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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.


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Preparing for a Kitchen Remodel

January 12, 2021

We are GUTTING our kitchen. And that means we have pulled out every dish, pan, pot, and glass. It’s just like moving, and you end up finding a lot of stuff you no longer need (or want). 

Our old kitchen is finally getting a facelift!

You guys. We are finally doing it. We are renovating the kitchen, and after more than 10 years in this house, I am SO excited to see this transformation! It feels so nice to be doing my own kitchen, after the last few kitchen projects I’ve recently finished. I really loved designing this modern, moody kitchen, and it feels good to get to dream up something for our family’s home! 

Right now, we’re in the demolition zone. It reminds me that there is so much that goes on between “before” and “after,” especially when you’re the homeowner. With so many technical details and tough decisions to make, I wanted to give you an inside look at the steps to our renovation. 

Kitchen Renovation Step-by-Step: 

  1. Demo 👈🏻  we are here
  2. Plumbing
  3. Electric 
  4. Cabinets
  5. Countertops 
  6. Tile 
  7. Paint 

Today we’re starting from the top, with pre-demolition organization! Here are the top 3 ways to prepare for a kitchen renovation. 

1. Clear Cabinet Clutter 

We are GUTTING our kitchen. And that means we have pulled everything out: every dish, pan, pot, and glass. All our appliances, everything. I even removed our old DIY wallpaper backsplash, which served us well, but it’s time to level up! The  just like moving, and you end up finding a lot of stuff you no longer need (or want). 

Removing the wallpaper with a little heat

Completely boxing a kitchen takes about 4-5 hours, and the hardest part is determining what to keep and what to toss. After ten years, a lot of our old kitchenware has seen the end of an era. Here are some of the things we were able to cut from our overgrown collection:   

  • Vases 

Do other people keep all the vases from their old flower arrangements? We had so many of funky glass vessels, and not many I would ever really use again. I’ll be re-gifting a few arrangements and donating the rest. Goodbye cabinet clutter!  

  • Kids Entertaining  

I used to throw so many cute parties for the girls when they were little, and it left me with my fair share of plastic trays, cups, and serveware. I still have little Natalie, so I kept a few but ditched a ton of them! Here’s hoping entertaining comes back big time in 2021

Anita in a facemask: It's a total demolition zone, but I'm so excited

  • Mugs & Drinkware

I’m not sure how these pile up so easily. I feel bad, but we always end up using the same 5 or 6 mugs again and again. Think about the stuff you don’t use on a daily basis. Those things can all sit there for years! For example, I have a beautiful tea set my mom gave me, but I never use it. I don’t feel like getting rid of the item will impact my relationship with her, so I feel good about letting this item go. 

  • The Sentimental Stuff 

Our wedding dinnerware has served us faithfully for almost 20 years as a beautiful addition to our table. They’re modern ceramic shapes, glazed in pretty earth tones from Calvin Klein. But Travis and I are in a very different place than we were in 2001, and it’s time for a change of pace. We’re passing on our set to Natalie’s babysitter, who just got married! 

Even after making a lot of executive cuts, I still have 3 or 5 boxes to go through again, sorting through items I didn’t want to throw away impulsively. Plus, some things might still fit. I’ll probably keep re-editing all the way until I’m restocking the new kitchen. After all, you never know until it’s THERE. 

The demolition crew tears out our cabinets

2. Prepare to Live Out of The Box

During the 4-12 weeks (!) we’re not able to use the kitchen, we’ll need a back up plan. All our daily-use plates, mugs, and silverware I kept in our dining room with a few kitchen-less cooking must-haves. This way, I’m able to make dinner even while we can’t use appliances. I’ll share more about what I’ve been making for dinner during demolition later this week!  

I sorted the rest of our cookware by function and packed it all up into banker boxes. Why banker boxes? They’re uniform in size and shape, so they look nice and clean—even if their contents are anything but. In the midst of topsy-turvy land, they make me feel like everything is in perfect order. They’re so neat and tidy that I’m okay with storing them in our bedroom while we redo the floors downstairs!  

That’s right. We’ve got more than one renovation going on at once. 🙃  If you’re also facing multiple ongoing projects, check out my guide on How to Manage Stress from Renovating. I’ve re-read it myself a few times! On our end, these changes have been bubbling beneath the surface for a while, but it just so happened… that it happened all at once! Don’t worry, I’ll share more as we go! 

The fully gutted kitchen, with all the walls cleared

Our totally-cleared kitchen. You can see just how deep those cabinets were! So much wasted space.

3. Think Ahead & Solve Problems 

I’m still plotting out how our future kitchen will be organized, but by seeing all our stuff rounded-up helps me start to think through how I’ll want to keep them in our new cabinets. I’m still in the throes of it, so things might change. It’s all still a work in progress! 

One thing is for sure, I’ll be getting lots of DRAWERS. Being able to access the shelf space is so important. Otherwise, you can’t access all the dead space in the back. I’m also excited to have my microwave in a drawer. It’ll be so much easier to use than lifting all our cups and bowls. No more spills! 

If you’re ever thinking through the design of your kitchen, start with the things that irritate you most. Your biggest pain points are the problems your design should solve, making your life easier and your home a more welcoming environment. Clearing out your old kitchen is a good time to meditate on these old problems and visualize new solutions for them. 

Live footage of our crazy house mid-renovation

In our case, the cabinets were my biggest frustration—don’t get me started on builder grade cabinets! They’re always too deep, and full of wasted space. Ours were literally falling apart! This is definitely the step I’m looking forward to most… but first we have to make it through the plumbing & electrical stages.  

I’ll be sure to take you with me as we go! 



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