Kitchen reno: How to put the YOU in DIY

By: Calley Kohlhagen

Ok folks, for those of you just joining me and questioning why I would destroy my kitchen and try to put it into a 30 day challenge, then let me fill you in on where I've gone since my demo day. Well, lots have happened, and as I write this - I am still working thru my kitchen and not quite making my "30 day" challenge. Which is fine by me - and also might teach you on your next home project how much time/expenses/etc. to account for :)

Installed New Window

Time: 1 Day | Cost: $75 | Materials: Window, 2x4s, Nail Gun, Circular Saw/Miter Saw, Hammer, 


Preface: I have NEVER installed a window before... but my boyfriend has! <3 So happy he was willing to help and teach me how to install this. Essentially, it wasn't too terrible! Best of all and most importantly - I was going to just move my window that I was removing // BUT we went to Menards and looked in their clearance window section and found a window for $75 that originally would have cost $500. Major savings and the window was larger than the one I was planning on moving. For those of you who didn't read Leeza's latest post - moral of her story: go with the flow!

Closed Up Old Window + Installed Insulation

Time: 2 Days | Cost: $90 (insulation), $20 (plywood), $20 (screws) $20 (2x4s) | Materials: Insulation, plywood, screws, staple gun, razor blade, 2x4s, gloves, caulk


Removing the window was surprisingly not as difficult as it seemed. We got thru that fairly fast, however the insulation took some time. And although I still have to finish my siding on the outside of my house, the plywood is going to hold up for now until I have time to think about the outside of my house. 

Turns out putting insulation in is actually something I can do! And you can too! It's important to know that when you're choosing your insulation to look at the R-Value and determine how much draft you will get. And in Minnesota winters - it is very important! Just think of it this way, the money you put in now will save you in heat bills! 

Installed Drywall

Time: 1 Week (could be less) | Cost: $100 | Materials: Drywall (moisture-resistant in some places), Drywall Screws, Drill, Straight Edge Ruler, Razor, Saw Horses, Measuring Tape, Pencil and a friend!


Side note: my cat LOVES to help out :)

Drywalling proved to be actually a fun project. Again, my boyfriend (aka my buddy on all my projects) helped me with installing. Turns out I'm verrrry awful at finding studs! ha! But we kept it pretty light-hearted and had a few good laughs. That's probably been the key to keeping my head on while not having a kitchen. But my boyfriend taught me a lot about the seams and how we don't want seams to line up and factory edges to match any chance we can. This was a project that you will need a buddy for. Thankfully mine had drywalled before. 

Mudding Drywall

Time: 1-2 Weeks (dry-time needed) | Cost: $50 | Materials: mud, several blades, tray, drywall tape


I received advice of hiring a mudder to finish up the drywalling, but thought -hey! why not continue trying something new? Turns out, I'm not the greatest - but definitely could be something I could get better at. A key here (that I didn't realize) is that smaller layers are how you build up to get the smooth surface. It doesn't happen in one shot. I also found that the larger blade helped with the smoothness. Another tip: when we were installing the drywall we figured out where the seams would be for my cabinets. So essentially a lot of my mudding is covered + very minimal. Plan your seams and you might actually be able to pull off mudding yourself! 

Overall, there is still a lot left to do and a lot that happened in these 30 days that I could not have expected (more to come on that). But again, Leeza's point of planning your work and working your plan isn't always the best way to go about a project that has a lot of variables (ie: renovating your kitchen!). But I'm happy to report that a lot has been done! And I'm so proud of the work - which is also super rewarding. This all could not have been done without the help of my friends and family - they are the people I lean on when I just can't do a project by myself. And I will be forever grateful for all of their help. 

If you're thinking about tackling a home project, plan and maybe take some of my tips and tricks to help you out. In case you missed the other posts - read up on my demoing or how I planned for my kitchen renovations