Surviving a Family-Friendly Kitchen Renovation

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Today we have a guest post from my friend Kelly, who recently survived a huge kitchen renovation while trying to maintain a somewhat “normal” household (um, whatever that may be, right?). 
– Carrie

Spice Up Your Kitchen series

Do you have perfectly behaved children who enjoy coloring quietly and neatly? Do they only play with soft stuffed animals in the house, never spill their food, and contain their toys to their rooms?

Then I have just the kitchen for you:

Source: Houzz
(PS – This is not really my kitchen)

For everyone else, I’d like to share some of the renovation decisions we made when considering our insane crazy active and energetic family. We have two little boys, ages 7 and 5. We also have two big, old, sloppy dogs. Our house is a constant bustle of running, playing, throwing, and just plain craziness.

Your house, too? Oh, thank goodness! I’m not alone.

Deciding to renovate a kitchen is a HUGE decision that affects the whole family. Add little kids (did I mention the sloppy dogs?) and it can get more complicated. But I’m here to tell you it can be done, and in the end it is all well worth it!

Design with Your Family’s Goals in Mind

The word we focused on when renovating our kitchen last year was WELCOME.

Welcome Sign

We wanted our kitchen to be a gathering space, a casual hangout, a homework station and a welcoming place for our kids and their friends through the years.

Based on this goal, our biggest decision was to knock down the wall between our old kitchen and dining room to make one huge kitchen. This made some of our traditional friends gasp. However, in keeping with our goals this was a no-brainer. We NEVER used the dining room, never formally entertained and wanted to fit as many people as possible in one place.

We all know how the kitchen is a magnet for people at gatherings, am I right?

So, down came the wall. Which leads me to my next topic:

Surviving the Renovation as a Family

It wasn’t possible for us to move out of our house during construction, so our family motto for many weeks was, “Grin and bear it.” Our front room became our kitchen, dining room, play room and storage area.

Ben in our “kitchen / dining room / play room”

Our new kitchen was cordoned off sufficiently that we felt the kids and dogs were always safe. Had this not been the case, we surely would have made other living arrangements.

We made the best of it, and even involved the kids in the demolition! Because really, who doesn’t love a hammer-wielding, footie pajama-wearing, goggled seven year old putting holes in the wall?

(No children were harmed in the making of this video. The wall, however, was a goner.)

Next: Living in the “After”
(Subtitle: “If your Hot Wheels scratch my new cabinets, you are in time out for the rest of your lives!!”)

Kitchen collage pin

So how do you marry the ideas of spending a large amount of money on a new kitchen, keeping it in perfect condition, and allowing your kids to be kids (and sloppy dogs to be sloppy dogs)?

The truth is… you can’t.

Letting go of perfection (topic for a future post!) is one of the hardest things to do, but it’s the only way to have a truly family-friendly home. (Repeat three times.)

Next week I’ll be back to talk about the specific appliances, decor and accessories we chose to make our kitchen crazy little boy-proof family-firendly.

 Did I mention these crazy little boys and big sloppy dogs? Yes, I think I did. The Boys

Thanks for letting me stop by! See you next week!
xo, Kelly

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8 Comments

  1. Love your photos! You are amazing – I always say you are the best blogger! Great job on the new renovation too.

  2. I love reading your stories, Kelly!! This one was a cliff hanger…i can’t wait to find out how your renovation turned out! Hope you have lots of pics! The boys are adorable. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Great post and a super reminder about designing with forethought and not just visual aesthetics! Looking forward to seeing next post!

  4. You’ve definitely got the right perspective… can’t wait to see the outcome!

  5. What an endeavor!! And I love your ‘grin and bear it’ attitude!

  6. Pingback: Family-Friendly Kitchen Renovation, Part Three | Making Lemonade

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