How to survive your kitchen renovation: A recipe for survival

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So, in the summer of 2017 we decided to renovate our kitchen. No small task. Can you live through the disruption of the center of your home? Well, ok so here are a few things to think about before you wave the flag for the race to start.

First, we had to come to a place where we both agreed to actually renovate. It’s a big job.  It’s a lot of money.  It’s an enormous interruption to your everyday life. There are tastes, colors, styles, and agreeing on what you both want for the space.  We initially had none of that.  We just knew (I knew) that it was time to get a new kitchen.  

Second, now you have to find someone to build it and help with the design.  We had recommendations from friends and people in the design and real estate business.  We interviewed three companies and decided on Hemingway Construction of Greenwich Connecticut.  

Now with our contractor and designer we started the long process of choosing everything. Appliances, cabinets, cabinet hardware, paint, tile, plumbing, countertops! You don’t really realize how many things make up a whole until you are in it. Our contractor worked closely with me about how we wanted the kitchen to function. We didn’t do the renovation for resale value; we did the renovation to use and grow old in. Drawer inserts, pot and pan organizers, a place to store my boards in exactly the right place for me, and more cabinet space then any girl would dream of!

After a lot of picking, they started construction in November.  Now the question comes in – how are we going to live with our whole house interrupted.  Where am I going to cook – nobody can afford a kitchen renovation and dinner out every night!  I asked our contractor to move my refrigerator into the living room.  I took our dining room table and threw a thick table cloth over it.  Then I put a hot plate, a toaster oven, our little college microwave, and the electric pressure cooker.  Now, I could write an entire blog on the virtues of the pressure cooker but let’s suffice it to say it saved my life!

I took some recipes from my book for slow cooked meals like the mock cassoulet (recipe is on this blog) and chicken stew and experimented with cooking time on the pressure cooker. After destroying a couple of stews by reducing them to something that looked like smashed chicken, I got the timing down and made them often.  The mock cassoulet should be set on high for 15 minutes.  Seriously it will be baby food if you go too long!

So, I made all I could without using too many dishes – our bathroom sink could only take so much.  I learned that you can make and serve a salad in the box it comes in!  We each  had one plate, a fork, a knife and allowed ourselves a new solo cup every night…Trying to be plastic conscious.  Aluminum tray on the grill and I made roast chicken, hot plate and I made a cod with mushrooms (I’ll get that one onto the blog – that’s a good one!!).  Every meal was planned around the only request, no more than one pot and two kitchen utensils. It was like a new cooking show – Make dinner with only one spoon and one pot! We also discovered a product that I have never used before and it became a life saver – frozen, precooked rice! A few minutes in the microwave and we have a side dish and not a pot used!

So, the kitchen was to be completed in January (three months) but of course, we added things, changed stuff up, we had a major snow storm and lost power… Our contractor stayed the course and tried his best to help us combat a pretty bad case of construction fatigue.  You know when you finally say, enough!  Just paint it and we’ll be fine!  

February 9th,we came home from work and I had my kitchen!  What a halleluiah!!!  Needless to say, all the time and waiting and cooking on a hot plate, were worth it! 

So now we are a year in the kitchen, and I love it every day that I walk into it!  This new kitchen is what helped me to start my blog.  How can you not want to cook in this kitchen all the time!!!

Anyway, we survived and only stayed in a hotel for a week while they refinished floors from all the construction.  We look back at the experience and we are so happy with the outcome! 

So, my parting words of wisdom – If you are contemplating the remodeling of your kitchen make sure you have an electric pressure cooker!!!


  • Reply
    Adrienne Vigilante
    April 15, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    I LOVE this post. Thanks for sharing your crazy kitchen journey, looks amazing!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Adrienne, it was truly a labor of love!!!

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