Okay, if you follow me on Instagram (@MariAltamirano), you seen my journey (and I say journey because it was jus that) of redoing our kitchen. What was supposed to be a one week job needed up being a two month job because of a contractor issue, which i’ll go into, but I wanted to share a little background. If you want to see some of the remodel process you can by searching #casamontecito on instagram. We purchased the house in March of last year. When we started looking for houses we had a wish list of 5 things we wanted. It had to be one story, three car garage, pool, open floor plan, and we wanted a casita. This house was the first and only one we looked at. It met 4 of the 5 things. The only thing it does not have is a casita, which we agreed would have to be a must in our next home. When we walked though the house, I already had a list of everything I wanted to change (I kept it a secret because I knew it would scare Pete and we would never get a new house if he knew I planned on remodeling), the kitchen being number one. I slowly worked on him, and massaged the idea, compared our kitchen to every other home we visited and slowly he came around to it. The old kitchen had short 30 inch cabinets, a large round island with pinkish granite, a black over mount sink, dark brown beveled subway tile back splash, a black cooktop, and a side desk that was pretty much a waste of space and the microwave was on the counter! The kitchen was just dated, lacked counter space and storage overall.  See the before pictures below.

The images are from the previous owners and staging taking from the MLS sale listing.


Kitchen 3 Kitchen

Before we got started I  reached out to a few local interior designers but after a few phone calls I realized that using a designer would have eaten up a good chunk of our budget (which I was firm on) so I took the task on myself. Thanks to Pintrest and Houzz I had an idea of what I wanted, a grey and white kitchen with metallic touches. lots of storage and more counter space. The first thing was finding a reliable contractor. Friends of ours had recently done a flip and they raved about their contractor so with out hesitation and after a formal quote and time frame (always get a formal quote, for all the work, For us it was, demo, installation, fabrication, removal) we hired him. He gave us a list of his showroom Vendors, Cabinets, counter tops, etc and off I went to source my materials. This is where I give interior designers a lot of credit, to be able to visualize a full project just off of samples, I Struggled with it so much. It probably took me two months to decide on materials, mostly because I struggled to see the full picture, but in the end I trusted my judgment and personal aesthetic and made the decision. The job started with out a hitch and then the contractor slowly became that “contractor nightmare” you always hear about. He would not show, or work for two hours and then leave, his work got progressively worse, he got measurements wrong which caused delays and started eating up his profits so our job became less important. So after about two weeks of this, I finally decided to fire him, and had the cabinet store recommend their favorite contractor who was licensed, bonded and insured (this is important because if something should happen, you are covered. You’d be surprised how many unlicensed contractors are out there), this time I took the time to interview them and decided on Carlos with C&L Improvements LLC. He was a dream! His crew showed up on time every day, worked through lunch (which I felt really bad about) and showed up on a Saturday to get caught up.


DSC_0120 DSC_0123 DSC_0139 DSC_0150

We love to entertain and I don’t know about you, but when I entertain my refrigerator ends up a disaster, stuffed with all of the extra food so I always dreaded having my guests open the fridge and see my horror off a mess, so getting a beverage cooler was a must. And since we had that little desk space, I thought it was a perfect place to add them. There is something about having beverage cooler that makes guests feel more comfortable to help themselves. We also wanted a lot of seating. since our house is a complete open concept, the kitchen is definitely where everyone ends up, and since both of our families live in different states we tend to get them all at once and it is such a great place to gather and have breakfast in the morning. We will be adding two additional backless stools to the left of the island for a total of 7 seats (or room for a high chair, wink, wink) 



I was originally planning on doing standard white shaker cabinets (see these pins), but then I saw these Grey beauties, and since I had never seen grey cabinets, I chose to go for them and I am so happy I did. They are by J&K Cabinetry purchased through Sunny’s Cabinets here in Las Vegas (J&K does not sell direct to public). These are 42 inches tall, soft close and their sink bases have a built in sponge caddy (example here).

Counter Tops

Both our back and island counter tops are quartz. Our back counter top are a standard white quartz and Originally we really wanted the island in Marble but after visiting all of the slab yards and all of them (including our contractor) highly discouraged the use in Marble in the kitchen. It only took me hearing it one time to cross it off the list, but Pete was not so convinced. He turned his nose at all of the island samples I brought home so one weekend I forced him to come with me to look at stones and talk to them himself. After about the third yard and hearing that they don’t recommend it, he agreed on this “calacatta” quartz from Marble Express. its such a popular look that a lot of the Slab yards will have a version of it, but Marble Express had the larges slab, 120/68 and we needed 100×63.


Originally I wanted a white marble or silver stainless steel subway tile, until I laid my eyes on this 3-d brushed stainless steel one. it was way out of my budget at $40/sqft locally which would of been $2,250. So I decided to search eBay and sure enough, I found the identical back splash for a fraction of the price, I emailed the seller directly and ordered straight from their website I was able to order exactly what I needed instead of buying it by the box which ended up saving me a tone of money.


Pendants: I thought I was going to go with these Tom Dixon pendants but after seeing the kitchen complete, they were just not going to mesh well, it took me a little time to find an alternative, but in the end I settled on these West Elm Clear Globes in Large and I am really happy with them. I like how simple they are. Right now we have edison bulbs in them, but Ithey are putting out a warm yellowish light, so I am going to switch the out for Plumen Bulbs, I think they’ll look cool in the globes.

Knobs & Pulls: Ugh! this has been the biggest thorn in my side. If you notice, we don’t have them yet. Really our back splash (in person) is the star of the kitchen so finding knobs and pulls that didn’t clash was super hard. I ordered acrylic, copper, gold, white, but we finally found the perfect match. We ordered the brushed ,stainless steel T-bars and bar pulls. They are made to order, so it took them a while to arrive, but we received them on Wednesdays and will be installing them this weekend!

Beverage Cooler/Wine Cooler

Both of them are from by Allevino purchased from the They beverage cooler started making a weird noise and the folks at the beverage factory sent someone out right away to fix it.

Counter Stools

Believe it our not, we did not have stools for the first 6 months, literally. We purchased them over Thanksgiving. The old kitchen had me so uninspired I couldn’t even make a decision on stools. Like, seriously. But I am so happy we decided on these Knicker Stools by Blue Dot. I love the modern touch because it carries from our living room.

I learned so much about remodeling and sourcing materials, so if you are thinking about remodeling and have questions let me know. We took our time and did it in phases to make sure we liked everything as it went along. We did make a few mistakes, nothing that cost us money, but it could of easily become that had we not taken our time, and surprisingly we came in right on budget.

 Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for some more remodeling. Next are the kitchen floors. The rest of the house has dark hard wood and we will be pulling though to the kitchen. We have two mini bathroom renovations, and my office.

XxOx, Marisela

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