A Farmhouse Kitchen Gets a Well-Deserved Renovation in Monticello

Sarah tells-all, sharing her remodeling experience with Riverside Construction

Q: What prompted the need for your kitchen remodel?
A: Our home was built in 1902 and was last remodeled in the mid-60s. Our oven model was dated from 1964. Bless my husband who was wise and blessed with many talents, but his philosophy was “if it still works, we don’t need to fix it.” Fast forward to November 2018, the oven stopped working and I only had one element working on the stove. After putting money aside, I retired in 2020 and decided it was finally time to remodel the kitchen.

Q: You started your remodel during COVID-19. How did the pandemic alter your remodeling plans? Did your functional needs change in any way?
A: Yes, we started our remodel during COVID-19 and it completed in August. The biggest impact on our remodeling plans was the availability of materials. We were 98% completed in August but then had to wait for the refrigerator, oven, and microwave which didn’t arrive until September. The cooktop was ordered right away because it was an older model and in short supply. Otherwise, Riverside Construction carpenters and subcontractors either worked when I wasn’t there or wore masks around me and each other when they were in my home.

Q: Can you speak to safety protocols during construction? Did you feel safe?
A: Yes, I never felt unsafe. Riverside Construction carpenters and subcontractors wore masks, put up barriers, used HEPA filters, and either worked in my home when I wasn’t there or masked up when we were in the home together.

Q: What concern(s) did you have going into your home remodeling project?
A: I was most concerned about the inconvenience during construction. I planned ahead for the kitchen remodel by loading up a dorm-size mini-fridge for perishables. I also ordered carry out a lot. My basement is where the washer and dryer are located. I was concerned about accessing it. But, after the guys were through working, I was able to get through to the basement without much problem. Riverside Construction also remodeled my half bath next to the kitchen. I wasn’t looking forward to having to use the upstairs bathroom during the renovation. More importantly, I live with three cats. It was imperative that the crew didn’t let any of them outside. They did great!

I never worried about the budget. When I signed a contract with Riverside Construction it was well-delineated. My design choices and materials were detailed from our initial planning meetings. The only exception was one change that I made and the other was an unforeseen circumstance. Otherwise, the budget didn’t change at all.

Q: What was your favorite part of your remodeling experience with Riverside Construction? Why?
A: I thoroughly enjoyed the Riverside Construction carpenters. Most days, it was the same group who was working in my house. They were skilled and very reassuring. There was one point in construction when I was fearful of how it was going to look. One carpenter, in particular, assured me to hang in there and it would turn out exactly as I had envisioned. He also said my project was his favorite one. He was right. It turned out exactly as I had envisioned, and even better!

Q: What was your least favorite part of the remodel? Why?
A: The dust. They put up dust barriers during construction a majority of the time. One of the subcontractors didn’t use a dust barrier. I believe it was the tilers, so it stirred up dust in the home.

Q: After living in your newly remodeled space, what has become your favorite design feature?
A: It’s all so wonderful. The ceiling and lighting have to be my favorite design features. The previous owners (in the 1960s) put in a dropped ceiling and panels in the kitchen. Riverside Construction removed the dropped ceiling and panels making it more spacious and brighter. The new pot lights and pendant lights over the island added the elegance and charm I was looking for.

 

Q: What was your inspiration behind your kitchen design?

A: I had visions of what my grandma’s beautiful kitchen looked like with dark oak cabinets, inset doors, and a particular type of latch. Under the linoleum was gorgeous oak hardwood flooring. I wouldn’t normally choose hardwood flooring in the kitchen, but because they were there, I couldn’t pull them up. Riverside sanded the floors and refinished them to perfection.

It was also important to me to design the kitchen to match the existing architecture of the home—to look like it had always been there, just refreshed. I think we accomplished that. As a testament, the cleaning crew came in after the remodel was done and said, “this looks like the kitchen was part of the original home.”

Q: Were there any big surprises during or after the remodel that caught you off guard?
A: Nothing big, no. There were a few small items like learning that the plumbers had to pull up the floor in the half bath to access the crawl space below. But, also not a big deal.

Q: Are you using your newly remodeled space differently now? How?

A: I absolutely spend more time in the kitchen. I’m not a really good cook. You have to remember, I haven’t had a fully functioning kitchen since November 2018, so I’m rediscovering cooking. I now spend a lot more time in the kitchen. And, I really like the butcher block island. Initially, I thought it would be hard to maintain, but I’m really enjoying oiling it—rubbing the oil into the wood once a month. My house gets particularly dry in the winter, so I’m sensitive to not letting it dry out.

Q: In hindsight, is there anything you would do differently if you were to remodel again?
A: Small things. There are a few of my lower cabinets that have pull-out shelves. I often think, having now worked in my kitchen, that I should have added a few more of those. Sometimes I also think I should have chosen different light fixtures, but there’s nothing major I would have done differently.

My original kitchen had a hanging pot rack. I thought I loved it and wanted it in there. As the design of my kitchen progressed, I realized that I could see more of the kitchen without it. Now, I have room for my pots and pans in the drawers and cabinets and they aren’t collecting dust. Ultimately, I’m happy with my decision to remove it.

Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: Yes, I definitely want to share something about Riverside Construction. I’ve had other contractors in my house before. They did a bathroom renovation upstairs years ago. I love Riverside Construction and all of its contractors and vendors. I was used to hearing a lot of cursing from contractors I’ve used in the past. Not that I’m a prude, but there was none of that language used by Riverside crew day in and day out. As they worked, they created a nice environment for me to be cohabitating with them in my home.

Now, Riverside is meeting with my daughter, doing a renovation on her upstairs bathroom. She was so impressed with my remodel that she decided to remodel her bathroom with them as well. Riverside Construction is becoming our “family renovator.”

For more information on this amazing kitchen remodel, visit our Portfolio.

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