Help with living through a kitchen remodel


Meowmy to Tuxedo Cats
Sep 7, 2000
We've finally gone and done the HE loan and are ready to remodel our kitchen. Has anyone done this and actually lived through it? I'm looking for some serious suggestions on best planning advice and how to cope during the actual event.

It will involve new appliances, new sink, new cabinets, and maybe even new windows or bumping out a wall. Although we have a good idea what we want appliance-wise, I'm not sure if we are in the help from Home Depot/Lowes department or going to a kitchen design architect when it comes to the final plan. Help please!



<font color=purple>Slam Dancer Extraordinaire<br><
Apr 29, 2001
Do you have an area in your house that you can set up a makeshift kitchen? Maybe a shelving unit with some food, another with pots and pans and a good supply of paper plates and plastic utensils since you don't want to be doing a lot of dishes if you don't have to. A place to relocate your older fridge to until you are ready to move back in and to put a microwave?

Actually, if you start planning now, you can visit the cooking board and get some great crockpot recipes that will make it really easy to make a hot dinner without having a full kitchen at your disposal. Maybe even ask on that board for some easy to make microwave dishes.

But when things are at the most hectic, just remember 2 things - 1) soon you will have an absolutely gorgeous new kitchen and 2) There is always take out ;)


DIS Veteran
Jul 31, 2001
My kitchen is 99% done. We broke down the wall between the kitchen & dining room to make one large kitchen. I have to say it was a nightmare. At one point we had no walls, floors or ceiling. Everything was down to the studs and insullation. We also put in new windows and doors going out to the yard and screen room. I didn't think it was going to be such a mess, so, I didn't plaln good before-hand. We went through a kitchen designer to give us ideas and then we took the plans to a cabinet maker. We had alot of work done in the house in the past, so I really thought I knew what I was in for, but, was I wrong. ANyway, now that its pratically done, I'm extremely happy and very broke. We went to Home Depot at first to get some info from their designers, but, they don't let you keep the computerized plans unless you buy from them. They do have nice cabinets. We were looking at the Thomasville ones, all wood and they were really nice. But, our contractor recommended a cabinet maker who was reasonable, so we went with him instead. I could go on forever with this subject. Just plan, plan, plan, so you have no regrets. Have fun and look at lots of magazines for ideas. With all the aggrivation involved, its worth it.
  • jimmytammy

    <font color=purple>Swivel, it's a hard habit to br
    May 27, 2002
    I am a builder. Be prepared for the duration. Make plans ahead by having all things picked out up front, before the first piece is torn out. This is key on your part to help move the project along. Honestly, it could save you lots of time. And everyday you wake up and right before bed, remind yourself there is a light at the end of the rainbow and it will all be worth it. And get a reputable contractor who comes with very good recommendations.

    Pooh's Pixie

    <font color=royalblue>The joy I get seeing those l
    Jun 29, 2005
    We just lived througha kitchen remodel. It's so not fun, especially with 3 little kids. And it took WAY longer than we planned. A lot of that was our fault. We did almost all custom work and special order, and lots of things took longer than anticipated to come in or to create. But we love the finished project and I think of the whole process like childbirth: it's horrible while you're going through it but after it's over and you have a little distance and a great product (baby or kitchen), you forget the pain and you start to think it wasn't so bad!!

    I would say the biggest sanity saver was trying to keep a sink going. We were lucky in that our project involved a pantry and the kitchen (it's an old house) and we had 2 sinks...we were able to keep the pantry sink going almost the whole time. Out of the approx 4 months the project took, we were completely without a sink for only 6 days.

    We have a big dining room so I moved all the food, dishes etc into there in big rubbermaid bins. It's a little crazy but it worked.

    Also, for cooking, we mostly grilled outside, takeout, and microwaved. I learned it is possible to make lots of things on a George Foreman grill (like grilled cheeses!) It is a pain but worth it in the end!!!!!!!!
    Good luck!


    DIS Veteran
    Apr 25, 2000
    We're on the last leg of our kitchen remodel. Only problem is, the kitchen remodel led to a utility room remodel, which led to a bathroom remodel which... I'm sure will most likely lead to something else. :) We went the Home Depot route and have to say it's gone beautifully. The redo involved new cabinetry, (Thomasville, Cherry/Camden) counter, sink, appliances and tile floor. The only hitch has been the dishwasher. It doesn't work. Sigh. Still working on that little problem. Over all though, very good people to work with. Heck, one of their workers even spent half of one day under my house trying to get my cat out. :p

    We were new to projects of this scale, so having HD to walk us through it was a great help to me. We visted a couple of different locations before we found a consultant we connected with, but I do think that extra bit of homework paid off. Finding someone we could communicate with was a tremendous help. Dee helped us with everything from the cabinets to the garbage disposal to which hardware to put on the cabinetry. Knowing she was keeping track of everything was very helpful. :)


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 25, 2002
    We just finished a kitchen remodel. All new cabinets, floor, appliances, sink, windows, walls, ceiling, doors, laundry area and closets.

    I agree that if you can make a make-shift kitchen somewhere in your house it will help out tremendously. We set up most of the old base cabinets with the counter on top in our dining room with the refrigerator and stove. I used 2 dishpans to do my dishes every day, one for washing and rinsing.

    If you can make sure they cover up the opening where the work is being done. Saves from having to come home daily to dust, etc.

    Don't be afraid to shop around and get a couple of quotes. Make sure everything is written in detail that will be part of your quote and not have any surprises at the end of the job. And definitely get references and call them. Make sure you will like the work of the person who will be doing the job.

    Good luck. :cheer2:
  • golfgal

    DIS Cast Member<br><font color=green>When did vacu
    Nov 27, 2004
    I haven't lived through a kitchen remodel but a friend of mine did one several years ago and she said the BEST thing she did was to have the electrician wire an outlet in their garage for a stove and one for the fridge. They did the remodel in the spring/summer so they did all their cooking in the garage and ate on a 3 season porch they have. It saved a lot of aggravation and money for them.


    <img src="
    Jul 29, 2003
    DH and I are planning an addition and remodel. There sure is alot to think about. Luckily we aren't planning to begin work for at least a year from now. We need all that time to plan and prepare. I want to have all my ducks in row before we start.
    Any tips???


    Meowmy to Tuxedo Cats
    Sep 7, 2000
    Wow! I'm surprised by the number who have just done this and lived through it.

    Yes, I will take the builder's advice and make sure to have everything picked out before the first cabinet comes down. I also hadn't thought wiring the garage for the stove, but we had planned to move the old fridge out there (maybe permanently) and the microwave.

    I'm so hoping that we can get things moving to have the project begin the end of June and take full advantage of nice weather to grill and eat our meals on the patio. Our kitchen is an odd shape and right now it has stock cabinets that do not fit well in the space. I'm thinking a custom cabinet shop is the way to go.

    Thanks again - any more?


    amid chaos

    DIS Veteran
    Oct 23, 2000
    I was without a kitchen for 9 months. Our kitchen remodel also included blowing out the whole back wall , excavating a basement and a second floor.

    My biggest suggestion is to take lots of pictures, almost every day at every stage. We have gone back to the pictures so many times, most recently when we wanted to put in some lights above the island. The electrician knew exactly where the electrical and plumbing issues were in the ceiling before he ever started.

    Also, expect delays and ordering mess happens..always. just go with the flow.

    oh and if your cabinets come in those great big boxes, make a castle for the kids by connecting them and making doors and turrets. That was lots of fun!
  • scrappinmom

    WDW, DL & DLP - up next ???
    Jun 20, 2005
    Laurie - Just reading your title gave me shivers.....We did a huge kitchen remodel 2 years ago. We had a galley style kitchen and we were adding on & making it huge. Here's how we survived. I literally moved my old refrigerator into our bedroom - not attractive but it worked. Moved my kitchenhutch and table into the living room. cooked in the microwave, ate A LOT of those roated chickens from the grocery store, used the grill when it was warm enough outside, and ate soup whenit wasn't. It truly wasn't any fun at all, and in retrospect none of our 1000 sq ft addition was any fun but I'm glad it's over....You can live thru it, it's just not fun


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