What Did We Spend? Do We Have Any Regrets? And Other Kitchen Reno Questions Answered

I’ve been in the interior design industry for almost two decades now (what!?) and have overseen countless renovations from beginning to end at this point… But our kitchen reno was the first time I had tackled a larger project for my very self. Overall, it was a really great experience, but there are always things you learn along the way, no matter how seasoned you are. And because I’m not one to gate-keep, I’m more than happy to share more about our experience. It really did give me a whole new perspective on what my clients go through, and for that (and many other reasons, of course) I’m very grateful.


I have had a few questions roll in since we revealed our kitchen (here, if you’d like!), and I’ve been meaning to put together a little post to address the more frequently asked ones – including how much we spent, whether or not we have any regrets, and why we didn’t do panel-ready appliances. So without further ado, following are your kitchen reno questions, answered. If anything else pops up, please feel free to leave a comment below – I’ll make sure to prioritize answering it!

Q: Where do I even start with a kitchen reno?

I feel like this deserves an entire post on it’s own, but in light of brevity… I almost always begin a project with a serious Pinterest session (follow me here :). To start, I pin everything and anything that speaks to me into a single board. From there I’ll step back and see if there are any themes that stand out. There is always something that pops up again and again – whether it’s a clear colour palette, a distinct design style, or noticing subtleties like “most photos have slab backsplashes”, for example… I’ll then pick a handful of images that embody the overall look I’m after. And then I’ll create a mood board that I can refer back to again and again throughout the design process. It’s a really helpful way to hone in on the direction you want to head, and to stick with it throughout.

Q: If you don’t mind sharing… how much did your kitchen reno cost?

This is so hard to say as we also did some cosmetic work throughout the rest of our main floor (new flooring, new paint etc…) and we also updated our laundry room and carved out a playroom in our basement. In addition, I know our contractor cut us a deal since we have such a great working relationship. Plus I receive trade discounts on most things. If I were to guesstimate though, I’d say we spent around 125k all in (labour, materials, appliances and lighting etc).

Q: Did you make any structural changes to accommodate the new layout?

No! We were originally planning on swapping the location of the door and the window, which would have led to an entirely different kitchen layout (you can see what I mean in this post here, if you’d like). But that would have led to requiring permits, structural sign off, and tackling some exterior work as a result… It was leading to an incredible amount of scope creep, which was really blowing up our budget. We ultimately decided to try to work within the existing constraints of our home’s layout. In the end, I don’t feel like we made any major concessions, and it saved us a TON of money when all was said and done. Win win!

Q: Do you have any regrets?

Largely, I’m so thrilled with where we’ve landed – renovating our kitchen really has been a complete game changer in ways I didn’t even anticipate…. But yes, I do have a couple small regrets. I’m planning a whole post on this so stay tuned for that. I am, of course, my own worst critic, so know that these regrets consist of me being extremely nit-picky. I will share either way though as food for thought in case anyone finds themselves in the same situation in the future.

Q: Should one use the same colour for cabinet hardware and lighting?

Heck no! I’m a big fan of mixing metals and playing around with different materials for your hardware and light fixtures is a great way to do so. I tend to like to stick to 2-3 different metals, and make sure to sprinkle them in various spots throughout your space for consistency. So, for example, we did brushed gold cabinet hardware and back door hardware. Black light fixtures and wall hooks. And a chrome faucet, which is picked up by the silver elements in the stainless steel appliances.

Q: Farmhouse sink details – do we go with cast iron or fireclay?

There are pros and cons to each, and I’ve used both many times. But ultimately fireclay is nominally more durable, and typically lighter and thus easier to install, than cast iron. We went with this one but I honestly don’t think you can go wrong either way.

Q: Where’s your microwave?

We actually don’t have one. Ours broke a decade ago and we never replaced it. They’ve admittedly always freaked me out, and when it broke we decided to see what life would be like without one. I didn’t miss it at ALL – not once. For a long time we used a countertop toaster oven for things that couldn’t just be tossed in a pan on the stove. Now, our new stove has a second, smaller, baking oven (in lieu of a warming drawer) so that’s what we use to reheat most things.

Q: Is your range hood plaster? Who made it?

It’s mdf, painted. Our cabinet maker, Ma Belle Kitchens, custom made it for us.

Q: What cabinet colour did you choose?

I’m trying to be more diligent with keeping all of my links and sources up to date. I included all of the details at the bottom of the reveal post here! But our cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore – Inukshuk.

Q: Where did you find the frame for the canvas art?

Amazon (here)! It was a last minute purchase that arrived merely hours before the photoshoot – just in the nick of time. I legit love it, it’s beautiful and works well, but I am second guessing the gold in that spot (it feels a little matchy-matchy – I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a wood one to replace it or I’m considering darkening it/giving it a little character with some rub and buff). If you’re on the hunt for yourself, I did discover that this frame is called a “canvas floater frame”.

Q: What’s the most useful kitchen upgrade? What’s overrated?

New appliances! A huge SUPER functional sink! Soft close cabinets/drawers! A large pantry (we had NOTHING before and it was a problem)! A built-in eat-in area (so great with toddlers – we used to trek everything back and forth to our dining room – not a big deal but a small annoyance MULTIPLE times daily). I don’t think any of it has been overrated tbh… I’m over the top happy we pulled the trigger after mulling over whether or not to do it for years.

Q: Why didn’t you do panel ready appliances?

This is one of my regrets, if I’m being honest. Ultimately it came down to timing and budget. This is very much a do as I say not as I do portion of the experience, ha. I picked our appliances very last minute and was extremely limited by what was available at the time. In retrospect I wish we would have just waited, and sprung for, the panel ready versions. But I will touch on this more in my regrets post!



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