A Designer’s Own Kitchen // Stage 2 – Demo!


Posted on May 9th, by Terry Kenney in Insignia.

And so, here we are – a few days away from the start of the demo of the kitchen. All at once I am excited and nervous!

This kitchen needed to be remodeled years ago. We are replacing a kitchen that is 24 years old – it needed to be done! So I know all of the planning and selecting and work will be well worth the effort! The use of the space will increase drastically and the organization will be so much better. And therefore, so will the enjoyment we get from entertaining our friends and family! I am so glad this will be done in time to enjoy most of the summer with the new space – I see a kitchen christening party happening in June!

All of this excitement and anticipation is being met with a great deal of nervousness as well. Now we’ll see how good I really am! The designer side of me is confident and knows that we made good selections and put a good plan together. The customer side of me is second guessing all of the decisions! Did I select the right cabinet color? Did I make the best use of the space? Is all the electric in the right locations? The LED Lights – are they the right color temperature? And so on down the line of decisions that have been made and cannot be unmade! I am very confident that this will all come together just like I hoped it would – but the waiting and anticipation is killing me!

The interruption in our lives and how we will function for the next few weeks is obviously a big question! Our grill will be getting a work out, that’s for sure! So where does the microwave go so we can heat up frozen dinners? What plates should I keep out? (I’m opting for paper plates!) Can I plug in my Kuerig somewhere?

And what do I do with the cat? She definitely won’t understand any of this!

This weekend is the big push for clearing out the space. I have been slowly packing boxes and moving things out of the kitchen over the last month or so. But now everything has to be out. The furniture is being moved out this weekend, care of a few able bodied men! Planning where to put it all has been challenging, but we’ve got it figured out.

Packing for this kind of thing is very different than packing for a move – you really just need to put it in a box and move it to another room. Yes, things need to be packed carefully, but somewhere along the line, I am sure I will realize that the one item I never thought we would need is buried in a box at the bottom of the pile! It’s kind of like camping, without the sleeping on the ground part.

Additionally I am realizing I have waaaay more stuff than I really need! I did some sorting out of things already, but there’s more to be done – who really needs 62 different coffee mugs?!!!

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Here are some preparation things to think about when you are remodeling your home – kind of a check list – some things may be applicable to your remodel, others not so much but it’s definitely food for thought!

1.  Packing – ugh.

Preparing for the remodel is like moving out of your house – sort of. It might be a good idea to start moving things slowly but surely a few weeks before the remodel so you are not completely stressed out about getting it all out of the room before the contractors arrive on Monday morning. Moving the non-essentials will help with the final push of packing.
You are not paying for your contractors to move your furniture, so if it’s in the way of the remodel, you should have it moved before they arrive to start demo. (I thought about getting a POD for the storage of the furniture, but we were able to figure out how to fit it in a couple of the bedrooms for the time being.)

If it’s not in the way of the work to be done, then I would suggest that you cover your furniture with sheets or plastic sheets to protect it from the dust. Makes clean up so much easier!

Also, anything that might be on a wall adjacent to the remodeling should be moved. If you have a china cabinet on a wall behind the kitchen where the hammers are going to fly, Grandma’s china might not survive. Best to put it in a box and get it out of harm’s way.

And – pictures on the walls. I know it sounds a little crazy, but removing framed pictures and family photos from the walls around where the contractors will be working every day will help insure they can be hung back up in one piece.

2. Animals

Where will they spend the day? What about their food? If it’s a dog, will the dog be under foot? If it’s a cat, will it hide somewhere in the house or will you lock it up? And in either case, will the animal try to get out the door when the installers are trying to move things in?

3. Dust 

Dust is going to get everywhere whether you are sanding floors or not. It’s part of the nature of the beast. Plan on it. Even dust protection curtains and taping of the floor vents will not prevent dust. It may help mitigate it, but just be prepared to clean and dust every floor and surface of your home when the project is complete.

4. Food

Breakfast and dinner is mostly what we all worry about. So, plan ahead. Make sure you have what you need, or plan for a Dunkin’ donuts run on the way to work. Dinner – like I said, our grill is going to get a work out, but you better be prepared for grilled EVERYTHING – or frozen dinners – or take out. The good news is that the project is not a permanent life style, only a temporary aberration in your life!

5.  Set-up a Temp Kitchen 

If at all possible, try to set up a temporary kitchenette if you have the space. That will help when it comes to feeding the family and keeping some sense of normalcy in the whole remodel process. At least you would have access to a microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator and pantry items to make breakfast easier on yourself!


6. Paper Plates (or a sink to wash dishes)

 If it’s a kitchen remodel, you won’t have your trusty dishwasher to throw dishes and glasses in – remember that you (or someone else) will have to hand wash the pots, pans, dishes, glassware, silverware. That’s why I will be opting for paper plates! J

Also, a note to the wise – don’t volunteer to host any dinner parties or holidays at the house until the remodel is over! Then have a party to christen the new space! 

7. Access to other rooms

If your laundry room is only accessed through your kitchen, plan accordingly. You don’t want the wet laundry to sit in the washing machine for a few days because they just did the floor and you can’t walk on it!

8.  Consider staying somewhere else

If refinishing your floors are part of the plan, then you’ll need to figure out where you might stay for a night or two when the finish is put down. It’s not a good thing to stay in the house when the finish is drying, not to mention that the smell can be pretty strong. And if you are going to be out of the house, remember to bring your pets (and children!)

9. Privacy

Remember that there will be people in the house other than yourself and your family. If you are accustomed to walking around in your undies in the morning, better think twice before walking in to the kitchen that way! For the several weeks that this is going on, just know that your house is not completely your own from a privacy stand point!

10. House Access

Your contractor will need access to the house over the course of the project. You’ll need to provide a temporary code for the garage door or a key. A lock box on the house works well since there may be a plumber, electrician and flooring guy that will need access at times that are never convenient for you to be there! The lock box will make things much easier for all involved.



These are just a few things that I have thought about in preparing for the work to begin at my own home. These are also the same things that I advise my clients to prepare for so they know what and how to prepare ahead of time!  Please share your tips or lessons learned from your past remodels.





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