Kitchen Renovation: Thoughts

Typing the words “kitchen renovation” above in the blog post title gave me chills. I’ve never undertaken a renovation of anything. I have painted, wallpapered, and built IKEA furniture all the day long, but I’ve never torn anything out to bare drywall and concrete and started from scratch.

Get ready for a huge post with lots of words and not that many pictures. Actually, maybe I should sprinkle in some inspiration pictures to keep you with me.

Photo by Grant Harder via Dwell

If you know me, you know I have a lot of thoughts on almost every topic (Virgo overthinker), and this is no exception. When it comes to kitchen renovation, the thoughts swirling around in my mind include but are not limited to:

  • Home resale value: Selling homes is my business. I know that a 1960s kitchen will not fetch top dollar when I go to sell. Does that make it less worthy of a kitchen? Have I not hosted a hundred gatherings with friends and family, and made delicious food in this kitchen for six years? Haven’t the cabinets and countertops lasted 50 amazing years? What’s the obsession Americans have with redoing their kitchen every 10 years?
  • Cost: I live in a comfortable, modest condominium in an aging complex. I don’t need to pour too much money into this renovation; over-improvement is a real problem in my price point and I may not get the return-on-investment that a four-star kitchen deserves. At the same time, the cheapest materials are, well, cheap. My current kitchen has lasted 50 years. I do not think any materials on the market today will last 50 years. (See below)
  • Sustainability: As you’ve heard me mention twice by now, I keep bumping up against the idea that Americans are obsessed with renovating things. To be honest, I feel like a European deep down in my soul… and I want to be satisfied with, and even heart-warmed by old, beat up things. Like my old, beat-up kitchen. On the other hand, I love interiors, and I do think an overhaul of my kitchen/dining room layout could function better and improve my quality of life.
Cliq Studios
  • Home rental durability: Part of my long-term plan is to move to another place and rent this condo out as an income property. After 2 advantageous refinances, we are in a place where that makes sense financially, with regards to the monthly payment. Part of my ethos is to be a socially conscious landlord who takes care of their tenants and doesn’t price gouge. So I want the kitchen to be nice but not too nice (I don’t want to be heartbroken if it collects scratches or scorch marks).
  • Style: My home was built in the 1960s, it has a ranch layout (as much as a condo can have a ranch layout) and 1960s-scaled windows, exterior, and a low, lean flow from room to room. I want the new kitchen to connect with this. I’m a strong believer in letting your home’s origin inform future renovations, not just swapping in what is currently on-trend.
  • Empathy: How can I encourage buyers I’m working with to buy the cheaper, outdated home and renovate if I haven’t also done it? I need to put my money where my mouth is and undertake a major renovation. Then I can offer empathy, recommendations, and wisdom.

If you made it through that colossal brain dump, you deserve to get something pretty out of it. Here is my working inspiration board… it’s not complete yet, but I’ve been using it to weigh out options as I hone my way towards what I really want.

Do you have any predictions as to what direction I’m leaning? In the time between when I made this mood board and when I published this post… I’ve made some big decisions!

If a kitchen reno isn’t in your wheelhouse: The myfriendstaci25 wallpaper coupon code is still good at through September 25!

If you’ve been through a kitchen renovation, please send me encouraging remarks in the comments or nuggets of wisdom you wish you’d known, going into it. Bonus points if you did if all on a serious budget! Thanks in advance!


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Staci blogs about travel at

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