Designing & Renovating My New Kitchen

November 13, 2019

My goal for our kitchen renovation was to create an open concept that complimented the traditional style of the home while also adding that modern vibe for our family today. We bought our home in June and it was honestly a challenge determining when to complete such a large renovation. Because we wanted our white oak floors to carry into the kitchen to create a more cohesive look in our home, we decided to take the plunge and do the kitchen at the same time as the floors. We spent the summer renovating the kitchen and replacing all of the floors in the house. We finally moved into our new home 3 months later in September.

Lindsey Mahoney's renovated kitchen | Building Bluebird

Here is how our kitchen looked when we bought the home in June:

Original kitchen built in 1967

And here is that same angle of our kitchen today:

Renovated kitchen

Our new large kitchen was originally split into two spaces. The kitchen and the eating area. Here is the eating area when we moved in:

Old kitchen table area

Here is the same spot in the kitchen today:

Updated kitchen | Building Bluebird

The view from the original kitchen while standing in the dining room doorway.

Original kitchen

And the view now:

Newly transformed kitchen

Now lets chat about how we transformed this space and the products we used.

Kitchen Design

The first and most important step for this kitchen remodel was to come up with the design. I knew I wanted open concept and I REALLY wanted to figure out how to add an island to the space. I worked with my super talented friend, Jeff Unverferth, to sketch our dream kitchen on paper.

We tweaked this drawing below slightly, but this is the general design we went with for the kitchen. We removed the eating area to make it one large kitchen and removed the wall into the family room to achieve the open concept look. The family room had a dated wet bar in a closet when we moved in and we wanted to keep it. When we opened up the wall into the family room, we kept the wet bar but removed the closet to naturally transition from the kitchen to the family room.

Kitchen design for Building Bluebird

Here is the view of the back wall (the island is not shown).

Kitchen design by Unverferth Interiors

Kitchen Demolition

Once we nailed down the design, we got to work with the demolition and encountered our first big issue. In one of the kitchen soffits, there was a large support beam! This was not expected and extremely stressful since we were already at our max budget.

Demolishing the old kitchen

We spoke with a few professionals on the situation and the span of the joists was right at the maximum length preferred to support a second story (without a header). The solution we came up with was to attach plywood to each joist and sandwich it with a new joist. This added much more support to the room up above and would prevent the floor from bouncing and cracking the drywall on the ceiling. Our solution was much less expensive than burying a support beam and I am so grateful that we were able to save some money here.

Surprise header that needed to be removed in the kitchen

Bringing the Kitchen Design to Life

I went to the Home Depot kitchen department and worked with my favorite designer to determine what cabinets were needed to create our dream kitchen. The first quote I received was way too high and I asked my rep how I could lower the costs and he had some great suggestions.

Lowering the cost of our kitchen renovation:

  • Glass cabinets: Buy the cabinet fronts without the glass and use a local glass maker to fit glass later. This was a no brainer for us, especially since we live in the Glass City! (For all of you locals, we used Bomar Glass to make the glass shelves & cabinet fronts – the large glass shelves were only $20/piece)
  • Brackets on the island & below the upper cabinets: In our original design we planned to add brackets for a more custom look but scrapped it in the end. There was a light switch that prevented us from adding the bracket on the upper cabinets and brackets weren’t required for the amount of counter overhang we had on the island. However, another great way to save money is to buy our own brackets and paint them the color of the cabinets.
  • Back of the island: We wanted v-groove wood planks on the back of the island and purchasing materials through the cabinet maker was really pricey! Hiring a handyman to build the island with raw wood saved us a ton of money. I then painted the wood myself to match the gray cabinets on the island.
  • Appliances: Buy appliances when there are major deals going on! You can save thousands of dollars and that is just what we did.
  • Pro Account: If you have an LLC, sign up for a pro account and buy your kitchen in bulk. You can save hundreds (maybe even thousands) by running your project through the bid room at Home Depot.

Kitchen Installation:

All kitchens are different, but this install was especially challenging because of the level of detail and the fact that our floors are uneven. We found a fantastic installer who charged by the piece and not by hours worked on the project. This was so crucial because it took a lot of time to get everything level and even.

KitchenMaid cabinet installation
Island Installation in our Kitchen
Painting the kitchen island to match to save money


The kitchen had a lot of white in the design so I wanted to add more color to the backsplash. To tie in the v-groove on the back of the island, we installed a narrower v-groove under the cabinets and painted it gray. Another great way to save money is to buy the materials for your contractor. We purchased our lumber at Menard’s.

V-groove backsplash in the new kitchen

I really wanted our kitchen to look custom by adding special touches to the design. I asked our contractor to carry those same wood planks up into the glass cabinets. The planks were too thick so he had to plane them down (cut the wood in half) to allow for our plates to fit in the cabinets. Once they were cut, I painted them and they were installed. I love how the dark backs of the glass cabinets give added dimension to the space, especially with the cabinet lights shining from above!

Glass cabinets with custom v-groove backsplash inside the cabinets

To save more money, I installed the subway tile behind the range and used a dark gray grout to complete the look. I added a little customization by installing a soldier border to the bottom of the wall.

Installing the subway tile behind the kitchen range


Before the drywall was put back up, we had can lights installed. We also added lights in the glass cabinets to display our nice dish ware. I wanted the pendant lights to really make a statement and found these at Rejuvenation. I am obsessed!!

Kitchen Reveal:

Tackling this kitchen renovation so soon after purchasing our new home definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I am so grateful that we did it. Our kitchen is the heart of the home and I finally have the kitchen of my dreams!

Kitchen remodels can be extremely expensive but don’t forget that there are lots of ways to save money, especially if you just ask! I shaved off thousands of dollars by working with my Home Depot rep and finding creative solutions to cut down on cost. Adding some DIY to your project can also help to save on the renovation. I hope my kitchen remodel has inspired you to take the plunge with your next big project and create a space that brings you joy every day.

Renovated Kitchen by Building Bluebird
Brand new kitchen with large island and glass cabinets
New ZLine range in our remodeled kitchen
Arranging flowers at my new island

Materials Used:

Decor Used:

Want to easily find this post to reference when you start designing your new kitchen? I’ve got you covered! Use the pin below to save to your Dream Kitchen Pinterest board.

How to design the perfect kitchen

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ways to Customize your Home | Link- Up | construction2style November 14, 2019 at 1:00 am

    […] our friends at Building Bluebird renovated their entire kitchen (which you need to check out here because it is mind-blowing!) […]

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