Champagne Kitchen Remodels On A Beer Budget

Posted on January 30, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Kitchen remodels are expensive. Every time I watch HGTV, I see people spending tens of thousands of dollars. Last night, three couples spent $70,000 each. SEVENTY! After watching, I have to say, I feel quite proud of myself. I spent under $15,000.

OK, $15,000 is still a lot of money. But if you need something done, and you want it to be good, you have to spend some money. The trick, though, is to spend the least but get the most. Here’s what we did:

Shop around. I decided to go with a big box store eventually (after having a problem with an individual company with our windows) and chose Home Depot. I really liked the designer I consulted with. However, you should still consider and interview other companies in your area for the best deals.

Rethink those appliances. Do they all really need replacing? Do you have to have the top of the line? What features are most important to you that you desire? In our case, we had to replace all of our appliances. We started with our refrigerator. It was small compared to modern versions, the white color was dingy, it was old, and frankly, it was just gross. But refrigerators are expensive, upwards of over $2,000 to $3,000. I’ll pay that when I can drive it. We “compromised” with a more current slightly used model we found using Craigslist. It was a larger size, side by side, stainless steel, had a water/ice feature in the door, it was clean and in excellent condition, and it was only $750. Remember, this was also tax-free, and the gentleman we purchased it from volunteered to deliver it to our home as well…free delivery. What’s good for the goose… I was also able to clean up that old thing and sold it on Craigslist for a $100. Apparently, it will make a good beer cooler. One man’s trash makes my newer refrigerator only $650 now.

The dishwasher and stove were also replaced. We had an old coil stove that had two broken burners and a broken corner, and the dishwasher…well, smoke is just not my idea of clean. I prefer water, personally. Because these items are used in a much different way, we did decide to buy them new. We went midway in the pricing range on each. I did spend more for a stove because it has a warming drawer, but I also knew I would use it, and it was worth it to me. We got the appliances on sale 10% off. We also had to add a microwave to the kitchen since there was none, and they save tons of energy. The microwave brand also had an instant rebate during the store sale, so we were also able to get an additional 10% back. All of our new appliances were also Energy Star-rated, saving us money on future electric bills.

Take advantage of free services. Home Depot’s ideas and designs for kitchen cabinets are free. I could have hired a designer separately, but why pay? She told me I could meet with her as many times as I wanted until the design she created was exactly what I want. I did eventually pay $120 for professional measurements through Home Depot, but this was also refunded later with my purchase, so measurements were also free (Do you sense a pattern here?). Advice, recommendations, and tips on where you can “cut the fat” can really help you with staying within your budget without sacrificing quality.

Combine sales and deals. We saved copious amounts of money by simply shopping at the right time. When is that? Well, in this case, the store and cabinet manufacturer were working together. If we purchased within a specified timeframe, we could save up to $6400. Because I had been watching the weekly advertisements in the newspaper, I knew this was the best deal. Prior to then, it was up to $5,000. A deal that came out after was only up to $6,000.  Originally, we qualified to save $2,400. However, because we were less than $500 away from the next tier, it actually made more financial sense to spend more because the rebate was $3200. We ended up getting more features and product for less money that the original order! But it gets better: The manufacturer was offering a free base sink cabinet. This alone saved us over $800. As well, if you use their installation company, there is no sales tax.

Features and more…or less. One of the ways you can save money is by choosing your cabinet features wisely. I looked at every cabinet door style Thomasville offered, identified what I liked, and then I looked at the prices. Some of the styles were so similar, yet the prices were so far apart! I really wanted a raised door style, so I went with the prettiest but least expensive. As a result, I saved about 35%. Consider the type of wood you prefer to use. Because our cabinets are painted, we needed to go with Maple. Depending on your desired finish (paint or stain), other woods include cherry, oak, birch, hickory, pine, alder, and more. Veneers and Laminate/Thermafoil are less expensive options if you are interested. I also saved money by getting a partial overlay instead of a full overlay. This was great because I prefer a more traditional style. We did not get the “froo-froo” extras, such as corbels, feet, wine racks, plate racks, baskets, columns, hoods, decorative legs, or appliance panels. These design elements can eat up anyone’s budget in a snap. Choose your options wisely. Glass inserts are a beautiful option. Because I do have a budget to stay within, but I do like glass, I opted to get some glass for the upper cabinetry, but not all. I decided to get glass inserts in two upper cabinets that were next to the kitchen window, which aesthetically is very pleasing, but it also extends the window, making it appear larger than it is. By the way, we found out that it was actually cheaper to add mullions to the glass than to go without. It didn’t make any sense to us (or the designer who looked it up), but I will happily take more for less. Besides, they are removable! We did get moulding above the cabinets, but after looking at several floor models, we decided that we did not need it under the cabinets. Not only would the materials cost have increased, but so would the labor. We also learned that this (and numerous other extras) can be purchased and added at a later date should we decide to change our look. Have committment issues? Then get a floating island! I decided to remove our existing peninsula (which I kept running into) and replace it with a floating island, thereby creating more surface and storage space. And because of the lack of permanence, I can change it out easily if desired. Additionally, after a few phone calls, we discovered that we could order the island without it’s standard butcher block top. This saved us over $180. Now we can add the top of our choice, including granite or other natural stone remnant bargains that abound if you look for them. I could have saved money by getting partial wood where particle board is used, but I opted for full wood construction. After reading an article in This Old House Magazine, I decided to go with their recommendation. The construction is stronger, more durable, and should we ever have an issue with water, the cabinets will not turn to mush.

Do it yourself. I am not a great DIY-er, but I can hang shelves. We were quoted a price for installation labor. I didn’t like it. As it turns out, there were a few things that we can do ourselves, and you can do them, too. First, we saved $800-$1,000 just to knock out the existing cabinets on our own. Now, isn’t that a great stress reliever? Bonus! Next, we found out that they charge for hanging up the glass shelves inside the cabinets. You know, they sit on those metal pegs. They also charge to “install” a bread drawer lid. I checked it out on a store model, and it simply slides in from the back. I’ll do those things myself, thank you.

Got connections? We don’t have a lot of space in the house (1,396 square feet total), so we decided to take advantage of some wasted vertical space. To do this, we decided to knock out the empty soffits above the old cabinets. This costs money, but that’s where our friend “Jimmy” comes into play. Time to return a favor, friend! “Jimmy,” who is in the construction business, will be saving us hundreds of dollars on deconstruction. Further, we will now have more usable space, adding to the value of our house and our quality of uncluttered living, for free!

Consider gently used items. You already know that our refrigerator is second-hand. But did you know that you can buy a complete kitchen used? Many people are updating their kitchens now, realizing that in the current market they either need to make their house more sellable, or make it more livable, until matters improve. Because of this, you can go online or look for ads in your local newspapers to find the no longer desired kitchens for sale. My favorite, Craigslist, has posted several today. Some feature only upper and lower cabinets, others include the appliances, lighting, and counters as well! And let me tell you: there is nothing wrong with a used granite counter top. Even if it is the wrong size, if large enough to work with, you can have any countertop dealer cut it to your needs. Chances are that the price for used granite and a re-cut will be cheaper than buying it brand new. Granite is thousands of years old already and was trampled on by the dinosaurs, so what’s a few more years of use? Remember, too, that you are helping the environment by saving items that would normally go to your local dump. Reduce, reuse, recycle!    

On a related note… Consider donating your used items. If they’re not trashed, and you don’t plan to resell them, someone else can probably use them. Some people use old cabinets for their garage and basements. Charitable organizations refurbish items for people in need. Give to your favorite organization, or try a new one such as Global Giving. You might even be able to deduct your donations for a tax write-off. Giving is just good for everyone.

Other options? Unfortunately, our cabinets, faucet, sink, and appliances were pretty far gone. Water should come out of the spout, not the side, and water-damaged cabinets that bow in the middle don’t hold china very well. However, you may be able to do some simple upgrades inexpensively. Try changing out the old hardware for an updated look and better function. I tried that, but to no avail. But I did find several knobs, pulls, and hinges I liked online for cheap. Ebay is just one place to look for hardware and other kitchen items. Try other online stores such as Plumber Surplus , eFaucets , or Kitchen Source . Repaint your cabinets. Paint is cheap, but the look doesn’t have to be. Twenty dollars a gallon can really stretch your buck far. My new cabinets are painted white with an heirloom glaze. You can copy that look with a couple of cans and a couple of brushes. Paint is very forgiving. If you don’t like it, just paint over it. Have you thought about refacing your cabinets? You can get veneers installed right over your existing cabinets. As an alternative, you can also just order new doors. Simply attach the new doors to the existing cabinet space. If the interior is good, this is a perfect choice. Just make sure the doors match the cabinets, or get full-overlay doors to cover them. Is the problem that the interiors just don’t function well for you? You can buy accessory inserts to attach to the insides of your cabinets. Pull-out waste baskets and recycling bins, sliding shelves and drawers, racks that attach to the doors and more are available. Try stores like IKEA and Lee Valley in addition to the big guys.

Got Coupons? By the way, did you know that many of these stores give out and accept coupons? They’ll even take competitor coupons! If you really want to work it, you can even consider getting the store credit card for additional savings. I’ll be talking more in-depth about coupons in one of my upcoming blog posts. I’ll need another week just for that discussion alone.

The major point here is that whatever will make your life easier, simpler, more pleasing, and more organized is worth an investment, but do so by investing the least amount of your money as possible. It’s an investment in yourself, your family, your home, and your future. Do invest, just invest wisely. Looking for sales, rebates, coupons, freebies, using a little elbow grease, and shopping around can help you achieve your dreams.


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

One Response to “Champagne Kitchen Remodels On A Beer Budget”

RSS Feed for The Richer Pincher Comments RSS Feed

Shannon, I am enjoying your blog. This is cool, and timely, since we’re talking about replacing our cabinets sometime in the future. Great ideas & tips 🙂

Where's The Comment Form?

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11 other followers

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: