House Remodel Progress: PART 1

Whoo!!

Things are moving SOO fast with my new house! It's been 7 days since I got the keys...and so far, we have painted the exterior of the house, ripped out the floor tile in the kitchen, the backsplash tile, and opened the kitchen ceiling up for a skylight. 

I'm anticipating some travel the last two weeks of this month so I wanted to get everything I could done so I can start living in my new place as soon as I get back!

BEFORE:

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CURRENT:

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The first area I wanted to fix up was the kitchen. I loved it structurally but I felt like it needed a good cosmetic make over! 

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We met with many different contractors, some were referred by friends and others I found on google. But we basically wanted to compare prices and make sure we could find someone that could do quality work and a low rate. Thank god for Ian- he's the negotiating king! 

Anyway the kitchen floors were the first to be demolished and then the back splash:

 

 

BEFORE:

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NOW:

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At the same time the kitchen floor was being demolished, we also removed all the cabinet faces to refinish them. We found it was more cost efficient to save the current doors (there's nothing wrong with them) and just remove the decorative detail that makes it feel out of date...the diamond shape and the ridged edges.

We also met with the carpenter to go over the color of the new cabinets. My idea is to have it be white on top and a pretty light French grey on the bottom.

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One of the most exciting updates to the kitchen is adding a big sky light in the center! They cut a massive hole through the ceiling and roof over the weekend so I got a feel for how much light is going to flood in <33! This was a non-negotiable thing for me because I've been spoiled with so much natural light at my current apartment. Anyway since this is such a specialized job (and I didn't want to deal with roof leaks when it rained) I went with a specialist. 

Still needs to be done: move the electrical wires out of the way and install new skylight.

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Meanwhile, my contractor removed the security bars around all the windows ( I love being able to see out my window without feeling like I'm in jail lol), power washed all the exterior walls, primed, and painted it a slightly warmer white. I LOVE HOW IT LOOKS SO MUCH! It's just so much cleaner and the house POPS. The color I chose is Benjamin Moore: Satin Purse and the trim is limestone. It's a very subtle difference but you can tell when you're up close. The painting probably took a total of 3-4 days.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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I"ll also be adding a super cute window seat to this little nook area in the kitchen so it can act as a bench and then I'll add a round table and two chairs!  My current eating area is a tiny desk with 2 chairs :D so the excitement of being able to have breakfast with more than just 1 person is so cool!

CURRENT> INSPO

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Also- I've been getting questions about how I find affordable contractors and any advice I have on sourcing affordable cabinets/tiles/materials.

For any remodel the price you pay depends on the LABOR + MATERIAL you choose. My answer to finding an affordable contractor is meeting with as many contractors as you can so you have a good idea of how much it will cost.

YELP search: general contractors serving Los Angeles (for ex) and start cold calling for quotes.

Set up as many appointments as you can back to back in one or two days if you can.

If you really vibe with someone but their price is higher, you can always try to negotiate with them. Ian had no shame in haggling our favorite contractor to meet all of our lowest bids we got! I learned through this process that you kind of just have to not care about other people's feelings and not show ALL your cards. This part isn't my thing but Ian was amazing at it. 

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Also when comparing quotes between different contractors, you want to make sure you GET AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE for what each job entails so you are comparing apples to apples.

For example for exterior paint, we had each contractor quote us speficially on (removing security bars, patching up the stucco, replacing damaged wood, prime, and applying 2 coats paint and haul debris). Make sure you get this exact labor quote from other contractors when you compare so they are not just quoting you for a lower price to "get their foot in the door" and later charge you for XYZ. 

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As you get one or two quotes, you'll start to get an idea of how much labor is going to cost you. From there I yelped all the nearest tile places near me and also asked my contractor if he had any tile places where I can get a good discount. The more you search, the more you know prices for these types of things and can make a better decision : )

My other tip would be to TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR PLACE METICULOUSLY BEFORE ANY WORK STARTS. Snap pictures of your cabinets, your counter tops, your stove, faucets, floors etc. Not for the progress pictures (although that's great too), but because DAMAGE does happen and if it does, you have proof of the original condition. Also if you take them on your iPhone, they will be date stamped which also helps figure out when damage happened. 

Thats all for now guys, can't wait to share the rest of the renovating phases as it happens!!! Have you guys been following my updates on stories? : )

NEXT UP: I'm getting quotes for artificial turf and pavers in the deck area, upgrading the electrical, getting a quote for a iron gate in the front, tiling the kitchen, and adding a skylight to the bathroom. Stay tuned !

Xx.

Remi