How To Survive A Live-Through Kitchen Renovation

April 25, 2023

Kitchen renovations have to be the hardest renovation to live through. So many aspects of your life happen in the kitchen: breakfast, lunch, dinner, life events, snacking, morning coffee, MIDNIGHT SNACKS.

Losing your hub during a renovation is brutal at the best of times. Here’s how to survive it:

Move Out Temporarily

I know, this technically isn’t a ‘live-through’ option but you’ll be the most comfortable. For financial or logistical reasons this may not be possible, but it’s really the best option if you can swing it. Even some time at a cabin or a friends house can be a good idea. Even better, if you can coordinate a vacation around your kitchen reno, you’ll come back to a new space after your restful time away! Okay well, it never quite works out that perfectly, but time away during the demo is definitely a good idea, especially if you have little kids or animals.

Click here to see how long a kitchen reno typically takes and why

Design and Pre-Plan Every Single Detail First (AKA Pre-Construction)

We always go through the sometimes boring aspects of pre-construction during a renovation. This can be tough though. It’s hard to imagine your new kitchen with 2D drawings are even 3D drawings. Spec sheets are fun the first time, but when you’re refining them they start to lose their charm. Sometimes it’s a slog but it’s so so important.

Renovations are iterative, they change. Things pop up. To control that as much as possible, we want to pre-plan as much as we can. We do this in a few ways:

-Design the project fully on paper with no detail overlooked

-Put together a spec sheet that notes the counter top type and thickness, the cabinet finishes on the exterior and the interior, the number of handles and pulls, even the name of the salesperson at the appliance store.

-Develop a fixed price proposal that denotes EVERYTHING

-Apply for and receive a building permit if required.

-Order as many materials and appliances as we can before we start demolition

Set Up A Temporary Kitchen

This one’s kind of fun. If you have the space for it, we can set up a small kitchenette in the living/family room or another room in the house that’s more convenient. We love this setup from Marty’s Musings. Here’s the basics of what you’ll need for a temp kitchen:

-Small table

-Large Tubberware for snacks and other items. The more storage bins the better, especially if your pantry is being renovated too.


-Electric Kettle

-Toaster Oven

-Meal prep area

-Your old fridge hooked-up in the family/living room

-Electric hot plate (not gas!)

Here’s a note too: Once you cabinets go in and you’re waiting on the countertops to arrive, we can sometimes install your old sink and faucet on a sheet of plywood to make sure you get to use your new kitchen right away. Sometimes this isn’t a perfect solution, every home and family is unique.

Happy kitchen renovating, and remember, the discomfort of renovating pales in comparison to the joys of a new kitchen!