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Adventures in Kitchen Renovations

Good morning!

I’m kind of about to lose my mind. Home ownership is testing the limits of my patience (and checkbook) right now.


Seriously. My living room still looks like this. It’s been a month now. To say that this doesn’t feel very feng shui would be an understatement. Walking in my door every day makes me want to cry a little.


Here’s what happened. As I’ve written about recently, I’m doing a lot of work around the house to make home a sanctuary. The biggest piece is a kitchen facelift. As part of this I put in granite countertops, painted the walls, had a new under mount sink and nice faucet installed, had a cabinet extension built, had some new lighting installed, have a new dishwasher and microwave going in and painted the cabinets. Oh, the cabinets.

The cabinets are original to the house and were custom built for the kitchen. Replacing them entirely was out of the budget so I decided to paint them and change the hardware. I have a fabulous painter who has done all the other paining work in my house but I agreed to have the cabinets painted by another guy who did them as a trade for free yoga for his wife for a year. BAD IDEA.

He assured me he had experience with painting cabinets but nothing was done right. He used the wrong kind of paint on the cabinets so the paint was peeling off as soon as I tried to put things back in, the work was “unfinished’ and messy in a lot of places, the cabinets weren’t hung back up straight and he used the wrong color! I chose a warm gray but somehow he came back from the paint store with this blue-green-gray instead.

After all of this came to light he said he would come and fix everything but instead ended up bailing on the project and left me with this mess. I called my painter who has now had to spend double as much time as it would have taken originally to fix everything. I should have just paid him to do it to start with. You live and you learn!


The good news is that he’s almost done and the work looks AMAZING. (Charlotte people, let me know if you want my painter’s info. I’ve worked with him for years and his work is great and prices reasonable.) And check out the color. 10 times better, right? I think the work will finally be wrapped up today and I can start putting my home back together again. I can’t wait to live without the smell of paint.


Some might take one look at their kitchen in this state and decide to get takeout. I look at it as a challenge. It’s been an entertaining month of shuttling between the living room and the kitchen with a variety of kitchen tools, pots and pans. And I’ve been washing the same sink full of dishes over and over again. Fun times!

My therapist told me this is the universe teaching me that even when I am trying to make my life feel calm, comforting and orderly that I still have to learn live with a certain degree of messiness and chaos. Some things we just have no control over.

I can’t wait to show you pictures of the FINISHED kitchen! Soon!


In other home ownership news, I got home at 9:30 p.m. last night and found two gigantic limbs in my driveway. My first thought was “thank god my car wasn’t parked in the driveway” (I’ve already made one insurance claim for tree damage several months ago) and my second thought was “please god don’t let there be a hole in my roof” (that happened last year right after I put a new roof on my house).


The good news is the roof seems to be okay. The bad news is that I’m going to have to hire a tree service to do some limb removal on that tree. This is the third major incident with limbs falling and causing damage.

I need a hug. And a cupcake.

Have a good day! I’ll be back later with a my new favorite way to stretch my hips. Get excited, this is a good one!


{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Courtney August 28, 2014, 9:22 am

    Yes, the paint does look so much better now! 🙂 Sorry you are having such a hard time!

  • Stephanie August 28, 2014, 9:24 am

    Please tell me you are NOT giving that guy’s wife free yoga for a year?!

    • Jen August 28, 2014, 9:36 am

      NO WAY!!! that deal is OFF!

  • kristin @ W [H] A T C H August 28, 2014, 9:26 am

    oh dear, a cupcake is definitely in order.

  • Brynn August 28, 2014, 9:34 am

    Oh my! I agree, sometimes we are handed chaos and all we can do is understand that some things are out of our control. But I hope things start going your way! Cupcakes and wine help.

  • Mary-Catherine August 28, 2014, 9:36 am

    Such a great post! I LOVE your kitchen – the paint and remodeling looks amazing!!!

    And this year has taught me something similar too – no matter how much you plan, anticipate, or do, sometimes life will throw curve balls at you that you aren’t expecting. By accepting that (still a work in progress for me), it takes a lot of the pressure off to try and have everything controlled, perfect and neat.

    Have a great weekend!!

  • Allyssa August 28, 2014, 9:37 am

    I would say you deserve at least one cupcake, plus lots of other treat like items!!! I like everything to be ordered and my life structured so I can only imagine how I would be handling all of that and I must say I give you major props!! You are truly incredible and taking everything in stride! Take a couple of deep breaths, hug your cute little puppy and soon enough it will all be done 🙂

  • Christina August 28, 2014, 9:59 am

    Your kitchen is going to look amazing! We’re about to tackle a massive project too – we’re having our unfinished basement turned into a family/rec room, complete with a full bathroom. I’m really nervous b/c it’s going to mean total chaos for 6-8 weeks, not to mention a lot of dust, dirt and noise – and i don’t deal well with total chaos! So this will be an exercise in patience and rolling with the punches.

    Also, a couple years ago we had a GIANT, 100 year old oak tree come down in a storm. It barely missed our house and totally demolished our garage and everything in it. We never would have known, but the tree was rotting on the inside. So definitely have your trees looked at and trimmed back! Trust me when I say it will save you more headaches later 🙂

  • Lindsay August 28, 2014, 10:52 am

    My bf and I are in the process of buying a house. So far it’s been pretty smooth and we close next Friday, and we need to some updating/rennovations as well…but this is making me nervous LOL

  • Liz F. August 28, 2014, 11:28 am

    What your therapist said is gorgeous and something I need to learn and accept as well 🙂

    I really hope you enjoyed your cupcake. And a glass of wine.

    Can’t wait to see the finished product of your kitchen!!

  • Amy August 28, 2014, 11:43 am

    Oh wow..what a nightmare! I can’t believe that guy. I may hit you up later for your painter’s info. Good luck!

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles August 28, 2014, 11:45 am

    Ugh. As awesome as it is to own your own home and do the renovations, it is so annoying and frustrating when things go wrong or not as planned. But the kitchen will be beautiful when it is all finished!

  • Dana August 28, 2014, 11:47 am

    Kitchen looks great! These projects never seen to go smoothly. …but you handle it all well! And hec to the yes to a cupcake! I’m a fan of the SAS Cinnamon Toast 🙂

  • Courtney F August 28, 2014, 11:49 am

    Oooo girl, sending you a virtual hug and virtual homemade chocolate “cupcake” from South Carolina .. Virtual = zero calories!! :o)

  • Erin August 28, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Just reading this stressed me out! I know this sounds crazy but I’m just not sure I ever want to own. I know there are many pros and cons to both owning and renting, but I’m just not sure I’m cut out for home-ownership. At least not for many, MANY years. The silver lining is that your kitchen looks like it’ll be AMAZING.

    Go grab a cupcake, and wine.

  • leslie August 28, 2014, 1:12 pm

    I’m def in for a cupcake 🙂 Love the color of your cabinets though! Do you made sharing? Thanks!

    • Jen August 28, 2014, 1:22 pm

      not at all! it’s benjamin moore stone harbor in a satin finish. i’m pretty sure my painter used sherwin williams paint though but with the color match to the BM color. i find i like BM paint colors but always use SW paint!

  • Sam @ Pancakewarriors August 28, 2014, 2:43 pm

    The kitchen is looking great! I love how you still managed to sound positive about the whole experience. Can’t wait to see the kitchen when it all comes together! Love the cabinet color it’s so warm compared to that blue gray in your first pics! Best of luck this will all be a memory soon!

    • Jen August 31, 2014, 10:54 pm

      thanks so much for the encouragement and compliments on the cabinet color. i love it so much more too! i’ve been all about the gray lately!

  • Julie August 28, 2014, 4:56 pm

    I totally feel your pain. We bought a new (to us) house in Mar. & completely gutted it. After almost 2 mos. of renos we were FINALLY able to move in! On a positive note – your granite looks great! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Jen August 31, 2014, 10:54 pm

      i’m glad you were finally able to move in! i hope you love it and feel at home.

  • Joy August 28, 2014, 6:52 pm

    Oh my goodness. Big internet hugs are coming your way.

    I can’t believe that cabinet story. What a pain…the time and hassle and frustration! Ugh! I feel your pain. I’m glad it’s getting better though.

    Life has been throwing me one thing after another for the past few months and just when I think I’m at the end of my rope something else happens. I’ve started meditating (which I’m not good at yet, but I’m keeping at it) and I take time out of every day to remember what is GOOD and POSITIVE in my life so I don’t get caught up in frustration and negativity. I really like what your therapist said. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen August 31, 2014, 10:53 pm

      joy – sending you positive vibes that things turn around and that life starts throwing you the good stuff again. i’m so happy to hear that you’re taking actionable steps to deal with the stress!

  • Alison August 28, 2014, 8:29 pm

    That tree may be diseased if it keeps losing large branches. I would have it inspected and consider removing the entire tree instead of just limbing it.

    • Jen August 28, 2014, 9:38 pm

      it looks pretty healthy overall but i definitely will have it checked out as a whole before i do anything.

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt August 29, 2014, 8:22 am

    OH man….
    When it rains, it pours! (My mom always used to say that!)
    What a mess. Just try to stay as positive as possible and focus on good things. And go to the cupcake shop. It seriously might help!

  • Kayla Tyburski August 30, 2014, 8:53 pm

    I so understand! Our house is slowly coming along, too and what we wanted to put into our kitchen had to get spent on paying the mortgage for our old house. What.a.mess. I painted our countertops and the cabinets aren’t even worth touching. I would just be wasting my money. I’m counting down for tax season! Hang in there!

    • Jen August 31, 2014, 10:50 pm

      oh my gosh! i’m thinking of you. that sounds rough!

  • Tara August 31, 2014, 7:23 pm

    Ohhhh how I feel for you! I’m going through home renos now for years as we bought a fixer upper which was a huge mistake on my part. Messy house equals messy mind for me which is frustrating. Just know it will all be over soon and you will most likely love it and forget the pain. Someone told me home renos are like kids. Super painful but eventually you will forget all the pain and it will be worth it in the end 😉

    • Jen August 31, 2014, 10:49 pm

      haha! i don’t have kids so i couldn’t compare but i know i’ll forget the pain when i love my new kitchen! 🙂

  • Erin September 4, 2014, 8:58 am

    Your kitchen is coming along beautifully!! You will be so happy when it is finished!! I”m going to have to get your painter’s info!

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