Anatomy of a Kitchen Remodel


In November, David and Barbara Drenon remodeled their kitchen with the help of a residential contractor based out of Nixa.  Like any remodeling project, there were highs and there were lows, but in the end the new look is unbelievable.  Follow us on the journey the Drenons went through during this remodeling process.  Hear the issues they encountered and if they thought it was worth the time and resources after all was said and done.


Barbara had picked out everything already.


She was planning to update the kitchen, which was beginning to become outdated.  The tiled countertops and wood trim weren’t fitting with other upgrades the Drenons had made to the living room and bathroom.

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The painted panel backsplash and traditional cabinet styles weren’t keeping up with the modernization of the rest of the Drenon home.

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Barbara also wanted to bring in stainless steel appliances and repaint the walls.  She planned to use a dark granite for the countertops to offset the pure look of a modern, white kitchen.


She wanted to remodel.


But, was all the work necessary to complete such a transformation worth it? Barbara’s initial concerns gave her pause.  Cost, the quality of work by the contractor, and the effect the remodel would have on the value of her home were the main concerns.  The Drenons did their homework, though, and decided the increase in value to their home was significant, and that they were confident they could find a good contractor to assist them.  So, they started the search.

Remodels of any kind can really take you out of your comfort zone.  Each area that is remodeled is essentially unavailable for long periods of time.  Imagine not being able to use your kitchen for several weeks!  We love takeout as much as the next blog, but several weeks of it sounds like a bit much.  That being said, there are some major benefits to a new kitchen or other rooms.  From a real estate standpoint, it can certainly add value to your home.  According to USNews, a kitchen remodel brings in an 82.7% return on investment on average.  That’s a big deal for those considering selling a home.


Remodeling can also just make you happier when you’re cooking! Being pleased with your home is important.  After all, it’s where you are everyday.  We don’t know about you, but we’d like to at least have nice scenery before that first cup of coffee in the morning!


After researching local contractors online, the Drenons were referred to a Nixa-based contractor by a friend who builds homes in the area. It was a great partnership from the beginning.  He made the Drenons feel like he had their best interests in mind.  “His ability to stay within our budget and his advice about how we could save money during the process were the main reasons we chose him,” Barbara says, “but it was more than just one reason.”


With a contractor they trusted in hand, the remodel was on.  Now, they were ready to get the party started.


There are lots of really great contractors in the Ozarks.  We’ve worked with plenty of them over the years.  It is important to do your homework, though.  Selecting one randomly could become a huge headache. Read reviews, ask friends in the business, and do your homework to find the right fit for you.


The Drenons had set up a temporary kitchen in the dining room with a fridge, microwave, toaster oven and crockpot.  Their contractor hung plastic sheets in the doorways to protect the rest of the home from dust and damage.  The first step was to remove the existing cabinets and to make final measurements on the blank walls.  Each day the contractor and the painting subcontractor would recap their progress and answer any questions the Drenons had.  They’d also discuss the plans for the next day to be sure the homeowners were always informed throughout the process.


Their contractor stayed true to his word. He didn’t cut corners, and made sure that the couple was getting everything they paid for.

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“He met the cabinet maker at our house three times to be sure he knew everything about the project,” Barbara said, “All of his subs (subcontractors) knew he was a perfectionist and that he wouldn’t settle for poor quality.” Drenon also told us that when the cabinets were delivered to their home, some of the final product was not completely dry during shipping, causing some a few flaws in the paint.  He sent them all back and requested another set.


Things were starting to come together. Barbara could begin to see her ideas coming to fruition.  She met the contractor at Mussino Tile to choose the backsplash in her new kitchen.


“That was the hardest choice of all,” Drenon says, “but [the contractor] cut pieces out and showed them to me, which was very helpful. “


The Drenons were impressed by the service their contractor provided.  He took off his shoes any time he entered a room with carpeting.  He swept up every morsel of dust before leaving each day. He was very prompt and called them with updates any time news came down the pike.


Dave and Barb did some of the painting themselves to save some money on labor.  They had plenty of experience painting from other home updates, so it went rather smoothly.


The Drenons were preparing a makeshift meal one rainy Sunday evening.  Barbara noticed some water coming through the hood above the brand new countertops and range.  She and Dave managed to rig a plastic bag over the leak to keep the newly finished materials free from the moisture, and Barbara called the contractor to make him aware of the situation and seek his advice on what they could do to hold off the water until he and his crew arrived the next day. Barb was concerned that the water would damage the range. The contractor gave them a few tips and they took his advice.  About 30 minutes later, the doorbell rang.  It had been bothering him too much not to come by.  He fixed the leak and wished the Drenons a good night.  He swept up before he left, of course.


After two weeks of not having a kitchen, the Drenons were finally done.  Finishing touches were put on every corner.  Dave noticed a notch in the counter that made a cabinet close unevenly, but assured the contractor that it didn’t bother him.  Unsurprisingly, it was fixed in the same day.

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The counters had been laid.  The new cabinets hung.  The lighting updated. Everything in the kitchen had completely changed.



The hardest work was done.  Now, they had to make it their own.  Dave added horizontal paneling or shiplap as it is also called, to the breakfast area.  Barbara hung curtains and added pops of color and warmth with decor.

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It was done.




Kitchen remodels can be stressful.  No matter how talented a contractor is, there will most likely be a few bumps in the road.  However, it can be a rewarding experience to see an idea come together.  To craft a plan and beautiful design and to watch as that plan becomes reality was an amazing experience for this couple.


It can also add value to a home.  The Drenon family may have seen an increase of up to $40,000 since purchasing the home in 2009. That’s a great return on investment in just seven years.  If this home was on the market today, it would likely sell much faster than a home with a dated interior.


The Drenons don’t have plans to sell any time soon, though.  They’re still enjoying their new kitchen!


“It was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my new kitchen. We love it.”

To find the value of your home, contact us about getting a CMA or to discuss the pros and cons of a remodel in your home.

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