The Herbert House has gone through the most dramatic transformation, but the kitchen has seen the biggest change by far, and it just so happens to be my personal favorite for very obvious reasons! 🙂
If you missed my very first post about The Herbert House, then make sure to check it out HERE before you read on.
The entire makeover of the Herbert House took close to 8 months. And while I’m only blogging about the kitchen today, demolition and renovations were also happening in every other room of the house simultaneously. The kitchen was officially completed back in March, but hey, life gets busy, so here I am finally blogging about this project exactly one year after demo began. It’s been more work than we could have ever imagined or planned for and we could never thank our family and friends enough for their help breathing life back into this little fixer upper.
Immediately after closing on the house back on July 13, 2018 Connor and I drove over to the house and snapped hundreds of “before” photos of every room from every possible angle. We had extremely high hopes and expectations for this renovation and wanted every step to be documented. Only minutes after these before photos were taken, our family arrived and the very first day of demo began!
Without further ado, let’s start from the very beginning…
The kitchen was beyond dated (hello stained glass light fixture and lace curtains). It felt cramped and dark, it was absolutely filthy, the plumbing and electrical were no longer up to code, and it was just about the farthest thing from what we had in mind.
The kitchen pantry in the hallway
(please note the assortment of wall paper and manual pencil sharpener HA!)
This kitchen definitely wasn’t the clean-cut, modern style that Connor and I had in mind to say the least.
PHASE 1: REMOVE THE WALL
From the first time we toured the house, we knew that the dividing wall between the kitchen and living room had to go. It made the kitchen feel so much smaller than it actually is and it was right in the middle of the most perfect area for a kitchen island. Plus, would this truly be a fixer upper project without a Joanna Gaines inspired open concept kitchen?
And in true Chip Gaines fashion…
It was demo day!!
Goodbye dividing wall, hello open concept!
PHASE 2: CREATE A BLANK SLATE
We said the happiest goodbye to the old cupboards, sink, refrigerator, oven, countertops, lighting… absolutely everything. Even the walls, electrical, and plumbing! We needed to start with a blank canvas.
Remember the wallpaper & pencil sharpener pantry? We said goodbye to that too…
Notice the teeny-tiny window on the left kitchen wall? That’s where the mirror/medicine cabinet used to be in the bathroom (demo was also taking place in there).
Just as we were about to call it quits on the first day of demo, the guys were on a roll and said “why not take the flooring out today too?”But as they tore up the first layer of linoleum, they discovered another layer, and then another… and another!
Yes, that’s right… they had to remove FIVE layers of laminate flooring!
This little surprise caused three extra hours of demo.
After 3 days of demo, we found ourselves standing in a perfectly gutted kitchen!
PHASE 3: SUPPORT BEAMS
A few weeks later, after making progress in other areas of the house, it was time to install the two wooden support beams that would replace the structural support that was originally provided by that dividing kitchen wall. These beams were installed above the kitchen, up in the attic so they wouldn’t be seen, to create a seamless look between rooms. This also allowed us to finish removing those small wooden poles that had been left for support.
A temporary support wall was quickly built to provide structural support while the beams were being installed.
The kitchen ceiling was then torn down to transfer the beams up into the attic.
About 6 hours later the structural beams were installed up in the attic, the temporary wall was removed, and those small wooden poles were finally taken down.
Hello open concept kitchen!!
We are beyond grateful for family and friends who are so incredibly talented in construction. None of this would have been possible without them.
PHASE 4: KITCHEN DESIGN
After discussing our overall style and vision, gathering lots advice from family and friends in the contracting business, and pinning plenty of design inspo on Pinterest, we were finally ready to design the kitchen!
I think we were both expecting for this process to take much longer than it actually did. We made an appointment with the designer and were told it would take about an hour. We walked into the meeting assuming we’d probably have to make a few more follow-up appointments to finalized the details. But to our surprise, within that one hour appointment, we chose the cabinets, the layout, and the appliances. Who knew there could be so many possible combinations of drawers, islands, and cabinets? We even had time to finalized the smaller details like molding, trim, sink size, cupboard and drawer sizes, etc.
And just like that, we had a kitchen design!
When we finally got to see all of our ideas and choices come to life on the computer, the designer may have mentioned that he’d never had clients get as excited about a kitchen design HA!
Classic Connor and Lauren…
PHASE 5: REBUILD
Once the kitchen design had been finalized, the real construction and rebuilding could begin. This stage lasted almost two months. A majority of this time was spent on all of the behind-the-scenes stuff, like brand new plumbing, electrical, insulation, and structural support. These are the things that are the least glamorous and are usually never shown on home renovation shows (we’re looking at you, Chip and Joanna), but are by far the most important. This was also the stage that Connor was the most excited to learn from my dad, his dad, and our family friends working in construction.
PHASE 6: DRYWALL
Goodbye studs, hello walls!
PHASE 7: HARDWOOD FLOORS
One of the reason Connor first fell in love with the Herbert House was the original hardwood floors. The kitchen was the only room in the entire house that didn’t have original hardwoods. Luckily, the contractor Connor hired to refinish the floors was able to hunt down and install identical wood panels to match the rest of the house.
To say he did a flawless job would be the biggest understatement.
After the contractor completely sanded them down to remove the old finish and any stains, we got to choose the new color that would be throughout the entire house. We ended up choosing the darkest of the three options.
And just incase you were wondering…
Yes we did slide around the house in our socks to celebrate the gorgeous new floors 😉
Since everything else for the kitchen had already been picked out, ordered, and delivered, once the floors were complete the rest quickly began falling into place.
PHASE 8: PAINT
Connor and I decided to go with a light gray color throughout the entire house.
PHASE 9: CABINET INSTALLATION
PHASE 10: APPLIANCES, SINK, & COUNTERTOP INSTALLATION
PHASE 11: LIGHTING
We finally got to put away the construction lamps as my dad and Connor installed the pendant & can lights!
PHASE 12: BACKSPLASH TILE
Before demo even started, Connor and I had a pretty good idea of what we wanted the kitchen to look like, and almost always agreed on cosmetic and design decisions. Backsplash tile was one decision that was not as easy as the rest was for us. Because our cabinets were white and our countertops were black, I think this left us with a few too many options. HA! Ultimately, we chose to stick with the clean, crisp look we had been going with all along… which lead us to white subway tile with dark gray grout!
(Big thanks to the constant inspo from Chip & Joanna)
Connor had never laid tile before this project. He learned by receiving a few instructions and pointers from his dad, and I must say, he did an incredible job!
THE FINAL TRANSFORMATION
After finalizing the rest of the tiny details, like cabinet hardware, air duct covers, and decor (thanks to my trip to Magnolia Market in Waco, Tx back in April) we finally got to reveal our brand new kitchen at our housewarming party on April 26th!
Without further ado, here are the final before and after shots!
Thanks for taking a first look inside our fixer upper project on Herbert Street!
We are so in love with our brand new kitchen and beyond grateful to everyone who helped us make this transformation possible! Keep your eye out for more blog posts to come focusing on the demo and reno of the other rooms in our house!
To read more about how the Herbert House came to be, click HERE