Remember way back when I posted that we were totally renovating our kitchen? We got most of the big stuff done within a week and a half, but lots of small things (and not so small things, actually) were left. True to the 80/20 rule, which states that 80 % of your results come from 20 % of your effort, and 80% of your time will be spent on 20% of the work, is what happened with our kitchen.
Here’s what we did – pulled out everything but the floor. Replaced the cabinets, counters, appliances, repainted the kitchen, vented the hood to the outside (didn’t have a vent before), tiled the backsplash along the length of both counters (at least 20 feet in length), and replaced the lighting. Because we were using previously owned cabinets, there were other things we needed to do to customize them for our kitchen – cutting the microwave cabinet down to standard size, rebuilding the cabinet that was previously above the hood, staining the wood on the exposed cabinet sides, building a desk area using a drawer and leftover trim for brackets, and more.
But it’s finally done. Really, really finished! And it looks beautiful. Looking at it is so empowering for everyone in the family. I kept thinking of things here and there that would improve it, but now it’s all done. My 13 year old daughter finished the tiling for the final wall yesterday (my neighbor’s 40 year old daughter was visiting today, and told me she couldn’t believe it when she looked outside yesterday and saw her operating the power tile cutter independently – actually, dh taught the 9 and 11 year olds to use it, too :)).
The kids have learned a lot from this project. Here are some of the lessons: 1) Living within your means doesn’t mean doing without. You just have to be willing to find other options. The kitchen cost us under $2000 (including paying for an electrician, all power tools purchased, supplies, cabinets, appliances and 2 Uhauls rented to bring the supplies home).
Lesson 2 – just because everyone else hires experts doesn’t mean that you can’t do just as good a job on your own. You just have to be willing to learn, and trust your ability to accomplish your goal.
Lesson 3 – There’s a huge amount of satisfaction in doing something on your own, and sticking with it until the end when it’s finished. Every person in this family helped out and has a sense of pride in our project.
Our only regret is that our digital camera wasn’t working properly when we started, so we don’t have before and after pictures.