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A Tale of Two Kitchens. The Kitchen Renovation of the Smarts and the Knowbettas

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” for two couples who worked with Main Line Kitchen Design.

Both Bob and Jenny Smart and Craig and Lisa Knowbetta began considering their kitchen renovations in late June.

[Note – Ladies and Gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent]

The Smarts went on the internet and began reading reviews of kitchen cabinet dealers and spent time on the websites and Pinterest looking at photos of kitchens evaluating the styles and colors of other people’s choices. The Knowbettas wanted to get things moving. Thinking they would save money; they gutted their kitchen themselves to get a “feeling for the space”. Lisa Knowbetta began working on a design using software she found online.

After about a week, the Smarts finished their research on kitchen designers and cabinet dealers.

Based on the reviews they read, they made their first appointment with Main Line Kitchen Design. Inside the Knowbettas home, Craig Knowbetta having recovered from an electrical shock and a few stitches, finished gutting the kitchen while Lisa continued trying out different layouts on her free online software.

floor plan for Lisa's kitchen renovation

Lisa and Craig’s progress

demolition for kitchen renovations
Watch a 211 second stop action video of an 8 week kitchen renovation. This viral video has been viewed in 185 countries. Click here or on photo.


About a month into their kitchen projects, the Smarts had completed their preliminary kitchen designs with one of Main Line Kitchen Design’s designers and were awaiting estimates from the contractors Main Line Kitchen Design and a neighbor had recommended.

The Knowbettas were having trouble getting contractors to give them bids on their project.

They thought they were seeing why contractors got such a bad rap.  What the Knowbettas didn’t understand was that contractors are hesitant to take on the risk of projects with rudimentary and incomplete designs like the one Lisa had produced.

By mid-August, the Smarts had selected their contractor and were finalizing the plans on their beautiful kitchen. The Knowbettas were surprised by how expensive the construction quotes turned out to be. The contractor they hired took their deposit and told them he could start when the cabinets were ready to be delivered. Then using printouts of Lisa’s design, the Knowbettas began getting cabinet pricing from different showrooms and home centers.

School began in September with the Smarts already having ordered their cabinets, appliances, countertops and flooring.

Their start date for construction was October 1st. The Knowbettas were finding that kitchen design centers had serious issues with Lisa’s design. The project was turning out more expensive than planned and the family was still living in a construction zone. Dan was also frustrated that his new car had been dented in the Lowes parking lot.

On October 1st construction began on schedule for the Smarts. The Knowbettas were still confused, having problems fixing design issues with their kitchen and finding a cabinet line and door style they could afford. They resorted to going online and found a highly rated cabinet dealer and design firm in their area and called Main Line Kitchen Design.

Months after starting their project, the Knowbettas found themselves where the Smarts had been back in early July!

Main Line Kitchen Design measured the space they had demolished more than three months ago, worked on designs, and gave them detailed pricing for their project. The good news was that the new kitchen design was more beautiful and functional than any design they had gotten from home centers. Best of all the cabinet costs were less! A mixed blessing was that Main Line Kitchen Design informed them that their installation quote could have been less but knew their contractor and that he did good work. By November the Knowbetta design was finalized, and the cabinets were ordered. Their contractor scheduled construction to start after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving at the Smarts following their successful kitchen renovationj
Thanksgiving at the Smarts

On Thanksgiving the two families had very different holidays.

Family and friends enjoyed a wonderful meal hosted in the Smarts new kitchen. Compliments flowed and the Smarts had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday. The Knowbettas traveled to enjoy the holiday with out-of-town family. A nice break since they had now been without a kitchen for nearly 5 months and didn’t expect their construction to be finished until early January.

In the end both families got great kitchens but had very different experiences.

All kitchen designers know that the people who get a finished kitchen first are never the people that start first. They are the ones who planned the most BEFORE starting.

Looking forward to providing you with a Smart kitchen and, of course . . .

Bon Appetite!

Paul, Julie, Chris, Ed, Lauren, Jeremy, Camilla, Juliet and Mark

Below are some relevant blogs you should read BEFORE beginning a kitchen renovation:

Reasons NOT to buy cabinets from kitchen contractors.

The IKEA Effect: A Phenomenon That Drives Kitchen Designers Crazy!

2 Replies to “A Tale of Two Kitchens. The Kitchen Renovation of the Smarts and the Knowbettas”

  1. Joan

    I really don’t understand the location of the refrigerator. It appears to be really far away from the cooking and prep area. The colors and materials, etc. are beautiful.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joan,
      A kitchen layout is always about choosing between the issues you want to live with. In this design the refrigerator is a little far away. However anywhere else would have made the kitchen look smaller and closed in as opposed to built-in. If one appliance needs to be a little far away, the refrigerator is the one to pick as the refrigerator is used many time throughout the day by people not preparing meals. If you are making the refrigerator closer to the table while moving it away from food prep it can balance it’s overall convenience.

  2. Bristol Builders Network

    I love island kitchens. What a fantastic makeover!

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