This summer, I embarked on a soup-to-nuts kitchen renovation..for the first time in my life. I hand-drew a floor plan to scale, ripped out tile and hacked down cupboards, and product sourced everything from our custom cabinet makers (a friend of a friend) to our backsplash tile (a Wayfair score!). Am I obsessed with my tiny jewel of an apartment kitchen? Heck, yes. Did I make a boatload of beginner mistakes along the way? You betcha. I’m sharing them here so you can avoid them.
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Since the kitchen is all white and we chose durable, man-made quartz for the countertops, I wanted to bring in some more luxurious, natural texture via the backsplash. I found a gorgeous, long Calacatta marble subway tile which I thought would be the next best thing to a pricey, single-slab backsplash. The problem? Both the sample tile online and the first tile in the box were a pale, white marble with the subtle veining I’d been coveting. But the rest of the box was considerably darker with black veining. Lesson learned: Check the rest of the box—and read reviews more thoroughly (it had been flagged by an earlier purchaser).
Before we actually started purchasing appliances, I didn’t expect them to be too costly. For starters, everything was apartment-sized (24-inch fridge, 18-inch dishwasher, etc.)—and I had sifted through the internet for the best deals available. After sending my choices to my contractor—wouldn’t ya know?—he informed me that I needed special appliances. For example, since I wanted a fridge that was flush with my custom cabinetry, I had to buy a “built-in” fridge, which has different venting capabilities. It cost me literally nine (!) times as much as a regular one. Also, the over-the-range microwave I wanted