Renovating is tough. Just figuring out where to begin is hard work! So to make it a little easier, we’re bringing design guru from ApartmentTherapy.com, Maxwell Ryan, to our “kitchen table” to talk with YOU in a series of Facebook chats.
To kick it off, we’re focusing our first chat on the woes and worries of starting the renovation process and opening it up to any and all of your questions. Is it knowing who to hire and when? Or maybe it’s deciding whether to start your renovation with the floors or the ceiling? Or perhaps you just want to know if gray is really going to look good in your kitchen? Whatever your concerns, now’s your time to tap our expert and get your need-to-know renovation answers. Hope to see you there!
Can’t make the chat? Leave your question in the “Comments” below and we’ll ask Maxwell for you, then post the response afterward!
We told you all about our editor-in-chief, Lauren Purcell’s, kitchen renovation. Now, take a peek at the “before” photos of her 61-square-foot kitchen (it’s in Manhattan, people!). She shared Instagram pics of the space and filled us in on some of her most troublesome elements.
”The best part about my kitchen now is that it faces a big window in my living room.”
”I’d like to hide the recycling and garbage bins, but I don’t want to have to open trash drawers with dirty hands. Do they make doors you open with your feet?”
“The faucet has sprung a tiny leak. (Hey, you can’t have sufficiently awful “Before” photos without some duct tape.)”
“Nice gaps between the counter and appliances, eh? I dread discovering what’s fallen down there!”
“OK, I have no shame: I’m revealing to the world that I’m using a scrunchie to remind me not to pull the bottom of the microwave handle, which has detached. (The scrunchie is meant to go on a wine bottle, not a ponytail. Does that redeem me at all?)”
“A nonfunctioning oven means two things: lots of sautéing and more storage!”
I know a fair amount about kitchens. I edit this magazine. I’ve written a cookbook. I eat. Yet when it comes to renovating a kitchen, I have to admit, I feel completely out of my league. Just for starters: What’s the difference between an architect and a kitchen designer–and which do I need? I find the whole process so intimidating that I put off renovating until the oven finally stopped working altogether. Now that’s urgent. I hear from lots of you who, like me, are beyond busy and have limited budgets. So over the next few months, I’ll share my own experiences as a first-time renovator–missteps, anxiety and all. Follow along as I overhaul my palatial 61-square-foot kitchen. (It’s in Manhattan, people!) I’ll be soliciting your advice, ideas…and sympathy!
–Lauren Purcell, Editor-in-Chief
But she won’t be doing it alone! Design guru Maxwell Ryan, founder of design website apartmenttherapy.com, will be guiding Lauren through her kitchen renovation.
At first meeting, he laid out his plan for a stress-free makeover. It’s just a matter of dividing the process into steps, so you don’t get overwhelmed,” he said. Here are his first three:
1. Gather ideas from the pros. Walk through your kitchen with at least three contractors, architects or designers. Ask them all the same questions, but also see what they suggest. some will just do what you specify, while others may figure out surprising ways to work with your space.
2. Focus on the floor plan. At first, don’t think about color or details. Just focus on the black-and-white map of where things are placed. Throwing in cosmetic decisions now will only bog you down.
3. Think about your style. Sift through your tear-sheet file or Pinterest board to get a clear vision of what you like. This is when you start to crunch the numbers. You can always swap out appliances, materials and finishes to bring your cost down.
Follow along with Lauren as she shares her progress and everything else, from the appliances to keeping costs down to injecting personality into one of the most important rooms in her home.
Forget “Paper or Plastic?” As many cities begin banning plastic shopping bags, the new question is, “Recycled or canvas?” Mindful Momma blogger Micaela Preston set out to find a reusable bag for every type of shopper.
1. Best for on-the-fly types: BlueAvocado XO (eco) Hip Pod ($9.99, blueavocado.com). Made from recycled bottles, this lightweight bag rolls into an avocado-size pouch–ready to grab from your purse when you need to make an impromptu stop. Its cross-body strap keeps hands free on the move!
2. Best for Stylish bargain hunters: SnapSac Spring Splash Grocery Tote ($3.99, snapsac.com). This cheap tote holds a lot. The handles are sewn into the bottom for extra support, and fasteners dot the partially recycled fabric, so folding the bag up is a snap!
3. Best for one-stop shoppers: Pack-N-Tote Grocery Cart Helper Bag ($8.95, reuseit.com). Hate using boxes for oddly shaped warehouse-club goods? This superstrong polypropylene duffle clips onto carts for easy filling; a reinforced base makes it easy to load up to 40 pounds at once directly into your car.
4. Best for multitaskers: Ese CarryAll Tote ($35.95, essereusablebags.com). Meet your new (cute) workhorse! This tote holds three small sacks that expand into big ones, plus a shoulder bag–all made from recycled plastic. It even comes with two mesh bags for produce.
5. Best for divide-and-conquerors: Reisenthel Multi Cargo Bag ($24.95, reuseit.com). Trips to the big-box stores can leave you with an eclectic mix of items. This polyester sack’s eight compartments keep cleaning products and clothes separate from food. It’s expensive but versatile–repurpose it as a beach bag.
How cool (and hot!) is this? Rach’s Classic ChillOut Insulated Tote ($17.95, RachaelRayStore.com) prevents freezer-aisle foods from melting before you get home, plus it’ll keep potluck dishes warm en route.
Get more supermarket shopping tips here.