7 Ways to Enjoy Your Kitchen Remodeling Experience

It's been a little over four years since I wrote, "8 Steps for a Successful Kitchen Remodel".  I received a lot of positive feedback about it.  That article was meant to provide a very basic look at what to expect during a kitchen (or bathroom) remodel.  There is a lot of information pertaining to expectations, responsibilities, and order of events.  So if you have never remodeled before - OR perhaps you just want to find out a little bit about my process, click on that link above to access that article.

This post is more geared towards providing some positive insights into how you and your family can not only survive, but ENJOY your remodeling experience.  There is a misconception that every remodel has to be a stressful, drawn out process with absolutely no joy in it.  And while ripping out your kitchen (or bath) can be anxiety-inducing; it shouldn't keep you up at night.  

7 Ways to Enjoy Your Kitchen Remodeling Experience 

1. Document everything with the idea that you will create a picture book about the experience once complete.  Check out www.mypublisher.com, or you can use the iPhoto Print Services online if you are an Apple junky like me.  Take detailed before pictures.  Try to take photos of every conceivable angle and if you can, envision where the most dramatic view points will be when the project is complete.  Taking a shot every single day isn't totally necessary, but I always take a quick photo of the major progress items, (cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc...)  Take the "after" shots keeping in mind where you took your "before" shots.  If you can stand in the same location-even better!  Put the before/after shots side by side for a dramatic effect.  This documentary of the progress of work can be really fun to look through a year or two after completion.

 Well planned out temp kitchens make life much nicer for you when your real kitchen is ripped apart.

Well planned out temp kitchens make life much nicer for you when your real kitchen is ripped apart.

2. Plan your temporary kitchen space ahead of time.  So important!  Here's what you'll need: 

  • Cooking Appliances:  For about $50-$100 you can buy a couple of electric or induction table top burners that plug into a regular outlet.  In addition to your burners, set up a small microwave in a convenient location.  You'll use the microwave a LOT over the next few months.  
  • 6 foot folding table.  If you have room for two of these, even better.  You'll need a surface for your table top burners, microwave, etc.  
  • Trash can
  • Disposable dinnerware.  I know it is wasteful, but you're not a terrible person if you use disposable plates and forks for a few months.  There are several options that are recyclable as well.  Try to minimize the dishes you have to do after your meals. 
  • Get a bus box from a restaurant supply store.  Use it as as catch-all for dirty dishes.  

3. Plan Dinners with Friends You Haven't Seen in a While.  How long have you been planning to have dinner with that couple you love but haven't seen in 6 months?  In fact, how many friends do you need to catch up with?  If you are like me, then it's probably quite a few.  What better way to get away from the construction zone AND get a free dinner than going over to your friend's house???  You'll have some fantastic conversation topics to talk about over dinner.  It's OK to have an extra glass of wine too. You deserve it after living through this remodel...

4. Take Weekend Excursions.  What?  Go on a vacation during a remodel?  Well, a lot of us can't afford to take a big vacation while simultaneously paying for a big kitchen renovation.  For those of you that CAN - this is the best way to survive in style.  I hear Cabo is great this time of year...But for those of us that need to be a little bit more frugal during the renovation, taking a weekend excursion to that mountain town you haven't explored is a great way to get away.  Go camping, take a trip to see relatives.  In short - just get out and do something that requires you to stop thinking about what type of granite you should decide on for one weekend!

5. Watch a Tradesmen Do His (or her) Work for About 30 Minutes.  Most tradesmen would probably be cool with you taking an interest in their job.  This tip is not for everyone.  But for those of you that are interested in residential construction, it is a great way to learn something new while also getting on the good side of your subcontractors.

6. Use the Grill!  The grill is still my favorite cooking surface.  My family grills year round.  Yep.  Not uncommon to see me in boot deep snow firing up the grill in January.  A) minimal clean up, B) great flavor, C) large cooking surface.  Have a BBQ & tell your friends to bring a side.  You can cook anything on the grill and show off the progress of your kitchen renovation to everyone.

7. Create a Time Capsule with Your Children.  It's amazing what you pull out of old houses during a renovation.  50 year old newspapers, family photos, etc.  Well, why not leave a little something for the next family that lives in your home and decides to remodel?  Kids will probably really enjoy this exercise (unless they're teenagers, in which case they probably hate everything).  Ask them to grab one or two small items or photographs.  Add a current newspaper article or this month's 5280 Magazine.  Stuff it all into a mason jar and maybe include a nice note wishing the next homeowners luck.  You might stuff it into the new wall you're framing out or perhaps put it in the crawlspace in a corner where nobody will find it for a very long time.  Either way, it will be fun for your next homeowners.