This is What a $20,000 Kitchen Renovation Looks Like
When I started this project, it was really hard to estimate how much a complete kitchen renovation would cost. Even after months of research, I never felt like I had a clear estimate of what our total renovation would cost and honestly, it made me a little uneasy. It was kind of like going to the doctor and waiting for the bill to come in the mail… It can be scary.
Before the project got started, I did a lot of research. I tried to get prices on everything I thought we would need. Because I watch too much HGTV, I knew that there was likely going to be expenses that we wouldn’t be able to anticipate. I made sure our contractor knew we were on a tight budget and asked for an estimate for each of the requests, for example how much will it cost to remove the soffit? How much will it cost to remove the pantry? I also really stressed that if something was going to cost more than he estimated, to let me know before he did it. Although I had a rough estimate of the total cost in my mind at the beginning, it wasn’t until we were in the last week of the renovation and the bills were coming in that I knew our true cost.
My main goal in writing this post is to help others going through the same process.
I know that your renovation won’t be exactly the same as mine, but I want to provide you with an ballpark estimate of what things could or should cost and a detailed list of all the little expenses we incurred that may not be obvious (like a garbage disposal, cabinet handles, lightbulbs, etc.) I won’t bore you with the details of how I decided what to buy (because I probably could write that into a short novel), but I will give you a complete breakdown of what I paid for everything and where I bought it. Additionally, if you subscribe, I will give you free access to “8 Easy Ways to Save Money On Your Kitchen Renovation.”
One last thing, I would like to be upfront and mention that this kitchen renovation happened in March 2013 at our old condo. We have since moved and thus I am limited to the photos that were previously taken (before my blogging days!)
The before and (Various stages of) Afters
The original kitchen is pretty much the opposite of “open concept.” There are no windows to the outside, only a doorway and a pass through into the kitchen. I grew up believing that the kitchen is the heart of the home. People tend to gather in there when food is being prepared, served, or dishes are being washed. Cooking in this kitchen made you feel isolated from everyone. One of our top priorities in this renovation was to open up the kitchen.
Walking into the original kitchen was like walking into a box. The kitchen felt cramped, even though it was a relatively large space. The soffit did not do us any favors. Early on we debated whether it was worth the nearly $1,000 to remove. I had these nightmares that there was some important pipe lurking inside the soffit, which would send my budget through the roof. We finally decided to bite the bullet and take our chances removing it, because not only does it make the kitchen feel dated, removing also allowed us to buy taller cabinets. The original cabinets were very dated, they weren’t the kind of cabinets that could be easily painted and brought back in style. The storage in the original kitchen was terrible, every corner cabinet in the kitchen was blind, meaning that some space in the cabinet was very difficult to access. After the renovation, both base corner cabinets had hinge doors. One of these became a lazy susan and the other a simple large corner cabinet. The upper corner cabinets became large angled door cabinets that held an enormous amount of kitchen supplies – a huge upgrade!
In this before picture is another example of terrible storage. As you entered the kitchen, on the right side there was a special overhang counter top installed and although counter top space is always nice, it made it very inconvenient to access the recessed cabinet below. In the end, we decided to get rid of the counter top here, because it made the kitchen feel more open and made the cabinet below easy to access.
The original pantry was small and contained wire shelves. The pantry was always full and because of this, usually quite disorganized. We also decided that if we removed the pantry and installed a large cabinet in its place that we could get more storage. By removing the wall between the pantry and fridge, we got 6 more inches of storage! One of my favorite things about this kitchen was the new pantry, I couldn’t believe I didn’t have a picture of the inside. It was simple wooden shelves (no pull out drawers), but it held so much more and was much easier to organize than my old pantry.
Special Features on a Budget:
Although we tried to save as much money as possible during the renovation, we found a few ways to make our kitchen “special.”
One way we did this was to install our $0.99 tile in a offset pattern, to give it more character.
The other way way to install a “custom backsplash.” So what exactly do I mean by custom? Well, I never found a backsplash I fell in love with, so I created my own! I took one simple ivory pattern that I thought was too “beige” on its own, and one with multi-colored brown tiles that I thought was too dark, and combined them! I made my husband cut the small tiles out of a few sheets, glue them on to small cardboard squares (so the two different types of tile were the same height) and then glue them together. Here Micah is happily making my backsplash dreams come true.
The Total Cost:
As I do with everything in life, I wanted to stretch our money as far as I could in this project. I wanted to make sure that we built a quality kitchen, that would stay in-style until the next owner renovated (perhaps not for another 30 years!)
The renovation took about 6 weeks to complete, which is when I started stocking my deep freeze with freezer meals. Throughout the 6 weeks, I only had access to a microwave, refrigerator, and crockpot! Click here to see how I stocked 2 months worth of freezer meals that only required a microwave or crockpot.
So here the numbers you’ve likely been waiting for.
We ultimately LOVED our kitchen. I should add that we debated doing this renovation for a long time and were considering having the renovation done “right before we moved.” My two cents – don’t wait. If you are going to design a kitchen and live through the renovation hardship – take the time to enjoy it yourself. Chances are, the next owner won’t have the same appreciation you do, for the kitchen YOU designed!
For roughly $20,000, we were able to do a complete kitchen renovation. I did a lot of research before starting this renovation and was able to save a decent amount of money. I have put together “8 Easy Ways to Save Money On Your Kitchen Renovation.” If you subscribe to my blog I will give you FREE access to this document. Ultimately, this was a very practical renovation (we didn’t carry out the labor ourselves) and therefore I believe it can be a good base line for others considering the same.
Have you carried out a kitchen renovation? What money saving tips did you uncover during your process? Share your thoughts below!
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