The Great Kitchen Remodel: In the Beginning

Kicking off Our Five-Part Series Documenting the Remodeling
of the Live Pretty Family Kitchen

What is a kitchen?  It is that room in every house that plays a very important role in the lives of everyone that comes into its space.  I’ve heard it said that the kitchen is the “heart” of the home.  I think the kitchen also controls the heart beat of the home and family therein, the excitement of sharing food, drink, experiences, the love and life of family and friends.  The kitchen is that place where families come together daily, holidays are created and spent, family traditions are shared.

I have a new kitchen, or should I say, my house has a new kitchen, a new and glorious space creating the “heart” of my home.  As I sit here looking at all the shine and sparkle I am struck at how much thought and work went into the process of getting to this place.

In the Beginning …
It all began over a year ago, or maybe in 1987.  As the real estate lady took me through this house I was struck by the 18 ft beamed ceilings in the family room and the fireplace that graced that room.

Family room ceiling.

Then we walked into the kitchen.  There were oak cabinets, a vinyl floor, neutral walls, and that awful dropped ceiling with fluorescent lighting.

Dropped kitchen ceiling before kitchen remodel.

This kitchen was a true product of the construction practices in Florida at that time.  I commented then about how the room felt like a cave next to the height of the family room.  Over the years the floors were replaced along the appliances, counter top and sink.  But, the cabinets and that ceiling always remained until now.  2012.  This was the year …

Gone now is everything that resembles the old kitchen, the new one being built in the space.  To get to this place there was a lot of planning to be done, choices to be made, and hard work to be had.  I want to begin sharing this process with you now.

Last year at about this time my husband (known here as Reddy) and I walked into the local do-it-yourself store and began looking at a vast array of cabinets.

We even went through the process of precisely measuring our kitchen and having them arrange new cabinets on the existing walls using a computer program and got an estimate to have that work done.  Somehow, it just didn’t seem right.  The kitchen was just the same kitchen with different cabinets.  So, the search went deeper.  We began to realize how complicated the process was going to be and the choices that had to be made.  It was a scary and daunting thought.

The considerations we faced were:

  • A convenient work triangle, that work space between the sink, range and refrigerator had to be preserved.
  • Cabinets. We quickly found there are hundreds of colors, woods, styles, and what seemed like manufacturers to choose from. (various cabinet door styles photo)
  • Being convinced by my family members that the Open Concept living space was what was “in” now, the decision was made to open up the floor plan/space.
  • Traffic flow along with windows and door placement was all important.  Living in Florida with a pool and deck space along with a porch on which to relax and entertain had to be brought into the idea of bringing the Florida outdoors to the indoors to my kitchen.
  • Then, the big question was who is going to do all of this work?  Should a kitchen contractor/designer be brought into the process?  And, how long was he going to take to complete the project, would he be on time, on budget, and do what he said he was going to do when he said he was going to do it?
  • As no surprise, tensions got higher with the highest stressor of all – MONEY had to be addressed.  How much could be spent to get the kitchen we wanted?
  • Construction dirt.  Honestly, I was also concerned about the dirt.  I hate construction dirt, the clean up, dust, etc. etc.  Dirt was a big factor in the delay of the project, but I faced it with my chin up, with sweepers, filters, and dust rags in hand.

And so the process began.

We chose a contractor, cabinets, counter top, and sinks and DID OUR BATHROOMS OVER first.  That took all of the summer of 2011.  But, in reconstructing and updating those two small rooms, we realized several things.

Demolition of the pool bath and drop-ceiling florescent light box.

Bath tub removed and rebuild of tub/shower area.

New lights, custom mirror, outside door, new counter top with cabinets and sink rebuild of pool bathroom.

Rebuilt shower/bath area with custom tile.

We liked our contractor, our kitchen cabinets, and our counter tops.  And most importantly, we loved the fact that the people whom we chose to do the work did what they said they were going to do, when they were going to do it, on budget and on time.  We had the beginnings of a relationship with vendors and sub-contractors that we could trust and depend upon.  The kitchen would be the great test, but we were confident we had the right people to do the job. 

Next up … picking the contractor for our kitchen remodel.

The matriarch of Live Pretty, Roseddy, lives with her husband and children in Orlando, Florida. She is a native of Waynesburg, PA, but she has called the Sunshine State home for over thirty years. In addition to being a fantastic cook, Roseddy is an accomplished seamstress and former Home Economics instructor. Her flower arranging talents are the stuff of legend, and she is a valued member of her church’s altar guild. Roseddy enjoys entertaining, traveling with her husband, and, of course, a good martini.


  • April 27, 2012

    H. Susie Coddington

    Can’t wait to read more. You know I still feel indebted to you for your “help” (you really basically did it) with the perspective drawing we had to do in one of our WVU Home Ec classes some decades ago. I would have never made it through that class otherwise. At that time I knew you were talented but now have a whole new appreciation for how talented you really are. Susie


  • April 28, 2012


    Thanks, Susie for the kind words. Those were special times that we spent in ADPi and classes together so very long ago. Decades, huh? You’re right. Miss you.


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