Saving Money

seydouxFebruary 1, 2013

I am sure with the wealth of information here many of you have great ideas. While I want a quality kitchen, a thousand dollars a linear foot is just ridiculous.(in my humble opinion)So, if I want a quality kitchen, but I want to watch the costs, what should I do? What elements are necessary, and what can be left out? I do not mean particle board, but things like organizers, types of counter top material, etc. So what ideas have all of you used? I have redone several houses before and I know that it is what I don't know that hurts me. (say change order anyone?) Thanks for input

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Sophie Wheeler

You want to save the most money? Keep what you have. That's also the greenest choice. Seriously. If you can just paint what you have DIY and put some new pulls and knobs, that's the easiest and cheapest kitchen redo.

If that won't do, then you have to define the scope of the project first. Do you want new cabinets? That's half of your budget. That can be 10K or 100K. New appliances? That can be 6K or 30K. Counters can be 1K for DIY laminate or 10K for a pretty marble.

So, if you want to save money, you reign in YOU! Scope creep and trying to fit in this forum's "must haves" will destroy the budget if YOU let it happen. If you're weak willed, stop reading here immediately! If you're creative and can use what you read to improve the function without getting caught up in the "everyone has that" then you'll be fine, if you've got the right expectations.

The thing is, you have a realistic budget from the beginning. 1K a linear foot is a budget kitchen redo if you're talking all new cabinets counters, appliances, lighting, flooring. It's so budget that I'm not sure that it's at all doable without being all DIY and builder grade. Average kitchen redos are around 40K for just replacing like with like. 15% of your home's value and some DIY if you want to keep costs under control is a good goal for a "budget" kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:22AM
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Well said, Hollysprings.

I would add that it is really important to define what your top priority or goal is before starting -- what is it that you want MOST from the renovation? Let that priority, we'll call "X", be a part of every decision you make in the process. With each decision (and there will be a bazillion) ask, "Will incorporating Y move me closer to my goal of X? If so, it may be worth spending the extra money/eliminating another item to include Y. If not, then it's easier to walk away from it, however cool/gorgeous/nifty Y is. Be sure that every purchase and design decision in your renovation serves the primary goal, if it doesn't then it's an ideal place to cut costs by eliminating it or going with a more affordable (less cool/gorgeous/nifty) alternative.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I want a quality kitchen

Can you define what "a quality kitchen" means to you?

How does it differ from what you are currently cooking in?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Thank you for responding. First, I want to say using a percentage of the home value as a measure is as ridiculous to me as saying that an engagement ring needs to be 2 months wages. And why do you need to put budget in quotation marks as if it is a sin?
A quality kitchen to me has well made cabinets, as I stated, not cabinet board and good appliances. What I was trying to find out is are there tradeoffs like, different woods or different style cabinets which reduce the price without reducing the quality. I have done 4 kitchen remodels before, but nothing as extensive as this house requires. We have a 1960's builder grade kitchen with the range vent venting into the soffit. The kitchen requires a total gut.Sorry there is no saving it, I am not even sure if Habitat would accept the waste. And I don't think the $1000 a linear foot is reasonable for cabinets, sorry. So I was seeing input as to which brands would give a well made cabinet but maybe with out the Rutt price tag, or is it better to go with an Amish builder? In other words, I would prefer to pay for quality construction, not name recognition. This will be quite expensive enough as it is. Holly, we will probably exceed the $40 k. Also have any of you found ways to purchase high end appliances at better prices? Saying, that on our last remodel, we purchased an Asko dishwasher and Thermadore downdraft that we nothing but repair headaches. It seems as if some people are saying the same for sub-zero. So are there lesser known brands of appliances that really are quality? This is the type of input I was hoping to get, how have creative solutions helped some of you to get a great kitchen while not breaking the bank?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Realistically, here's my example. This kitchen:

plus these dining room cabinets:

cost around $25,000 going nearly all DIY. This includes the removal of a stub wall where the pantry is now. This kitchen is 12 ft. long and the plumbing stayed where it was except for the gas connection for the stove which moved over about 6 inches. We did hire a plumber to move the gas and re-connect the dishwasher and new sink. Only the refrigerator was replaced; we kept the stove and DW. Where could we have saved money?

*going with less expensive cabinetry. We spent $14,000 on cabinets (incl. discounts, etc), but we could have gotten that down by choosing a different line or going with RTA. There was just a good thread on good lower cost cabinets recently which you should check out. If you are willing to forgo lower drawers, that also reduces the cost...but you'll be sorry. We didn't order any special drawer/cupboard organizers, although we built a couple. The pantry was a more expensive choice than not having one, but that's just cutting off your nose to spite your face! We did order some finished interiors and sides, but some of those were comped - different lines regularly have special deals, and I think some of the finished things were on special when we purchased.

*not upgrading the lighting. Between the electrician and the lights themselves, it cost around $3000, including the attached dining room. On the other hand, I consider this one of the best parts of the reno. Under cabinet lights are also one of the better ideas of the century. See the light switch to the right of the dining room cabinets? It didn't used to be there. When we came in from the garage, we had to navigate in the dark to the switch over by the peninsula. Who thought that was a good idea?! We also moved the outlet that was in the center of that wall over to the right of the cabinets so it could actually be used for the first time in the existence of this house.

*choosing a laminate counter, but not one of the premium ones. Our granite was right at $4000, but there are perfectly good laminates available and it may well be the better choice for reasons other than just cost.

*doing a painted backsplash. We had a painted backsplash for 40 years and it worked just fine. It's also easy to change the color! If you really want a tiled backsplash, there are less expensive choices at Home Depot or Lowe's, but a good chunk of the cost is still install. We did it ourselves.

*doing a less expensive floor. We used bamboo which is definitely pricey. Other choices would have been perfectly adequate and less expensive.

*glass inserts: either don't do them or order the cabinets "glass ready" and purchase the glass locally, which is what we did. We ordered clear panes with beveled edges at the local glass place. We also ordered safety glass for the lower inserts which is significantly more expensive. OTOH, we also have a preschool grandson, who is what is delicately referred to as "a busy child," and an infant granddaughter who is very likely to also be "busy." (That's code for hyper. Hey, every child who ever passed through our family is hyper and they're all superior people. Hyperactivity can be a good thing - it leads to stuff like reno-ing your own kitchen/house.) None of these "premium" choices was absolutely necessary. We also installed the inserts ourselves, which is a breeze.

*choosing less expensive pulls/knobs. Actually, ours were only in the $2 each range, so it would be hard to go lower. We chose those by preference for the product rather than budget - we were just lucky on that one. This hardware can really add up, though, if what you desire is something fancy from, say, Restoration Hardware. We got ours from San Diego Hardware where there are a zillion choices, some of which are in the $40-70 each range. Yikes!

Here is a link that might be useful: thread on lower cost cabinets

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:05PM
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We cross posted. One thing that occurs to me is that you need to go back and look at the various threads on plywood vs. what you're calling "cabinet board" (it has different names). Somewhere in there I wrote a really good post on what exactly those materials are, but there are lots of strong opinions on cabinet construction materials.

Love the vent that vents into the soffit! Who does that? You might save a goodly amount by at least doing your own demo. It's kind of therapeutic.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:18PM
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I've done plenty of kitchens for a 10K budget, using stock cabinets, apartment grade appliances, vinyl floor, and laminate counters. But, you're not really talking about doing a budget kitchen here when you're talking about doing Thermador or SubZero, etc. And you can't put choices like that right next to site built "custom" cabinets with all of the trash and insects in the finish. There has to be some consistancy in the level of choices across the board.

Sure, you can do scratch and dent appliances to save some money. You can skip the glass in the glass cabinets. You can choose oak and a recessed panel instead of cherry and a raised panel. But, that's peanuts in the remodeling world. The big money savings comes from not moving stuff around or tearing out walls or choosing an upper end kitchen in the first place!

There is no magic bullet to getting a champagne kitchen on a beer budget other than doing a LOT of work DIY. And that takes more time and more toll on you to do. It takes time, or money to get high quality. It's the old saying, "fast, good, and cheap." Pick two. You can't have all three.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:45PM
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I would figure out what your ideal kitchen looks/feels like and then figure out what your budget is. Then sit down and reconcile the two. We had good luck with a custom cabinetmaker--cost about $300/LF for high-quality wood cabinetry in a pricey area, which we couldn't come close to matching with big brand cabinets. So that's one thing that can help, especially if you are near Amish country, as it sounds like you might be. But a lot of the other things are either choices you make based on constraints, or items to phase in later (e.g., counters that you can replace or appliances you can update down the road if it's not in the budget now). Get the layout right now and budget for any systems work. Then see what's left, and figure out where you would most like to spend it.

We DIYed a lot of things, which saved on average 50% of the cost for anything we did that way (including GCing the project, which I'm very glad we did--it was the only way to get what we wanted for the amount we were able and willing to spend--but wouldn't do again!) So that's another way to save money, but it costs you time and energy.

Good luck! If you bring your plan back here, I'm sure the layout gurus will weigh in with thoughts and advice on how to work within the budget you set. We benefited a huge amount from that help, too, since this is our first house and the kitchen was our first big remodel. I didn't quite realize how much I'd gained/learned from the experience until I started working on our current project (thankfully nowhere near the effort/cost/headache!)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:59PM
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"an engagement ring needs to be 2 months wages" - an arbitrary amount set by jewellery stores so that your fiance spends a bunch of money on something so that he doesn't come across as a cheapskate.

"using a percentage of the home value as a measure" - used as an industry guesstimate so that you don't over improve for the neighbourhood.

Both are personal choices and do indeed depend on your "budget". Budget can be DIY or extravagant. We all have a budget whether it be one or the other.

We did our kitchen renovations based on quality but there were certain things we wanted. We had a good-sized budget but only because we needed (Wanted) to move walls, add windows and to raise our ceilings. Now, if you are leaving your footprint exactly as is and with no structural changes then yes there are ways of controlling costs.

Do stained cabinets. Painted cabinets and those with glazing come with a surcharge. We did go with solid wood (plywood) boxes but we are in our house for the long-haul and actually the surcharge for that wasn't very much.

Don't get caught up in fancy frou-frous. They may look pretty but add up quickly so, no columns, no glass inserts, standard depths for your cabinets and standard heights for them as well. If you have 9' ceilings taking them to the top gets expensive. Look at the inter net for buying things like taps and sinks or craigs list if you really have to have that hammered copper sink.

The only add-one that is definitely worth buying and paying for is DRAWERS. Put drawers in the kitchen and I don't mean roll-out-shelves. I mean drawers. Save somewhere else, put off installing the backsplash until you can save the money BUT put in those DRAWERS. Ask anyone and they will tell you the same thing.

If you are going with granite as your counter only look at price grade A and don't get seduced by the more exotic expensive ones. Same with the silestones or ceasarstone. There are some fabulous new laminates that people are using. Look at them. Use plywood until you can get the counter that you covet - many have done that.

For appliances look for Dent sales at warehouse stores. We have GE appliances and they perform very well. You need to be honest with your cooking skills and how much you really like to cook. Don't, again, get seduced by the fancy names, (although I wish I had gone with a 36" range but that's another story)

Hardware - We bought ours through Lee Valley and they are very reasonably priced.

The big thing is just to research and and know exactly what you want before beginning. Have everything purchased so that "budget creep" doesn't begin to rear it's ugly head and empty your wallet before you are finished.

If you've done this before you know what drives a budget up - it's the fancy things that people (salesclerks), designers, magazines, coveting your neighbours, tell you you have to have. Do it for yourself and no one else.

The one place we did not skimp is on good workmanship. We went with a GC who had excellent recommendations and we trusted him and his crew. Was that more expensive - yes but my DH and I are not in the least bit DIY and we needed to sleep at night. We sleep at night.

The most beautiful kitchens often shown here and the ones I envy the most are the well-thoughtout, well-executed on a smaller budget DIY kitchens.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Lol will go with good and reasonable. No, my original question was how to manage costs on a quality kitchen, not a budget one. Some of the posters have gotten quotes as high as $1000 a linear foot just for the cabinets. We have time as long as we don't use the vent, I am afraid of 40 years of grease in the soffit. You did answer some of the questions, ordering frames and not doors with the glass already in them. You have said that ordering doors rather than drawers is probably not worth the minimal savings. that is really what I was trying to understand, what parts are worth paying for and what are the icing on the cake?
And yes we will probably do the demo ourselves, not much there any way. There is currently only 10 feet of cabinets.
I guess I am confused as to your comment about the cabinets, there are quite a few great Amish cabinet makers in the area who are quite reasonable, I have not heard any of the posters who used them complain about the quality. or are there any semi custom lines that have quality construction that make them a better buy? Also can the layout affect the cost?
Suzannes I especially appreciated your post. You showed what you chose and why you chose it. We aren't doing a laminate level kitchen, but enumerating your choices was great. Also, I think that other members may really learn from what you said. Many thanks to you from me and all of the others who will read it.
I guess I am trying to get champagne for the cost of red wine, and not Chateau Lafite.
Again many thanks.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:27PM
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ty blfenton and artemis those are the type of things I am trying to understand, as I said, in the past it is what I did not know that bit me, and you know where. As soon as I figure out how to make chief architect work, I will post the layout. we do have costs for opening walls that are necessary so the budget will be generous, I am just trying to keep it form being insane. I will GC as I have done it before and we have some great craftsmen who are working on other aspects of the house. I do know to leave an oh sh*** element to the budget too as it is a 200 year old house. thanks again

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Make friends with the local appliance store sales person. They can keep you posted on items that might be floor samples that are being replaced, or some stores have appliances that they take to shows, and after a couple of times they need to take the next model, so the one in the warehouse becomes available. These are not things that are advertised, you need to ask.

And as others have said, scratch and dent. Last kitchen that was a $22k reno (we kept and painted cabinets in addition to adding new ones) and we were able to get our fridge (48" Thermador) for 1/2 price because it had a tiny scratch on it. We shopped sales, kept our eye out on eBay for things.

Don't forget to get the cabinetry priced by a custom cabinet maker. You might be surprised. I see everybody mentioning about not doing glass to save money, but in our case glass doors were the same as wooden doors. Our cabinetmaker also didn't charge any differently for paint vs stain. Many times people meet with a custom cabinetmaker thinking they would never be able to afford one, but sometimes, it works out to your advantage.

Where are you located? I'm sure if you start a thread asking for suggestions in your specific area, you will get a lot of feedback. The one thing about GW kitchens in my opinion is that you don't find anybody on here who just throws their money away. We all make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck, no matter how many bucks!


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Molly Phillips

"that is really what I was trying to understand, what parts are worth paying for and what are the icing on the cake?"

I am not through with our kitchen...haven't actually started demoing, actually, so I'm not much help with where to save/where to spend, exactly.

What I can tell you, based on my experience here, is be careful. There are such strong opinions on this board and I have read about almost EVERY.SINGLE.ITEM - "this is where you should not cut corners." If I listened each time, I'd easily have a $80k kitchen. I can't do that.

So you do need to pick your battles on some things. For us, we went with Ikea bases but wood door/drawer fronts. This is after I read over and over how important it is to get great cabinets because they last a lifetime, yada yada. I spent hours looking up dovetailed drawers, particleboard vs. plywood, etc. Read the same thing about sinks, even - "because once it's under your stone counter, it's there." I understand everyone's point and they are all valid and definitely educated but at some point I had to draw a line and say, "that's great, but this is what we have to do for US."

Hope that makes sense. Also, where you are makes a big difference in savings, IMO. Going back to the cabinets, we're not around Amish makers so while I kept reading about how awesome those cabs are, unless we had them shipped, it wasn't happening.

Personally, I wouldn't skimp on time to find the right layout or the venting. But I guess you know that or you wouldn't be here. I also wouldn't skimp on lighting because I'm big on lots of good light. But that's just my personality....someone else wouldn't skimp on a great fridge. You just have to make the decision that's right for you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Where are you located? Some people have found local custom shops who beat the semi-custom cabinet prices.

Also take a look at the thread I linked below where forum members outlined pricing of various cabinet companies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet Pricing

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:08PM
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As always, Bee has some great advice.

It sounds like you have done several renovations in the past and are looking for advice in planning out what is the most cost-efficient means to spend money on a quality renovation. I think we are in a similar situation.

Here's a few things I can add, based on my projects:

a. Taking out a wall like you need to do can be relatively inexpensive, and far less than the variation of spending on cabinets or high end appliances. Adding onto the footprint can be very expensive. Taking out a load-bearing wall can be relatively inexpensive, but not if it requires relocating a lot of plumbing or in my case, a vent stack, hot water heater, engineering reports, and architect drawings. Leaving in a 2nd seven foot section of a second wall saves about $7K in my situation.
b. As you know, you'll have to spend money renovating electrical and lighting. You can't really scrimp here - it's call code and personal safety. You can quickly overspent on fit and finish on fixtures, however. Choosing a slightly less desirable Halo LED trim will save me $1000 because the utility company is sponsoring this one, and not the one I originally selected.
c. After fixing variables like wood boxes/doors, plywood sides, inset construction, paint/stain, and mortise-tenon dovetail joints, I found the pricing between cabinet lines and site-built custom cabinets varied by 2x. I chose a modular line that mixes stock sizes with full-custom designs, but based on the same construction materials. I found that variables like the # of drawers, glass fronts, etc only wiggled the total costs.
d. Appliances are the next variable. I chose to go to a slide in fridge, as I'm wary of the up front cost and longevity of a built-in. It's still a high end brand and comes with a trim kit that hides the gaps between the cabinet and the fridge. My total configuration is about $12K and includes a pretty high end range. My other configuration with a built-in ran $17K -- buying the "best of" recommendations here for a similar needs set was over $25K
e. On counters, I'm finding unless I venture to exotic granites or quartzites, all the costs are within $1K, once I picked a fabricator. Going exotic could easily add $5K to my budget
f. I'm reserving my design budget for items that have the best impact. Things that can be easily changed or upgraded are the first to have cost-compromises made. As others pointed out, hardware is one of these. For me, hanging lights are another. I am going spendy, however, on a backsplash behind the range. A small area with a bit impact. Field tile... less so. Instead of building a banquette, I'm using ready-made furniture pieces in a custom-colors.
g. Labor: I found contractors willing to call out certain optional items, so I could make an assessment what is worth it. This time, I've having them do all the work, including all finish painting and demo. I've done these in the past, but they don't work into our schedules now. I've also acted as my own GC, and as you know, that typically saves you 18 to 30%.

This post was edited by gooster on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 15:23

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Oak is cheaper than maple is cheaper than cherry is cheaper than walnut.

A plain stain is cheaper than a stain plus a glaze is cheaper than paint is cheaper than paint plus a glaze is cheaper than paint plus glaze plus distressing.

30" wall cabinets are cheaper than 36" are cheaper than 42" are cheaper than 48".

Wall cabinets are cheaper than base cabinets are cheaper than tall cabinets are cheaper than stacked wall cabinets with glass.

Cheap partical board is cheaper than Cheap plywood is cheaper than good particle board is cheaper than cabinet grade plwood. On the whole though, good partical board is MUCH BETTER performance wise than cheap plywood.

Recessed veneer doors are cheaper veneered raised panel doors are cheaper than than reverse raised panel doors are cheaper than raised panel doors are cheaper than applied molding doors.

No molding is cheaper than some molding is cheaper than stacked moldings.

Partial overlay doors are cheaper than full overlay doors are cheaper then inset doors.

BUT, the whole thing here is if you don't LOVE the choices, then it doesn't matter that a recessed veneer oak door is cheaper than a white painted and glazed inset door because you won't buy that oak cabinet under any circumstances. And that's why you need to decide WHAT you DO want. Figure out the costs to "get it all". Then after you've done that, that's the time to see if you can find a more budget choice that can give you the same look for less money. You generally always can find a less expensive choice for anything. But plenty of times, that less expensive choice simply won't be chosen regardless.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:31PM
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To save try kenmore elite dishwashers. I've had them in 2 previous homes, loved the performance & had no issues. The prices can vary wildly depending on sales so for my current renovation I checked the store(I've had great luck with floor samples) & website every week until I was confident the price wouldn't go any lower. After ordering it went even lower but I was able to get a price adjustment.
As for high-end appliances if you can't get a floor model or dented/scratched one a lot of them run package specials. You can also save more by getting them online and paying no tax or shipping. By the way there are always a lot of negative reviews of high end appliances; I'm going with subzero/wolf because I still believe they're the best but I'm mentally prepared to have a repair or two (they're known to have good customer service which helps.)
If you're getting a wine or beverage center try Perlick's discounted ones. I got a wine reserve with a dent in the back that won't be seen under the counter for a third of the price and a 6 month warranty.
Deciding what your absolute must haves are before hand will help you balance out costs.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:18PM
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I'm gutting my entire kitchen (save for most appliances) and doing it on a tight budget. My budget was 32K. I know that doesn't sound like a tight budget, but I live in Hawaii and everything is double or triple the cost of the mainland. Here are some ways I cut costs.

I am getting custom cabinets with a combination of drawers and pull outs. All are soft close. They are made of 3/4" plywood, tongue and groove construction, but have a laminate face. The grain will be horizontal. They are building me a wine rack, glass inserts on three cabinets, plus a soffit over the sink for puck lights. I didn't know these were the less expensive ones until they told me. Using finger pulls from Ikea which cost $2.99 for a two pack. A couple of long pulls for dish towels on the cabinet under the sink. Cabinets cost $12,000.

Ordered much of my items from with free shipping using our Prime account. Also had a great deal on a Dacor range hood (the only appliance I needed) for $400 (regularly over $1,000).

I obtained quartz countertops from a Chinese importer. Tested the heck out of the stuff by soaking sample pieces overnight in espresso, tea, and red wine, and lemon juice. Cleaned with a swish of water and looked perfect. Countertops cost $1,400 which included a 19 foot run, a 6 foot section, and a 6 x 3 foot peninsula.

Windows were custom made. Wanted a bay window but it was too expensive. Instead got a 4 window slider where every panel slides from one side to the other. Will have our builder create a bump out to break up that long wall and give me more space behind the sink. Was less than half the price of the bay.

My tile was the budget killer. Polished white glass subway tile for $15 a square foot and $200 in shipping. Locally the same tile was $45 a square foot. Accent pieces added another $400.

Pendant lights from were half the price of anyone else and only cost $20 to ship.

Lighting came from Elemental LED which offered my designer a 30% discount which she passed on. In fact, she passed on all her discounts.

Using bamboo flooring which was the least expensive wood flooring, more durable than typical hardwoods, and much more termite proof.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Here are the things we did to save cost. We live in a very expensive part of the country and a lot of planning was necessary to maximize bang for the buck.

1. Prioritize layout. It is by far the best return on investment to get the kitchen flow correct

2. Start detailed planning early. Meaning figure out exact specs of appliances and measurements very early. See a lot of model kitchen and read voraciously to figure out what you will want. Take time to write a sweeby statement. This is critical for the #3 below.

3. Invest in high quality appliances sized for your family. This is what needed for the actual cooking and storage. Pay attention to the phrase "sized for your family": Do not worry about resale or the jones.. Do you really need a 36in range.. Will a 30in range but better quality like bluestar not work better? How many pots do you have on simultaneously? Do you really need that giant fridge. Consider advances like Induction. Invest in a properly sized and powered hood. Most good appliance stores will let you come in and try a trial cooking on appliances etc. Same for dishwashers. Research the models and see what will do the best job for you. Appliances save you time later.. You will appreciate getting the cooking and the dishes done with less effort and with better results.Then shop for appliances early. Don't be afraid to consider ebay and floor models. Many of them come with warranty and well worth the risk. It is often a great way to buy better quality appliances at a cheaper cost. Don't worry about matching brands. Having all separate brands is OK. Bundled packages are often not a good deal.

4. Drawers - full extension & soft close and heavy duty glides where needed. This is the best advice from this forum.IKEA is a great way to get this and keep cost down. Do the plan of what goes where in detail and figure out the layout in detail. This is time well spent. Honestly, I feel that this is a very itrative process that the forum can really help you with and it is too expensive ti work with a KD.Don't over optimize. Drawer organizers and such are cheap after-market DIY options from Lee Valley, container store etc.

5. Plumbing - This is a significant cost as nice faucets cost money. Buy early and shop for sales. It will be much cheaper for you to buy than have your plumber supply. A case in point, my plumber quoted $400 for the garbage disposal and $150 for the sink basket drainer. I ordered both on amazon for $178 bucks and got a better model (insinkerator pro compact & Kohler duostrainer). A solid faucet will save you dollars by avoiding plumbing repairs in the future.

6. Materials --> Countertops and tile. Shop around. Consider remnants. The same thing can be found a lot cheaper. Notice brands and manufacturer and then shop around for the best price. The floor tile I wanted was quoted at $13per sq.ft. I got it on ebay for $1.50.. free shipping to house. Consider mixing materials if it can reduce cost. soapstone or marble counters and wood island etc.

6. Lipstick is last. Things that are easy to change like lights, cabinet hardware and paint can IMHO be a place to save money. Get the light layout right but don't spend too much on it. Again online prices are very competitive for lights. You can also DIY here to save cost.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 5:34PM
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I think the easiest way to save money is to plan, plan, plan and minimize changes and rework. We delayed our remodel for quite some time until I thought I had everything picked out and priced (cabinets, flooring, appliances, faucets, etc.). Also, splurge for a designer because I think in the end it pays off with less regrets and rework which is more costly.

I went through several dozen iterations of the layout until I was absolutely sure it would work. My GC said he was surprised that really nothing major had changed during construction - no additional faucets or sinks, change in size of range, cabinets, etc. I also shopped sales for appliances and stored them in the garage.

I didn't hire a designer until late in the game which may wind up costing me a bundle because I am unhappy with the backsplash and will probably have to change it because it just isn't right. In addition, a designer would have helped me pick the right mudroom cabinets. I wanted to go less expensive on them but because of their proximity to the kitchen, I think it will wind up being a mistake and they will look odd (which of course will make me want to change them at extra $$$).

Do allow for reasonable changes and not be penny wise and pound foolish. Our cabinet maker made beautiful cabinets and was going to give us a special price on the mudroom ones, but I wanted to save and go cheaper and at the time I was adamant about "No changes!" without thinking about what was right. As I mentioned, it's probably not going to work and will end up costing us $$ in rework. :(

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:24PM
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A farm house sink is generally more expensive to buy and more expensive / time consuming to install. I wanted a farmhouse, but got stainless undermount to save $. For me, a gas range was less expensive than cooktop, double ovens and the oven cabinet. I did basic finished ends on my cabinets - except the island- to save. I bought floor model appliances which I regret (asko dw.... Ugh).

I wanted 3 windows with an arch on top. The cost was obscene. I got a bay window instead. I wanted Rohl faucets, but got delta instead. I fell in love with expensive pendant lights and got them, but I bought a coordinating chandelier for over the table at Home Depot. I wanted a floor tile that was $8 a foot but found something almost as good for $4.50 a foot.

When cabinet shopping, the sales person would ask me to pick a door style I liked. I'd say "not so fast, which doesn't have an up charge?"

My town required me to put a fire door to my garage. They are all horrible, exterior look doors. Expensive to order one that looked decent. I got the least expensive, ugly steel door and painted it as a black board. Instead of ordering 9 feet of upper and lower cabinetry and countertops, I built a much needed coat closet (sheet rock is cheap) and left room for a free standing desk or hutch (furniture). In my half bath off the kitchen, instead of doing vanity cabinet to match kitchen and ordering a separate sink, counter and mirror, I bought a vanity at Home Depot that came with the sink, counter and mirror.

You can find ways to save, but only you know what your willing to sacrifice. If you don't go to high end shops, you might be less tempted by the high end possibilities.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:57PM
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At some point making cuts stops being worth it. If you find yourself making cuts that change how you envisioned your kitchen then perhaps its time to put off the kitchen remodel until you have more money.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:41PM
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