Home Lifestyle Blog – Kitchen Renovation

Is there anything better than a gorgeous and inspiring space to brew coffee, prep lunches, and gather the family? I mean, who doesn’t want to renovate their kitchen, if they haven’t already?? I sat down with a client of mine and asked her about her kitchen renovation project to provide YOU with a homeowner’s perspective, tips and tricks. Spoiler Alert: Her tips & tricks are really good!!

Location of property: Turtle Ridge in Irvine, CA  

Homeowner: Sarice

Home Value: $1.4million

Sold By: Michele Kader


Michele: A big project like renovating a kitchen can feel very overwhelming, what was the first step that you took?

Sarice: We started by looking through model homes to come up with design ideas as well as create a list of needs and wants.  We wanted a light, clean and modern look with lots of storage space. Having more space was a huge priority for us. We wanted lighting and glass in our upper cabinets to give the kitchen a more modern look.

Michele: Viewing homes for inspiration is so fun! I want our readers to know, they can easily and quickly look through design ideas on Social Media, Pinterest, & the Houzz app.  How did you take this vision & design concept and move forward to create it?

Sarice: We identified our priorities for the space and began the design process with those in mind. These included, a double oven, spice drawer, large single basin sink, and more efficient space overall. We love the aesthetic look of the large basin sink but what I love more is washing large pots and pan in this sink on a grate to protect the sink from becoming scratched.

Michele:  I love it, start by making a priority list. I have worked with so many clients who renovate and rarely if ever do I hear that the home owner was able to accommodate every desire on their vision board. Like anything else there is a give and take. What did you do next?

Sarice: The next step was choosing a contractor.  It’s very important to hire a good contractor.  We made sure to take the time to check on their work and to make sure all the details were being done by them or their subs. We then discussed the overall design concept with him, he must understand our vision.

Michele: You said that so well, hiring a good contractor that understands your visions is critical to the process. Now would you share with my followers, friends, and clients please what are your Tips and Tricks that you have learned from this process.










TIPS and TRICKS passed on to YOU –  BOOM!

  • Don’t do any demo until all your product has arrived, make sure cabinets counter tops and sinks are in stock. Your renovation will run much smoother and it will be a quicker process when everything is ready.
  • Mistakes will happen, so you want to make sure your contractor has the “Nordstrom attitude” – meaning if there is a problem we will fix it – no questions asked. For example, the sub cut the sink too close and we didn’t have enough space for faucet. Fortunately, we had extra quartzite left that we could use a new piece and they re-did it.
  • If you are looking for a clean look – you don’t want to pick both a busy countertop and a busy backsplash. Choose one colorful and/or busy pattern and keep the other simple.
  • Some renovation requires movement of gas lines and electrical and this needs to be done when the kitchen is gutted so make sure you think through exactly what you want before you begin work. For example, our renovation required gas and electrical movement to accommodate our double oven.
  • You can give your contractor license number at any stone yard. They will pass on contractor discount to you which is usually 15-20%. Use this to purchase quartzite, marble, or granite.
  • One thing we realized early on is to use our own electrician and not the contractors. We re-wired the entire home and wanted to manage the work to meet our personal and unique needs.
  • For maintenance, I highly recommend the Grout Doctor



Counter tops: Quartzite named White Macubas. I picked quartzite because it has the durability of granite and the movement of marble.

Appliances: KitchenAid for all. We think KitchenAid is a great value for a high end product.

Hardware: Top Knobs

Cabinets: We custom designed our cabinets with our contractor, they are Shaker style with a soft closing doors. We wanted a spice drawer. We also wanted to make use of the dead space found in a corner cabinet so we added a lazy Susan with  pull out drawers for platters, large items, and a trash drawer.

Backsplash: White Subway Tile from Coastal Tile and Stone. What is unique is the alternating display, flat and shiny alternate with little texture. I chose to oversee the installation of this and I am glad that I did because I had to correct a mistake that was made.

We added the quartzite slab above our stove which really helped to break up the white spaces since we went for such a light and bright look.

Hard Decisions: The two luxuries that we wanted was a wine fridge and warming drawer. We got the wine fridge, but there was not room for the warming drawer. There are a lot of hard choices when renovating your kitchen even when completely gutting it we could not accommodate all of our needs.


Cost broken down that we know:  

  • Appliances: over $11k
  • Quartzite counter tops: $6,100
  • Total Cost: more than $50K




I’d love to hear from you if you found this helpful and if you have any additional tips to share about your experience.

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