Renovating: Is there good design with kids in mind?

refrigerator compressed

You know it's time to update your kitchen when your friends' high school photos on Facebook look like they could be taken today in your house.

After two years of thought, planning and saving, we are finally renovating our kitchen this week.

I don’t want you to think we’re updating the kitchen purely for aesthetics. I currently only have two of four burners that actually heat and both 27-year-old ovens are calibrated way off and are releasing tremendous heat from the top. And while the 27-year-old dishwasher still cleans, I feel certain it’s a fire hazard. Plus for some reason it was never attached to the counter above so the entire thing tips forward when you open the door to put dishes in.

So while I’m thrilled not to have a kitchen that look like it’s straight out of an ’80s movie, I’m also happy to have appliances that won’t burn down my house.

I’ve been looking at granite, appliances and tile since the summer. I give the same story to each salesperson: “I have three kids. I cook all the time. This stuff has to be practical. It can’t stain easily. It can’t have sharp edges. It has to be able to withstand a lot of rough treatment!”

Keith ran across a story in The Washington Post Magazine about an interior designer who has developed an niche as a designer for families.

“I was a lot more formal, more into chintz,” Debbie Wiener remembers. “Then I had my two kids, ruined the house and had to go back to work. I went back with a whole different mind-set….”

” ‘Vomit happens,’  Wiener says matter-of-factly, before going on to enthuse about the ease of cleaning a solution-dyed acrylic rug she installed in a client’s home. ‘The day after we put it in, their daughter was home from school with a stomach bug. They called to say [the mess] wiped right up. That makes me feel so good. …’ ”

“The goal is to create interiors that are not necessarily jaw-dropping, but are attractive and, better yet, enduring.”

Currently only two of my burners actually work.

Currently only two of my burners actually work. The hole in the wall was made when we moved an electrical outlet. When I say we, I mean an electrician.

Two big tips from Wiener: choose stain-resistant nylon rugs and Crypton fabric, an antimicrobial, stain-repellent fabric originally engineered for the health-care industry.

” ‘With over 20,000 [choices], ranging from velvet and chenille to damasks and Ultrasuedes, why would I source anything else when budget is a factor?’ she asks.”

I love to look through the AJC Home Finder Private Quarters photos all the time and am constantly amazed at what people put in houses with kids. I just keep thinking my kids would destroy that!

For example, check out the splurge house featured this week. The house is Deane and Erika Johnson’s and they have a son maybe a little younger than Walsh living there. It’s absolutely beautiful but they have white marble countertops in the kitchen – can you say Kool-Aid stains?? Also lots of breakable knick-knack displays. I would be a nervous wreck.

This is another one that makes me nutso. It’s a replica of a Savannah house. It’s owned by Kara and Bill Pumphrey who have twin 7-year-olds. I think it is a beautiful, beautiful home but I’m pretty sure I’d end  up ripping my hair out yelling at my kids not to ruin all my stuff!

One of my favorite houses featured was that of former Gov. Roy Barnes and wife Marie. Their children are grown but they live very close to their grandchildren. I thought Marie had some really beautiful yet functional and practical features in her home. One of my favorites was a slide out drawer refrigerator close to the ground where the grandkids could find snacks – saves energy and only lets them get what you want them to have. (Very smart!) I also love the little girls’ room and the chandelier for it.

So the question is: Can you have great design and a beautiful home and it still be practical for kids? What are some of your favorite features in your home? What features work well for families with small kids? What do you think of Debbie Wiener’s tips?

The Waverly fruit wallpaper grew on me. A real estate agent said it was way too busy! The laundry room has coordinating paper. My mom who has fruit wallpaper in her kitchen thinks we should keep it.

The Waverly fruit wallpaper grew on me. A real estate agent said it was way too busy! The laundry room has coordinating paper. My mom, who has fruit wallpaper in her kitchen, thinks we should keep it.

Have you ever renovated? Give me and others advice?

68 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

November 4th, 2009
7:23 am

GOOD LUCK Theresa. Can’t wait to see the after pictures. I am excited for you!

Interior design is not my forte.I still have the kitchen wallpaper that was put in new 12 years ago here. It is busy but I like it. I may be the only one. We do have all new appliances. We put in the hardwood floors this past summer and I REALLY need new carpet upstairs, so we will see. I have the money budgeted but moving everything out with 4 bedrooms is not something I am excited about.

FYI…my daughter moaned about her bathroom wallpaper over a year ago. I told her she could pull it down but once started, SHE WOULD finish it. I bought her all the tools. She got it done but now has a new appreciation for remodeling. Hope this will help when she gets her own house.

Have a great day all!

Vork

November 4th, 2009
7:24 am

I’ve always been told that any wallpaper in a house after say 1992 = FAIL!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
7:34 am

I am torn on the wallpaper in my dining room — I actually really, really like it. I hate to remove it but I don’t want to defeat the whole purpose of updating —- but I’m not sure about the color my friend, an interior designer picked out. Still debating that one.

JATL

November 4th, 2009
7:50 am

There are a few new wallpapers that I’ve been surprised to see actually look good, and there’s a resurgence in covering one wall with vintage paper, but for the most part wallpaper SCREAMS out of date and Mom’s house! Go with an interesting color. Once done you’ll love it, it will be fresh and you’ll be amazed at how great it looks. Case in point: We used to live in a home with a huge, open kitchen and living room. When purchased it was painted a gold/mustard color and it was GREAT! Now, if anyone had told me to paint the entire area that color I would have said, “NO WAY”. I actually like it, but the thought of an entire area painted that -yuck! It was gorgeous though -different and very updated looking. It also blended and went well with an amazing array of other colors. We had tons of parties, showers, etc. in that house, and people raved about it. On several occasions we had to go to the garage and find the paint can to give out the name and color to people. SO -try something really new and different! I’m not saying it has to be mustard gold -but go with your designer friend’s idea. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

BShepCarlin

November 4th, 2009
8:05 am

Oh lord… as a former interior designer, I have to put my two cents in. I know you like the dining wallpaper, but I really think you’d like to have it painted. It would bring a fresh, clean look to the space and keep it from being dated. I think if you keep the wallpaper that it will distract from your new kitchen! Also, you could bet some really cool artwork for the dining walls. Right now the paper is too busy for one to focus on artwork. Just my opinion, do as you wish :) I am soooo jealous of your renovation, one day we will do the same but it will involve blowing walls out and pulling the exterior wall out, redoing structural…arggghhh!

Wallpaper is fine...

November 4th, 2009
8:15 am

…if it is what YOU like, but if you ever sell, it HAS to go BEFORE you put the house on the market – not that you have any plans to sell, but it is a definite “no-no” when trying to sell. Just watch HGTV and “The Unsellables” and you will see the first thing they recommend is to tear out the wallpaper, and even on the “Property Virgins” and “My First Place” the buyers are aghast when they view homes with wallpaper ANYWHERE.

motherjanegoose

November 4th, 2009
8:16 am

I agree that if I were redoing my kitchen, the wallpaper would go. I have seen many vibrant paints in houses of friends and they look wonderful.

Vork…I guess my builder did not get the memo, as we bought this house new in 1997 and the wallpaper was put in then. Wonder if my builder failed?

Kathy

November 4th, 2009
8:18 am

Theresa…..the 80s called and they want their wallpaper back! Please take it down! You will thank yourself later I promise!!!

Paint the dining room and beautiful warm color. I am not a fan of paintings but love to put pics of my family on the walls. Get some beautiful pics of your kids made into black and white, frame them and hang them on the walls. You probably should update your chandelier. Just my opinion…….

Okay one more thing…..you are scared of the kids hurting themselves and breaking things, but you have a knife block on the counter where I am sure cheeky Walsh can easily get to it.

Kathy

November 4th, 2009
8:20 am

oops…..I meant paint the dining room a beautiful warm color.

Wouldn’t want the typo police to get me! : )

Vork

November 4th, 2009
8:21 am

@motherjanegoose

Yes your builder failed epically. See BShepCarlin’s comment….yeah you just got owned.

Don’t poke the bear.

lakerat

November 4th, 2009
8:30 am

We did a total house renovation two years ago – we had to move out all the furniture to the garage and lived in the furnished basement for 4 months (fortunately our kids were in college, though they were quite chagrined that they had no place to come home to at Thanksgiving that year!) – cooked in the microwave and washed dishes in the laundry room sink!

Our house was originally built in the 80’s (we are the 2nd owners) though it appeared the builder got lost in the 70’s – we did some minor renovations after we moved in in 1995 (we have done the kitchen counters and backsplash 3 times since then – grrrrr). We brought the whole house into the 90’s with this renovation since we could not afford the bring it into the 2000’s! We tore out all baseboards and crown molding on the main floor, moved windows and doors, re-finished all hardwoods, re-painted the kitchen cabinets, resurfaced the counters in the kitchen and master bath, re-tiled the master bath,and painted all rooms (even all the original “natural” wood finishes) on both the main floor and unstairs (and removed all wallpaper and wallpaper borders on all 3 floors), re-built the decks and wrap-around porch, and painted the outside windows and trim. After the initial tear out you would have thought we lived in the projects! It was not fun, but the “after effect” was worth it. Good luck!

JJ

November 4th, 2009
8:38 am

They previous owners of my house put up wallpaper, then caulked all around the floorboards. It is a nightmare to remove it.

I have found that a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water works great to remove wallpaper and the paste behind it.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
8:39 am

I have my biggest knives hidden on that shelf that is going away —- where should I put the knives???? so far we haven’t had an issue with borrowing fo the knives — although I do worry about criminals using them against us in the middle of the night — yet I digress –

I may take some more photos of paint samples for you guys to vote on —- I’ll see how they turn out—

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
8:41 am

just found out my new ovens are 1/4 inch too wide — have to find someone to shave the wood down for them to fit — also need to space up 1 1/2 inches — all the salespeople kept saying if it’s a XX double oven it will fit — guess what it doesn’t!!!

Becky

November 4th, 2009
8:44 am

I am not a lover of wallpaper..Never will I have it in my house again..I do love painting though..Have been in my house now since 1992 and we have painted the living room 4 times, the kitchen 5 times, both bedrooms 4 times and both bathrooms 4 times..My husband redid all of the flooring in all the rooms downstairs, redid the backsplash and the kitchen cabinets twice..He extended the master closet about 4 feet..

Just try not to stress out to much and look forward to enjoying your new kitchen..

Valstake

November 4th, 2009
8:46 am

I’m a fan of washable interior house paint; it’s very practical in a household with small children, or cooking mishaps. In my kitchen, I have more than one color on the walls. Not contrasting colors, but colors that harmonize or compliment each other. I recently changed out my countertops… formica was my choice. It’s economy priced, easy for the workmen to install, and should it get stained beyond toleration, can be replaced relatively often (because of it’s low cost.) Don’t be fooled, granite can both chip AND stain over time. Be guided on what works for you and your family, not what sales clerks (they have their own agenda) and interior designers say (they’re often interjecting their own opinion on you.) Your and Michaels’ opinion is as good as anyones.

lakerat

November 4th, 2009
8:47 am

Unfortunately, Theresa, as you found out from a totally unprofessional salesperson, wall ovens are sold in sizes, as in 24″, 27″ 30″ and 36″, not XL or whatever you were told. THEN, you measure your opening and find an oven that fits the horizontal measurements first, then the height rquirements; you can buy an oven that is too small height wise, but, as you have found, you cannot fit one that is too wide, except via some probable expensive alteration, and they you may be damaging the integrity of your cabinets, so I would think again about “shaving” off anything on the inside of the cabinet!

Jesse's Girl

November 4th, 2009
9:05 am

Jesse and I put in wood-like laminate flooring 2 years ago and it tested the bonds of marriage:)I thought at any moment one of us would keel over from stress!!! We swore we would never do anything like that again without some modecum of help. Now we find ourseves readying to embrace the insanity again. Jesse is very manly and handy. He has built furniture…can fix anything(and has)…and I find there is generally no construction task he cannot undertake. HOWEVER…the man travels abroad quite frequently. So the issue isn’t CAN he get it done…its WHEN will he get it done. We are adding a bedroom in the basement to give the girls their own room. This must be done soon to avoid visiting one of them in YDC for slitting the throat of the other. Jesse has it all planned out….one week in December and he will have it completed. I have already stuck my face in a pillow and screamed for a few minutes. And I have accepted the fact that this act will be repeated with stunning frquency:) Something will happen that will curtail the completion of this bedroom. I will go completely insane and begin to drink heavily:) The girls will ask to live with a friend:) I love him with all my heart….but this new home improvement may be the end of someone in our family…..

Zach Freise

November 4th, 2009
9:07 am

If you have considered redoing your kitchen check out http://www.vintage-cabinets.com we have affordable prices along with high quality standards. Most of our complete kitchen cabinets installs range in price from $3,500 to $8,000. All wood and very durable for the kids. Don’t redo your kitchen until you have checked us out. You will spend too much if you buy from big retailers or through a middle man. We are the manufacturer and distributor.

Good Luck

DB

November 4th, 2009
9:13 am

Haha, I’m laughing at all these wallpaper comments, as they are exactly what my daughter has been grousing about in our house for the last few years. The house was decorated perfectly — when we moved in in the late 1980s . . . and since I am NOT a decorating maven, I just enjoyed the look for the next twenty years! I did strip the pink raw silk wallpaper out of the dining room a couple of years ago and painted it a strong red with white accents — the adjoining living room is a pale yellow.

My daughter got tired of me dithering over paint samples for the powder room, the front hall and the upstairs bath. She and I had enjoyed putting up samples and mulling over them in different light at different times of the day. Much to my surprise, last year (exactly a year ago this week, come to think of it, for my birthday) she conspired with my husband — he and I took a weekend trip “for my birthday”, and she, clever puss that she is, oganized a work crew and did the following: painted the front all (big), moved some furniture around to make it less cluttered, painted the stairwell and the upstairs hall, stripped the 80’s pink/grey wallpaper out of the powderoom and installed beadboard (with the help of a contractor neighbor), fresh green paint, a new light fixture and new pictures and new handtowels, and in the upstairs bath, she stripped the wallpaper, painted it a bright pomegranate and installed new towel rods, new shower curtain and a new rug. And they did it all in a weekend!! And did it well. A year later, I still smile everytime I walk into the bathroom. I offered to leave this year if she wanted to come home from school and tackle the kitchen, but no takers . . .

We’re in the process of planning an update in our kitchen, too. I know exactly what I want, so now I’m saving for it. Whoohoo! It’s probably a couple of years away, but it’s fun to imagine it.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
9:16 am

Lakerate — it was sold as a 24 inch oven and they said 24 fits 24 fits 24 — but I guess with slight modifications — my dad has a very skilled carpenter he works with who is going to help us so I think we’re safe — but if just means waiting —- also my electrician is going fishing on friday so I have to have it fixed before tomorrow so he can install tomorrow —

If all goes well and the AJC doesn’t mind I was going to share sources on all my work — it’s hard to find good folks — New MOM actually recommended the granite guys to me –

Stan

November 4th, 2009
9:16 am

I despise wall paper! In my kitchen I have a soft yellow semi-gloss paint that cleans up nice and easy. When we bought the house at the first of this year it was a caution yellow, and though I like the color it was a little too strong, so we painted the softer shade.
I would pass on the marble counter tops. They look great but they do have their problems.

Good luck

DB

November 4th, 2009
9:28 am

Theresa, consider a knife drawer. Frankly, you can probably toss most of you knives, anyway. Most people have really bad kitchen knives, anyway.

And burglars tend bring their own weapons, so don’t worry about them using yours :-)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
9:28 am

DB that was so nice of your daughter!! I am currently dithering over paint samples as well!!! I’m having a painter do it — he was very very reasonable — but then you’re trying to figure out 6 spaces at once — so that gets even more confusing — Went to two paint stores yesterday — he’s dealing with wallpaper in all but one of the spaces which is why I’m not doing it myself — I took the wallpaper down int he children’s bathroom last year and I thought I did a pretty good job of it — BUT the realtor we had come through said it wasn’t good enough — so we’re getting a pro —

even the electrician had an opinion on the paint — very funny –

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
9:34 am

We’d need a lock on it cause baby can reach drawers but not the back of the countertop — sigh — more to worry about.

Elliot Garcia

November 4th, 2009
9:36 am

There is a reason I don’t buy 30+ year old houses…Renovation is the main one!

new stepmom

November 4th, 2009
9:38 am

I would consider Silestone or another quartz product over granite. It is poorless so it is much easier to clean and does not have to be sealed like granite and to me it is just as lovely. Just my opinion though.

One thing I must have when we get into a bigger home is a large island with room for the kids to eat breakfast. If you have room for one, i recommend adding one because they are extremely functional. I would do it in a coordinating color palate to your cabinets and maybe a butcher block top intead of matching the other counter tops.

If you love the wall paper live with it after the kitchen is done and see how you feel. You can paint over it later on or remove it and paint. I do not like wallpaper at all, but that is just me. It is your house and do what is right for you.

We are going to do some minor upgrades in the spring (new carpet and painting the two kid’s rooms) in anticipation of our new arrival. I can’t wait to hear how everything goes!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
9:40 am

I forgot to mention that last year Keith did a huge renovation to her house — She has a two-story open family room —- They covered over the ceiling to make that into usable space above — they created a teen suite upstairs with built in bookcases and TV area — and added a second full bathroom for the girls — (they had three girls sharing a bathroom — they knew that would soon get ugly) — It turned out soooo beautifully — Keith did a great job on it. They had to completely rearrange her stairs going to her second level — Next up she wants to finish her basement. It’s a big basement so I’m not sure the timeline on that one.

Tyree

November 4th, 2009
9:41 am

I am happy for your new kitchen. Sounds like you were more than due for an update.

Now, here’s been my experience with bathroom and kitchen renovations. Don’t expect anything to go smoothly. Take whatever time you allocated and expand it by at least three days and maybe a week. I can’t speak for you but I have a knack of finding a contractor that always has three other jobs working at once. The other jobs always seem to take priority over mine. Contractors also are fickle. If you bark at them they get defensive.

Patience is key otherwise, you will scream.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
9:44 am

Elliot — it’s the oddest thing because they updated sooo much of the house — they finished the basement just two years before we moved in and did a beautiful job on it — they also screened in their porch which is just the nicest features on the house — they had the yard professionally landscaped — I have an actual blueprint with every plant named — We have gas logs in the fireplace, triple paned windows, new heating and air units but for some reason they didn’t do the kitchens or baths —- I think they didn’t cook and ate out a lot since it was just the two of them —-

The inspector said the house is really solid and they did a great job taking care of it — so it’s really just updating the kitchen, getting the wallpaper out, a few new lights and fixtures in the baths — after the next three weeks pretty much everything will be updated in the house — and for a pretty reasonable amount.

JJ

November 4th, 2009
9:48 am

Theresa, you are so paranoid. How on earth do you sleep at night?

abc

November 4th, 2009
9:52 am

Lose the wallpaper. You don’t necessarily have to totally gut the kitchen, but new flooring (tile or wood, or combination), granite counters with new sinks, new stovetop/ovens/dishwasher/fridge, new cabinet fronts and knobs and refinishing are pretty much what you’re looking at. Find smallish (up to 2-3″) tile to make a backsplash, include a mosaic of some kind over the stovetop. You could replace the cabinets altogether if you have an extra $15-20K in the budget. Don’t lock in to stainless steel as an appliance finish, industrial is going to be a dated look pretty soon. Color coordinate the appliance finish(es) to suit your tastes.

Pay attention to lighting. Use recessed lighting with directable spots in the kitchen. The chandelier in the dining room has got to go — replace it with one that works at a variety of intensities, and put it on a dimmer. No gold-tone anything, nothing made of plastic.

Pompano

November 4th, 2009
9:55 am

Why it it that this piece of crap newspaper never passes on an opportunity to race bait here in Atlanta? Nice headline today on “Racial bias in suspensions” but no facts in the article to substantiate. Just an opportunity to give some people who want to holler discrimination their 15 minutes of fame – what a pathetic organization.

bbh

November 4th, 2009
9:57 am

Glad that you are able to have a new kitchen. Now if my daughter could just get a job and afford a new furnace, life would be good.

Becky

November 4th, 2009
10:04 am

After reading about everyone (most) on here hiring people to do these makeovers, it makes me more thankful that my husband is so handy..He did all of of the work on our house by himself..As for replacing the kitchen cabinets, I went to Home Depot, picked some out, he bought them, painted them and hung them..The all are solid wood and we didn’t spend lots of $$$ on them..

My ex was always the type to hire people and we usually wound up getting taken by them, so good luck with the people that you have to hire..Yeah, most of them were “friends” of my exs, so guess that explains a lot..

Theresa, you worry about people breaking into your house and using your knives to kill you? Girl, you really do need to get away…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
10:07 am

the ripping out of the counters and backsplash has commenced — it makes me nervous of course!!

Sue

November 4th, 2009
10:15 am

We just completed a major kitchen renovation. We live in a 1969 brick ranch that had a one car carport. We closed in the carport and cut a huge hole in the wall dividing the carport and kitchen to open the room up. We tore all of the cabinets out and had new custom ones installed. All stainless appliances were installed. Ceramic tile floor in the kitchen part. The former carport is now a dining area. We installed a vinyl floor out there that looks like hardwood. We didn’t want real hardwood because we were afraid our dogs would scratch it. I do have a wallpaper border around the center of the room – I know, I guess I’m just stuck in the 80’s. You live there so you have to put in what you like. I guess if you plan on selling in a few years you might want to leave out the wallpaper, but we plan on staying put forever! Remodeling is a huge undertaking, especially with your 3 little kids but it will be worth it! We just ate out a lot and used our microwave.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
10:17 am

bbh — we are very blessed that we can take this on in this economy.We are always concerned we are going to have to sell — so it’s part necessity. We couldn’t sell in this market with that kitchen. I hope your daughter can figure out a way to replace the furnace before it gets too cold. I’ll be praying for her.

Ally

November 4th, 2009
10:29 am

At least you waited until the kids were back in school and out of the house for most of the day before you started this renovation – that was a very good move. As far as all the tips and slandering of wallpaper here, it’s your house, you have to live with it, you have to look at it every day (I’m guessing Michael really has no say in it al all!), so do whatever you want to it. Just be ready for harsh criticism after the fact.

Make it exciting for the kids while the kitchen is in disarray. Make it a week or so or pre-planned or take-out meals, throw a rug down and have a carpet picnic. If you make it fun for them, they’ll be sorry to see the renovation completed.

On a side note, I see you still insist on referring to Liliana as “baby”; are you determinded to give her a complex, as you’ll find this habit becomes harder and harder to break?

itpdude

November 4th, 2009
10:32 am

Don’t think resale on wall-paper. If you sell, the people are likely to come in and switch things up anyhow. People have strange tastes. For all you know, they’ll want to put up pink stucco in that room. The HGTV shows are unrealistic BS for people with homogeneous tastes and daddy’s money.

That said, I despise wallpaper because it’s difficult to bring down without having to skim coat entire walls.

You have some nice stuff going for you, however. The floors look great and the fridge, while it’s stainless (don’t like stainless; finger smudges and cleaning) it’s new. A new dishwasher will change your life. I’d stick with having a double oven with a cooktop to the side, just updated.

Fun fun fun

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
10:57 am

the fridge is titanium so it smudges less that the regular stainless — however, it clearly needs to be cleaned!!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2009
11:01 am

this is regular kitchen cleanliness for us — i didn’t pick up at all or clean to take the photos — I just started snapping after doing the dinner dishes the other night — you can tell by the pile of clean dishes next to the sink — which Michael hates — he says it’s my big game to see how many dishes and pots and pans I can stack on top of each other –

JATL

November 4th, 2009
11:09 am

Make sure you go with what a few others have said paint-wise. Use the eggshell satin or whatever it is that cleans like a semi-gloss but looks flat. DO NOT use flat paint (really anytime) but especially with children -you’ll hate it!

Becky

November 4th, 2009
11:12 am

As others said, it’s your kitchen, so do it the way that suits you..We all have our own taste, so go with what is right for you..I don’t like side by side fridges, so I don’t have one..I don’t care for stainless steel, so I have all black..

green holliday

November 4th, 2009
11:19 am

I recommend calling Melina Wilkinson at Oneida Builders. Her experience designing interiors that actually WORK for families is invaluable. She’s full of ideas. Also, Rocco Sinisgalli, who is the president of the company, has tons of ideas to make your renovation “green” in ways that are affordable to the average family.

I don’t know if you can post websites here, but you can check them out at oneidabuilders.net.

Sandy_G

November 4th, 2009
11:24 am

After having done a kitchen renovation, my advice is to set up a temporary kitchen somewhere else in your home during the renovation process. Move a microwave, electric skillet, refrigerator, electric kettle, etc. into another room, set up a table or two to serve as “counter space” for food prep, move your food items into this room and buy lots of paper plates, plastic utensils and microwaveable food items.

Also, do your planning BEFORE starting renovation. Pick out and order all of your cabinets, countertops, lighting fixtures and appliances, before you take a sledgehammer to the old kitchen. Finding out that one specific cabinet must be back-ordered, can bring the whole renovation process to a stop for a week or two. Living without a kitchen is tough even for a few days. It’s pure hell when it drags on for weeks! Good luck!

Michelle

November 4th, 2009
11:29 am

Theresa, have you thought about getting the magnets for the drawers/cabinets that you don’t want the kids to get into? That’s what a lot of daycare and medical offices use! You just keep “opener” somewhere high up or in your pocket! Then, you “unlock” it, and when you close it back, viola…locked again! Pretty nifty!

I agree with the poster that said get an island, or at least a “bar” type area where you can put stools for the kids. That way, when you are cooking, snacking after school, homework, etc, they have a place to sit that is close by you without taking up the whole table!

One thing I WISH I had…a pantry/storage cabinet where the racks pull out! Then, you can really put a lot on the shelves. You can pull it out to find/reach what you want instead of having to move everything around!

We used to have one of the laminate type floors in our old house. I hated it because it didn’t matter what we used (besides plain water) the floor ALWAYS looked streaky! (Maybe it was the extremely hard water?) They are fairly easy to keep up with though! Much better than cleaning grout!

As far as your dining room, if you like the wallpaper keep it. BUT, as many have pointed out, for resale you may want to remove it! I liked the idea of painting. I also like the look of library panels at the bottom to separate from the paint. Since it’s a dining room, I would pick some other type of art besides family/kid picture (my opinion). I would pick some art that shows your style…shake it up a little!

Since you have to live there and spend your time there, pick what you like the most though!! If you do something because we all suggest it, you will invariably end up hating it! :o)

Good luck with your renovations! I would LOVE to have a new kitchen! I can’t wait to see the finished product!

HB

November 4th, 2009
12:01 pm

Gotta lose the wallpaper. My mom’s a realtor, and according to her, yes it does matter for resale. You want people to be able to picture themselves in a house. While people may change things when they move in, when house shoppping they want 1) to like things well enough to live with it for a while (for many, fruit wall paper does not meet this criteria) and 2) to be able to make changes easily. Wallpaper can be a pain to remove, but when people see a room painted a color they don’t like, they know they can repaint quickly and easily. I’d also recommend lighter-colored kitchen cabinets. It may just be the photo, but your kitchen looks very dark. The wood floor is beautiful, but combined with the dark cabinets it’s a bit much. If you paint those a lighter color (maybe a cream), or install lighter ones, I think you’ll pleased with the result.

Gwinnett Parent

November 4th, 2009
12:04 pm

Granite is high maintenance. You will be sealing it on a regular basis. Also, it does chip and stain. You have nice cabinets, don’t tear them out. Update with hardware. Perhaps get an island. On popular item is a 2nd dishwasher. With a large family and holiday gatherings you will appreciate this. I agree with the others, ditch the wall paper. Looks like the range hood is vents to the outside. Replace it with a really good one, not your standard store model. Small tidbit of advice for wood floors, place rugs where you are most likely to get water (in front of fridge, sink, & dishwasher). Too much water could ruin your hardwoods, or atleast make you refinish them too soon. Also, have an area down low for the kids to keep their own collection of cups, bowls, & plates. If you are nervous about the knives, you can get a lock installed on one of your drawers. While you are remodeling take a look inside your cabinets to see if you are optimizing your space properly. There are several add-ons for making the most of your cabinet space.

lmno

November 4th, 2009
12:17 pm

My wife watches those HGTV shows all the time. I get very annoyed at the people who are looking at a home and then say something like, “I’m not a fan of this color”. They are getting ready to purchase something that cost several hundred thousand dollars and $50 paint job somehow becomes a factor.

Its not just paint either. “Oh I don’t like this light fixture”. Are you kidding me?

Thats like not buying a car because someone hung an air freshener in it that you don’t like.

All of these posters are correct that your wall paper makes a difference to buyers, but thats only because people, in general, are not smart enough to look at the big picture.