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Our Kitchen Renovation Details

It’s taken me forever to put this post together because there are so many components, but I am super excited to share it all for those of you considering an kitchen renovation using Ikea cabinets.

When we first had an accepted offer on the house, we had a local designer & her contractor come in and give us some pricing on custom cabinetry. We knew we wanted to stay around $15K for the entire kitchen, and our first quote for new cabinets,Β just cabinets,was $16,500. We looked at options for getting the existing ones refinished, getting new shelves built inside of them, etc. but ultimately the cost of starting from scratch with Ikea cabinets was the best option. And I was SO excited about it. I have always read amazing things about them, minus the part about putting them together, and couldn’t wait to get started.

We were limited on changing the layout of the kitchen to stay within our budget, our surrounding walls were all load bearing and we also wanted to keep the existing hardwoods so we tried to keep everything on the same floor plan as it already was. The kitchen is actually pretty small,Β which did help keep costs down when it came to pricing per cabinet & per square foot of countertop. We knew we wanted to remove the cook top and replace it with an actual range, and also wanted to remove the upper cabinetry in favor of open shelves. Once we got our layout down, the kitchen planner helped us figure out what Ikea boxes fit in the space, and then we finalized our order with them – without the door fronts.

We then worked with the AMAZING Semi-Handmade team, to order our doors. We chose this option for a few reasons. They were higher quality than the Ikea doors, solid wood & the style was more of the shaker look that we wanted. Semi-Handmade also offers door sizes that are custom fit for your space, where as Ikea only offers a few sizes, requiring you to use “filler panels” for the extra spaces. So for example, our doors above our wall oven would have been about 6 inches shorter, and we would have had to put in a flat panel as a filler between the doors and the oven, since we did not use Ikea appliances. (I hope that makes sense, I know it is a little confusing!) I also really wanted a custom color that Ikea didn’t offer, so we loved that we were able to order the doors unfinishsed and have them painted in the color that we chose. I really can’t say enough good stuff about this part of the process, they actually helped us so much when it came to install and assembly, I am certain I called ten times over the course of the month asking different questions along the way. Overall, they gave the kitchen a much more custom look & we were so happy to have worked with them.

So to break it down a bit, here is a simplified version of how the process went (for those of you who have emailed me, this is where I was confused when we started, so hopefully this is helpful!)

1. Decide on a basic layout, then use the Ikea kitchen planner tool to pick & choose the components of your cabinet boxes (lowers, uppers, drawers, sink base, wall pantry, etc.), taking into account all of your space & appliance dimensions (so make sure you have these all picked out ahead of time).

2. Send finalized kitchen design to Semi-Handmade, so that they can give you the door sizes & panels. Panels are basically the wood that goes around your cabinet boxes & fills in the spaces between cabinets & appliances.

3. Finalize order for cabinets & doors (we did them at the same time to make sure there were no changes to be made to the original Ikea order order, which there were, so do these together), and patiently wait for 8,092,384,759 flat packed boxes to arrive on your doorstep (we paid an additional $75 to have someone pick up all of the pieces from the store & deliver them, because #threekids #aintnobodygottimeforthat)

4. Install cabinet boxes, then appliances, and then panels (in that order) for the best fit (if you are starting from scratch).

5. Countertop installation happened right in here somewhere, followed by having the sink/faucet plumbed.

6. Paint. Hands down one of the best decisions we made during our renovation, the painting company was SO professional and did a way better job than we ever could have. They came in, tented the kitchen, taped off EVERYTHING, filled all of the seams & nail holes, sprayed all of the boxes, and then took our cabinet doors to their studio to paint & return a few days later.

7. Install doors (everything is pre-drilled, and fit for Ikea hinges).

8. Backsplash, cabinet hardware & floating shelves (using these brackets that we used in our last house) come last, the best feeling ever.

We highly recommend hiring a carpenter during the process to come help out with any installation issues, someone who can make sure everything is cut perfectly to size, add trim, quarter-round, etc. to give you a really finished look. Brandon is super handy and was able to do most of this, but we were lucky to have a great carpenter to come in and assist with a few pieces of the puzzle & some amazing trim work at the end.

Here is our cost breakdown:

Ikea cabinets: $1850
Semi-Handmade door fronts: $2100
Custom Painting: $700
Appliances (purchased during 4th of July Sale!): $6200
Sink, Faucet & Cabinet Knobs: $1100
Countertops: $3800
Tile & Backsplash Installation: $1100
Floating Shelves DIY: $40
Electrical, Plumbing, Trim & Carpentry Work: $550
Total Cost: $17,440

We already had factored the price of buying a fridge into our closing costs, so less the cost of that, we weren’t too far off from our original budget. If you are looking to do a kitchen reno, and already have your appliances, there is definitely a good chance that you can complete it for under $10k. We love that we were able to give the kitchen the overhaul that it needed while making it totally our style, I am so so so happy with the way it turned out.Β If you have any questions regarding the process, definitely leave them in the comments and I will be sure to answer!

Sources: Cabinet Doors in DIY Shaker by SemiHandmade // Cabinet Paint Color SeaGull by Creative Cabinets // Quartz Countertops by Premier Surfaces // Floating Shelf Brackets c/o Shelfology // Sink // Faucet // Gas Range // Range Hood // Fridge // Microwave Oven // Drawer Pulls // Cabinet Knobs // Subway Tile Backsplash

The Little Pink Dresser

The girls room is definitely one of my favorite rooms in the house, it gets amazing light & feels so cozy with the low ceilings. Lately the big girls have been wanting to play in here by themselves more often, mostly to escape from Claire destroying whatever they are trying to do (third child problems) so we wanted to find a way to add a little more storage to their room for their dolls & some art supplies. Harper has been asking for a pink dresser since the first day we moved in, and a few weekends ago at a local flea market we found the perfect mini dresser to make her dreams come true. It was black when we found it, so we sanded it down, gave it a few coats of primer & then finished it up with a pale pink/coral called Little Piggy by Benjamin Moore. We added some new knobs & I have some leftover wallpaper from the old house that I want to add inside the drawers, but for now, it’s the perfect addition to their room.

Eloise has also been dropping her afternoon nap, so the big girls love to play in here during quiet time (and by play, I mean destroy) so getting some photos of this room with the beds made & the floor clean was not easy.Β I think by the time Claire transitions to a big kid bed, we are either going to have to scoot these over and add another, or at least add a trundle so she can bunk with her sisters! Or maybe by then Harper will insist on having her own room. Stay little, my darlings.

The Fluffy Little Squishy // I Can Fly // Home // I Had a Favorite Dress // Extra Yarn // Virginia Wolf

You can see before & after photos of the dresser over on my Instagram stories (@jlgarvin), I tried to cover all of the sources for the room but let me know if I missed something! Hope you all are having a great week!!! XO

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Weekend in Savannah

I think it’s safe to say we need another weekend to recover from our weekend! We took the girls to Savannah for the first time, we had never been but always heard what a beautiful city it was. And it did not disappoint!

We got in town early Friday, and our first stop was for an early lunch at B. Matthews, a super adorable little brick building with ahhmazing food. The girls ran around across the street at the park under the willow trees while we waited for our table, so it was a perfect thing to do when we first got out of the car! We got early check-in at our hotel, and then headed straight to Tybee Island since it was going to be the warmest day of our trip. It was in the mid 70’s but with the wind coming off the water, it was still pretty chilly. The girls didn’t mind one bit and had the best time running into the water, building sand castles & collecting shells. Claire only ate a few hand fulls of sand so we will call that a success!! πŸ˜‰ We couldn’t pass up a good spot for seafood so we grabbed dinner at The Crab Shack on our way back, which was delicious and brought back all the fun beachy vibes from when we used to live in St. Pete!

We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Savannah Historic District/Riverfront,Β which was the perfect location. Just out of the way enough that it was super easy to get in and out of, but also right next to a trolley stop & just steps away from River Street! The hotel was so beautiful, our room faced the water so we could watch all of the cargo ships (if you have seen the movie Captain Phillips, seeing the actual size of these ships will totally blow your mind!). The hotel had a pool, bar & fire pit on the roof, which was such a fun spot to hang out in between all of our outings, we would love to go back once it is warmer!!

Staying in a hotel means everyone is up extra early, so we had a head start on our day and were out the door before 8:00 am. We grabbed some coffee at the highly recommended Coffee Fox, where they had cold brew on tap. My kind of place!! We wandered around downtown for a few hours, went to the city park and ran into a Forrest Gump impersonator which was easily the highlight of the trip for Brandon! We stopped in The Paris Market (which was definitely the cutest place ever!!) and The Savannah Bee Company.

Probably our favorite restaurant that we ate at was brunch at Pacci Italian Kitchen. Not only was it the cutest restaurant of all time, but the food was incredible & the atmosphere was so laid back and kid friendly. Highly recommended if you are ever in the area, we can’t wait to go back!!

We took the girls to Forsyth Park, the big girls played while Claire took world’s shortest cat nap in her stroller, but there was a bubble soccer tournament going on that everyone was totally entertained by so I don’t blame her. In the afternoon, we jumped on the Historic Trolley Tour and it was AMAZING. Seriously so much fun learning about all of the town’s history, and learning that we absolutely MUST come back sometime without the kids! We highly recommend this if you are visiting with kids, as you get to see SO much of the city in a short amount of time, with the windows down & a few snacks, the kids were happy as clams riding along and our tour guide was so entertaining!! Also, you can bring your drinksΒ on the trolley, can I get an amen?! πŸ˜‰ We were all losing steam after the tour, so we decided to do an early dinner and call it a day. We grabbed pizza at Vinnie Van GoGo’s (and it was definitely just as good as everyone said!!) and stopped into the Savannah Candy Kitchen, both were in the City Market area. I am still savoring the last bit of my bag of white cheddar popcorn and never want it to run out.

We left on Sunday, and although we do wish we had more time, two nights away with three toddlers seemed like twelve, so we were ready to be back in our own beds. I won’t pretend like this trip was a breeze, we have probably never felt more outnumbered than we did this weekend, with two kids who wanted to be carried almost all the time (the traffic downtown is a little crazy & depending on what street we were on, there wasn’t always grass & parked cars between the sidewalk and road) so we needed to always be holding someones hand, carrying another and/or pushing one in a stroller. Add a drinkΒ in the other hand, and well, hands were full.Β And if you have toddlers, you know their attention spans are pretty short, so it is always aΒ race against the clock to keep everyone happy. But overall, they loved it, and so did we, and all the chaos was totally worth it!!! Until next time, Savannah!Β 

Our hotel stay was courtesy of, which we highly recommend as a resource for planning your Savannah trip & finding all of the best places to visit!Β