Why Our Kitchen Renovation is Taking SO Long!

posted by Andrea | 09/12/2012

The picture above is of the dining room side of our kitchen/dining room renovation. It’s pretty much finished and just waiting for crown moulding, a table, hutch, curtains, and a few decorations.

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

But THIS is the kitchen side… taken on the very same day as the dining room picture above! 

We started our kitchen renovation exactly 3 months ago… and we’re STILL not finished.

Sigh…

Our goal was to be completely finished by Labor Day, but that obviously is not the case.

As with all home renovation projects (especially in old homes), it’s been a “bumpy” road full of obstacles, unexpected problems, and a few costly errors (thankfully they did not cost us money, but rather other companies who messed up). Things are taking quite a bit longer than we originally planned… but thankfully we are currently under budget with very few expenses left!

So why on earth are things taking so long?

1. We have a baby who never sleeps.

Yeah, I don’t even think I need to explain this one :)

2. We try to use as much cheap/free labor as we can!

Yes, Dave and I do as much work as we can, but we would never ever be able to any of our home renovations without the help of my Dad. He pretty much knows how to do any type of home project and has all the right tools. He also knows the right people who can give us deals when we do need to hire out some of the work.

However, since we’re getting so much cheap / free labor, we really can’t be too pushy or demanding. It’s just not nice!

3. I changed my mind 27 times.

Seriously, I’ve never felt so indecisive in my entire life. I’m usually the type of person who makes a decision, implements it, and then moves on. But not this time. I keep second-guessing my choices and changing my mind — which then makes things take that much longer. I think it’s because I know we will never do a major kitchen renovation in this house again — so I’m trying to think of everything.

4. We took a 3 week break.

We basically stopped making any progress from the time we left for Dave’s brother’s wedding at the end of June until my sister’s wedding in the middle of July. We just had way to many family things, wedding things, and traveling things to worry about… and the kitchen had to wait.

So obviously, this is a big reason why this project is getting dragged out.

5. Our house is 120 years old.

After our bedroom, bathroom, and office renovations last year, we knew we would find some crazy things once we started tearing down walls… but even we were surprised by all the craziness we found in our kitchen.

For example, one of the exterior walls wasn’t even structurally sound and once we took the layers and layers of drywall/plaster off, my dad could literally wiggle the entire wall without much pressure at all.

A few weeks later, we were trying to fix some of the uneven spots in the floor and could not figure out why it wasn’t leveling out. So we finally decided to tear up yet another layer of flooring, only to find a bunch of shims, boards, and planks of wood IN BETWEEN the layers of flooring! No wonder it wasn’t leveling out!

We also ended up re-doing all the electrical which was a bigger project than anticipated as well.

6. Our cabinets came in the WRONG color.

If you follow Simple Organized Living on Facebook, you already know all about this. I honestly didn’t even know this kind of thing happened — but apparently it does! The company actually delivered boxes, and boxes, and boxes of cabinets in the wrong color.

I wanted bright white. They sent ivory. As you can imagine, ivory cabinets don’t look so hot with bright white windows, doors, trim, backsplash, wainscoting, etc. And you know how much I love my bright white!

So, that is pushing us back another 3 weeks (or more). Apparently, they are supposed to arrive by next week Wednesday… fingers crossed!

7. Dave is back in school.

Because of all these delays and because we didn’t finish before Labor Day, Dave is now back to teaching full time — which means he has even less time to help with our renovation.

So we’re still here, we’re still living with our tiny apartment size kitchen, we’re still making progress, and we’re still excited to see the end results (and share them with you!).

We’ll finish eventually — and I’m certain it will be worth the wait! 

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20 comments

  1. Melissa

    09/12/2012

    Hang in there! We went through the same thing last fall. Granted we also installed an entirely new heating and cooling system into an older home on top of a complete kitchen and bathroom renovation. That took a total of 6 months since they had to unexpectedly replace the ceilings on the second floor in order to install the new AC vents. It was a long stressful road but definitely worth it in the end. I can speak from experience that you will appreciate all the work. :)

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  2. Kaui @ Thrifty Military Mommy

    09/12/2012

    OMG, how frustrating! I used to work for home depot’s kitchen and bath design center and things almost always went wrong…and that was with guys doing the labor for you. Considering the fact that you guys are trying to do all of this yourself, it’s not really surprising that you’ve run into so many issues. But it really does suck. I hope you guys will be able to get it all done by the holidays! Hang in there!!! It will be worth it!

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  3. Tina

    09/12/2012

    Sometimes with renovations it does seem that you take one step forward and three steps back. But, it will eventually be completed and you will have your dream kitchen! Then you can enjoy your new kitchen while forgetting about all of the hassle. Good luck! I can’t wait to see the reveal!!

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  4. Faith @ Artistic31Mama

    09/12/2012

    I’ve been there. Our house is about 100 years old and we have been remodeling room by room for the past eight years. We do most of the work ourselves. My husband’s uncle is a contractor and built his own house by hand, did everything himself. So he comes over to help us as well. It drives me crazy sometimes that a six week project turns into a six month project! :-) My husband created a laundry room in the space under our stairs just off our kitchen. It’s functional but it’s bare drywall, unfinished flooring, etc. My husband works 12-16hr days and a lot of his weekends are tied up. I took down all our window fixtures, surround sound system, and tv from our living room preparing to start remodeling that room. That was back in April….because of an increased load at work, my husband hasn’t even started that project yet….sigh. :-) When our house is completely finished it will be great though. Remember this is only temporary. :-)

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  5. JD

    09/12/2012

    Our last home the kitchen remodel was an entire marathon event. Over 4 1/2 months because so many things went wrong. I was wild by the time it was finished but I DID LOVE IT!!!

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  6. Deb

    09/12/2012

    Too funny! We had a house built from nothing and closed in 90 days! :0

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, but building new is SO MUCH easier than remodeling old — especially since we’re trying to preserve the old and keep our house looking somewhat like a 120 year old farmhouse :)

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    Deb Reply:

    Just a different kind of work with new, since 6/1, we have put in window treatments and ceiling fans, finished 2 bedrooms in the basement, put in a fence, an irrigation system and sod. ;) Winter project is the rest of the basement. I do love it though……just creating our own problems instead of fixing someone else’s!

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  7. Stacie Kaltz

    09/12/2012

    Well you continue to provide all of us out here with inspiration daily so here I am to provide you with some back. Just know it will be finished and it will be AWESOME! I understand how you feel. We, as well decided to add on or renovate our house when I was 7 months pregnant! And throughout her first YEAR, yes Year. We also did it ourselves while my husband was working 60 hrs a week and then came home and worked another 4 or 5 hours on the house. We were living in progress of renovations, it was soooooo frustrating so I know what your feeling. I just wanted to live normal with my children, not in piles of flooring and tiles etc. But it did get done and we wouldnt have changed a thing. We think back at that time and its just crazy how much our house has changed, its amazing, and we are proud to say we did ourselves! I cant wait for you guys to be able to enjoy it you will be so proud! In the meantime, please keep inspiring us! :-)

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  8. Leanne

    09/12/2012

    Don’t beat yourself up for second guessing your decisions. You. Are. Exhausted. And as you know, it will all work out in the end.

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  9. Liz

    09/12/2012

    Fear not…it’ll get done.

    We took 7 years to renovate (top to bottom) our 100+ year old house…before moving…ACKKKK!!!! The kitchen alone took 6 months.

    I can distinctly remember standing in the basement over the old soapstone slop sink doing dishes at 10pm …crying…hysterically.

    And I can still say it was so TOTALLY worth it.

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  10. Lea Stormhammer

    09/12/2012

    I’m always amazed at what people do when they do-it-yourself – not the good stuff (like you are) but the crazy things people think are right!

    Our house is a 1950′s ranch.

    We had wall tile on the bathroom floor that had splintered into about a zillion pieces all held in place with grout. The bathroom also had a sub-floor that did not extend all the way to the walls – there was a 1/4 inch gap around the whole room (neatly cut to fit around our curved tub, I might add).
    We had a ceiling fan held in vertically by a single framing nail.
    We had a garbage disposal that was wired past the breaker box and with 3-way-switch wire!

    That’s just the start!

    Enjoy your rennovation process – just keep thinking of the lovely end product and the funny stories you’ll have to tell afterward!

    :)
    Lea

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  11. Heather

    09/12/2012

    Good luck! We renovated our kitchen last year. We were without our kitchen for a year. We did most of the demolition work ourselves but hired a majority of the reconstruction. The reason for the delay was primarily my indecisiveness. I had to actually *see* what something looked like before moving onto the next step and it would take sometimes weeks to decide on the next step. We were also trying to pay for the remodel as we went. We didn’t want to order cabinets until we knew we could pay them off, etc. We knew it was the slow way to go but also knew if we didn’t just jump into the project we may not ever really get started. We love our kitchen and don’t regret a single decision we made.

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  12. Emily

    09/12/2012

    I feel your pain!! We’ve done a lot of renovations in our (only 9 year old) home and we’ve done them ourselves. My husband works 50+ hours a week, has an eBay business, and I am so pregnant I can barely move. So you can imagine that it’s moving at a snail’s pace. Our basement was supposed to be completed by May 20. We’re looking at end of September if we’re lucky!! I always feel like I need to defend ourselves, but whatever – it’s going to cost less than half of what it would be if we had to hire it out!

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  13. Chelsea

    09/12/2012

    I hope & pray you’re able to get your kitchen done before the wonderful winter brings you snow this year… but in the meantime, thank you for all of your posts on creative cooking! I wish we had a BBQ, but I’m trying new crockpot recipes! The pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin bread in a crockpot sounds wonderful and will smell amazing! Good luck with your renovations and hope your (correct) cabinets come in next week!

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  14. Rosanne

    09/12/2012

    What company manufactured your cabinets? We are beginning the kitchen journey soon……

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  15. Sandy

    09/12/2012

    It’s always something. (think Rosanne, Rosanna Danna aka Gilda)
    No matter how we pray, plan and plot, we can’t control everything…. even though we’d like to. From renovations, to infertility, to work/career projects, to family matters…. it’s always something.
    Perseverance and patience…. I hate when I have to learn those over and over :)
    I am excited to see the finished project, whenever it is complete.

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  16. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    09/12/2012

    Your #3 is why I *still* haven’t completed my own kitchen reno. Well, that, and the fact that I’m semi-broke. :)

    I admire your patience. I have none.

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  17. Holli

    09/13/2012

    I can sympathize with you. We started our bathroom remodel over a year ago and while the sink and toilet are back in place and functioning there is still much left to finish (the shower for starters!). We had many hiccups along the way and are doing it all ourselves. The 2 biggest slowdown our 1 yr old and my father-in-laws 3 1/2 mos hospital stay. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches!

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  18. Debra

    09/28/2012

    Keep up your positve attitude and this to shall pass. :)

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