Stephanie is the founder and editor of Fab You Bliss, a blog that features weddings, decor, crafts and, of course, her adorable dog, Quinley. When Stephanie and her husband bought his childhood home from his parents, they were in love with the history, but not so much the kitchen cabinets. They set out to make this family home their own by tackling one room at a time. Stephanie is sharing a little bit about the process of updating the kitchen and giving her best tips for anyone else trying to transform a space of their own.
SheKnows: What advice would you give to people who are considering a major remodel?
Stephanie: The best advice I have to offer is to make sure you have the funds to do what you want. All of the work we have had done has ended up costing more than originally projected. Having to pay more than you planned can result in some serious consequences, especially if you're on a tight budget. But if you're prepared to pay more from the start and nothing extra comes up… you may end up pleasantly surprised — and with some extra cash.
SK: What was the most frustrating thing about your remodeling process?
S: I work from home, so for me the most frustrating part was not having my space. The kitchen remodel took around two and a half months, and every day there were people here making noise, stirring up dust or spraying fumes that nearly knocked me (and my dog) out. The fumes part was really bad for us. I should have taken us somewhere else on those days.
Another thing was the dust that was everywhere, floating into computer equipment and TV and stereo electronics, even with such items covered. And finally, not having a working kitchen for the duration of the project made cooking/eating very difficult. Let's just say we were on a first-name basis with the Chinese delivery service down the street, and our microwave had to be replaced shortly after the remodel was complete, because we used it so much during.
SK: What advice would you give to people to help them find high-quality contractors?
S: I highly recommend interviewing friends who've had work done to see if they'd recommend the contractors they used. Any contractor can look good in advertising; it's the real, first-hand knowledge you're looking for. That's where a contractor's true colors come through. And people who've experienced the good or the bad are usually more than happy to share their thoughts.
SK: Did you design the space yourself, or did you hire a designer?
S: Although the woodworking contractor we hired designed the layout, I chose the design elements — the paint color, crown molding, cabinet hardware, granite countertop, appliances, faucet style, sink and light fixtures.
SK: What inspiration did you have for your space?
S: I'm always looking through home and design magazines, and of course Pinterest was a big source of inspiration as well. But a lot of the designs just came organically. We have all wood floors throughout the main side of the house, so I knew I wanted the cabinets light in color. And I wanted a nice balance with the floors and the countertop, so I picked marbled granite that had a bit of light and dark in it. Most of all I wanted very classic designs, so in 10 or 20 years it would still look just as good.
SK: How did you infuse your personal style into your space?
S: As with what inspired me, the infusion of my personal style happened organically. Also, since it is the house my husband and I share… I wanted to infuse his style and my style as well. I have very soft, feminine likes and I gravitate to a more classic design. My husband likes modern, bold and structured styles. So while the wall and cabinet colors complement my likes, we chose the bright blue light fixture above the sink and the industrial-style faucet, as well as the very modern stove to complement his style. We've done this throughout the house, and I have to say it really has worked well.
SK: What's your favorite part of your new space?
S: This is a tough one. The entire kitchen is truly a dream, but if I had to pick anything it would be the island. My husband says the same. The extra space is really nice, and when we entertain it becomes the congregating area for everyone, which is fun, because it is, after all, the heart of the house.
SK: Would you do anything differently if you had to do it again?
S: Yes, but I'd only make a change with part of the process, not the design. We absolutely love the remodel. But there was one process that seemed odd to me — like it was out of place and took more time than it should. The cabinets were built in the contractor's shop, then delivered to our house. But before they could be installed, they had to be painted. So they ended up painting each piece in our driveway. It all felt a little "hillbilly-ish" to me, if you know what I mean. I think it would have been better to paint the cabinets before they were delivered. But I guess they were also concerned about hurting the paint job in transition. So… I don't know. I would have at least asked to see if it could have been done.
SK: Any other remodeling projects in the work?
S: Oh yes! We are in the middle of my office remodel right now, and we have two bathrooms set for remodel as well. This is a big house, and it's old, so remodeling (or some kind of fixing) will be a thing I think we're always doing.
For more images and details on the process, visit Fab You Bliss for before and after photos.
Get the look
We've rounded up some pieces inspired by Stephanie's kitchen so you can infuse a little of her lovely style into your own space. Take her lead and keep the decor light, bright and minimal. A few functional accessories are the perfect way to decorate a kitchen without creating too much clutter.
More remodeling tips
Renovation 101: Conveying your vision to your contractor
DIY vs. hired help
Budget-friendly bathroom updates