We’ve been remodeling our kitchen for the last three months, and I’m SO excited to share it all with you! I already shared a big post with all the before pictures of our kitchen, so look at that if you’ve never seen it before. Today I’m going to share the entire remodel story, from the very beginning. This might be lengthy, so go grab your favorite beverage, settle in, and get comfy. Hope you enjoy all the details in this one!
^ This is what our kitchen looked like when we bought the house.
Nate and I bought our home in 2020. We decided to make the trade off that many young families do at this stage of life: we left our small and beautiful urban home that was walking distance from downtown and bought a house in the suburbs of Austin. That 20 minute drive to downtown felt SOOO long at first, but I’m used to it now and I love the calm and quiet of our little pocket of Austin! (Omg, and I love the people in our neighborhood SO much!! Truly the most valuable part of where we live!!) And now that I’m living with these two crazy boys of mine, I can’t imagine life without a backyard, a safe street, a garage, and a designated guest room for when my family visits.
The layout, location, price, lot, and size of the house were perfect…but the design definitely was not.
We’ve done a lot of renovation projects, like new baseboards and doors throughout, painting it aaaaaall (including all of those dang ceilings!), new floors (polished cement downstairs, soft carpet upstairs), a stair renovation, a fireplace renovation, and changing out lots of light fixtures.
But we waited on the kitchen remodel. I know, I know, everyone says to put your money there first because that’s where you get the most back out of it when you sell. But A) we don’t want to sell until the boys are out of high school, so like 17 more years, and B) we really wanted to live in the space and figure out what we wanted in a kitchen remodel.
I’m so glad we did this, because originally I was thinking of something much, much simpler. Haha.. (And, truthfully, my original plan would have been a lot cheaper, too…) But rather than just straightening out the curved counter and getting rid of the center island, we made the BIG decision to remove a load bearing wall in our home. (It’s that ^ wall in the photo above that has the George Nelson clock on it.) And I’m so glad we did! But we wouldn’t have been ready to make this decision right when we moved in.
Our contractor, designer, and project manager for this project was Dwellify. They’re a turnkey home remodeling service that I stumbled upon through (oddly) a press release in my inbox!
Now, I get approximately 1,000 press releases a day, and for some reason I was drawn to click on this one and read about the company. I had been waiting on this kitchen remodel until knew the time was right (as in, I’m not willing to go through a major remodel project while pregnant, or nursing a newborn, or potty training a toddler….there are very few good times) and I knew a good moment would hit eventually! A few miracles all aligned perfectly, and we knew it was the right moment to tackle this massive renovation project.
I had been dreaming of this for a long time. (I mean, for the three years since we bought the house…not that long, but for the entirety of living here!) I had a running list of potential companies and contractors on my phone. People that my friends had used, or I’d stumbled upon through social media. Truth be told, I reeeaally had been burned by previous contractors. We’ve had two different contractors who were really hard to work with. And even small projects typically become a part-time job for the homeowner to manage, so I wanted to have a project manager. And after dipping my toes into the world of hiring designers, I knew I wanted a professional designer to not just do the cosmetic choices, but also the cabinet layout and general feel of the space.
The tough thing is that most companies that do all of that stuff are remodeling multi-million-dollar mansions in Westlake and would have charged more than I felt happy spending on this. And I didn’t feel great about piecing together a random designer with a random contractor either.
Anyway, when this Dwellify press release came through my inbox and I clicked on it and read through, I was like, “um, god, is that you?” Haha. I browsed the Dwellify site and instagram account and just felt so, so good about entrusting them to do my kitchen remodel.
And I started the design process! Y’all, when I say that it was easy and fun and flowy, I truly mean that. I’ve NEVER experienced such a simple remodel experience…and this was a massive one!
The Kitchen Design Process With Dwellify
Oooh, this part was so fun! Dwellify is an online-based remodeling company, so everything is handled virtually. This made it very easy to check it off my to-do list at any random pockets of free time I had during the boys’ naps or in my early morning work sessions.
I started by taking their design quiz, where I (unsurprisingly) found that my design style is somewhere between Midcentury and Transitional. This matched all of my Pinterest dream boards, too!
After that, I started selecting the materials that I was drawn to. Since we have cement floors and white walls throughout our downstairs, I really wanted to do something to warm up the space and make it a bit less industrial. So I selected a few wood cabinet samples. The wood pairs nicely with both black and white quartz. I originally wanted black, but then when I got the samples I realized that I shows a lot of fingerprints, so I asked them to send me a white one as well. (Which they gladly did!). And then for the backsplash, I knew what I wanted right when I saw it on the Dwellify website: this really cool mint pattern. But since the design boxes come with two samples, I also added in a simple white geometric tile, just in case…
The design box showed up on my porch a few days later. Nate and I looked through it and chose our favorites, and then we were able to start our 1-on-1 design meetings with our Dwellify designer, Rachel.
She gave me instructions to upload a 3D video of our current kitchen design. From there, she gave us her initial thoughts on the things we could change to make it fit our needs. After several meetings, we came up with our final floor plan. It was a pretty extensive change from our old kitchen!
The Remodel Process
The only part of the remodel that Dwellify didn’t do is removing the load bearing wall. But they did find the company that did it for me, so even with that step I didn’t have to work very hard. Btw, Load Bearing Wall Pros are based here in Texas and they were SO great! They completed the entire job in one day, which included removing the old wall, installing a massive steel beam in our ceiling, and leaving the plumbing and electrical relocation for our contractor to handle.
Two days after the load bearing wall was removed, our contractor arrived and started to do all the kitchen demo. He was so fast! In about 48 hours our entire kitchen was completely gutted. From there, there was a lot of jack hammering into the foundation so he could re-route the old plumbing and electrical into a nearby wall (since we had removed the wall where that plumbing and electrical used to live.) There was also some re-routing work to do since the sink was being relocated, as well as some electrical work to do with switching our old gas stove (30 amp) to an induction stove (50 amp).
He finished all of this stuff so fast, and then…
…womp womp…we had a 6 week delay waiting around for the slow, slow, slow city of Austin to approve our permits. We opted to pull permits since there were such major structural changes being done, but dang…I kind of wish we never pulled permits! Haha. That delay was really annoying. I think my contractor was more annoyed by it than anyone. I could tell he was ready to get this job going! We had all the materials ready, the cabinets were sitting in our garage, the new appliances were in our dining room. We were ready!
Eventually the inspections were passed and the team was back in there to rebuild the kitchen. All in all, this was a 12 week job which is pretty impressive considering it was crickets for 6 weeks.
I’ll share the before and after pictures with you tomorrow!
If you’re planning (or hoping!) for a kitchen or bathroom remodel in the future, I can only say wonderful things about Dwellify! I highly recommend them if you want an easy, convenient, quick remodel experience.
One of my favorite parts is that I never had to drive around town looking at samples, running into home improvement stores, and searching for textiles. I literally just sat in front of my computer, picked my favorites, and then they all showed up on my front porch a few days later. No loading kids in/out of car seats every weekend for a month while we planned…it was just all so EASY and fun!
USE THE CODE
FOR $200 OFF YOUR DWELLIFY DESIGN EXPERIENCE
This deal is SO insanely good! Use the code KELSEY99 and you’ll get the Dwellify Design Experience for $99 (normally $299), which includes
– a design box of material samples
– unlimited one-on-one meetings with the Dwellify Design Team
– updated layout & colorized 3D renderings
– a refined project estimate
Even if you’re just starting to consider a bathroom or kitchen remodel, this is a very inexpensive way to get started and see what it’s like to work with a professional design team.
I can’t wait to share all the before and after pictures with you next time!