, Farmhouse Sinks, Shaker Cabinetry and Subway Tiling are found to be one of the “wow kitchen factors” that encourage home buyers to raise their offer price? Also, your kitchen remodel will not only make your dream come true but could also get your house sold quickly. This may be important when you need to live somewhere else and have a chance to make even more money!


kitchen remodel

From Pinterest

kitchen remodel

From Pinterest

However, you need to have a good kitchen remodel plan to make your project a success! My article, kitchen remodel plan learned from our fixer upper home will guide you through the step by step process involved in creating a well thought out kitchen remodel plan and its importance.

More Home Remodeling Ideas

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Kitchen Remodel Plan Learned From Our Fixer Upper Home


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Master Bathroom Remodel:Tips and Ideas For Bathroom Remodeling


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