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I have some exciting news: we’re expecting a new addition. No, not a baby. A new KITCHEN! Demo starts on Monday and in (hopefully) six weeks or so I’ll have a brand new space to work in. I’m excited…and totally petrified.

SIX. Weeks. Without. A. Kitchen. You guys, I bake for a living. It’s gonna get interesting up in here really fast.

If you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel or even in the planning stages (or still in the dreaming stage) I wanted to share my experience with you. Hopefully we can learn something together! Here are a few things I’ve learned just about planning a remodel:

Tip #1: Before you even schedule any appointments, think about what you want and need.

What works for you in your kitchen? What doesn’t work? Do you just need new counters to spruce it up? New lighting? Or do you need new cabinets? Maybe you want a new layout. Think about everything you want and make a list. I started a pinterest board to keep track as I went.

Let’s look at my kitchen as it is now:

Kitchen Before 1

(BTW, that is the cleanest it’s been…ever.)

Kitchen Before_2

Besides the cabinets and counters, my kitchen needs some dramatic redesign. Remember, I work in my kitchen and bake in there every day. My goal is for a usable space with more storage and more counter space. The problem: tight quarters. We couldn’t make the kitchen bigger unless we pushed out the house, an expense we can’t manage.

Here was my list of must-haves for my kitchen:

  • Create a peninsula with an overhang so Jordan has a breakfast eating area instead of an ugly Ikea table.
  • Add counters and cabinets in that empty space. Why it’s empty? I have no idea.
  • Move the refrigerator so that I don’t have to feel Jordan jam herself through the dining room door one more time while I’m hunting for food in the refrigerator. I’ve been hit with that door so many times, it’s unbelievable.
  • Update the lighting: as much as I love that 1980s style light box, it’s gotta go. (#sarcasm)
  • Make it all clean lines and bright so I can easily photograph in the kitchen.

What would be on your must list??

In order to accomplish the above, I knew I needed help.

Tip #2: Find a good team of people to help you.

Obviously, a kitchen remodel is huge. Even if you don’t bake for a living, the kitchen is probably the central hub of your home. Being without it for any length of time is scary. You want to be sure that the people you hire will get the job done right and fast.

There are a few ways to go when you’re hiring a kitchen remodel contractor. You can do it all yourself, you can coordinate and hire the contractors and subcontractors, or you can hire a company that will do it all for you. Option 1 is not an option (we are the least handy people EVER). Option 2 wasn’t very appealing to me because I barely have time to clean my house let alone be a project manager. We went with option 3: we hired a company to do it all for us.

If you’re in the Sacramento area, you might recognize the name Kitchen Mart, Inc. They’ve been around for over 30 years and they handle everything on your remodel, from design to demolition to installation. I pretty much hired them and they handle it all. They have no subcontractors – everything is in house – so you know it’s going to get done on time and on budget. They do everything from cabinet refacing to custom cabinetry, full service countertop fabrication, and they work with you to find the design you want. (Pssst, they do bathrooms too!)

After our initial consultation we got to go to the Kitchen Mart showroom and actually see what our finished kitchen will look like. That was the kicker for me – I’m a very visual person. Just seeing something written, or even sketched, makes it hard for me to visualize the finished product. I got to see what my kitchen is going to look like, and I fell in love instantly.

KitchenMart (2 of 3)

That’s Lianne Wiig-Von Eschen, our designer. And that up on the monitor? Is our proposed kitchen design!

Here’s a sneak peek:

Kern Final - View 1

We are moving the refrigerator down next to the pantry, adding a continuous counter and cabinets to a new peninsula, and getting new lighting.

Connect with Kitchen Mart: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Houzz

Tip #3: Shop, shop, and shop some more.

KitchenMart Before (10 of 10)

I had it a little bit easier than most people starting on a kitchen remodel. I’ve had this pin on my pin board for years and that’s exactly how I wanted my kitchen. White marble counters, white cabinets, and a beautiful sea foam/tealish backsplash. I knew I couldn’t afford marble (and I’d totally wreck it) so we decided to go with quartz. I found one that looked like marble, DuPont Zodiac Coarse Carrara to match the custom white cabinetry (the white cabinet shows the color, but it won’t have the arch).

I shopped for days to find the perfect tile backsplash. I spent hours looking for the one in that pin. Then I walked into Emser Tile in Sacramento and it was on the wall of one of the displays. The clouds parted and angels sang…and then I found out it had been discontinued and the wall was getting demoed the next week. (#saddness) Luckily, while we were looking around at Emser Tile, I found another subway tile I loved: Lucente Cascade.

Tip #4: Appliances

A huge part of a kitchen remodel expense involves appliances. Can you keep any of your current appliances? Doing so will save you thousands of dollars, no joke. I’m sticking with stainless appliances, a new stainless sink, and my Delta faucet (which I love, and it’s fun to watch guests try and figure out how to turn on). All of my appliances work perfectly fine, but we are getting a new refrigerator and stove. Because of my job we really need two refrigerators and I splurged on a double oven range since I couldn’t fit double ovens anywhere without sacrificing cabinets.


Tip #5: Plan, plan, plan.

If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s planning for something. Since I’m not doing much for the actual remodel, all of my planning is going towards figuring out how to work, bake, and eat for 6 weeks without a kitchen. I’ve set up two staging areas: one for work/baking and one for everything else. My house is a disaster. Tomorrow we are going to grill an the contents of our local Costco to freeze for quick meals. I ordered a toaster oven for baking and our refrigerator is in the garage in it’s new (permanent) placement. I’ll keep you posted. Two dumpsters are sitting in my driveway and demo starts Monday. Wish me luck!! 🙂

My current Crazy for Crust kitchen:

Crazy for Crust Office Kitchen

Follow along with my remodel on instagram using the hashtag #cfckitchenremodel!

Thanks for reading!

5 Tips for Planning a Kitchen Remodel

Disclosure: I am working with Kitchen Mart on my kitchen remodel and posting about them for a discounted fee. DuPont is providing us with countertops and I am receiving a discount on backsplash tile. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Crazy for Crust possible.


Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  Your making me to do our kitchen- instead of just counters and sink, I would love white cabinet (we currently have cherry)
    Also, we have a wonky positioned fridge too, we can’t even open the left door all the way because of the garage door that it opens into  – so I feel your pain.

    1. Just moving the fridge has made a huge difference – and I’m not even able to use the kitchen yet. I can just tell!

  2. Okay, this is super helpful.  Some day FAR down the road we will remodel, and I love the tips you laid out.  Dude, you are going to LOVE your new kitchen.  Although I have to say that the idea of that missing piece of counter space and no place to sit at the counter nearly gave me a panic attack, and don’t even get me started on the six weeks without a kitchen.  I wish you well friend!  I hope your fridge garage is well stocked with wine!

  3. Your designer’s rendition of “after” looks exactly like my kitchen!  We renovated a little over a year ago and love the layout!  Good luck – if you want a picture of my kitchen let me know – have fun and be patient:) 

  4. Except for the weird empty space, that looks just like the “before” version of our kitchen. We made many of the same changes, too! Love the pendants over the penninsula.

  5. Our finished kitchens will be very similar! We got our white shaker cabinets on 7 – 21 and just got the counters and the floor in this last week. We also went with a marble look alike quartz product but a different brand and will be installing green glass tiles for the back splash. I love the way it is turning out, so light and bright. We also have a peninsula that we added to in order to have an eating area. I am sure you will love the finished product. 🙂