Functional family kitchen Renovation: getting started

When my husband and I purchased our very first house, we knew we’d have some remodellings ahead of us. five years later, we’re ready to tackle the most overwhelming project we’ve ever embarked upon: renovating our kitchen.

From day one, we kept track of our kitchen problems, writing things down as they happened. things like, “can’t find spices at the back of the cupboard,” or, “fighting over counter space while making breakfast.” and everything in between. While making these fix-up notes seemed tedious at first, they are really helping to have now that we’re moving ahead with the renovations. In fact, as we start this daunting process, our wish-list of fixes has actually kept us on track.

Here are some before shots of the space. (Another note on our fix list: Where do we put all of these appliances that are taking up our entire counter?)

For us, lack of storage has always been a problem; we typically end up piling things on top of the cupboards when we can’t find a home for them.

Like numerous old homes, our kitchen is small and separate from the dining area, making it next to impossible to carry on a conversation while entertaining—even with the cut-out in the wall. (It is also next to impossible to keep track of where our 18 month old child is running to while we’re trying to prepare meals!)

Of course, we also have an aesthetic wish list. While this part is certainly much more fun to compile, it’s also overwhelming. There are so numerous customizable options—like materials, styles, colours, etc.—and numerous directions in which you can go. The kitchen in particular feels like such a big commitment, as it really is the heart of our home—and we want to put our personal stamp on it.

For the past few months, I have been gathering ideas and inspiration to figure out the general look I want. The specifics will come later, of course.

 Here are some of my preferred kitchen inspiration shots:

I love the idea of a built-in banquette. I feel like this would really help maximize our space.

I really like the combination of light and dark elements in this kitchen. It looks very open and functional.

The pendants, open shelving and tall storage up to the ceiling really stand apart in this kitchen. This does not look like a huge space, and yet there is a place for everything. I can only hope to achieve the same with our kitchen!

Now that we’re armed with our lists of fixes and inspiration, our next relocation is to meet with our designer at AyA Kitchens & Baths to talk about our design. I am thrilled to sit down with a professional and hash through our wish lists and see what we come up with.

While my husband and I think we have a pretty good sense of what our kitchen needs, we love the safety and security of knowing that a team of professionals will be with us along the way to make sure we end up with the kitchen of our dreams.

Stay tuned for Jen’s next blog post, when she reveals the outcome of the kitchen consultation. find out which cabinets she chose, plus get a peek of the colour scheme and overall design.


1-4: Jennifer Mader

5: mark Burstyn

6: Michael Graydon

7: Donna Griffith

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