Hardest thing I did: Installing the floor. We got half of it down and realized the subfloor was not even. So we had to tear up flooring again, plane parts of the subfloor to make it level, and then reinstall the floor, which you can do with laminate.
Never again! I was trying to save money (of course) and I nailed the cabinets, ceiling panels, trim, shelves and more manually with a hammer. Never again! My husband bought me a compressor to use for nail guns for my birthday last year. Totally worth the money! Too late for the kitchen but such a time saver for current projects.
Leave it to a pro: I hired an electrician to put in recessed lighting and make sure everything was to code. He took care of wiring the recessed lights and installing new outlets—including one in the island that I renovated.
What I learned: I love working with power tools! Now, when I have an idea for something for the house, I can just make it myself—which is great because I have a lot of ideas.
I also learned to give my husband, Vinny, a say in design decisions because I wanted the house to be something that represented both of us. And it turns out he has great taste and a good eye for design!
Hack: I like to use things left over from other projects. I made the table for the dining nook from an old island base left from our previous house and a wood door I found at a salvage yard. I cut the door at an angle on each end to fit in the nook and then attached it to the base.