Our Kitchen Design - Before & After
When we purchased our home as a new build we made the decision to upgrade certain items through our builder, and to do others after we closed on the home, prior to moving in. I always recommend doing any renovations whenever possible before moving into a home, now I know that this is not always an option…but when it is, it will save you and your family a lot of stress!
One of the items that we chose to upgrade through our builder was our kitchen cabinets. Even though they didn’t offer all the options that I may have been hoping for, we were able to get basic white shaker cabinets in our home. We were also able to extend the cabinets into our kitchen dining nook, add glass uppers, a butler’s pantry for more cabinet storage, and upgrade to drawers instead of cabinet doors in certain locations. The builder typically would install cabinet hardware, however this is something I wanted to select outside of their design center, so I had our cabinet hardware installed after we closed.
One of the other items we upgraded through our builder was our countertops, the design center offered the quartz that I loved, called New Carrara. If you are debating between a quartz and a marble I can tell you a little about my experience. We had Carrara marble counters in our last home, and while I absolutely love the look of them, they were not practical for our family. We had a polished Carrara that would etch constantly when any citrus or acidic items would touch the surface. Even when being extra careful with the countertops, they are bound to take some wear. For me I was bothered by all of the imperfections over time and rings that were left etched into the polish of the surface. I would consider if these imperfections would be something that would bother you before making the decision to go with a marble countertop. Another option you could consider if wanting to go with a marble countertop is choosing a honed finished that would not etch as easily, however you still run the likelihood of stains and imperfections over time. Taking tome to seal your marble each year will help prevent these occurrences. The New Carrara quartz is a great alternative and they make many other marble look a likes now!
Now that I have shared with you what we chose to upgrade through our builder, I will share with you what we decided to renovate after closing our home. For this space in our home it included: kitchen hardware, lighting, tile backsplash, hardwood flooring, baseboards, window trim, paint and smooth texture drywall. Yes, we decided to re-drywall our home after closing! Our builder did not offer us the option of smooth texture and squared corners. Everyone thought we were crazy, and maybe we were, but after having a drywall company do the very messy job I would still say that it was worth it!
If you are building a new home you probably know that the cost for upgraded items in a design center, like tile and wood are heavily marked up. As someone that was working as a designer at the time and knew where to source similar products for half the price we made the decision to hire the work out after closing. We had a short window of time to complete all of our own renovations before moving into the home, so it took some effort and organization to keep the jobs moving along quickly.
The first step was identifying what was being removed from the home and what was staying, then we had a demo crew come in to remove lighting, baseboards, door trim, and flooring. We also had all of our interior doors and toilets removed and stored in the garage until ready to re-install. The two most time consuming jobs were the new drywall texture and the wood flooring. Our wood flooring is a engineered hardwood, wire-brushed European oak. I absolutely love the variation and quality of this product. I share sources below for some of these items and those that you see in the pictures.