Three Ashleys, Two Kitchens: a Tulsa Kitchen Renovation

Both of us Ashleys are renovating our kitchens this year. We partnered with Ashley Whiteside along the way and are sharing what happens when three stylish Ashleys collaborate to update two very different kitchens. Read Part I of Daly's kitchen renovation here.

Palmer's Kitchen Renovation, Part 1: Getting Started

The Decision to Renovate

When we moved into our current home, we knew we wanted to renovate the kitchen. Though definitely not the worst kitchen to exist, it's over sixty years old and kinda blah compared to the rest of the house. We'd done a handful of things to make it more attractive like painting the eat-in breakfast nook dark green (which I love and plan to keep!), removing cabinet doors, and adding a light fixture. However, in addition to falling short on looks, it also has some functional issues. For example, the oven is basically the size of an Easy-Bake oven and the vent hood is large and menacing and so high that I have to jump to turn it on. Also, due to the layout, I'm not able to put the dishes up while the dishwasher door is open and even with the light on, the pantry is dark in the evening. Homes should be functional. So yeah, we wanted to renovate.

Before: the vent hood is large and in charge and too high to really do anything good.

Before: the vent hood is large and in charge and too high to really do anything good.

Before: no room to stand to the left of the dishwasher to put up dishes.

Before: no room to stand to the left of the dishwasher to put up dishes.

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Before: the tiny oven and dark pantry (to the left).

Before: the tiny oven and dark pantry (to the left).

How Do I Start a Renovation?

Renovation. It's a daunting word. To be honest, I had no idea where to start. I began sketching out my kitchen on graph paper and researching appliance dimensions almost a year ago. I had strong ideas of how I wanted the kitchen to look aesthetically, but I had no idea how to make that happen. I had so many questions floating around my head:  Does it make more sense to move our fridge or our oven to the other wall? Can we move this doorway opening? After intensely flirting with the idea of hiring a general contractor, we realized it wasn't in our budget. And after nearly a year of research and planning and talking to friends who had managed their own renovations, we decided to do it ourselves. 

Although we opted to go it alone, I went to designer Ashley Whiteside for advice and wisdom. Ashley was a natural choice for kitchen design guidance. She has experience, amazing style, and a design aesthetic similar to mine. Plus, her name is Ashley. Ashley's design consultation helped us in two ways: 1) she provided us with many ideas and resources for materials that we would have never thought of on our own. For example, she recommended a backsplash tile that mimicked our 1950s fireplace stone (Yes! Yes! Why hadn't I thought of that?!). 2) She made us feel confident enough in ideas we already had to actually move forward with them. For example, to reconfigure our layout, we needed to move a doorway a few inches. I felt like we were overlooking an easy way to rearrange without doing this extra work; however, Ashley agreed this move made the most sense design-wise. Ashley's agreement made us confident that it was the best way forward.

Ready, Set, Renovate

Nearly a year after we decided to renovate, our kitchen renovation is finally on its way. We've hired subcontractors based on friend recommendations and Home Advisor, created timeline and budget spreadsheets (which I obsessively track), and set up a temporary "kitchen" in the dining room. I don't know exactly what the next couple of months will hold, but I do know I'm done jumping to turn on my vent hood. I always knew that vent hood was a bad seed and discovering that it was venting into our attic via a cardboard box only confirmed my suspicions. Sayonara, sucker.

Our stove ventilation situation we discovered in the attic. Whaaaaaa!

Our stove ventilation situation we discovered in the attic. Whaaaaaa!

Our temporary kitchen setup in the dining room for the next couple of months. Any suggestions for washing your dishes in the bathtub?

Our temporary kitchen setup in the dining room for the next couple of months. Any suggestions for washing your dishes in the bathtub?

Thanks for letting us bake 100 mini birthday muffins in you, Kitchen! You helped make Caroline's second birthday a success. Now to get you back together before she turns three!

Thanks for letting us bake 100 mini birthday muffins in you, Kitchen! You helped make Caroline's second birthday a success. Now to get you back together before she turns three!

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