The Renovation Realities behind the Pittsburgh Kitchen

June 21, 2016

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Thanks for all of the love on yesterday’emi reveal of the Pittsburgh kitchen! We put so much time and effort into this project and we fell head over heels for the kitchen over the six days we worked on it, making it hard to even leave. A true labor of love. I always get a little anxiety before I hit publish on reveal posts because these renovations are so personal and represent so much more than the pretty pictures we can share on this platform. Frigidaire had my sister, Andrea, a creative director, film and create 2 videos for them, one of the reveal and one of the appliances in action in the form of a very sweet day-in-the-life video, both of which are coming. But, Chris and I also asked her to put together a bonus video for us, documenting the renovation side of the project. It spans over the 6 days of the renovation from when we arrived and it was a working kitchen (they were making breakfast!), to tearing it down to the studs and building it all back up again. Watch the video below to see the renovation in action:

Condensing nearly 1000 pictures and what ended up being over 500 man hours of work into one post felt a bit unrealistic, so we decided to cover the behind the scenes of the renovation in this week’s podcast! Episode 8: Renovating, DIY and Personal Relationships. We share the most stressful parts (what made me cry and what brought Chris to tears, too), how we handle stressful situations–like when the walls and roof started leaking in the kitchen on day 2, and how renovating impacts relationships–even our own.

You can listen to this week’s episode on: iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher.

Let us know if you listen to podcasts on another platform, and we’ll start including links to those!

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 11.15.01 PM

We already shared the tentative renovation calendar of how we were planning on completing this kitchen renovation in 6 days right here and fortunately we were able to stick pretty closely to that schedule! Although the days were a lot longer than we anticipated, (we worked for 16-20 hours a day) it was nice to be able to check off our daily tasks and manage the tight timeline with a lot of smaller deadlines.


For instance, with the electrician coming Sunday, we had to have the plaster and lath completely removed beforehand. Or the appliances being installed Tuesday, we needed the flooring and backsplash done before that, so the cabinets and countertops need to be in place, too. It really kept us on task.

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If we don’t have deadlines, like photographers arriving any minute!, giving ourselves a reward for completed tasks was equally as motivating. ;) Finished that backsplash? Here’s an ice cream cone! Which is exactly how it went down in Pittsburgh.


That’s not to say we weren’t down to the wire. What you saw in the video–us hanging blinds, screwing in light plates and even hanging the open shelves (side note: if you’re drilling into tile, or making extra holes through a ceramic sink for a pretty bridge faucet–listen to the podcast!–you’re going to need these diamond drill bits)–that all happened hours before the reveal. In fact, as the photographer, Adam Milliron, was pulling up we were running to our hotel for a quick shower before showing the family their new kitchen for the first time.


We’re tallying up every last receipt to get you a cost breakdown before the week’s up. After you listen to the podcast, if you still have any questions about specific parts of the project, let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to address each of them.

Lastly, we’re grateful to my family in the area, that you saw in the video, that came out to lend a helping hand whenever they could. My Uncle Victor was there everyday ready to work alongside of us. My 16 year old cousin, Louis, (the one flexing in the background of one in the video–haha!) helped whenever he wasn’t working, my uncle Thom made the hood cover. My sisters helped put together Ikea cabinets and even tried their hand at tiling a backsplash. Demo day was full of helping hands and we had a licensed electrician come in to update the wiring. We couldn’t have done it without those people.

Missed the reveal? Catch all the before and afters right here.


Frigidaire Professional Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator Frigidaire Professional 30″ Freestanding Gas Range / Frigidaire Professional Dishwasher /  Frigidaire Countertop Microwave / 30″ Undercabinet Range Hood / Flooring: Shaw Floors Fairmount Park 12″ x 24″ Luxury Vinyl Tile in Belmont / Backsplash: Classique 2″ x 4″ Porcelain Subway Tile in White / Grout (for flooring and backsplash): Unsanded grout in Silverado from Lowe’s / Countertops: White Oak Plank-Style / Cabinet Boxes: Ikea Sektion / Cabinet Drawer Fronts & Doors: Semihandmade Shaker-style Super Matte Grey / Hardware: Unlaquered Brass Ball Cabinet Knob / Portrait Art: “Elizabeth” by Victoria Bradley-Morris / Chandelier: Rae 6-Light Flush Mount / Sconces: Ford’s Mill Single 2 1/4″ Sconces in Old Brass with 8″ Old Brass Reflector Cone / Espresso Woven Shades / Sink: DOMSJÖ single bowl apron front sink / Faucet: Heritage Double Handle Widespread Kitchen Faucet with Side Spray in Vintage Brass / Area Rug: One of a kind (similar and similar) / Back door paint color: Dutch Boy Anchoring Neutral / Open Shelves: Poplar boards painted white / Brackets for Open Shelves / Copper Pitcher / Green bowls / Light Gray bowls / Two-toned Cheese board / White Essential Dinner plates / White Essential Salad Plates Acacia Wood Bowl / Large White Serving Bowl / Nesting Prep bowls / Glasses / Camille Wine Glasses / Mugs / Marble fruit bowl /Round Acacia Serving Board / Rectangular Acacia Serving Board / Olive Wood Cheese Board / Utensil Holder / Olive Wood Utensils / Tea towel / Magnetic Knife Bar / Wusthof Classic Ikon Knives Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel Cookware / Blue Anolon Cast Iron Braiser

This kitchen renovation was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional

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What do you think?

  1. amy says:

    What a awesome transformation and beautiful way to document the journey! Thanks for sharing, truly inspiring!

  2. Kasey says:

    A-MAZING! I loved your podcast (as usual-keep them coming!) and that kitchen done in such a short period of time is truly incredible. I look forward to reading your blog weekly!

  3. Kate says:

    This is truly incredible!!!

  4. Ashley says:

    Amazing job! How was your experience using Semi-Handmade and how far in advance did you have to order? I would be curious as to what the additional cost was using Semi-Handmade versus if you used the Ikea cabinet doors if you are willing to share.

  5. Reyna says:

    I just listened to your podcast where you talked about this project this morning on my commute to work! It was so fun for me to come see this blog post and have visuals for everything you talked about! Especially the faucet, which is beautiful, by the way, and SO worth the tears and multiple purchases! I just found you guys this week when I was searching for design related podcasts, so this is the first time I’ve seen your blog! I’ll probably be on here for hours now :D Love you guys already!

  6. Nicole says:

    Please put your podcast in tune in radio app.

  7. I can’t believe how big a transformation this is – and how short it took you guys to do it! I bet you crashed hard at the end of every night ;)

  8. Abby says:

    silly question: what is the bachelor/bachelorette podcast you mentioned during your podcast??

  9. So ridiculous but I actually teared up watching this and imagining my own terribly wornout/fake wood/gross countertop/chipped sink kitchen going through a very similar and much needed update. Some day…saving out pennies.

    So so so FABULOUS and I can’t get enough of it.

  10. Whitney says:

    Love getting a glimpse behind the scenes! Again, you guys did an awesome job. Can’t wait to listen to the podcast later!

  11. avital says:

    such hard work you huys, i love seeing the process, it makes it more real and makes me appreciate your work so much. and its beautiful to see how well you seem be working together, that’s a real blessing. well done!

  12. Jeanna says:

    Will we be able to see an updated picture of the counters once they are sealed? That would be great :) Again, I’m totally in love with how the kitchen turned out!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Loved the video, I never realized how much Greta looks like Julia!

  14. Amanda Taylor says:

    I love this kitchen so much! You guys are truly amazing :)

  15. Kim B. says:

    super cool video!!! And didn’t this all come about because you simply CHOSE those Frigidaire products for your own kitchen — and then THEY reached out to YOU?! What a super collaboration. Still can’t believe you worked up to 20 hours a day. Wow. Well, again, what you accomplished is so inspiring, and what a blessing with so much of your family working together in support of family!

  16. Theresa says:

    Wow!!! Insane that you guys did this in 6 DAYS!!!! It’s so beautiful -bet your Aunt and Uncle are still pinching themselves. Well done!

  17. Darlene says:

    You guys really rocked it!! What a difference. I am sure they our loving It! You can see all the hard work and love that went into it.

  18. Erin says:

    Looks awesome guys! Your aunt and uncle must be over the moon with their new kitchen, I still can’t believe you killed that in 6 days! Also, digging your podcast-I love the dynamic adding Preston to the mix. Thought I would mention that you can create pretty amazing mood boards via Polyvore, Dana from HouseTweaking did a tutorial from 2012 but still totally relevant:

    • Abby says:

      yes, i use polyvore ALL the time…the much better version of copying and pasting things on a word doc :)

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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