Our Kitchen Renovation: Lessons Learned & Questions Answered

Last Updated on March 3, 2022

Thinking about undertaking a large renovation? Before you start, check out these regrets and lessons learned from a couple who has lived through it!

kitchen renovation regrets and lessons

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Once a huge renovation is finished, there are always lessons learned. Our massive kitchen remodel is no different! We wanted to share everything we learned and answer reader and listener questions about the choices we made, any regrets we have, and all the lessons we learned along the way.

If you are a new listener to Colorful Conversations, we would love to hear from you. You can find us 24/7 on Instagram @tasha.kaleidoscope and on Facebook at Kaleidoscope Living. You can also check out our YouTube channel. As a thank you for listening, we have an awesome FREE guide called “5 Easy Steps to Design A Room You Love.” Text “DESIGNTIPS” to 44222 and you will get the guide in your inbox!

In this episode:

  • 0:35 – Today, we’re talking about the big Agruso kitchen renovation! Joe and Tasha are going to share the lessons they learned and answer questions from social media.
  • 0:58 – Before we get started, let’s get an update from the homefront. It’s pool and swim practice season, but Tasha’s also getting the kids to exercise their creative side with an online Watercolor for Kids class by fellow blogger Emily of Jones Design Company!
  • 5:07 – It’s time for Thea’s favorite game, the test of how well Tasha and Joe know each other! Thea’s question for today is: What was your biggest compromise in the kitchen? Tasha guesses that Joe compromised on the overall amount of stuff in the space – if it were up to him, she thinks there would be more empty, clear space (and he agrees). Joe thinks that Tasha’s biggest compromise was that they didn’t open up the wall to the living room. However, Tasha feels her big compromise actually was not tiling the entire wall – that was a hard vision to let go of!
  • 9:25 – You know this is no ordinary, regular podcast. Make sure you’re following us on Instagram @tasha.kaleidoscope where we announce our upcoming topics and you can submit your questions for us to answer. We also love your reviews and feedback on iTunes, so leave us a 5-star review! If we pick your question or share your review, we’ll send you some great, free swag! (Keep listening to hear a sneak peak of what this sweet swag is!)
  • 13:05 – Today, we’re diving into the questions, challenges, and lessons of the Big Agruso Kitchen Reno. The first lesson is: be prepared, have a plan, and be organized at the beginning! Joe and Tasha had a great contractor with specialized knowledge of kitchens and bathrooms, and he really helped them create a solid plan to move forward with. 
  • 15:00 – Tasha and Joe had to live with and use their kitchen for over 6 years before the reno, which really helped inform them of the changes they wanted and needed to make. The lesson learned is: the longer you have to actually live in and use a space, and understand how your family uses it, the easier it is to plan for big changes that work best for you long-term.
  • 16:45 – Joe wants to change his answer to the NewlyWed Game! He thinks his biggest compromise was actually deciding to use a contractor for the renovation from the very beginning of the project. 
  • 20:55 – The next lesson learned along the way is to pay attention, which sounds super obvious, but when life gets busy and the room reno gets underway, it gets harder to remember to check-in daily and get progress updates. Tasha remembers the can-light situation, where a plan had been laid out for where the lights would go, but they were actually installed in the wrong place. It wasn’t a big deal to move them because they checked and caught it early!
  • 24:50 – Lesson #3: Never underestimate the power of the hunt! And by hunt, we mean the hunt for knowledge and research to make informed decisions. This is crucial in catching small details, like where a microwave door hinges and how that will impact the space where it is positioned. Do your research and you’ll find options that work for you (and always check out IKEA)!
  • 29 03 – One thing that Tasha and Joe have questioned is if they wish they had done an appliance garage to hide some of the kitchen gadgets? While an appliance garage is great at clearing some counter space, it can sometimes be a functional hinderance. 
  • 31:30 – Other mistakes can come with the stressful situation of appliance shopping. Tasha and Joe made the decision to stick with the same brand for their kitchen appliances to ensure consistency in quality and appearance – this works great for the kitchen and the overall look! However, while loading up the brand new fridge with food, Tasha noticed there was no meat & cheese drawer… something they didn’t even consider while shopping. Small details are still important when you’re making big decisions.
  • 36:35 – Joe talks about the dishwasher – their old dishwasher had a utensil basket right at the front, where they could just slip in their dirty utensils. Now, the new dishwasher (and most new dishwashers, it seems) have these utensil baskets on the side. Not a major issue, but another one of those weird inconveniences you don’t think about while shopping.
  • 37:30 – Sponsor break! Today’s episode is brought to you by Article. If you’ve seen pictures of our kitchen on the blog, you’ll know that one of our favorite things about it is the colorful seating nook we created – it’s perfect for us to have some time to connect over coffee or wine! Article helped us find the perfect, mid-century modern furniture to create a beautiful seating nook at a super reasonable price. Check out our navy blue velvet and walnut armchairs and round, leather ottoman, and grab some quality pieces for yourself! Ordering from Article.com is simple and easy, has reasonable shipping fees and even offers fast, free ground delivery for orders over $999, and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee to really see if a piece is the right fit for your home! Check out all they have to offer at kaleidoscopeliving.com/article.
  • 40:50 – It’s time for listener and reader questions! The first question is “Why did you get rid of the eat-in area in the kitchen?” Joe explains that there were just way too many sitting areas in the space, and Tasha points out that they now have four seats at the island, as well as open access to the dining room. The eat-in area just wasn’t necessary anymore!
  • 43:27 – Next question is “What is your favorite thing about the kitchen remodel?” Tasha says her favorite thing is the tile, which is surprising because she didn’t expect to love it so much! It was a bit of a struggle to make a decision about the tile and she didn’t feel super excited about it, but once it was installed, it felt like a big win! For Joe, his favorite thing is opening up the kitchen and dining room because they actually use the entire kitchen-seating-dining space. Additionally, Joe loves the garbage disposal (importantly, a batch-feeder disposal) from Build.com! It was a little bit of a mistake-turned-ideal purchase, and the way it works is super safe and efficient.
  • 49:00 – Next question: “How long did the renovation take?” It was a really quick renovation, only taking about 5 ½ weeks! The contractor wrapped up the build at that point, leaving Tasha and Joe to add some finishing touches to the floor, adding the quarter-round, the vent hood, and putting up some shelving.
  • 49:30 – “What DIY projects did you tackle?” The backsplash, the flooring (in the kitchen, dining room, and foyer), open shelving, and the custom vent hood were all done by Tasha and Joe!
  • 50:35 – Another interesting question is “Are you glad you didn’t use IKEA cabinets?” This, as Tasha says, is the great debate. The cabinets they chose to go with are very high quality, made with solid wood and dovetail joints, and just felt like the right choice for the renovation. However, IKEA cabinets are still a good go-to choice, have a great aesthetic and function, and Tasha and Joe do still have them in another spot in the house.
  • 53:55 – Some people want to know “What is the best thing about working with a contractor?” The greatest thing was being able to come home and, instead of putting in a couple of hours of reno work, just seeing the progress made every day. Things were also able to move a lot faster because the contractor and his staff dedicated full days to getting things done. Tasha feels especially lucky that she didn’t have to deal with the permits and licenses to green light the construction! Another perk is having access to sub-contractors who could come and address challenges quickly.
  • 56:52 – Last question! “What are your money-saving tips?” For Tasha, the best tip that comes to mind is really to hunt for the things you want. The most expensive things will be the easiest to find, but you can take your time to explore options to find something both beautiful and affordable. It took a long hunt for Tasha to find the kitchen backsplash tile, but it was so worth it! Also, don’t think you’re stuck with having only one or two options (like with a left-hinged microwave) – what you want is out there, you may just have to dig for it! Joe says they saved money by listening to their contractor and learning from his expertise. His honesty and transparency helped Tasha and Joe make solid decisions without breaking the bank. 
  • 58:37 – Make sure to like and subscribe to Colorful Conversations wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave us a review so we know what you love about the podcast! Remember, if we read your review, you can get some free swag! And don’t wait to get in contact with us! You can always find us on Instagram and Facebook. 

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