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Old 08-18-2012, 03:17 AM   #1
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Default Help me with my kitchen renovation

So I bought a new house, and I will have some renovation done before I move in.

Among the "musts" are:

- Maxjax lift in garage
- sound absorption and diffuser panels on (low) ceilings and behind speakers
- new 60" plasma
- window or solatubes for long dark hallway
- new paint for interior
- whole house fan
- radiant barrier in the attic

Now for the optional stuff:
- new floor to replace ugly dark brown cheap laminate floor
- sliding door to backyard
- kitchen renovation

I had a contractor in to give me a rough idea of the costs. I almost fainted when he told me the cost of a new kitchen. The damn thing costs more than all the rest of the renovation put together, including the termite and foundation repairs!

The kitchen is ugly and small - the renovation would tear down a partial (non load bearing) wall, to be replaced by a large island, with a hood over it. Granite countertops, and new cabinets. Not even relocation of the sink. $25k. That's a ******* first-year Cayman S! I get the impression that the cabinetry is the most expensive chunk of it. Why? I just don't get it!

The wife is considering paying for it - but ****, $25k can go into a lot of other things that would improve quality of life - like maybe expand the garage to put a lathe and welder in! And my wife doesn't even cook that much. The most time I spend in the kitchen is to juice vegetables. I don't get the fascination with nice kitchens!!!!!!!!!!!

So gays: is there a way to get 80% of the niceness of a full custom kitchen, at 50% of the cost? Just repaint the cabinetry?

The countertops are some kind of ugly brown stone now. The former owners had bad taste. The counters don't match the floor, parts of the interior have an ugly green color, the cabinets are original 1968, flat white ugly paint. The drawers don't even open smoothly, and they bang into each other. I don't care much about kitchens - my house now is smaller and just has ordinary tile for the kitchen counters, but despite that it looks better and is more spacious.

Help me get more bang for the buck here!
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:26 AM   #2
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Need pics of space.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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Granite countertops and custom cabinetry are $$$, no way around it.

It takes a lot of time for good carpentry work like that. Sorry to break it to you Jason, but good custom cabinetry is just expensive due to time.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:37 AM   #4
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pics...
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:33 AM   #5
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Yeah, need pics.

A cheap cheap option sounds like a ~$200-400 ikea island, tear out the wall yourself, paint the cabinets, and get new laminate countertops.

My gf and I got an ikea island. Pretty piece for chump change compared to the $2500 the builders wanted for a built in piece, although it would of had electrical.

Sounds like you have bigger plans for the kitchen than you need. If neither of you are big on cooking, see where you can cut costs.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:34 AM   #6
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I lucked out and found the guys that get hired by the contractor. I paid around $10000 to have my entire kitchen redone to about the same level that you are talking about plus moving some plumbing and combining two exterior windows into one. It was old and cramp and now it is massive. If you can look around to find the guys, you can save a lot of money. If you where in Houston, I could get you in touch with them.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:28 AM   #7
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granite tile countertops and install your own cabinets. it's not that hard. get a tivo season pass for "this old house" and "ask this old house" and stalk Tom Silva.

You could probably fill a kitchen with cabinets in two 12 hour days with two intelligent amateurs.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:34 AM   #8
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Have you considered Ikea or Costco for a custom kitchen?

If neither of you cook or dominantly eat at home then a high end custom kitchen is not for you. It will be nothing more than a very expensive conversation piece.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:06 PM   #9
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:47 PM   #10
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Top to bottom, are views left, center, right.

To the left is a door to the backyard.
To the right is a white fridge.
To the right is the wall I want to tear down.

Ignore the crap of the house sitters.





Attached Thumbnails
Help me with my kitchen renovation-left.jpg   Help me with my kitchen renovation-center.jpg   Help me with my kitchen renovation-right.jpg  

Last edited by JasonC SBB; 08-19-2012 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:19 AM   #11
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First off, whatever you do, don't hurt that garden window. they're super ungodly expensive. about 3-5x what a flat window runs.

Still think you could do it yourself once the structural work is done and the drywall is up.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:58 AM   #12
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Remove garden window, list on CL and profit. Agreed on cabinets- we pulled our nice ones, resprayed and reinstalled ourselves. Actually did the entire kitchen renovation ourselves. IMO the best tool is buying carpentry tools and learning the skills. Compressor, miter saw and nail gun have probably saved me more many than anything after pricing a room for trim. Btw- that flourescent ceiling light makes the room look far worse than it actually is. Lighting is key, simple and relatively inexpensive for the results.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
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I don't think selling that bay window(?) on CL will get me even half of what it was worth.

Are we discussing this in order to reclaim the wall space for cabinets?

The other window opens to a ledge that is for handing drinks out to the deck in the backyard.


I drove to the house and stared at the Cayman, er, kitchen for 15 minutes.

The wife cooks but not that often. I don't cook. So it's hard to justify $25k. She said "As we get older we will stay home and cook more often". Ya right. She makes fun of the untouched electric piano I bought so I would start practicing. Fat chance. If she *does* start cooking more often, *she* can pay for the damn big bucks renovation after her company goes public.


How's this for cost reduction:

- No knocking down of wall on the right, because this reduces storage space.
- Seal off the door to the backyard and put the fridge there. (A new sliding door from living room will be added for access)
- Add a pantry where the fridge is now. This solves the storage problem
- OR add pantry where door was and keep fridge where it is with its big ugly side visible from anywhere else in the house
- Find paint colors that makes the existing crap brown countertops look better. Maybe it's only fugly because it doesn't go with any of the other colors. Not even with the baby-**** green paint.
- repaint cupboards and cabinets
- OR replace just the cupboard and cabinet doors
- Replace all the door pulls and hinges
- with the money saved, redo ugly dark brown Pergo floor of the whole house - I like a light wood color laminate, and use ceramic tile for the kitchen, in a color that works with the existing countertops.
- then with other money saved, build these TheOrionSpeakers.com THAT is gonna be a house upgrade!!!
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:33 AM   #14
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That bay window reference was only my aversion to them. I think they're hideous- a lot like the pop-out sides on an RV. And for what, to stick plants in?

Sealing up the door sounds like a plan since that window provides some immediate access. And moving the frig to that spot would (hopefully) remove it from the traffic flow vs. where it's sticking out now.

Very much agree on painting the cabinets. Just did this for my mominlaw and it transformed her kitchen from the dark cave it was. A good paint choice could "fix" your distaste for the counters too. I'd swap for hidden hinges before doing the doors since they really don't have any offensive details.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:18 PM   #15
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Change the green to a smooth blue/grey & add a stainless fridge, and it looks just like my kitchen, meaning I like it. Wifey & I are odd though.

I'm pushing for a copper or rust/red-ish glass tile backsplash soon.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
How's this for cost reduction:

- Find paint colors that makes the existing crap brown countertops look better. Maybe it's only fugly because it doesn't go with any of the other colors. Not even with the baby-**** green paint.
- repaint cupboards and cabinets
- OR replace just the cupboard and cabinet doors
- Replace all the door pulls and hinges
- with the money saved, redo ugly dark brown Pergo floor of the whole house - I like a light wood color laminate, and use ceramic tile for the kitchen, in a color that works with the existing countertops.
This is along the lines of what I was going to suggest. You can replace the cabinet doors with something with more "architecture" than the flat panels you have now, to move them upscale. You can sand and paint the new doors and existing cabinets a different shade, possibly a much darker shade. I would stick with a brown, to tie in the countertop (which does not look bad to me). [Edit: Depending on the color of your paint and other items, you could consider a cherry or mahogany finish which might tie in some reds (via backsplash or wall color).]

Hardware like pulls and hinges can also go a long way to transforming them.

Something in a glass or travertine-style backsplash can also help tie in the countertop. Repainting that wall is a given. Consider replacing the blinds and shades as well.

I don't think the floor looks bad, but if your preference is something lighter, you could go for a cork or bamboo (or faux bamboo) in a lighter shade. That might tie in the counter and offset darker cabinets.


If neither of you cooks a lot and you don't entertain often, do not get sucked in by all the HGTV glamour of a badass kitched.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:06 PM   #17
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The cabinet doors have vertical grooves in them - zoom into the top pic to see them. Can they be made to look OK with just a new color and new hinges/pulls?

I wonder if I can save money and keep the floor in the whole house, and just buy some strategically colored area rugs to make the color work.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:43 PM   #18
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I have a friend who had doors with a few beaded grooves/striations that ran top to bottom, that were painted a pale yellow. I can't really pick up your detail that well, but probably similar door design. He had a dark-coffee colored transparent glaze put on them (paid a pro), and it darkened them up a little overall, but the glaze really settled into the grooves, and the contrast gave them a nice dimension and depth they didn't have before. It cost a couple grand for a kitchen around the size of yours - by far the cheapest option he could find. Changed the hardware too, and the difference is pretty big.

Probably depends on the paint that's on them now - his was a glossy enamel.

You could probably take a door off and ask a painter or a paint store if you could do it. His painter actually did a drawer front as a free test.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:08 AM   #19
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Kitchens are ungodly expensive.

Your existing countertop is fine, IMO, it's a neutral color. It's the rest of the kitchen making it look bad.

Repaint walls. Possibly repaint cabinets; replace the cabinet handles & drawer pulls to match. Upgrade lighting, fluorescents blow anywhere the lighting is important, especially the kitchen. Add task lighting underneath the cabinets Better lighting will make it more inviting. Having to do anything when the primary lighting is overhead and behind you, making you work in shadow, sucks.

Since neither of you are much into cooking don't spend much here. Just make it so you can live with it. Sunny warm yellowy colors are good kitchen colors, or whatever you like. That green is not.

Edit: cabinetry is expensive. It is very often custom, because kitchen dimensions are never the same. Workmanship and quality have to be high. Have you closely examined the cabinets? If you're lucky and they are hardwood you may be able to remove them and strip them, then stain them.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:26 AM   #20
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Extend wall to hide refer. New cabinet doors and hardware, new drawer slides. Paint walls and leave the counter top alone. New lighting. Maybe a free-standing hutch for more storage.
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