The Construction Process of an Interior Renovation

Have you ever wondered about the construction process of an interior renovation?

Let’s walk our way through how it should work.

After many years of working in the industry, I finally decided to take on a construction project of my own. Why? Two reasons: 1. None of the contractors that I work with were interested in such a small project. 2. The right support, talent and connections came together.


Let’s take number 1: The market in Portsmouth, NH is busy, busy and most contractors are chasing larger scope projects that will keep their crews busy with a high profit margin. Fair enough, I don’t blame them at all. When the work is there, take it. But, I had a great client who simply wanted her kitchen renovated and had adequate funds (about $120K total) to pull it together.

Now for number 2: Over the years, the opportunity has come before me to run such projects, but the stars didn’t quite align and the risk for liability was too high, this time it did. I have a resource now that has talent at his finger tips and strong connections to subcontractors. I want to be able to bring high quality work at a fair price in a reasonable timeline. This was my opportunity to bring everything together.


First things first, easy enough we created a temporary kitchen for the homeowner so that she could live in the house while under construction in the sealed off dining room. This included a temporary kitchen sink in the temporary wall – much better than washing dishes in a powder room sink.



DESIGN: The design is actually the easy part for me. This project was interesting because the space was tight – tight and the functional need was high-high. We needed to get very high-end appliances in the space for the caterer home-owner, create an entertaining space, a bar and a mudroom space. Because the space was so small, it was difficult to fit in a full-size refrigerator, so we opted for freezer drawers and under cabinet refrigerators.

CABINETRY & MATERIALS:  We decided on custom cabinets because the space was so tight that box cabinets would waste about half the space available. A full-height backsplash would be installed at the backsplash of the range and hood (relocated on the exterior wall for efficient exhaust). And we decided on white cabinetry along the wall, deep blue-grey cabinetry on the peninsula and white-washed oak bar and mudroom.

DEMOLITION: We needed to expose the space around the fireplace because the wall was crooked, and we really needed to get that plumb for new cabinetry.  The flooring was not level as well as not structurally sound. Since we were installing 12 x 24 floor tile with heat as the primary heat source, we needed to install new avantec subfloor to create a level, solid surface for tile that would not crack.



FRAMING:The framing was relatively straight-forward and gave us the walls that determined the cabinetry sizes.

DRYWALL:Walls were finished

TILE: Tile floor heat was installed and beautiful medium grey Daltile was installed.

ELECTRICAL: Wires were run for the new ceiling lighting and heated floor plus we relocated a few switches, outlets as well as new under cabinet lighting.

PLUMBING: We had to bring everything up to code and since we were moving the sink and gas stove there was a bit of work to be done.

CARPENTRY:General carpentry needed to be done to prepare for…

CABINETRY:First the boxes go in before the countertops.

COUNTERTOPS:Structural steel was needed so that the overhang would work the way the client wants it.

PLUMBING final– sink faucet, ice maker and water disconnected from the temporary sink.

ELECTRICAL final – fixture install

CABINETRY final – doors, drawer fronts and upper cabinets.

PAINTER– who should always, always be last. It’s true, we did paint the ceiling before the cabinets were installed to avoid any drips and splatters.

APPLIANCE INSTALL– We wanted the wall behind the range painted so we waited to install this last. Plus is weighed about 500 pounds so moving it once was the plan. We did install all the other appliances so that the cabinetry could meet the appliances appropriately for the appliance panels.


And… That’s a wrap. We did this project in 8 weeks. The only thing that held up the project was the drywall drying and the dark cabinetry paint finish was a challenge to get perfect. But perfect is our middle name.

This was a very rewarding project, profitable and the client is thrilled – a win-win for all. And isn’t that always the goal? Let me know if you have a project that might fit in this profile and we can chat.


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