Coffee break: I am back. Renovation tips.

Phew! I am back. 

I’m back and so happy to pause my crazy life and have a time to enjoy a cup of coffee with you. 

Some of you know I was on hiatus and had to work on my project. It’s supposed to be home improvement work, but a small remodeling project turned into to a huge renovation. 

So, long story short: my oven exploded, we went to the store to buy a range and the salesperson offered us the appliance package for a good price. Of course, we bought it. The appliances looked great and modern, but my kitchen looked much uglier than before. We decided to renovate the kitchen. And this is how it started… In the end, we renovated our entire house. 

Do you want to see the result? 

We still didn’t finish everything completely. We have to do the backslash in the kitchen, doors and lots of small details. Of course, I have to redecorate and change the themes in the rooms and probably furniture in the future, but the main things are done. 

So, here is my kitchen and bathroom before and after renovation: 

My new kitchen has a navy bottom cabinets and light grey upper cabinets.
Blue or “denim” colored bathroom vanity.

What do you think? 

Renovaton Tips:

After several months of work, I learned a lot. Perhaps some of you are planning to do renovation too, so I would be so glad to share tips, based on our experience, because we had lots of questions about everything and not everyone could answer them. But we figured things out. 

So, here they are: 

  • Do good research on the internet, learn about design, find the solutions, study details, style, fashion and ideas of how your kitchen/bathroom/room, etc. should look. It is necessary to know what you want. 
  • Keep in mind, that design on the internet picture might be very inspiring and beautiful, but could not work for 100% in real life. So, figure out about what will be convenient and practical for you and re-adjust the design for your lifestyle and needs. 
  • Dark features like walls or floor visibly will shrink your living space. Light and neutral colors will make your rooms bigger and brighter. 
  • Lighting is very important. Add spotlights in areas where there are not enough natural lights, like in the bathroom, over the kitchen countertop, or in the hall. You will not regret it, because lightening creates a special atmosphere and comfort. Also, buy spotlights, which you can operate from the phone by turning on/off, to change the color and brightness. This is convenient. 
  • Choose fingerprints resistance appliances, because you don’t want to see dirty spots all over your fridge and stove and you don’t want to spend all your free time cleaning them. 
  • If you choose dark colored cabinets or black glass cooktop, be ready to clean them more often, because of dust, spots and prints will show up more. Having a microfiber cloth for quick wiping will be very helpful. 
  • High kitchen cabinets are in style now, but if your kitchen is small that it might look unbalanced with your bottom cabinets, because top cabinets will be much longer than bottom cabinets. 
  • If still decided to have tall top cabinets, you will need small stairs to reach the top cupboard, so if you are at a certain age, think if you will want to climb there all the time. 
  • You can add a crown to the cabinets to make them visually look high, but keep a convenient size for you. People do 38” – 40” top cabinets, but we did 36’cabinets plus 2” crown. It looks tall but still convenient. 
  • If you wish to have lights under the cabinets, you will need to have a crown on the bottom of the cabinets to hide light bars behind the crown. 
  • If your kitchen sink and faucet are close to the window, think if you could open the window or put any blinds behind the faucet. The big kitchen faucet is in style now, it is beautiful, but might be pretty inconvenient in the future. 
  • I recommend choosing Thermofoil cabinets for the kitchen and bathroom vanities. This is an affordable and beautiful option with good quality, various colors, humidity and heat resistance, easy to maintain. It looks very modern. 
  • Don’t forget to install metal planks beside your cabinets where you will put the range. The metal planks will prevent your cabinets from been damaged from the oven heat, especially if you use the self-cleaning option. 
  • Check dBA for the dishwasher. Most dishwashers have 45-50 dBA and it will be pretty loud. 38-40 dBA will be very quiet and almost unnoticeable. 
  • Choose a refrigerator with a bottom freezer, because you will use the fridge more often than the freezer and it is more convenient, especially if you have a back problem. 
  • Hire professional plumber and electrician. It is necessary for everyone’s safety and for your home insurance. 

Flooring:

Flooring is another very important thing. Now, luxury vinyl planks are very popular. There are many choices and colors available on the market, but how do you choose the right one?   

Here are my flooring tips

  • Luxury vinyl planks are a good flooring choice. Vinyl plank flooring is low-maintenance, water-resistant, cost-effective, long-lasting and looks modern and feel wonderful. 
  • Buy vinyl planks with padding and locks. It will be easier to install than glue them and will absorb noise better.   
  • Check the parameters: thickness – from 5mm to over 8 mm, more is better, perhaps 7 mm ideal. Wear layer: 12 mil is good for residential, 20 mil and higher for a big traffic room or commercial. Noise reduction: IIC (Impact Insulation Class) – 68 and higher. Higher numbers are better. IIC will absorb sound when you walk or drop something. STC (Sound Transmission Class) 50 and up. A higher number is better. STC will absorb airborne sounds like TV, music or talking. 
  • If you live in a condominium, check with your property manager the requirements for floor noise reduction. Your condominium policy might have restrictions over specific numbers. Perhaps STC -72 and IIC -68, but please confirm these numbers with your property manager before installing the floor. 
  • Higher STC and IIC numbers might help to reduce sound. But if you have a bedroom upstairs, even with good padding on the vinyl plank and a high number of sound reductions, you might hear the sound from other rooms and you don’t really want it. Keep in mind that carpet is the best nose reduction flooring, so you might consider installing carpet in the bedrooms. 
  • If your vinyl plank already has a padding, then you don’t need to install an underlayment. Additional underlayment can break plank locks and warranty on the floor might be canceled.   
  • If you choose a 2mm vinyl plank without padding, then you will need to install an underlayment. On the subfloor you will staple the underlayment, so it will not move, but on a concrete floor you have to glue it. If you glue the underlayment that with age, the glue will dry out and the underlayment will fall apart. 
  • Screw the subfloor every 4” so your floor will not make the squeeze nose. You don’t want this to happen after the installation of a new floor.   
  • Make sure that the concrete floor is even or make it even, because if you have an uneven surface, your planks will make a clap sound every time you step on it, and it will be annoying. Also, a plank lock might break. 
  • If you have pets, you will have fur balls flying across the floor and under your furniture, so be ready to vacuum or sweep pretty often.   
  • Your dust or spots will be more visible on the dark colored floor. Less visible in the light color. 
  • There are no exact designing rules for how your planks should be installed, horizontal lines or vertical. Usually, contractors start to install floors from the long corner, but keep in mind that the direction of the plank lines can visually shrink the room or make it bigger. Also, the direction of the light from the window or patio doors together with the vertical direction of your planks can help to create more visual space as well. 

Stairs:

Stairs… Stairs are further headache. If you have stairs, you will need to install stairs nosing and that is another tricky part. 

  • As I mention, the vinyl planks start to install from the longer corner of the room, but if you have stairs, then the direction of the stairs will give you an idea of the direction of your planks. 
  • There are two styles of stair nosing: overlap and flush stair nosing. An overlapping stair nose will create  a little bump on the edge of your step where the flooring meets the transition. A flush stair nose creates a smooth and flush finish on the edges of your stair. 
  • Vinyl plank floors with overlapping stair noses can be installed starting from the longest corner.   
  • Installation of flooring with flush stair noses is required to start from the first stair. This is a pretty challenging job, because you will need to put the first row of the planks perfectly straight, otherwise the floor will be shifted. 
  • There are also aluminum stair noses on the market. It looks cool and very modern, but over the years they might get scratches and scratches will ruin the look. 
  • If you have lots of stairs, I recomend you to hire proffesials.

I think that is all my renovation tips. 

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. 

It was a wonderful coffee break for me and hopefully for you as well, but I think I talked too much. 

I will try to publish a post every Tuesday as usual, but I might miss some weeks because I’m still working in the house. 

Thank you! 

Enjoy your day! 

40 thoughts on “Coffee break: I am back. Renovation tips.

  1. Welcome Back! Great to have you back with us and what a snazzy pad you now have LOL Many congratulations on getting all your renovations done – I know (from bitter experience) just how much work and effort is involved – it’s truly tiring – but when you sit back and look at what you’ve achieved, it’s utterly worth it – and I so love that you blogged it all – fantastic! Enjoy your newly created decor and looking forward to more fab reads soon xx 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Angela, so glad you are back! Your new kitchen and bathroom look stunning, you did an amazing job! Thank you so much for sharing all these tips, I did a fair bit of renovations myself in my current place and my previous one and all these tips would have been very useful.

    Liked by 2 people

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