4 Secrets to nailing a kitchen renovation
1. A focused vision is key
“I needed a showstopper” she said. It came in the form of an unfinished oak door, which anchors the entire space and provides a warm contrast to the cream color scheme. To further that contrast, she also updated her windows with black frames and a 2-over-2 grille pattern. The combination of the contemporary color with a traditional grille pattern was a perfect match for her modern-classic vision.
She chose to include windows and doors in her renovation too, instead of waiting to replace them. This gave her the chance to use them as focal points in her design, creating a stronger and more cohesive aesthetic.
2. There’s a right way to DIY
To create her dream kitchen, Banks was willing to get her hands dirty. As an experienced DIYer, she has her process down.
- Create a vision. Her go-to sources of inspiration include Pinterest, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, the House and Home YouTube Channel and a few favorite designers on Instagram.
- Do your research. “I did so much research — hours and hours,” Banks said. “I watched a ton of YouTube and just pulled from what I thought was best for my project.”
- Order your materials. “Have all your material on hand, ordered before starting, if possible,” she said. You want to avoid putting things on pause because the necessary materials haven’t arrived.
- Set up a support system! Banks recommends the “phone-a-friend" route. “I actually did my renovation alongside one of my friends, and it was so helpful because she understood my pain,” she said.
While Banks DIYed much of this renovation — even painting her own cabinets — she also looked to professionals for a few tasks. Find out why in the next section.
3. Sometimes you need a professional
Banks learned this lesson the hard way when her new door arrived several inches too small. “I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was so confused, because I had measured several times to be sure.”
The problem was that she had measured the existing door, instead of the outer dimensions of the exterior door frame (frame measurements are more accurate, because frames and doors are typically replaced together). Luckily, she was able to work through the problem with the help of a contactor and today has a properly sized and installed door.
“The moral of the story is, just get a professional to do everything concerning your windows and doors. Trust me, it's worth it!” she said.
“There’s nothing wrong with being your own general contractor unless you’re ordering custom materials that you've never ordered before, such as windows and doors,” - Rashida Banks
4. Good budgeting is about balance, not penny pinching
Banks is a master at figuring out where to save and where to spend. Here’s how she does it.
- Her number one money-saving secret: Keep the bones intact. Banks estimates she saved $10,000–15,000 by updating cabinet faces and leaving the existing structure.
- Banks advises those completing similar renovations to reserve 20% of their budget for unforeseen expenses and emergencies so they don’t overspend.
- Smart savings allowed her to splurge on the door, pendant lights and barstools. “They are the stars of the kitchen,” she said. “Without them, the kitchen is just creamy and neutral.”
Banks advises those completing similar renovations to reserve 20% of their budget for unforeseen expenses and emergencies so they don’t overspend.
Searching for the right windows for your renovation? We’ve got a cheat sheet that’ll help you select the perfect modern windows to match your home’s style.