It’s no joke… We have a kitchen sink again!

After 3 months of doing dishes in our tiny bathroom we finally have a kitchen sink (and dishwasher) again!

I can’t begin to tell you how happy this makes me.

I’m really happy with how our counters turned out. I love marble, but I also love lemons and other acidic and staining foods so I decided to go with a faux marble formica instead.

I had planned to purchase the countertops from the Big-Box-Home-Improvement-Store which had done the initial $17,000 estimate.  When I emailed telling them we wouldn’t be moving forward with the renovation I mentioned I’d like to go ahead and place an order for the countertops but I didn’t hear back (surprise, surprise). So I went ahead and just showed up to the store and place the order in person.

I pride myself on being a nice person. I try to be nice to everyone… but I suppose I had a look about me because the woman who worked there gave me one look and passed me the phone number to order my counters from the same manufacturer they use.

“Do you want to just order them directly?” she looked at me blankly.

Yes actually, I do.

BBHIS estimate: $1084 for materials & $400 for labor

The final price: $262 for materials & $0 for labor.

So far we’ve saved over $4,000 on our preferred cabinets and the EXACT SAME countertop. Bonus: we’re also 18 days ahead of schedule for having a working sink and dishwasher. (Not bad considering this is including our week and a half of being sick and going out of town for spring break.)

Next up for the DIY kitchen renovation is the inside of the drawers and cabinets. Then we pick and install the floors.  We also plan to install new open shelving, a tile backsplash and paint, so there is still a lot to do…

But right now what we’ve been really excited about it countertops and running water.




Kitchen Renovation + House Full of Sickies

Hi. Long time no see.

I expected a lot to go wrong when we started the kitchen renovation. Electricity issues, things not coming in on time, us not knowing how to actually renovate a kitchen…

What I did not expect was a week and a half delay for all of us to get flat on our asses sick with one of the worst colds we’ve had in awhile.

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And with six people in a house, everyone falls like dominoes until you’ve all become a pathetic puddle of feverish snot, with possible pink eye, shuffling around the house drinking soup and wincing every time you swallow. We’re still not over it.

So we did not, as I had hoped, work on the kitchen this past weekend.  Still, the beginnings of the kitchen is starting to take shape.

Getting rid of the old kitchen, while it was simple, it wasn’t exactly easy.   Since the old kitchen cabinets were actually built into the wall (as opposed to being built and then hung on the wall) coaxing the house to let go of the cabinets took a little longer than we expected. And by coaxing, we mean, with a crowbar and a hammer.


goodbye kitchen

Another daunting task was getting rid of the oven and the range and converting to an all-in-one oven/range, this frees up a little bit of space when you open the door and hopefully will make the kitchen feel a little roomier.

kitchen demo

I had adjusted to washing the dishes in the bathroom sink, but I wasn’t interested in getting rid of the ability to cook anything so timing out the rewiring of the kitchen was important so we could put the new stove in right after we took the old one out.  Instead of waiting for an oven to be delivered we went and picked one up straight from the store on a Friday night so everything would be ready to go on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, the electrician set up the new wiring while we did the demo and then he hooked up the oven for us.

I’m not quite sure how we pulled it off but we did.

Kitchen ren

We’ve still got a little way to go before the sink can be put in and the dishwasher hooked up, but things are FINALLY moving forward.

Next week is spring break and we plan to be out of town which is frustrating on a kitchen standpoint but sorely needed after busy weeks and sickness. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is going to be a Saturday project and it’s just going to take a while (saving $17,000 has helped ease the pain).

if you squint real hard, you can see what the kitchen will look like someday… Hopefully we’ll have a big reveal before summer.


Kitchen Update: Sticker Shock.

Kitchen Redesign color palate, counter top cabinets shelving floor and backsplash

So, you might be wondering… is Sarah still doing her dishes in the bathroom sink and gagging about it?

Why, yes, yes I am.

There haven’t been many updates because, well, there just haven’t been many updates. First, we were stuck waiting for information from our insurance about how much they would cover; even though we called them January 5th, it wasn’t until more than a month later that we got our answer:


Well, $900 but there’s a $500 deductible. So…


There’s our budget for new floors, new base cabinets and a new counter top. At this point though, we’re pretty committed to a new kitchen as we can’t really function the way things are now and we’re willing to put in a few thousand dollars of our own money to get ourselves something that works.


We took that knowledge and went to a very lovely lady working at what we’ll call a Big Box Home Improvement Store. We explained our situation and our budget (or lack there of); she understood and was willing to help us get as much information to our insurance company as we could.  Then we set out to design our small kitchen.

Nothing top of the line, but I had fallen in love with some cabinets at Ikea. We found some mid-grade cabinetry with a similar look. We picked a backsplash, a formica countertop, (nothing too fancy…I have relatively cheap taste) and some linoleum peel-and-stick flooring fairly similar to the type of flooring we had previously. All of the appliances are basically staying in the same place except we are going from two separate units for our cooktop and oven to an all-in-one range, which will require an electrician.

After many trips to Big Box Home Improvement Store, some re-scheduled meetings due to snow, and emails back and forth, we met this week for our final quote.

$17,000.  Not only is this not within our budget (keeping in mind it’s a surprise renovation), it has now taken a month and a half to find out that it’s not within our budget.  If we were able to sign on that week with no changes, Big Box Home Improvement Store estimated the project might be finished by the end of April.

So we sat with that for an hour. Had a beer. Planned a trip to Ikea.

For better or worse, it looks like a DIY kitchen is in our immediate future. And really, what could go wrong? We’ve got 4 children including a crawling baby, 2 dogs, 1 cat, I’ve just started working for myself, Jeff is just about to start afternoon rehearsals for his high school’s musical, and spring break isn’t for another month.  Why not sprinkle in a little DIY kitchen fun with a large helping of insurance company battles?

It just so happens that Hudson has been begging to visit the ball pit at Ikea, so today we’re taking the 1:45 drive to the land of meatballs and hoping we can shrink down that $17,000 price tag to something that doesn’t make me gag more than scraping oatmeal into the toilet.

If the Ikea SEKTION can’t come in under $17,000, I may just need a stronger stomach.



Throwing Out Everything AND The Kitchen Sink.


I didn’t plan on a kitchen renovation this year.  In fact, I figured that it would be just one of those things that I occasionally dream about but never actually do.  We had done a little to the house after we bought it and that was working well enough.

Until this happened:

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Well, there’s your problem right there.

So the boys got a little show yesterday when our handiest of handymen took our busted pipe apart.

Kitchen sink pipe burst sparks
Not at all terrifying.

Had we PLANNED on replacing everything in our kitchen, we might have had everything all picked out before ripping out the old stuff; instead we find ourselves scrambling a bit because we miss having a kitchen sink (turns out they’re really convenient). All of our “what if we did this…” hypothetical comments we have made over the years are now actually something to consider. It’s rather intimidating.

So our task for this weekend is to pick out new floors, probably new cabinets and new countertops as well (so…new kitchen). The deciding factor on what actually gets installed, however, is insurance: what they’ll cover, what they won’t (and what that means exactly in dollars), and we haven’t heard the final say yet.

IN the meantime this is what we’re working with:

Kitchen with no sink coffee station
That fluff of white you see in the corner is the dishwasher and the padding under my breakfast bar.

I pulled up Marlowe’s changing table which was in the downstairs bathroom and it’s now our little coffee station/ bus station.  The main challenge is that it’s hard to find a place to wash dishes (our bathroom sinks are pretty small and not meant to wash solids down the drain). So we’re doing some paper plates for things that can’t be washed off in the sink and some aluminum foil pans that would need scrubbing.  The granola me is just going to have to deal with it.

Oh, I feel like it might be worth mentioning that there’s a dishwasher in the middle of the floor and our cabinets and countertop are hanging out in pieces in the basement.

Anyway, we’ve got a new little routine… when it’s time to do the dishes we take a bin that sits under our bus station up to the bathroom to wash and lay on a towel on the counter.  Anything that is stubborn to clean (for example, a bowl of oatmeal), I use hot water to loosen it and then pour into the toilet which, as it turns out, makes me gag. You learn new things about yourself every day!

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Does anyone need the bathroom? I have some dishes to wash.

Just another life lesson in rolling with it.  Honestly, while it’s been a bit inconvenient, I’m just happy that the hole is closed up and there’s plywood on the subflooring. It’s the little things.

In these kinds of situations I like to look at the upside… so here’s what I got:

  • It would have been years probably before we decided to actually renovate the kitchen so this certainly motivates us to finally get it done.
  • We didn’t really want new floors but we’re getting new floors…so, there’s that.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated the kitchen sink as much as I will now.
  • I can brush my teeth, bathe the toddler and do the dishes at the same time.


Have you ever had a surprise kitchen renovation (or even a planned one)? Any tips?
Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your ideas!



There’s a Hole In My Kitchen.

So, I had a post about our 10 year anniversary which I wanted to sit down and write. I still will. But here’s what got in the way.

Servpro Dehumidifier kitchenThat is a dehumidifier where my kitchen sink used to be. I’m familiar with the contraption because this is actually the 3rd time I’ve seen one taking up a small space in my house in the past 5 years.

I feel like this is an unusual number of times to need to dehumidify a home.

But, regardless, I am listening to the not-so-gentle sound of the dehumidifier in my basically useless kitchen. And as adorable as it is to hear a 2 year old try to pronounce “dehumidifier,” on day 3 the novelty is wearing off.

So here’s what happened:

I was getting my stitch fix, happy as a clam, when the handyman who we had asked to fix some stairs comes back with a panicked sort of  I-really-don’t-want-to-deliver-this-news kind of look.

Then he said, “Something, something, small leak between the cabinet and the wall, something, something, crawlspace, something, puddle on the ground, something, something, wet subflooring, something, something, you don’t want the floor of the kitchen to start to sag.”

That’s a direct quote.

Anyway, all this led to 3 days of phone calls, claims adjustors, assessment guys or whatever they’re called, and that moment where you watch a couple of very nice guys pull your cabinets out and tear into your floors and walls with a big orange thing that looks like it’s never used for something good.

Water damage, servpro, subfloor

We were supposed to go on an anniversary date night tonight but stayed in and discussed cabinetry. Like you do when you’ve been married for 10 years.

I am choosing to be grateful. Last time something in our house broke I had a 1 week old baby… so the timing could have been worse.  Also, had our handiman not noticed it, the damage could have been much more extensive. And because we have an older house, the subflooring looks like it can be dried and repaired without having to replace it.    And hey, we were thinking of replacing a few things in the kitchen eventually and now, maybe we’ll get a little help with the cost.

Besides, the kids have gotten a little entertainment from it… and there is a certain novelty to washing your dishes in the bathroom sink (or the bathtub. Right?).

dehumidifier blowing air

So… good news, right? Today is a good news day.


DIY Crane Mobile

Please note: This article contains affiliate links for some supplies to make the mobile. If you can’t buy local, please consider purchasing through my affiliate link.


I’m working in a world theme into the nursery, and after realizing that I was lacking an Eastern influence I thought a paper crane mobile might be a cute and inexpensive addition.

I’ve never done any origami before this mobile which is a testament to how easy it is.
Crane supplies


Embroidery hoop
-Ribbon (for hanging)
Clear cord
-Origami Paper
-Needle nose pliers
Crimp beads
-Needles.-Hot glue (optional for step 2)


Step 1. Make your cranes.  If you haven’t done one before, I learned from this website.

Step 2.  Decorate your hoop. I decided to use ribbon to cover the embroidery hoop, but you can paint it or leave it simple wood.
I used hot glue on the hoop and simply wrapped my ribbon around.

To make it easy to hang, I just used two longer pieces of ribbon which I knotted at either end and then created a knot loop at the top.

Step 3. Use a crimp bead to clamp the end of your fishing wire/clear cord. String the end of your cord into the bead and clamp shut with the pliers.  You can knot it, but this is a lot quicker and easier.

Next, string the end of the fishing wire with the needle through the bottom of the crane and out through the center of his back (longer needles make this easier).  TIP: leave extra cord than you think you’ll need… about an inch. This gives you wiggle room for being able to adjust the height when you tie them on.



Step 4. Just knot the crane on at your desired length (I had mine getting gradually longer but you can do it in any order). Do that for all your cranes and you’re done!!

I’ll hang it above the changing table I think.

Here’s some more pics, just because it’s fun…


Crane mobile

I kinda want to make more of these now… and since this baby seems to be taking his sweet time, looks like I’ll have plenty of downtime before his arrival.


Kitchen Makeover III – Keep it Cheap (under $125)!

I was going to wait until I had really great pictures of the kitchen to show… but as it turns out we get perfect picture light in our kitchen at 4:00…. Aaaaaand I’m not home. In fact, I won’t even be home in the daylight until Saturday and I didn’t want to wait to show you what we did… so, basically I owe you optimal daylight pics.


When we last left my kitchen, there was a mushroom cloud of dirt:

Not so pretty.

With Jeff’s spring break, we were sure we were going to be able to put up the new shelves in a jiffy.

And then we had a few things to take care of…

And then a few more…

A trip to Ikea…

And before we knew it it was Saturday and Jeff was in the attic nailing plywood and our kitchen looked abandoned and disgusting… kinda like this:

So we realized we better not let Monday come around without finishing or we’d be eating fast food for another week– and bathing suit season is upon us.

So we stayed up until 1 AM working on it, finished up and went to bed barely taking time to survey our work… here’s what I woke up to the next morning:


I think bowls and cups are pretty

As for the other side of the kitchen… well we ran into a snag. Remember the yellowish vinyl backing behind the stove? Well, apparently they had glued it on. So we were left with a gluey mess that no amount of scraping and sanding could smooth, so right now, it’s exposed until we find a weekend to tile a new backsplash– probably the most expensive part about this process. So it currently sits unfinished like this:

Since I’m not happy with the wall color I haven’t settled on a tile color but I am definitely thinking subway tile. It might be that we don’t do anything until we replace the counter tops… besides, there’s lots of things to do in the meantime.

But this is the first time we could really see the direction the kitchen is going… and aside from the paint, I’m really happy with it. The kitchen suddenly feels quite large and my big counter space complaint is no longer an issue!

Here’s our cost breakdown so far:

Grundtal Ikea shelf (used as pot rack): 14.99

Gruntal s-hook pack: 2.99 x4 (I like extras) = 11.96

Asker container (two large) 7.99 x 2 = 15.98

Asker small container 3 = 17.97

Grundtal rail = 6.99

Brackets .50 each x 4 = $2.00

Pine shelf (Lowes) = $22.45 (after 10% discount coupon)

Primer 11.67 (after 10% discount coupon)

Valspar paint 20.98

So total our kitchen cost: $124.99

I feel like we’ve added so much space in our kitchen this way. I’m really pleased with where it’s going!

So what’s your cheapest home makeover/renovation story?

Just joining us? check our or cheap kitchen renovation from the demolition begins and Kitchen Makeover part Deux- The Demolition Continues