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Surviving a Kitchen Renovation…with a Baby and a Dog!

staying healthy during a move_ (8)

When my sweet cousin Heather and her husband shared their plans to re-do her kitchen, they had my full attention. While I guiltily loved the black and white floors and traditional layout, I know that living in it every day can be exhausting and I was SO excited to see how they chose to update it. I was blown away with a mix of modern and classic picks, and their home is now my go-to example for adding kitchen functionality when my clients are struggling with a closed-off or traditional floor plan.

The only catch to this magical tale?

They have a toddling 9 month old, Thomas, and a curious chocolate lab! Today I’m sharing not only the amazing progress they’ve made so far, but also her tips for staying sane during such a transition.

One of the first things she knocked out was their appliances, and she got them scratch and dent for a huge savings! They’re gorgeous stainless models that will be timeless for years to come.


Me: So, what was the vision and what prompted you to want to update? Heather: So many things! Our cabinets weren’t deep enough for some of my favorite dishes, which was strike one. From there, our oven was smaller than standard and the dials were so worn we couldn’t even read them! As soon as we got Cooper our fun black and white floors became a magnet for muddy dog footprints and stray hair, and we knew it would get worse with a baby! As soon as we found out Thomas was on the way, we knew we would want to reconfigure the space to allow for better visibility into the other rooms. A traditional floor plan can be nice in some ways, but I couldn’t see into any of the other rooms from the kitchen which would pose a problem for sure. We wanted a more updated look overall, to make it fit our taste and needs, and to make it more functional for our growing family.

Me: How long is it estimated to take from start to finish? Any hacks there?Heather: The contractor has estimated 3-4 weeks, from October 14th-November 8th. We are working with one of my best friends’ husbands, so he’s promised to compact it as much as possible! The floors will be installed first followed by the cabinet installation.

Me: How’s life without a kitchen? How have you worked around that? Heather: We ate cereal out of solo cups the first night! I’d have to say we lucked out with our floor plan (they have a split level home with a downstairs den area). We were able to set up our island in the basement and have our microwave on it, and stash paper plates and cups and snacks on the shelves below. They moved our fridge so we can still access it, but our lifesaver has been the extra fridge we already had in the garage!

Me: What’s the hardest part?  Heather: I didn’t anticipate it, but I would say the lack of countertops! Washing baby bottles in the bathroom sink isn’t the easiest thing, and finding a place to dry them that isn’t the bathroom made me get creative. I’ve also been sterilizing the bathroom and sinks before we do dishes, which takes time and effort. I also didn’t imagine I’d be so concerned with where the dust was landing from construction, but being a new mom has my instincts on high. It’s all so evident with a crawling baby, I’ve been wiping down every surface in the basement each night in addition to everything else. The nice part is that our contractor has small children too (another perk of working with a trusted person!) so he’s been keeping dust to a minimum and anticipating our needs. And one last thing about no countertops- preparing food and making sandwiches for lunches has been really tricky! You don’t know you’ll miss them until they’re gone!

Me: What’s the most fun part? Heather: Seeing the progress at the end of each day has been so amazing! With a kitchen renovation the big changes happen nearly every day so it’s been really cool to come home from work and see.

Me: What’s been the hardest thing to choose so far? Heather: Oddly enough, the setting on our lights! We are getting LED lights installed and they have three settings. One makes everything look a little whiter, but kind of makes you feel like you’re in a grocery store! Once the cabinets are in, I think I’ll have some more clarity!

Me: How has Cooper (their Chocolate lab!) been handling it all? Heather: He’s been great, and that part of the process has been so easy! We take him to daycare during the day when the contractors are working, and then we use gates on each level to make sure he stays with us and out of the mess in the evenings. I was so relieved that was easier than anticipated!


And that’s all we have so far, y’all! Stay tuned for the final updates and their reflection on the process as a whole. Hope this has been helpful, and if you, too, are a survivor, share your tips below!


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