Introducing Sandra and Justin's Kitchen Renovation

Renovation Diary

Pin it button big

Pin it button big
Name: Sandra & Justin
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Arlington, Texas
Type of building: Single-family home, 2,450 square feet

The Renovation Diaries are a new 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.

What do you do when you've found the perfect house... but with a less-than-perfect kitchen? After a year of house hunting, Sandra and Justin fell in love with this house in Arlington, with gorgeous light, a huge backyard, and a cramped, poorly laid out kitchen. They bought the house anyway, promising themselves that re-doing the kitchen would be their first project. 

From Sandra:

Last fall, after a full year of house hunting, Justin and I walked out into the backyard of this house and knew it was the one. Unfortunately, the house needed some updating, especially the kitchen. It lacks the openness and and beauty of the yard behind it. But we bought the house anyway, and promised ourselves that we would give the kitchen a do-over asap. 

Pin it button big

This is the one thing we love about the current kitchen, is this morning sunlight that streams through the huge windows. View of the stovetop island.

Now that we've been settled into the house for a few months we are ready to go. The current situation is cramped and awkward, with the cooktop as the island (the whole tiny thing), which makes the kitchen space feel disjointed and unsafe; we bump into it constantly. 

Pin it button big

The kitchen is so akward it is hard to photograph. To the left you can see the old (and hardly working) oven and built-in microwave. In the center is the island stove top with zero counterspace alongside. Directly in front is a counter bar hiding the sink area. The doorway divides the dining room from the kitchen.

Pin it button big

Our 4 and 8 year old kiddos are often running through, looking for a snack or trying to help while I cook, and I worry about them knocking into a protruding pot handle and getting hurt. I like to have one great work surface for all my cooking projects and storage that makes sense; both things that this room is lacking. We need a kitchen that works better for our family.

Pin it button big

Action shot. Me trying to prepare dinner on the stove island since there isn't a great surface in the kitchen, and our daughter doing laps in the kitchen while I work.

Our goal is to create something much more spacious and accommodating to our casual, kid-friendly style. We already know that our family and friends always seem to gather in the kitchen; so we want to design that place to do that better. Stools at an extra wide counter-height bar will be the place the kids will eat breakfast on school mornings, and return to for an after-school snack. It will also be a place where friends and family can sit to chat with the cook.

View from the breakfast area looking through the kitchen to the dining room. We get some great afternoon light through the dining room windows. Opening up the wall between the two rooms will keep this area naturally lit all day long.

Pin it button big

We are hoping the remodel reflects my love of cooking, our casual style, and our belief in choosing good products that work well, and not necessarily the fanciest or top of the line. We plan to go for less expensive and durable, sustainable options like quartz countertops and bamboo or cork flooring. We plan to build the hardest working room in the house, and a space happy and stylish enough to enjoy all of our time there. We want to create a kitchen with a smart, clean design that works for us.

A diagram of our plans for the kitchen. This will include tearing down the wall between the current dining room and kitchen. 

Our plans are to gut the existing kitchen and breakfast area down to the foundation, and open the wall as much as possible to the dining room. We also have to rethink the layout of the kitchen, moving gas lines, plumbing, electrical and HVAC out of their current locations to craft a better kitchen design. The current cabinets, flooring and some of the ceiling (soffits and popcorn texturing) as as good as gone too.

Pin it button big

The wonky protruding soffit between the kitchen and the breakfast room (which we currently aren't using. This soffit will be coming down when we connect all the rooms. 

New, solid wood cabinets, quartz countertops and maybe some bamboo or cork flooring are the plan for the rebuild. We'll also add in new new lighting, wall and ceiling texturing, some fresh paint and a tile backplash. 

Pin it button big

The ancient oven and microwave.

Most appliances (range, dishwasher and a sink) will also be replaced, since just about every thing in the kitchen is a timepiece from when the house was built (and not working well). At this point, it feels like — what aren't we doing? It is going to be a massive undertaking.  

Pin it button big

The dining area will most likely get an update with new light fixture too.

Thanks, Sandra and Justin!

Join us next week for #2 of Sandra & Justin's Diary.

(Images & Diary Text: Sandra Jergensen)

More posts in this series

Renovation Diary: Sandra & Justin's Kitchen