Introducing Danielle and Austin's Kitchen & Garage Remodel

Renovation Diary

The original 'Texas suburbia' kitchen.
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Name: Austin & Danielle (of Forage + Fodder)
Type of Project: Kitchen & Garage Remodel
Location: Austin, Texas
Type of building: One story, Single-Family House, 1250 square feet

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

For the next installment in our Renovation Diary series, we're heading to sunny Austin, Texas, where Danielle and Austin are taking on an extensive remodel of their 1,250 square foot suburban home. When all the dust is settled, their home will be completely transformed: they plan on creating a much larger kitchen that's more in keeping with their style (and more conducive to entertaining!), as well as reconfiguring the front entrance to their home and enclosing the garage to create a new master suite. To learn more about their project, read on.

The original color scheme: brown on brown on brown.
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From Danielle:

When we bought our house, we knew we’d eventually want to remodel parts of it, but we agreed to see how we lived in it for awhile before making any big decisions. However, our first weekend as homeowners was spent giving the kitchen a quick face-lift to make it feel a little less Texas suburbia. We ripped off the tile backsplash, replacing it with beadboard, painted the countertops, and refinished the cabinets in white to brighten up the space.

The kitchen, after our initial facelift. That's our tiny pantry in the back.
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That was almost two years ago, and we've learned a lot about what’s important to us in a home. We cook constantly and enjoy bringing people together over a meal as much as our current space allows, so the kitchen is our top priority. Both sides of our family are big on meal time so we know that the group always winds up in the kitchen; tasting, drinking, and laughing.

We run out of counter space pretty quickly, and things get squished when the dishwasher and oven are being used at the same time.
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We want to expand our kitchen to make it more realistic for the amount of cooking we do, while maintaining our current open floor plan, and creating space for a gigantic farm table for our weekly meals, gatherings and the occasional epic dinner party.

The current floor plan of the house, with the unused garage.
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Another thing we've learned is that we absolutely never use our garage, so it’s time to turn it into a more functional space. This decision took some time because every week we had a different idea of what the space could be best used for. What we settled on is doing a remodel that would create a more functional laundry area, a more inviting point of entry to the house, which allows for a courtyard in the front, and a sanctuary bedroom to wind down each day.

An enlargement of the current floor plan of the kitchen and garage.
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The great thing about our remodel is that we’re just re-purposing the space we already have, so thankfully, we get to stay away from altering roof lines, adding exterior square footage, etc. We are going to finish out our garage (which is almost 500 square feet!) in order to add a master suite, laundry room, and entryway.

The proposed kitchen changes and master suite addition.
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As it stands, you currently enter the house through the kitchen and our washer and dryer setup is just in the garage, so we will be moving the front door, to make a more seamless kitchen space, and offer a more welcoming entryway. The master suite will have sliding glass doors that open to the backyard as well as a walk-in closet and bathroom equipped with double sinks, and a separate shower stall and clawfoot tub. This clawfoot tub has been a dream of mine for years!

The current front door placement. We'll match the brick work so that you'd never know it was moved.
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We'll also match the brickwork, so hopefully it looks like this was never a garage.
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Simultaneously, we will be changing the kitchen to an L-shape layout by removing the current island, and small divider wall, and combining the dining room and kitchen areas to create a very large eat-in kitchen. This will add more counter space, maintain our open floor plan, and allow us plenty of space for entertaining and cooking with friends and family.

We will remove this island and the small dividing wall. Also notice the lack of ventilation.
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Currently one wall has our pantry, and two hall closets that are accessed from the other side, so we've decided to remove the closets and pantry, and build out our cabinets from the back wall to make the kitchen bigger. We know we’ll need to get creative with our cabinet choices in order to recreate the storage space lost by removing the pantry. All kitchen cabinets and appliances will be replaced, and we’ll be extending the new kitchen flooring into our living room for a more seamless transition.

The door to the garage will become an open walkway, and we'll combine this dining room space with the new kitchen.
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Because our home was built in the 1960’s there are several things that aren’t up to code, which will need to be replaced or updated. For example, we have no smoke detectors, so we’ll be wiring and installing those throughout the house. We also don’t have proper kitchen ventilation, so we’ll be installing a large chimney hood in the new kitchen. The latest international residential building code has much higher standards for HVAC, so we will need to replace our current unit and upgrade the entire house. We also have several outlets that just don’t work, or are a little wonky, so our electrician will be rewiring most of the house — which also includes upgrading to a junction box, and replacing our current track lighting with LED recessed light fixtures. In regards to plumbing, we’ll add an extension to the current sewer line to service the new bathroom and laundry room, and we will be switching to an exterior tankless water heater, in addition to moving the gas line.

The current, not-so-welcoming entryway.
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This process has been months in the making. We originally thought we’d be starting this remodel about eight months ago, but the process of getting proper plans for the city took several (ahem, 5 to be exact) trips to the city office attempting to turn in our plans and paperwork, only to be sent home because there was another tiny detail that needed to be addressed. It was tedious to say the least, but we made it through, so we are so excited to finally get started. Already I would advise anyone who is permitting their remodel project to start early with going through the city, because it may take longer than you think to get everything prepared to submit for review.

The current state of the garage. We started initial demolition before we knew how long the permitting process would take.
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Want to hear more about Danielle and Austin's renovation? Join us tomorrow as Danielle and Austin shares their inspiration for their new kitchen.

(Images and Diary Text: Danielle and Austin)

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Danielle and Austin's Kitchen & Garage Remodel

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