kitchen before renovation

If you haven’t heard of the One Room Challenge, definitely go look it up, and look it up STAT if you want to participate this round (it starts April 4)! I’ll let you explore the nitty gritty details on your own, but basically anyone with a blog can participate!

It is a 6 week design challenge (which is really 5 weeks, as there are 6 posts, 2 of which bookend the challenge itself), in which 20 featured designers, and as many guest participants as want to join, challenge themselves to redo one room of their home in that VERY short timeline.  That timeline becomes even shorter when you decide to completely renovate your kitchen.  And shorter yet again when you are in Las Vegas the entire weekend before the challenge begins.  Read: THIS GIRL!

So, because I am the queen of lists and preparation, I am doing a quick post (and a not so quick actual preparation) about all of the things I have done and am doing to prepare for this thing.  Because 5 weeks is NOT a lot of time, so I want to be able to hit the ground running when the challenge actually starts.

*This post may contain affiliate links; if you purchase a product by clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at not cost to you. You can read my full Disclose HERE.*

That said, here is a quick before of our kitchen:

kitchen renovation before

Ick – it is SO brown. 90s brown. I’m sorry if you like brown but I just hate it! Especially because the space is so small, the brown just makes it seem even smaller! Not to mention we have MDF cabinets with thermafilm over them that is starting to peel. It honestly feels like they just did a builder grade job on the kitchen upgrade to sell the house.  And really, a granite backsplash to match the counters? (Can you believe the same granite was actually on our fireplace when we moved in, too!!)

You’ll get lots more juicy before photos on my first post for the actual challenge, along with all of the actual things we’ll be updating (honestly, it’s basically everything).

But in the meantime, the main things I am doing to prepare are:

  1. RESEARCHING like crazy
    – I have been reading ALL of the tutorials, blogs, and DIY how tos that I can in the past few weeks.  I will share a few of those sources with you as I detail each project along this crazy journey, but the main one I am concerned with at the moment is our counters – we will be doing a concrete overlay on them and it scares the crap out of me!  But, it’s only concrete right? #LOL
  2. Reaching out to others who have also renovated their kitchens on their own
    – Luckily I have met many amazing and kind IGers and bloggers who have done this before me who have been sweet enough to share their tips and tricks with me, and I am forever grateful!
  3. Purchasing all of the things I can in advance, and the list is LONG
    – I have probably written the list like 4 times over, and it keeps getting longer and longer. Probably because the projects we are tackling keep increasing. That said, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wayfair have been my best friends.

Here are a couple of things we have already bought:

And a few things we haven’t bought but are on our list and hopefully will get purchased before Vegas, because in a 5 week challenge I ain’t got time to be at Home Depot and Lowe’s every 5 minutes!

  • MY DREAM SINK! Well, minus the fact that it’s not an apron sink.  But still, one basin and cast iron? YES PLEASE!
  • New barstools – I have a couple options in mind – like THESE, and THESE; I agreed that we would sell our current barstool first though, so these might have to wait.
  • And of course a million other little things, like cabinet paint (still haven’t picked a color), outlet spacers, moulding, baseboards, subway tile, grout, thinset, sandpaper, a few tools, which we haven’t decided if we are renting or buying yet, and the list goes on!

(SIDE NOTE: I always recommend buying tools (if you’re buying and not renting) from Lowe’s or Home Depot – Amazon might be less expensive, but the return policy at the big box stores is MUCH better, especially on tools that are USED and not working right!)

ONE thing I have not figured out yet – what to SEAL our countertops with.  Every blog I have read and every person I have spoken to has done something different, and I am just so nervous about picking the right thing!  Obviously I want something that will LAST, be non toxic/food safe, and will hold up to my messy cooking!  If you have any suggestions to throw into the ring, PLEASE do a gal a favor and drop them below!

kitchen before renovation

The only things staying the same in this kitchen are the appliances, that light fixture above the sink that we hung when we moved in, and that adorable Market Fresh Produce sign that I got from one of my favorite sign makers on Etsy – DownGraceLane.

So long story short, this pre-One Room Challenge post was necessary for me to not only organize my own thoughts, but also to remind y’all that if you are doing this, and are a bit intimidated by all the AMAZEBALLS bloggers and featured designers out there doing this too who happen to make it look SO easy breasy, that preparation is key! Trust me, they may not post about it, but a 6, really 5, week challenge ends up being longer than that because of all the prep work that goes into it! And that’s just not something that the challenge posts contemplate, so I wanted to be real and raw and take y’all behind the scenes of the prep work because IT. IS. REAL. And grueling (I can’t count the hours I have spent reading about painting cabinets and sealing counters, and installing sinks)!

So for those of you who are going to be doing this beginning April 4, too, let’s do this THANG! (And, you’ve got 2 weeks left to get your prep on)!

And of course, I hope you’ll come back starting April 4 to follow this crazy journey with us! It will certainly be an adventure!  You can expect to see more before photos of our kitchen then, as well as a detailed list of all the projects we are trying to tackle, and the timeline of how we plan to accomplish all of them in 5 weeks!

See ya then my friends!