Today I’m happy to announce that our new eBook, Renovate Your Kitchen the Smart Way is now available for purchase. You can check it out at www.KitchenRenovationBook.com.
KitchenRenovationBook.com is our new sales website and kitchen remodeling blog. I’ll be writing more kitchen remodel focused blog posts over on that site, so be sure to head over and read our blog section.
All of my eBook packages come with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed refund policy. If you buy the book and think it stinks (you won’t), I’ll give you all of your money back. No sweat. No hard feelings.
How many book stores will give you your money back if you don’t like a book you bought?
A couple other things worth noting…
You own the book and all updates or future revisions for life. When you purchase one of the products, you’re actually buying a membership for life to the KitchenRenovationBook.com website. You’ll be able to create a username and password to login and download your files. You’ll have access to those files for as long as I’m around. If I ever update the ebook, calculators, printables, or whatever, you’ll automatically have access to them. Free updates for life.
Right now there are three calculators in the Starter Package. If I decide to add a few more later on, you’ll be able to download those at no additional cost. You’re good to go. Maybe I’ll find some typos or expand the book down the road. Guess what? You get those updates too.
This is our first product launch ever and I’m very happy with the products. If you think this book will be helpful to someone you know, please share the link with them.
Actually, do me a favor and pin and share the living crap out of this post! Thanks!
Happy Monday! In today’s post, I wanted to share with you my 3 biggest successes during the renovation of my first home’s kitchen. Last week, I discussed my 3 biggest failures. If you haven’t read that post yet, it’s worth a read. Later this week, I’ll be launching my new ebook to my newsletter subscribers only. For a few short days, all of the products will be available at a discounted rate. Then I’m going to raise the prices and advertise to everyone else. If you want to get in on the lower prices, just sign-up for our free newsletter by filling out the form below. Keep in mind the prices will go up before the weekend (20 June 2015).
So let’s discuss those successes.
My 3 Biggest Kitchen Renovation Successes
1. I Saved a TON. How much is a ton? In this case, I probably saved anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. How was I able to do that? The biggest savings came from the kitchen cabinets. I built my own from scratch and gave them a custom look by adding crown molding and making the doors inset. My material costs were around $2,000 for the plywood, lumber and hardware. They weren’t perfect, but they really looked good. I don’t think you could tell they were home made unless I told you. Similarly priced cabinets from a cabinet shop or other supplier would’ve set me back well over $10,000. Not interested in building your own cabinets? No problem. Consider buying ready-to-assemble cabinets or see if you can find a local cabinet shop that will sell you unpainted cabinets. If you are seriously thinking about building your cabinets, hang in there. I’m going to build a course soon that will teach you how to do just that. In the mean time, you can read about two of our more popular cabinet builds to get a sense of what that process is like. Read about our home office cabinets or better yet, watch the build video. You can also read our TV cabinet build.
2. I Extended the Life of the House. The house was around 100 years old when I bought it. Much of the bones of the kitchen weren’t in great shape. The entire kitchen had paneling over furring strips. The walls weren’t insulated. The roof above the kitchen wasn’t insulated. The windows were broken. The door was a piece of crap. The electrical was sub-standard. The plumbing was on life support. You get the picture. The renovation required me to frame in a whole new interior structure, add insulation, new HVAC supply line, new plumbing as well as new windows and doors. Within a few weeks, the kitchen was the most modern part of the home. Aside from getting a beautiful looking space, that kitchen will help extend the life of the home by decades. It’s less likely to have an electrical fire. It’s less likely to have a roof leak. With all that added value, it’s going to be looked after by a new family or new families for a long, long time. Leaving the house in better shape than I found it is very satisfying.
3. I was Able to Sell the House in Two Days. After nearly seven years of living in my first home, it was time to move. My wife and I listed the home on a Monday morning and it was under contract before Thursday. The first people to walk through the place on Tuesday morning made us an offer. After a day of negotiations, we agreed to terms. We had to cancel a weekend full of showings and maybe we left a higher offer on the table, but we didn’t care. We were already under contract to build our current home so our focus was on getting a quick sale. I’m sure our buyers had a long list of reasons why they liked that house, which included things that we couldn’t control like location and their commutes, etc. But the things we could control, like the kitchen, we killed it.
Those are just a few of my successes from my first home’s kitchen renovation. In my new ebook, we discuss ways you can both save money and properly plan and execute your next kitchen remodel. It doesn’t matter if you’re a handy DIYer or completely hands-off. Knowing how to manage your kitchen renovation is the key to a successful remodel.
If you thought this post was helpful, do me a favor and share it on Facebook or Pinterest.
Thanks and hope to be emailing you soon!
If all goes according to plan, next week I’ll be launching my new ebook. The book is a guide on how to renovate your kitchen intelligently so your remodel goes smoothly and stays on budget. It’s pretty much an organized brain dump of everything I know about kitchens and planning renovations. It’s my best remodeling advice from my decade plus of working on houses. Sound good?
Over the next few weeks, as the book launches, I’m going to reflect back on some of the more important lessons I learned from previous kitchen renovation projects. I wrote the book with the intent of passing on those critical lessons to you so you can avoid my costly mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, my kitchen renovation experience has been positive. However, I still think it’s important to discuss my failures, especially if we can learn from them. After all, we often learn much more from our mistakes than our successes.
Before we dive into the post, you can actually listen the audio version of the ebook’s introduction by clicking right here (you can also right click and download the MP3 if you’d like).
Here are my 3 biggest kitchen renovation mistakes from my first home. Do your best to avoid them!!
1. I Avoided Using Contractors. This one was a whopper of a mistake. Back in 2008, I hated hiring contractors. I was perfectly capable of doing my own work and simply preferred to have complete control of all my home improvement projects. Unfortunately, I ended up working on a couple different houses at once and my kitchen renovation wasn’t progressing fast enough. I was saving money, but I was spinning my wheels. Towards the end of my kitchen remodel, my wedding was quickly approaching and I was forced to hire contractors for the electrical, plumbing and drywall in order to get the work done on time. It was surprisingly affordable and unbelievably quick. Both the electrician and the plumber were done in a day or two. The drywall crew needed around a week, which allowed me to break away and work on building my kitchen cabinets. All I kept thinking for weeks was, why didn’t I hire these guys sooner?
Key Takeaway: Hiring out contractors isn’t always a bad thing. This advice probably only applies to those folks that like to do EVERYTHING themselves (like me).
2. I Assumed the Wrong Appliance Size. When I designed the layout of my kitchen, I sized my own kitchen cabinets and appliances. I used Ikea’s free kitchen planning tool to figure out the cabinet and appliance locations and then used the results for a cabinet planner program. The cabinet planner software takes your cabinet sizes and spits out a material and cut lists (yep, built my own cabinets). After I bought all my material and appliances, I realized I made a BIG mistake. I had assumed that the width of my new stainless steel refrigerator would be the same as my old one. Whoops. I designed the kitchen layout and the cabinet dimensions around that smaller fridge. As I was building the cabinets, I realized that it wasn’t all going to fit. The cabinet layout needed to be modified and I ended up shrinking a 15″ wide pantry cabinet down to a barely usable 12″ to give the bigger fridge more room. Even with that adjustment, it was TIGHT.
If you’re reading this and thinking that you don’t need to worry about this since you’re going to use a kitchen designer and they’ll figure that out, be warned. If you don’t know the exact size of your appliances (typically just width), then you end up making assumptions. If you make the wrong assumption, you have to live with it. That may mean a smaller fridge or a couple smaller cabinets.
Key Takeaway: Make sure you have your appliance sizes identified OR be prepared to stick with whatever size assumptions you use when you design your kitchen.
3. I Didn’t Work with a Designer. This problem was more of an issue for selecting materials and not so much the kitchen layout. We knew we were going to have white cabinets. That was easy. We really liked a certain slab of granite we saw at a supplier. Great. So far so good. Then it was time to pick a backsplash and we whiffed. It took us months to find something we thought coordinated well with our cabinets, floor tile, room color and countertops and I still don’t love that backsplash (even though we haven’t lived there in five plus years). We could have done better. I don’t want to speak for Lisa, but I’m aesthetically challenged. If you haven’t noticed, this isn’t a decor blog and for good reason. I stink at picking out colors and coordinating multiple pieces. Not my thing. If I could go back and hire someone for a couple hundred bucks to make a tile selection, I would.
Key Takeaway: Consider hiring a kitchen designer to coordinate all of your material selections. In the ebook, I tell you what to look for if you decide to work with a designer.
In my next post, I’ll tell you about my 3 Biggest Successes from My Kitchen Renovation.
Don’t forget, if you have a kitchen renovation coming up and you’d like to get the ebook at a discount, sign-up for our free newsletter. You’ll be the first to know when the book is available. In addition to the ebook, there will also be packages available that include an audio version of the ebook, printables, excel calculators and even one-on-one coaching time with me. It’s going to be fun. Stay tuned.
If you’ve been a regular reader for the past couple of years you know we’ve worked on some pretty sizable home improvement projects since our beginning in 2011. We completely renovated our home office from the ground up this past fall. We spent a few months and upgraded our dining room with raised panel wainscoting a couple of years ago. There were garage projects and major furniture builds along the way too. I even built my shed from scratch. However, I’ve barely mentioned or blogged about my biggest home improvement project to date since I started blogging nearly four years ago.
What was my biggest DIY project ever? For me, it’s an easy question to answer: the kitchen in my first home.
When I bought my first home back in 2003 it needed a lot of work. What was wrong with it? Yes. Plumbing, electrical, drywall, flooring, the windows, the ceiling, the door, the cabinets, the countertops… all of it was wrong.
The house was built back at the turn of the previous century and the kitchen was an addition from the 50s or 60s. I don’t think it was ever updated from it’s original construction. Amazing it lasted as long as it did.
I was so overwhelmed with all of the work I had to do to the house that I punted on the kitchen remodel until years later. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the kitchen, so I didn’t do anything until 2007. It took me four years to finally get around to gutting it and then building it back from scratch. There are a lot of things I would’ve done differently with that house, but the kitchen isn’t one of them.
From 2003 until 2007, I upgraded the rest of the home with new drywall, all new trim, a new furnace, new electrical and refinished the floors. Most of the work I did myself. Of course, I hired out some of the more critical items to move things along. During those four years I was able to build up a level of home improvement competence that I didn’t have when I first bought the house. I learned what work is best for me to do and which work I can outsource.
The kitchen renovation started with a demolition party in the spring of 2007 and wasn’t finished until the homemade kitchen cabinets were painted after they were installed well over a year later. The results of that years worth of work was worth the effort. We eventually sold the home in two days and the remodeled kitchen was a big reason for that quick sale.
Sometime in the next few weeks I’m going to be releasing my first product for purchase: a book on how to renovate your kitchen. Instead of focusing on specific DIY techniques like a lot of our blog posts, I’m concentrating mainly on the planning and exectution of your next kitchen remodel. For me, the planning was the hardest part of that kitchen remodel. It took me a few years to get started and I couldn’t do a thing to the space until the planning was done. If you plan your kitchen renovation well, you’re much more likely to have a successful project.
The book will focus on the steps you need to take before you start the project and will help guide you through making all of the big decisions that you are bound to run into along the way. I want to prepare you as best I can for those challenges.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking some time to to talk about kitchen renovations prior to the book launch. If you have any questions about your upcoming kitchen project, now is the perfect time to ask.
I’m also hoping to get my next set of woodworking plans completed soon. The table saw station plans are taking slightly longer than I’d like.
Have a great week!
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog post and although I haven’t been doing any home improvement work, I’ve been super busy with a different kind of project that I think you’ll appreciate. Last spring, I started work on my first book!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to find some free time to really wrap that work up and I’m happy to report that I’m just about finished. I’m expecting to make the book widely available for purchase before May.
Here’s a look at the new cover.
Here’s the details…
The book is a guide on remodeling kitchens and it’s aimed at the handy and the not so handy alike. If you’ve been a regular reader for the past couple of years you know that I try to explain the detailed process of home improvement whenever possible. I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who is just starting out. I’ve tried to take that approach with this book and layout the kitchen renovation process from start to finish. It reads more like a conversation with me about your kitchen project and that was my intention.
Before you get too excited, it’s not going to be available at Barnes and Nobles or any other store. I’ve decided to self-publish it and make it available as en ebook. I’m going to be setting up a separate website for it and I’ll let everyone know when it’s available. I’m not going to publish it on Amazon either, although I may make it available in the Kindle format.
I plan on giving away several copies in advance to some email subscribers and then launch with an initial discount for a few days. So if you’re interested in this book, make sure you sign up for the newsletter if you want the discount code when it’s released.
Later this spring I plan on putting together a second book as a companion to this one so stay tuned for that one as well.
It’s been really challenging writing a book with three young children, one of which is a newborn. Finding time to write a 300 word blog post is one thing. Finding time to work on a 30,000 word ebook is quite another.
Here’s what else is going on…
I’ve started a Facebook Group where you can post, comment, ask questions and share photos of your projects. It’s exactly like our Forum Page, but it’s open to everyone. You just need to click the Join button and as soon as I approve you, you’re good to go. It’s a bit more user friendly than our Forums Page so I thought I’d give it a try. If you have any home improvement projects you’re currently working on, I’d love to read about it over on the Group Pages!
Thanks and have a great week!
Happy Monday folks.
Today I have just uploaded our latest set of free woodworking plans. The plans are for the sliding kitchen cabinet drawers.
The plans are free to our newsletter subscribers.
The plans feature a calculator that lets you enter two simple measurements to generate custom dimensions for each cabinet in your kitchen.
Hey guys! I hope you all had a great week so far. It’s almost Friday, so I thought I would share some of my favorite cleaning items!
Cleaning for the most part is a chore for John and I – I do like organizing so that counts as cleaning, right? I have tried keeping up with a daily cleaning list but after a first few days I get so proud that I cleaned for three days straight that I reward myself with some days off… haha! Two places that are always clean are my kitchen and bathrooms. Most of the cleaning products help me with those daily chores.
My favorite cleaning product by far is Dr. Bronners. There is about 29,763 uses for this cleaner. I love it for making my own counter top spray, foaming hand soap, and to remove stains from fabrics. It’s extremely safe – you can even brush your teeth with it! – and that’s why I love using it, especially around the little one. Dr. Bronner’s also comes in different scents. I currently have the scent-free (labeled as Baby Mild), Tea Tree (good for disinfecting), and peppermint. Seriously, you can make anything with this stuff – laundry detergent, shampoo, soaps, sprays, and disinfectants.
Another product I like is anything from the Method line, which is sold in a variety of stores, but I buy mine at Target. I really like their Grapefruit counter top spray. I usually make my own, but when the Method grapefruit is on sale, I usually pick up a bottle or two. The smell is a great grapefruit scent and I love everything citrus, especially in the kitchen! If you have granite counter tops, Method has a great daily granite cleaner as well. It makes our faux granite/laminate super shiny and smells great too!
Nature’s Miracle is the product I use when there are stains from either animals or humans on the carpet. If you have pets, you know they sometimes have accidents and they’re just too cute to be mad at. Nature’s miracle helps kill the odor and removes the stains of whatever you pet has left on the carpet.
Dusting and polishing is super easy with Murphy’s Oil Soap wipes. I like the wipes since they let me dust and polish in one step, which makes this dreaded chore done a lot quicker. When I have the time, I also use the original Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with water to clean my cabinets – I love the way they look after they’ve been washed.
My favorite two items to clean the floors in our home are the Haan and my Dirt Devils (yes that is plural, I will explain). I use the Haan floor steamer and sweeper on the hardwood floors and tiles. I love using the Haan because it sanitizes the floors without any harsh chemicals. Also, you reuse the cleaning pads and they can be washed in the washing machine. In the kitchen I use the super lightweight Dirt Devil to clean under the cabinets and under the table every couple of days to pick up crumbs. I also use it on our area rug in the living room. On the stairs, I use a small handheld Dirt Devil to vacuum the carpets. Upstairs, I use the traditional Dirt Devil vacuum for the bedrooms and closets.
So that’s it – just a few of my favorite cleaning products that help me get cleaning done quicker. I do want to mention that I am not being compensated for any of these products, they’re really just my favorites!
Have any cleaning products you love and want to share!?
So things have slowed down a little bit around here since we
knocked dragged out our dining room wainscoting and gussied up our front door. It’s going to pick up again soon though. Plus, in the fall I’ll be taking another grad school course. Before we know it, we’ll be busy like crazy. We do have a couple more projects that we already finished and we’ll probably post about those next week. Since it’s Friday, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a quick post on a kitchen cabinet repair we did a few days ago. You’d think owning a new home would negate the need for annoying repairs. Nope. Apparently the cabinet door on our lazy susan decided it had enough and busted out from the hinge.
It looks bad, but in reality, this is an easy fix. Now, if you think you can just re-screw in the old screws and it will hold you’d be wrong. You need to step it up.
The door is 3/4″ thick. The screws that were in there are 1/2″ long. That means I can use a longer screw.
Here’s the screw that popped out next to the screw I’m going to use. The screw on the left is the 1/2″ fastener. The screw on the right is 3/4″ long. I also decided to go with a beefier screw. The 1/2″ screw is a size 6. The 3/4″ screw is a size 8 (they only come in even sizes). So, I’m using a longer and a wider fastener to make the repair. There are a ton of “that’s what she said” jokes here, so I’m being careful with my word choice.
The larger screw went into the old holes like butter and seem to be holding very well.
That wasn’t too bad. Fastest. repair. ever.
Is there anything broken in your place that you need to fix? Have a great weekend!!
Hope everyone had a great weekend! We sure did – we did some home projects, spent some much needed family time together, and enjoyed the not-too-hot weather!
I wanted to share a tiny project I did. While my mom and I were shopping for back to school sales at Staples, she stumbled across these amazing chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart!
Don’t they look amazing? We just couldn’t resist. Martha Stewart has an awesome line of office supplies at Staples. If you haven’t checked them out I suggest you do – that is if you like to organize and label everything. Her stuff looks great.
I love these canisters hanging out on the counter… but I love my clutter-less counters more, so back to the pantry the canisters went.
So, do you like? How was your weekend??
For a while there, I didn’t think I’d ever be writing this post. Thankfully, this day has arrived and our kitchen cabinet pullout drawers have been successfully installed. If you recall, I built these drawers over a series of five posts (here, here, here, here aaaaannd here). In actuality, I think I spent maybe five hours altogether cutting, assembling and finishing them. I must have spent six weeks trying to get the right hardware for them!! Yikes is right. One of my goals for this project is to post some plans with variations for various joint configurations… maybe add a calculator so you can enter your cabinet dimensions and it will spit out dimensions for a sliding drawer. If you thought the joints looked daunting there are easy joint versions that I’ve got some ideas for. We’ll see!
The first piece of advice I can give you if you are thinking about building similar sliding drawers: GET YOUR SLIDE HARDWARE FIRST.
So, long, boring story short… I wanted to get the exact same slide hardware that are in our cabinets. I think it will look better if it weren’t a hodge podge of parts. I called a local vendor that carries our cabinet maker’s product line and they gave me a quote of $50 per drawer. No thanks. I then proceeded to try to make it work by trying to use what I could from Lowes, Home Depot and every other online slide retailer I could find. To hell with uniformity. Bottom line: no dice. Our cabinets have an interior depth of 23.” I could only find one set of slides that fit and had to buy the bracket for that separately only to find out that it didn’t play nice with our drawers. After losing a lot of hair I can’t afford to lose, I capitulated and called another vendor looking to grovel for a lower price. Luckily, this other vendor was able to get them for around $14 a set. Jackpot.
The best part of these slides is they install incredibly easy. The backs of the slides have clips that snap into pre-drilled holes the cabinet maker already has in my cabinets!! They must put them in there on every cabinet.
This hardware system makes this installation atypical compared to most slide hardware. If I didn’t have this clip and I had a regular slide and rear bracket like this…
I’d have to install the front of the slide into the front of the cabinet first, level off the rest of the slide by taping a small level to the center of it and then tape my bracket to the back wall, mark the holes for the screw, pre-drill and then fasten the bracket with screws. Got it?
All I had to do was worry about the front of the cabinets. A few of the cabinets had long screws that joined one cabinet to the next right in the area where the drawer would be. They were definitely getting in the way so I had to relocate them.
To relocate it, I just pre-drilled a small hole above the drawer hinge and then drove the screw into it. The holes for the front of the slides needed to be pre-drilled as well. Rule of thumb: If you need to screw into a hardwood (oak, maple, poplar, cherry, etc), you need to drill the hole first.
With the fronts attached, the drawer can slide right in. Btw, I also attached the slide hardware to the drawers too. Same deal, pre-drill, insert screw.
With both drawers in…
Glad that’s over. Sure beats rummaging through the bottom of a cabinet!
Overcoming any glitches on your end?
Hey! Thanks for stopping by. We're Lisa and John and this is our DIY and Home Improvement blog. Feel free to browse our DIY project gallery or our latest posts. You can read more here.
Sign Up to get your copy of our Woodworking Plans