They changed their minds about moving, and hired Marc Van Steenlandt as an architect. They knew some of the changes they wanted to make, but he steered them in the right direction.
"Basically, we wanted to open (the kitchen) up, but as an architect he had more vision," Serey says as she gestures toward the new dining area off the kitchen.
They added about 250 square feet of space to create a breakfast nook from what used to be part of a deck. The architect gave them four drawings from which to choose.
"We really liked the octagon shape," Serey says.
The architect also opened up a narrow entry hall connected to the front part of the house by removing a closet.
Upstairs, they blocked the extra entrance to the bathroom and changed the closet around in the master bathroom. A new entrance was made from the hall into the master bedroom.
The next step was to find a builder, preferably one who could start in January. The Sereys were not completely satisfied with their choice.
"He did good work and was very creative but he took other jobs during ours," she says. "I can understand if we weren't living there but we were trying to live there through all this."
In the end, the builder did not finish the job. They had hoped to be finished by the end of May, but the job began in January 2002 and dragged on until February 2003.
During the renovation, the kitchen was gutted and the laundry room served as the kitchen.
"I had a microwave and a hot plate and I had the utility sink where I washed dishes."
As hard as the workers tried, it's almost impossible to keep down the mess and dust when gutting a room, Serey says.
"They tried to do a good job cleaning it up, but it was all over the house," she says.
One of Serey's recommendations is to pay by the job and not by the hour. She also advises to make sure the workers have insurance in case of injury. A third suggestion is to make sure you have written contract.
"Do not go with verbal contracts."
The Sereys were very pleased with the work of their cabinet builder, David Life of Perryville, whose business is Life Woodworking.
"He has since done work for us and gave us a time frame and came in on that time frame."
They had natural maple cabinets installed in the kitchen. The wallpaper is a grape pattern with brick red in the background. Wendy Todd of Perryville helped coordinate the fabric.
"I knew what I wanted but I do need somebody to say yes or no," Serey says.
She continued the grape theme with wine holders and a grape arrangement above the cabinets. Petals and Vines made the arrangements.
Serey, who believes in buying locally as much as possible, chose a quartz composite countertop from Lowe's. It blends the colors of brown, black and tan. She decided on this material rather than marble.
"Marble you have to treat. This you don't have to do anything."
In addition to enjoying her new cabinets, Serey likes the appliances she chose. Two ovens were installed in the kitchen, one with a warming drawer.
"If I need to keep dinner warm if one of the kids is late or if Tom's late, it's handy."
Her dishwasher is divided so that she can do a small load in one part.
For flooring, they chose wood and heated tile, which helps lower the gas bill. Majors Floor Covering on Stanford Road did all the installation in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom.
In making the renovations, the plumbing received a much-needed update from Central Kentucky Plumbing.
"We had some lead pipes and now we have pv and copper."
The master bathroom now features a whirlpool tub and a shower. The shower is located where a walk-in closet had been.
Now that Nicholas no longer has an entrance to the master bathroom, the boys share a bathroom. It was changed by having old tile removed and drywall installed. A corner cabinet was built and the cabinetmaker made the vanity match the old top so a new countertop was not necessary. The old cast-iron tub was cleaned and spray-painted to look like new.
"It's actually an airplane paint they use," Serey says.
In painting all the new drywall and trim, Serey hired Patrick Cooper and highly recommends him. Mark's Electric worked on the electrical needs.