So, you’ve decided that you want to remodel your kitchen.  What next?

We have recently done just that. I was so excited!  In my mind it was picture perfect. A beautiful modern, country cottage style, as pretty as I could get away with, without my husband never wanting to use the kitchen again. Although he is colour blind, I could have really pushed the colour scheme but eventually someone would have commented on the “girly pink” kitchen.

Ever the optimist, having previously had other areas of the house renovated, I was absolutely positive that everything was going to run smoothly with our kitchen renovation. I THOUGHT I knew exactly what to expectand how to be 100% prepared. I also believed I was going to project manage the heck out of this.

Here is my No. 1 Top Tip and five lessons that I learnt along the way.

MY #1 TOP TIP For a Kitchen Renovation

Even the best laid plans can go astray.

I knew though, that the first step in preparing for a renovation, I could hit out of the park Decluttering!

Knowing what you will be taking into your new kitchen is extremely important. It enables yourself, and the designer, to know what space, storage solutions, layout and the functionality that will be required.

Prior to our renovation starting I went through every drawer and cupboard. I emptied every item onto the bench and started sorting.

sorting kitchen cupboards for renovation

First cabinet for decluttering

Even as a Professional Organiser, I sometimes also find decluttering and letting things go difficult.  Mostly, we are our own worst critics. I needed to talk to myself the same way I would talk to a client.  That is, to assist and support clients to make informed decisions.

  • When did I last use this item?
  • Can it be replaced quickly and cost effectively?
  • Will this item have a specific home in my kitchen?
  • By keeping an item is it assisting me to achieve my vision for the space?
  • By keeping an item is it assisting me to achieve my goals?
  • By keeping this item will I then have the space to keep something more important?

You will be surprised at the number of articles you will be able to let go of and decluttering is the first step in how to remodel your kitchen successfully.


All the contents removed for sorting

organising kitchen cupboards for renovation

The items that I chose to keep

Now for my five lessons learnt.

1. Dream Big!

Imagine your perfect kitchen if you could have anything you wanted. If you could have all the storage. If you could have the perfect appliances.  If you had no budget restrictions. How you want the space to work, etc.

I know that seems crazy as a first step, but this is what I suggest to my clients before our first session.

  • What is the room’s purpose?
  • Who is going to use it?
  • How will it flow?
  • Does it need to provide more than one purpose e.g. study space, action centre?

Thinking about these things ahead of time gives direction.  It decides a vision and assists to determine your goal amongst all of your kitchen renovation ideas.

2. Find Your Tribe!

I had absolutely no trouble or hesitation about who I wanted to design our kitchen.  I have known Sally Hart of The Clever Closet Company for many years.  I love her work. She helped make our wardrobes more functional after moving into a home with only the standard hanging rods. I knew she would nail this for me.

In addition, having a great Designer will ensure the inclusion of as many items on your Wish List as possible. It just may not be how you had originally envisioned them.

I also asked Sally for three referrals of cabinet makers and installers.

I hit the jackpot with Chris Chmielowiec of Interspec Custom Joinery.  He and his team proved to be second to none and fixed problems for us that should have been resolved by other trades.

Next, Suzie Ferreira of Casa Flair Interiors provided the project management and helped with selections for cabinet colour, benchtop surfaces, lighting etc.

A Project Manager will be the keeper of your kitchen renovation checklist, making sure everything happens when it should and they willalso save you from having those hard conversations with anyone who isn’t fulfilling their obligations.

3. Trades

We had an amazing electrician. Having someone you can trust in areas where you have no idea is imperative.  It turned out that Raj Kumar of Uniiglow Electrical needed to think creatively to find solutions to make things operate around work done by previous trades.  He arrived when he said he would, even working on a Sunday morning so we could finally have the kitchen completed.

And this is where it all went awry.

Finding good, reliable trades proved a nightmare.

After having to let our builder go, this is when I did some extra research.


It came to light that he was currently unlicensed, uninsured and had several outstanding claims against him.

As the builder, he also had his own contractors.  His gyprocker and plasterer had to be sent packing.  We also then received a referral for another gyprocker.  His boss knew the job involved cathedral ceilings.  His tradesman arrived without a ladder or drop sheets.  And the list of problems goes on and on.

Eventually, one of the wonderful team from Interspec redid the construction of doorways and walls.  He also had a contact for an amazing gyprock/plasterer.

Plumber, not so great.  He connected pipes to the cold and filtered water back to front.

4. Kitchen Renovation Budget

In reality, for most of us having unlimited funds is a dream. I know I said before to dream big and I still stand by that.  It’s great for giving a designer your wish list and what your must-haves are.  Mine was to create having clear benchtops and my main appliances hidden away but still easy to access and use.

Have a contingency budget.  Maybe add another 10%.  We did, but still ran slightly over.

5. Timeline

This was developed by Interspec.  It was not until all the other trades had completed their jobs, that the installation could start so it made sense to run with their schedule.

This also fell behind due to issues with other trades.

After our first renovation I swore I would never do another, of which my friends constantly remind me.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely!  The joy of having your dream kitchen come to fruition is worth all the obstacles.  My husband may not agree!

If we ever do renovate again, I will think that I am prepared in the knowledge that things WILL go wrong, budgets will be stretched, you can’t always get the right trades and to expect the unexpected.

As I finish this blog my husband is already telling me “No way!”

If you are planning a kitchen renovation or remodelling any part of your home or office and need some assistance to be prepared –  call Leesa on 0421 030 428 or visit us on Facebook or Instagram or Contact Me Now

Kitchen Renovation Before Photos

Kitchen Appliances before renovation

Before Renovation – Kitchen space

Kitchen Renovation Before

Before Renovation – Kitchen/Dining space

Renovating Kitchen Before Layout

Before Renovation – Kitchen space

Kitchen Dining Before Renovation

Before Renovation – Kitchen/Dining space

Kitchen Renovation After Photos

after kitchen renovation

After – Renovated kitchen space


After – Renovated kitchen sink

Kitchen Renovation Additional Study

Additional Study Space behind cabinet doors

Kitchen Renovations After Shot Blue Cabinets

After – Renovated kitchen space

Kitchen Renovation lighting above blue cabinets

After – Renovated kitchen and dining space