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A Small Kitchen Renovation

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Renovated Small Condo Kitchen

A complete small kitchen renovation in a 1980’s condominium. 

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If you missed it, I recently posted about the original affordable updates that we did to this kitchen by repainting the cabinets. It was a great way to update the space without spending a lot of money. But we were having a hard time selling the condo and we decided that updating the space completely would be a good investment.

The kitchen renovation cost us quite a bit, but in the end helped us sell the condo.

Before Photos of Small Kitchen Before Renovation 

Okay so there were two stages here. The original condo cabinets looked like this. Laminate. Bleh. These were also all the original appliances which we needed to replace pretty early because they broke. Soooooo expensive. Although we saved a lot of money on electricity as we started replacing them. 

1980's kitchen "before"

Initially I wanted to update the kitchen, but didn’t want to sink a lot of money into it all. So I primed and painted the cabinets.

We added new flooring and a new light above. We also had some cheap under cabinet lights that plugged in. This was a pretty affordable update to the room. I wish we’d had the resources available now because I probably would have done the counters and been done with the whole thing. 

Laminate cabinets painted black and gray.

Issues with Installation in a Small Kitchen Renovation

I will say that we had this done when I was pregnant with my first son and it was a NIGHTMARE.

We used a big name store to do the work and what they do is help you design the space, then they contract all of the jobs out. The people at the store were terrible at managing the contractors in a timely manner so it took several months of poor communication before our project was finished- which meant months without a working sink or counters.

I was pregnant, washing dishes in our bathroom tub or sink or outdoors at the spigot… and I was pissed.

Looking back now, I think we would have done a lot of this project on our own… such as installing the cabinets. At the very least, I would have hired the separate companies on my own (to install cabinets, then the countertop folks) and managed it all myself. 

Because the point of contact was the employee at the store, I wasn’t able to call to the individual companies to get things scheduled. Instead I was at the whim of employees who weren’t on the ball about scheduling or communicating with me or the contractors. It was awful. I was hysterical. I’m usually quite nice, but this really pushed me over the edge. There were weeks where the employee hadn’t called the counter company to schedule the appointment to get the measurements… which delayed our project a lot. Once they come and take measurements, they make the counters, then they let store know that the counters are ready to be installed. Then that is scheduled with me.

Soooo much time without a kitchen. So pregnant. So not cool. Most of that time was between the cabinets being installed and the countertops being installed so it didn’t look like this the whole time, at least!

Kitchen torn apart for renovation.

The one difficulty we had though was that the cabinets weren’t super user friendly. Our water heater was also stored under the back left corner and we were not able to remove it without tearing things out. Fabulous. It was the original 1980’s water heater and our electric bill was pretty high so it was worth replacing when we replaced the cabinets. Unfortunately, we still would have the same issue once we installed the cabinets. You could access the water heater, but not remove it to replace it. 

Here’s the kitchen before the counters were installed. 

Waiting on counters for the kitchen renovation.

Completed Small Kitchen Renovation

Ultimately, the cabinets and countertops were all replaced. The water heater was replaced. We saved a lot of money on electricity from that update. We had a line run for the freezer so it could make ice, if I remember correctly. 

The big thing we changed was that our cabinets were made to be a bit easier to access. We had a lot of lost space in the cabinets due to how the original kitchen was designed. We also replaced the bar area which was damaged underneath (no idea how!). 

The updated condo kitchen made this home easier to sell when it was listed on the market.

Check out these clever pantry organization ideas.

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Renovated small kitchen with flooring, lighting, cabinets, appliances, and counters.

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Thanks for Reading! -DIYDanielle

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