Remodeling a kitchen is a serious undertaking and should not be taken lightly. Everyone warned me about this beforehand, but I just knew that it was going to be easy. I had a plan, right? It turns out that my remodeling plan was about as iron-clad as a generic brand of facial tissue.
When you plan to remodel your kitchen, the best advice I can give you is to set up a temporary kitchen somewhere else in your house. Stock it with a microwave, a few dishes (paper plates work too), a can opener and some utensils. That's really all you need. Pack everything else away tightly in boxes because drywall dust gets everywhere, literally. Keep your easily opened food stuff and microwavable non-perishables handy. Just because you think you'll only be without a kitchen for a few days or even a week does not mean you won't actually be without one for a month or longer.
We “newbie" kitchen remodelers don't really have a good concept of a realistic timeline to complete a remodel.. We think that if God created the earth in a few days, then surely we should be able to remodel a kitchen in a week. Well, I'm here to tell you, we are not gods! This type of project has a lot of details and is quite a bit more time consuming and challenging than it appears at first blush. If you do use a contractor some tasks will move faster (they do have more experience laying tile or what have you), but once you give up control to a contractor you work more around their schedule than your own. You aren't the only job they are juggling and sometimes you may even have to wait a day or two as they fit smaller projects in between yours. Did you know that some things actually take time to dry? Drying time can definitely chew up valuable remodeling “calendar" time.
Keep in mind that your remodel will take time to complete and require some hard work on your part. Just know that it will all be over at some point and it is worth it. If you do choose to use a contractor, make sure you get everything in writing first!
Check out these before and after pictures of my own kitchen remodel. Which do you like best? I'm glad to have gone through this experience, but I don't plan to do it again for quite awhile!