Renovation Diary

Watch This Outdated Kitchen Get Remodeled From Start To Finish

updated Sep 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Graeme + Rebekah Molloy )

Name: Graeme & Rebekah Molloy
Type of Project: Kitchen Remodel
Location: Chautauqua Park, Des Moines, Iowa
Type of building: 1920 Tudor

Graeme and Rebekah’s kitchen was seriously outdated, and had a crazy layout to boot. Join them on their renovation journey to a new dishwasher, complete with old-house problems, scheduling snafus and charming Pinterest finds. We’re sharing all their photos, budget, lessons learned, and the final reveal!

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.

The Kitchen “Before”

When we initially moved into our home we knew the kitchen was something we would need to tackle at some point. With multiple doorways creating a difficult space, a small footprint and a lackluster aesthetic, we went back and forth with different design ideas for SEVERAL years before saving for and deciding on a plan. And even THAT plan has changed 3 times once we started talking to our contractor. Bless his little cotton socks for dealing with us! We were so excited to expand the room and create a more cohesive space that will work well for entertaining! Oh. And to finally have a dishwasher. We’re pretty excited about that.

Project Inspiration

I don’t think we have one specific “style”. We have curated things we love to surround us in our home. We love mid-century design but are equally attracted to industrial aesthetic. For the kitchen, we are inspired by a sort of coffee shop feel! We also think it is really important to keep the vibe of the house in character with the original features we love so much! We decided to keep within the original style of the cabinets and continue using shaker style into the new design. We are updating the look by utilizing black cabinetry on bottom and a contrasting white on top. Bright, open and inviting are words I hope this new kitchen will evoke!

Budget & Details

Labor for this has been projected at $8,850

We’re reusing our refrigerator. Microwave, oven and dishwasher (a dishwasher!!!!) were bought on sale.
Total: $1300

Kitchen sink: $352
Faucet: $131
Cabinet hardware: $270
Total: $753

Cabinets and Countertops:
Cabinets: $4,800
Total: $7,550

Tile: $600
Paint: $150
Total: $750

: $370

Other Building Materials:
We kept our original flooring and they included electrical and plumbing into the overall labor cost.

Total: $19,573

Week By Week Progress

The Finished Kitchen

Actual Expenses

Labor: $11,954

Appliances: $1,500.00

Fixtures: $1,120.00

Cabinets and Countertops: Cabinets were $4,828 and countertops were worked into the labor budget.


Lighting: $370.00

Total: $20,522

Lessons Learned

(Image credit: Rebekah & Graeme)

Now that the project is over and you’re looking back on it, what are the most important lessons you learned through the remodeling process?

I truly wish we had prepared a better temporary “kitchen” space to use during the process. After the timeline ballooned to nearly double what we had expected, we wish we had a well functioning space to cook while construction was taking place.

If you were to do this again, what would you choose to do differently?

I would have shopped around a bit more for contractors. We ran into more than a few issues — they had to re-tile an entire wall, which set the timeline back quite a bit. I think you learn from every house project you do, and our big lesson here was how to better research and interview for larger scale projects like this!

Did your schedule go as planned? What took more time than you thought it would? What took less time?

No. The timeline ended up being twice as long as we were told. Due to organization and communication errors with the contractor, it felt like pretty much everything took longer than it should have. The countertops weren’t ordered on time, so that was the biggest set back…which took us back about an entire week. But, since it wasn’t load bearing, the wall between the kitchen and dining room went down much quicker than we thought, which saved some time. That was wonderful!

What is your next project going to be?

Making a human! But I am actually working on the nursery now and many moons down the road we hope to re-finish our upstairs bathroom!