Kitchen renovation thoughts

May 5, 2024 - -

We recently completed a renovation to our kitchen. It took significantly longer than expected, but we’re very happy with the final result. Even though we contracted out the labor, my wife and I were both extremely busy with this project; it was almost like taking on a second job. Designing a new kitchen requires an incredible number of decisions, errands, purchases, returns, and research. Now that we’ve made it through the other side, here’s a random smattering of kitchen thoughts with a sprinkling of photos. Who doesn’t love a good smattering? Or sprinkles?

Survival without a kitchen

From what I gather, many folks move out of their home or eat out more frequently while construction happens in their kitchen. We managed to setup a temporary kitchen which saved us a lot of money. We moved our fridge, cutting board, kettle, and some shelving into dining room. We purchased a new microwave (which was going in the new kitchen), borrowed a single induction burner, and voila, we had a very basic kitchen setup. There was no running water, so we had to repeatedly make several inconvenient trips the bathroom to fill up our pots or kettle. We also had to wash dishes by hand in the bathroom sink or tub. Obviously, not the worst fate, but significantly less convenient than having a dishwasher or a big kitchen sink.

Induction range

I’m enjoying our induction range! Switching to induction from gas has been straightforward. It’s easy to clean, and our air quality appears to be better. Water boils much faster. Yes, we had to purchase a few new pots and pans, but this was really a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the rest of the project.

Before and after photos by Elizabeth Hall Before and after photos by Elizabeth Hall


Our old countertop consisted of square tiles separated with thick grout lines. It was ugly and difficult to clean. I wish we had replaced it with something inexpensive we moved in instead of tolerating it for 9 years. During our renovation, we finally upgraded it using a single granite slab. We originally were going to go with quartz, but had a difficult time finding something we liked. Once we found our titanium granite slab, we knew it would fit perfectly, and, we were delighted that it was one of the lower cost slabs. Interestingly, the stone itself was not that expensive, but fabrication is really the hidden cost here.

Before and after photos by Elizabeth Hall Before and after photos by Elizabeth Hall

Vent hood

It’s nice having a legitimate vent hood. Before, our microwave was above our range and it had a weak, useless fan. Now, our smokiness we create gets sucks out of our home!


The 3rd rack on our Bosch dishwasher is surprisingly transformative. It’s used for utensils and other small, flat items. It opens up a lot of space on the bottom rack for more plates or for pots and pans. I never used to have enough room for a pot in the dishwasher. I’ve had a couple Bosch dishwashers now, and they’ve been consistently high quality.


We briefly considered a wooden floor, and a stone tile floor, but our contractor nudged us away from those options. He strongly suggested sticking with nonporous materials like ceramic tile. When potentially dealing with a lot of water, whether its from spills or a broken appliance, its best not use materials that can warp or stain.

Also, it turns out the grout color makes a big difference! Warmer tones in the grout manifest through the entire patchwork of tiles.

Undermount sink

A large single basin undermount sink is really nice. We have a “work station sink” which allows for various accessories to be held by the sink. It’s a nice idea, but only modestly useful. Having the built in strainer is handy, but we haven’t used too many of the other features. Our faucet has a feature for a single forceful high pressure water beam which has been handy for cutting through stubborn grease spots.

Clothes rack arm

Clothes rack arm We installed an extensible clothes drying rack arm over our washer and dryer. We dry a lot of clothes just by hanging them; it usually results in fewer wrinkles and less energy usage. Typically, we would find random places to hang them around the house; the bathroom, an unused closet, etc. But, with the drying arm, it’s nice to keep it all within the laundry area.


We installed a recess near one of our counters not unlike one you might find in a shower. It’s handy for keeping commonly used condiments accessible while not cluttering up the countertop.

Before and after photo of the Entrance by Elizabeth Hall Before and after photos by Elizabeth Hall

Soffits and Crown Molding

I also wish we had spent a little more time thinking about our soffits and crown molding. Originally, we had big bulky soffits, and we were hoping they could be reused and trimmed down. Our contractor thought this was reasonable, but it turned out they were constructed from a thick plywood, and became a more complicated project than originally intended, so they were completely removed. So, new soffits and molding were sort of an afterthought. They came out ok, but they’re probably the weakest part of our kitchen design.


Oh boy, I have a lot of thoughts on cabinets. That is not a sentence I thought I would write, but here we are. First a few positives. I definitely recommend under-cabinet lighting, especially if its dimmable. Cabinets and appliances cast a lot of shadows, so having an uninterrupted light source for the counter is very handy. The low dim setting has been useful for as a night light for our guests to maneuver around our home after dark.

We have a cabinet with sliding drawers for pots and pans. Again, very handy. I spend a lot less time on the floor hunting around for the pan I need.

I know soft-close cabinet doors are a standard feature now, but it doesn’t do anything for me. Maybe I’m just used to mild cabinet slams all the time. However, what I really want is soft open. When our cabinet doors are open 90 degrees, they’ll just fall open all the way, clanging into an adjacent cabinet which I find annoying.

Ok, now for some drama. Do not, under any circumstances, order cabinets from Omega cabinets. They have been nothing short of a disaster. They shipped us chipped, gouged, cracked, and incorrect cabinets repeatedly. We received multiple cabinets that were clearly damaged and then painted over. And, the paint was frequently clumpy and the coloring inconsistent. Receiving our shitty replacements took 6 weeks each time! It was just an absolute clown show.

The primary reason we went with semi-custom was to get a 48” blind corner cabinet that we liked, that wasn’t available in the more standard options. Honestly, it wasn’t worth it. If I were to do it all over again, I would just choose the standard cabinetry available at Lowe’s, fancy corner be damned. My friends did this, an they also had a broken cabinet shipment, but they were able to get a replacement in a matter of days.


My old appliances were all functional, but they were dated. Our contractor was surprised I wanted to try to sell them; he didn’t think there would be much of a market for them. His other clients typically discarded their old appliances along with the other demolition debris. Well, he was wrong; I managed to sell all my old appliances through Facebook marketplace. Getting the few extra hundred bucks was nice, but the main reason I wanted to sell was simply because I don’t like to discard functional items that I thought someone could use. It felt wasteful. Everyone I sold to seemed to have a genuine need for the appliance. They saved a few bucks by buying something used, and I wasted a little less, and got some cash. Win win.

I was also able to take advantage of our local Buy Nothing group to give away various kitchen trinkets that we no longer needed.

Finally, I’d suggest looking for rebates if you’re moving any appliances from gas to electric. I got $250 for transitioning from a gas to induction stove from