Scrimp and Splurge - Where'd you hold back, where'd you go nuts?

sabjimataMay 28, 2010

Okay. So this post is inspired by a $1,000 faucet that made one forum member swoon and one forum member cringe. *LOL*

I was thinking about how we all have our priorities different and are willing to spend (what is to us) big bucks on one thing and scrimp somewhere else.

So...what was/is your personal scrimps and splurges? Where did you indulge, where did you hold back?

Would not be surprised if there was a thread like this posted before, but these type threads (see the current one about faucets) tend to get rather long so what the hay!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ooops! Didn't get the ball rolling with my own indulgences and frugalities!


Lighting (very cheap, lots of low end flushmounts, ceiling fans from Lowes, porch lights for wall sconces)

SEating (restaurant supply)

Tile (didn't even bother to shop around for subways, just going with Lowe's cheap-o's)

Flooring (cheapest 3/4" prefinished oak from Lumber Liquidators--would have loved wide plank walnut)

Dishwasher (Samsung on clearance @ Lowe's for $400, huge improvement from our manual load ancient Kenmore--manual load meaning we had to manually fill it with water from a bowl)

Faucets (cheapest wallmounts I could find. Used them in last kitchen and loved them...although there was a Rohl I loved, too...for hundreds more)

Fridge Trim Kit (opted not to get, saved about $150...have to cut corners somewhere)

SS Restaurant Open Shelving (cheap! much much much cheaper than glass front cabs)


Curtains (from Anthropologie....couldn't get them off of my mind)

2 30" Fivestar Ranges (cheaper than a 60" Wolf but definitely $6000 over budget)

60" Soapstone Sink (first thing I knew I was getting when we started planning so never thought of it as a splurge although I know it is a relatively ridiculous amount to spend on a sink.)

Considering we took out a HELOC to finance the kitchen, I guess it is all a splurge!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 7:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Granite. Imported Italian tiles for floor. Juno 5" cans with wheat haze trim for lighting. Fire and Ice tiles for backsplash on stove wall. DW drawers.

Refinish existing oak cabinets as DH did not want to get rid of these solid all wood so called gems!! (I wanted new ones.) New brushed nickel hardware very reasonable. New counter stools-priced $100 each at the store but since they were the last 2 I got the store to give them to me for $80 each. Counter top micro for $80. Originally going to get SZ fridge and Wolf range but went with Samsung fridge and Kenmore Elite range.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

splurge - typhoon bordeaux granite, 48" blue star range, 1600 CFM prestige vent, Shaws farmhouse sink, Rohl pot filler, quarter sawn wood floors to match the rest of the house.

scrimp - bought lower priced items on things that didn't matter as much to me - like chrome finish mid price faucets, mid price cherry cabinets, chandeliers... I lucked out and the tile that went the best with my kitchen was the 2nd lowest price option.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

SCRIMP - Sink - i just wanted the standard stainless double bin, nothing fancy. Backsplash - made my own by decoupaging 1x6's and then 5 coats of spar urethane. Microwave - small 1.5 cu.ft, we're not big microwave people.

SPLURGE - 36" import chef's grade range with 5 burners. Cabinets - solid birch with gorgeous detailing. Counters - special made mixed maple hardwood, so gorgeous, i could frame pictures of them around my house!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Crazily, I splurged on most everything in my kitchen remodel. One year after I remodelled I had a fire caused by my upstairs HVAC system, so the insurance company is buying mostly all new everything in the kitchen.

I started out with a Canac Bird's Eye maple lacquered honey-glazed radius venner with black lacquered trim pieces and no hardware required. Since Canac went out of business the insurance company had to go with a custom manufactured cabinet company that would only make the same cabinets with solid wood bird's eye maple and the cost is about $30,000 more. So my new cabinetry costs $85,000, which includes cherry espresso-stained cabinets on the 96" long island, with River Gold granite on top, which matches the bird's eye maple cabinetry. I used absolute black granite on the bird's eye maple cabinetry, which matches the black lacquered trim pieces and really sets of the cabinetry and kitchen.

It seems my Thermador Freedom columns were able to be saved, so the 24" freezer and the 30" refrigerator column will remain, along with my Thermador dishwasher and Scotsman icemaker.

The induction unit needs replacement and I am getting the new Thermador 36" wide induction cooktop which has 5 burners with 4,600 watt maximum 13" diameter center burner. A great unit with all the bells and whistles.

My wood floors are being refinished.

Probably the only cost savings measures are the flush mounted lighting cans in the ceiling.

I also need to purchase a new 42"-48" wide island ventilation unit, but I haven't decided on what to get so far. Any ideas would be quite welcome.

It's amazing how much damage all the soot from the fire caused. This was probably due to the outgassing from the foamed insulation in the attic.

As I hope that lightning won't strike twice, I am also putting in open-celled foam in the attic again, with closed-cell foam under the house and in the walls. The reason for open-celled foam in the attic is because if there is ever a roof leak, the open-celled foam allows the water to pass through, allowing for the much easier location of the leak. With closed-cell foam no water passes through.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting thread sabjimata...

I suppose what is a splurge for me may be a scrimp to others, depending on one's income level:)

My splurges....
White Delicatus Granite, didn't care about what the cost was..had to have it.

Blanco Silgranit Sink-twice the cost of the stainless steel one I was considering but all the rave reviews persuaded me it was worth it.

Backsplash...Crema Marfil Tumbled Subway-same as granite..didn't look at the price tag, just knew it was right for me.

My Scrimps..

Belacore Pendant lights (inspired by others at an 8th of the cost).

LG Dishwasher---basic, but I do love that it is stainless inside as well as outside:)

Pergo Select Flooring--Bought the discontinued leftovers of the same kind that I already had installed in the rest of my home. But I would have paid whatever for it.

And then...This wasn't an intentional scrimp...but instead of white painted cabinets I went with stained, and they cost 15% less.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Danach--would love to see your tile!

Greg---Jeez! Sorry about your fire. Good to hear that your insurance company is replacing things to your specifications.

Kitchenaddict--Ahh, I forgot the cabinets! I totally scrimped on my door so I could splurge and get white painted cabs.

Interesting to read people's compromises.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lighting from Lowe's, Broan stainless vent hood, MRDirect basic double stainless sink, Delta Saxony faucet (not exactly cheap but not as pricey as others I've seen), repaint existing cabinets, Ikea cabinet hardware, mosaic glass backspash but was able to DIY, found barstools on clearance 2 for 1.

Blue pearl granite, Big Chill fridge, Samsung induction range but got floor model plus additional clearance coupon so could also be a scrimp

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's true, one person's scrimp is another's splurge... we started with a budget of $25K, but I think we will spend more than $40K. (Hopefully less than $50K!)

our scrimps so far:

- DIY painting of ceiling and walls

- reusing recessed ceiling lights

- sticking to the same footprint in kitchen (no walls moved or windows changed)

- keeping our current fridge (even though it's wide)

- plan to DIY backsplash installation


- working with KD and general contractor, rather than hiring and coordinating all the subs ourselves (saves time for us, and less stressful, most of the time!)

- cabinets (not custom, but feel luxurious to me -- expensive solid cherry reversed panel door style, plywood upgrades, full extension/soft close doors) = $15K for 25 linear feet of cabinets

- Caesarstone countertops = over $7K for current quote

- limestone backsplash = over $1K estimated just for materials

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, I'm one of the ones who drooled and swooned over the Kohler Karbon and finally bought it (greatly discounted on Ebay). I had to have a wall-mount faucet. We have a very contemporary house. So what if some folks think it looks like a dentist's tool! I love that it is so totally different from every other faucet design. Its not installed yet, but I hope its functionality will match its overall jazziness.

Other splurge: Liebherr 30" freestanding, with no ice maker to break down. It's gorgeous, sleek, roomy, silent.

- Kept original kitchen footprint and appliance locations
- Kept original granite (Ghibli, not fancy, and apparently indestructible)
- Ikea cabs.
- DIY plumbing, electrical, installations, painting, etc.
- pendant lights from Lighting Direct (online)
- cheap undercab microwave (already forgot what brand it is!)
- Kenmore induction range on sale
- will probably buy a Kobe undercab range hood. Gave up on Futuro Futuro; their designs are seductive but their prices are too high.
- Ikea induction-ready cookware. It's great! Especially the handles, which do not get too hot to use without a pot holder.
- Will DIY a backsplash, maybe stainless, maybe glass.

(in VT and waiting for the Ikea cabinets to be delivered today)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

- pulls from ebay (they were dirt cheap, but exactly what I wanted!)
- foregoing a nice built-in microwave and getting a cheap one I keep in the pantry

- backsplash tile (my tile cost just for materials was more than my double oven or rangetop!)
- standalone icemaker (to me this was a splurge, to DH, a necessity, LOL)
- island chandelier

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Splurge? or Scrimp? We paid a guy to design the structural elements of a 12 x 26 addition. It will be priceless if the whole thing works out well and I don't hate it and it doesn't fall in. We have also put months into the thinking. It cost us time, which in our case may have also been money because of an unstrategic delay, but we came up with a lot of good ideas.

Splurge? or Scrimp? Geothermal heat and cooling and lots of insulation. This will pay for itself but not soon.

Splurge? or Scrimp? Replace all old plumbing and some electrical work in a wing of the house. Reroute the internal walkpath by changing a doorway. All of this will be priceless in safety and the day to day usage of this and adjacent spaces

Scrimp: retain old appliances, buy on sale, choose strong and good but simple design oak cupboards, DH does most of labor, use paint instead of expensive wall treatments, laminate countertops, stick with white appliance color

* a full-glass front door with embedded blind and a full glass/screen storm door; lots of windows; full glass sliding door between rooms
* designer pendant lights
* stamped border along sides of driveway; landscape designer plantings
* top of the line cabinet mechanical stuff and fittings; glass in three cabinets
* tile floor in lobby, oak floor in kitchen (instead of vinyl throughout)
* a framed piece of original art (bought at auction)
* expensive fabric for homemade roman shades

Is there a third category: for whimsey? It didn't cost me much, but I'm installing one wacky little chandelier light.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Kraftmaid cabinets instead of custom (which would have taken better advantage of the space in my tiny kitchen, but in NYC would have cost a fortune)

Modest appliances (though still in SS) - wanted a fancier m/w, but went with a very basic model, and got a surprisingly inexpensive (though, as it turns out, noisy) refrigerator. Also got stand-alone range instead of slide-in because couldn't see why I should pay extra $500 for same functionality. Exception is dishwasher - see below.

Blanco faucet & SS sink - was concerned over quality of sink since it was quite a bit cheaper than other SS sinks, but it's fine. Wanted crazy expensive KWC faucet, but settled for more modestly priced Blanco and also very happy with it.


Door style and finish on Kraftmaid cabinets. (Yes, my cabinets are both a scrimp and a splurge!) When I was planning my kitchen, I was determined not to pay any upcharges for door style or finish - the base level options would be fine. But fell in love with "wide" shaker style and couldn't be budged from it; ditto for Ginger Glaze finish. (One of the things I learned about myself in this renovation was how inflexible I can be about certain things!)

Quartz countertops - well, I'd planned for those from the start.

Miele dishwasher - not a lot of options in the 18" area, and I loved the extra silverware tray. Also thought that in my tiny space, a paneled d/w would look better than another hunk of SS.

Looking over my choices, it was definitely all about form over function - not something I would have expected from myself! Well, I don't cook much, so I didn't need high-end appliances; but I do create dirty dishes so I splurged on the dishwasher. Makes a certain amount of sense!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

- Combo of laminate, stainless, and wood counters...No stone.
- DIY on construction, cabinets, paint, flooring, laminate counters, backsplash design/configuration and installation, and wood island counter.
- Partial DIY on plumbing, electrical, and stainless counter flanking stove.
- Stone backsplash tile behind stove was $2.99/sq ft.
- 6" recessed cans with cheapest white trim rings.
- Fisher & Paykel dbl oven found for great sale price.

- Douglas fir doors and drawer fronts for 1/2 the kitchen instead of less expensive wood or paintgrade.
- Wolf rangetop, which needed propane brought in.
- Rejuvenation lighting (although if that had been too far past 'affordable,' I would've gotten something else).
- Burgundy marble tiles for backsplash behind burgundy cabinets was $23/sq ft.
- Monogram dbl oven to replace F&P oven bought back by the company. :-( My only regret on either list.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

scrimp: sinks (Ticor and MD Direct), appliances, canned lighting

splurge: custom cabinetry

Scrimp price, but held no compromise: faucets from Ebay, birch wood flooring

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

-10 year old Viking. The movers dented it getting it to our temporary kitchen (which has gas hookup and I am still using it). I will replace it with Bluestar in a few years.
-Sink; Probabaly Ticor or Krau instead of Juien
-Faucet: Grohe instead of Dornbracht

-Henrybuilt. What else can I say!!!!
-Basaltina countertop. Both architects are saying to go for it!
-Theramdor Freedom column for full integration with seamless panels, hoy vey this was expensive!
-Miele built in speedoven instead of a generic microwave oven.
-Moving 4 ft wall with major plumbing to open up a kitchen slightly more. This is a room that is 30x30 with no walls with 3 walls of glass. No one would even notice that we opend this little section up!

Scrimp or splurge?
-We put in second air handler unit for the house. Not necesary for day to day living but necessary for resale.....

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think my whole kitchen redo is a splurge because the one I am taking out was perfectly functional. I just didn't like it any more.

That said:
Skimps: keeping 2 yr old DW, keeping current tile floor, keeping same footprint. Purchased a new fridge in the fall and went with a regular SxS instead of counter depth. Low end Broan vent under cabinet. Delta faucet, standard double sink, not moving the double door to the screen room to get a 2 bin garbage pullout and a 30" oven instead of a single bin garbage and 27" oven which is what I am getting, semi-custom cabinets upgraded to all plywood construction and soft close drawers. Two glass doors will come with plain glass that I will upgrade locally to something nicer, much cheaper!
Painting is DIY. Removal of old cabinets was DIY.

Splurges: built in Bosch oven and microwave, both convection and a Kitchenaid cooktop. Granite instead of laminate

Unknown: lighting and backsplash. haven't decided on either yet. I know I am getting pendants and a mini chandelier, just haven't picked them out yet. One choice is a skimp, the other a splurge. Backsplash will be a splurge if I go for it, since my origianl plan was to not have one.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

splurge: we started with plans for a mudroom only, and ended up adding about 1100 square feet on 2 levels; adding a new MB and mbath, gutting the kitchen and 3 other bathrooms, and putting in a new patio and driveway. (I sometimes think of it as the world's most expensive puppy, because I told the kids no puppy until we have a mudroom.) So I could look at the whole thing as a splurge...

Reused old granite counter for a fireplace surround and the counters in the mudroom and powder room
Reused existing kitchen faucet
Reused existing Mbath faucet in DD's new bathroom
Had wood floors on first floor refinished rather than installing new (wide planks were what I really wanted, or bamboo)
Bought all Jenn-Air pro-line appliances instead of the nifty Thermador and Gaggenau we admired (although it still felt like a splurge)
Got my backsplash upgraded from ceramic to travertine for free because suppliers sent the wrong tile for DS' bathroom floor and the mistake wasn't found until after it was installed.
Reused outdoor light
Cabinet pulls and knobs from Target and Great Indoors
Less expensive granite for mbath and DD's bath; granite remnant for DS' bath.
We did not replace all the other windows in the house as we had originally planned to. Those suckers are expensive.

Smaller splurges within the big splurge:
Went over the tile budget on cool 3x16 tiles set in a herringbone pattern in the mudroom
Repeated the herringbone pattern with a pretty brick for the patio
Concrete instead of asphalt driveway
Sound system for 1st floor, basement and backyard
Custom cabinets
New, nice light fixtures throughout (not from a big box store)
New AC units

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My big splurge was on cabinet materials: I was warned that the quality of bamboo for the fronts and plywood for the boxes, which was all zero VOC in addition to best quality, was "like diamonds". I'm very sensitive to formaldehyde and didn't want to have a new kitchen I couldn't go into. The finish and wall paint were also ultra low VOC and also expensive. Worth every penny. I didn't even look at the price. I also didn't question the price of the lighting. Getting lighting that didn't bother me was a big goal, and I hired a lighting designer. Both his fee and the units he called out were reasonably priced, but his fee is the only part I assessed. Gotta have lighting.

Neutral on a lot of things. That is, I considered the prices and found them within my budget on a lot of items, That's sinks, faucets, hardware, windows, cabinet glass. I was horrified by the shipping price for the cabinet glass and had a mini-meltdown, but then my GC figured out how we could get it without paying for crating and the whole problem disappeared. Oh! Splurge on GC? Originally, I was going to do a simpler project and run a lot of it myself. My GC is such a treasure, and so worth every penny, that I'm not sure he was really a splurge. More of a necessity. (The increase in the scope of the project was due to having someone who could handle it--it didn't add significantly to the bottom line, once I'd already hired the GC.)

Other side of neutral on others. That is, I considered some ultra expensive floor and counter treatments (among other things, but those are the biggest items). Much as I might have loved those, they would have been splurges, and without any functional gain, the way splurging on the cabinets gave me a gain of zero chemical headaches and no wheezing. But I didn't scrimp either. I just stayed within a "reasonable" amount for these things.

Scrimp: Appliances. Some of you may be thinking, "Nah-uh!" but I did! I went into it with not much limit on my appliance budget (had been saving for quite some time and called out the appliances off the top, leaving the rest for the remodelling, since for me, the appliances are the most important part), but when it came to the sticking point there was a big price increase on a lot of what I had planned. I went to a plan B, and jumped through a couple of hoops, and saved a really hefty chunk of change. Spent it all on an unrelated emergency home repair, but that's another story.

An example of the appliances I cheaped out--excuse me, scrimped on, is the warming drawer. I didn't actually need it, though at the first dinner party I did have it full with all the ovens full too, but I could have used a hot tray and turkish towels instead. The one I had originally chosen had low enough temperature for plate warming and open sides. Warming drawers are awfully simple devices. They don't need great engineering. By giving up the open sides and engineers, I found one that had the...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 1:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp: Formica for now; appliances from CL; sinks & faucet from eBay; floors probably oak instead of jatoba; not doing lighting yet; everything DIY.

Splurge: Moving load bearing walls, electrical and plumbing to swap teensy galley kitchen & bedroom hallway with DR. Living without cabinets until DBF gets around to building them, which is truly expensive to my patience :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp: Stainless double bowl sink thrown in by the counter-top supplier, $100 microwave, cabinet hardware (cheap, but looks and works great in context).

Splurge: 36" 6-burner gas range plus ventilation system including heated make-up air. Actually, the MUA and related installation cost as much as the range+hood. However, building codes have changed here A LOT since previous owners last updated the kitchen, so we'd have faced a bundle for venting anyway, even with a more modest range. Quartz counters were pure indulgence.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're still about a year away from building our new ho use, but we've already started thinking about the kitchen and even bought the sinks at Ikea the other week. We farm and my husband is a carpenter/cabinetmaker, so we're alternately splurging and scrimping by building the house, and kitchen, ourselves. A splurge because my husband could be making money by working for others instead : ), scrimping because we can have all sorts of custom features by doing the work ourselves. It'll be the first, and probably last, house we build (we've been in a fixer-upper for the past 16 years and redid the kitchen 11 years ago, but have been reluctant to put too much money into this place). By the time we're done, I have no doubt the scrimps will far outweigh the splurges! And I agree, one family's scrimp is another's splurge, and vice versa...

-- white Kenmore dishwash er, microwave, wall oven from Sears, with our vintage 1950s O'Keefe & Merritt range (bought 16 years ago for $25); I would love to find a similar vintage range with six burners, but I think we're too far in the back of beyond, in rural western Canada. Kitchen and freezer will be splurge, though (below).
-- Ikea Domsjo apron sinks (double for perimeter, single for island); we just bought these the other week because I'm worried Ikea will be out of stock or stop making them by the time we need them. Any other apron front/Belfast sink is out of our budget.
-- for flooring we're considering rustic grade tongue-and-groove reclaimed Douglas Fir planks from Second Wind Timber, in Squamish, BC. I want easy care wood floors and I think this will be a great, cheap way to do it.

-- The refrigerator and freezer will be side-by-side -- one upright all-fridge and one upright all-freezer (about $3,000 for both in the Kenmore Elite line).
-- large island half marble and half John Boos hard rock maple end-grain island top, 3"; that's the plan at the moment, at least : )
-- Tapmaster, Blum Servo Drive for garbage pull-out, and Blumotion
-- possibly the Delta Victorian or Moen Aberdeen; any kitchen faucet over $100 will give my husband fits, so maybe I'll show him the Kohler Karbon first and then agree to settle for the Delta or Moen!
-- for the backsplash, I would love Portugese azulejos blue and white tiles, but am hoping I can find something not too far away so we don't have to have tiles shipped from Tierra y Fuego in California, which will really give my husband fits
-- much as I would like to try Farrow & Ball paint, my husband would have more of the aforementioned fits; plus the only dealer in the province is 10 hours away, from what I understand.

danach, I would love to see your backsplash. Maybe it will give me some ideas to find what I want at a more reasonable price...


    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Could you elaborate on your Backsplash? - made my own by decoupaging 1x6's and then 5 coats of spar urethane. -

I'm stuck on back splash. It's summer here so I won't be doing anything about it for 5 months but I also won't be thinking about it for 5 months.

My splurge was my farm sink. But I also got a hundred bucks discount on it so it qualifies as a scrimp, too.

Everything else was scrimp. I got great deals on eBay and on line. A lot of DIY. I used my existing floor, refrig, dishwasher, toaster oven and microwave. I had money left so I bought a gas range (scratch and dent) and the LP installation for it. I didn't want granite or pendent lights. My lights are genuine old fixtures refurbished. My Broan hood sucks the flame out of the burner. My cabinets came from the big box store. Free designing and free sink base. OH, and they were on sale 12% off. Free upgrade to soft close and something else I don't remember. I got a LOT of cabinets for less than $5000!

My best bargain was my carpenter. Knows how to do everything. You can't even find the place he patched in my floor from taking out the peninsula. He Doesn't charge what he's worth. Got it done in 4 weeks just like he said. And I didn't worry while I was at work in case one of those surprises we all know so well would turn up. My house is well over a hundred years old. I knew and he knew stuff would happen. It was his job to deal with it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

* DIY for almost everything. Built about half the cabs from scratch, refaced the rest. Did all the woodwork, electrical, design, and structural work.
* Bought Electrolux double convection oven, top of the line, from Sears Outlet store for 90% off with no scratches or dents (that's not a misprint).
* Saved over 50% on island lights from Restoration Hardware outlet.
* Shopped hard online to save on disposals, hood vent, other parts and accessories.

* After making six doors by hand, decided to let someone else make the doors and drawerfronts (45 total, minus my 6).
* Standalone icemaker (love that clear, wet ice)
* Prep sink in island - Kohler rectangle - like stainless steel jewelry.
* Paid someone else to put the Teragren flooring in. I have the skill, but didn't want to take the time/effort.
* Paid someone to finish the ceiling (I scraped it) and paint the kitchen.
* Paid full price for Electrolux combo microwave and convection built-in oven. Worth every penny.
* Granite - Cinderella Blue, 65 square feet of it. Beautiful and worth it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp: We did the demo ourselves. Our S/S appliances are middle-of-the-road, but doing fine so far. I got my cabinet hardware at HD and Fred Meyer (Kroger) but I love all of the knobs and pulls. I found Price Pfister faucets on sale. We reused two remnant pieces of our old butcher block (maple) countertop, dyed dark brown and highly lacquered. It's one of our favorite things about our kitchen now. We scrimped because we did this to save on buying another slab of granite.

Splurge: I got the granite I just loved. The cork floor was spendy, but I can't imagine any other flooring now. Our cabinets were custom-made by a local cabinet guy, and we're so happy with how they look in our old house. We used a KD who really helped us tweak our design, and she was worth every penny.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Faucets - Ebayed Kohler Simplice. Nothing fancy and discounted to boot.
Main sink - Kohler Poise. Pretty expensive retail but got it for $550 on Ebay.
Secondary sink - cheap generic but for $200 I can live with it. Matches the Poise somewhat.
Bertazzoni C36500X cooktop. Took a chance and bought it on Craigslist Chicago. Gentleman sent it the day after payment and it's beautiful. $650.
Thermador hood - Ebay again but I got burned as the hood has a damage on the front left corner. Seller sold a sealed box in good shape so BOOOOO on Thermador. I'm stuck with it. Maybe I'll smash the other corner so it's symmetrical.
Cork Floors - Tile looks nice but I can't afford to heat mat the entire kitchen and eating area.

Cabinets - more than we wanted to spend but we're only doing it once.
Countertop - doubled our granite budget but it had the look we wanted.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our demo starts in a few days, so all of these are not final (but planned):

--we are the "GC" and getting one guy to do mostly everything
--we designed the kitchen and did not hire a KD
--going to use oak hardwood instead of an exotic/Brazilian like I originally wanted
--husband is doing the demo and borrowing a friend's dump truck

--painted, glazed cabinets (but they are semi-custom and maple)
--Liebherr 36" fridge with custom panels, I would not budge on that one
--switching the position of the DR and kitchen, moving a wall and installing new plumbing and electricity

Could go either way:
--Dacor double ovens, gas rangetop and hood: while they are not in the GE Profile price range, they are a lot easier on the budget than Wolf or Viking. But, since we are spending so much, Dacor is "giving" us a "free" microwave!
--Granite is not level 1, but not a rare level 6; it is a level 3

Haven't even picked lighting yet. Probably will have enough $ left in the budget for some candles...

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 1:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


--doing some demo work, the painting and backsplash tiling, and possibly cabinet painting
--limited scope - no footprint changes


--wolf 30 inch all gas range, was the first thing i purchased (did buy floor model and saved so both a splurge and scrimp?)
--considering custom cabinetry - have not decided yet

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, right, and the sink!

Kohler's Stages 45" sink.... can't wait for it to arrive. We didn't pay thee $1K retail price, but since we were originally budgeting like $300, paying more than double was a big splurge.

Here is a link that might be useful: If you haven't seen this sink video, you've got to take a look!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am having so much fun reading everyone's posts. Very impressed by all the DIY-ers on here.

It is interesting to see the different priorities everyone assigns items in their kitchens although I am seeing a big trend towards granite, custom cabs, appliances...a lot of the bigger items you would expect.

Pillog--Sorry about your sensitivities but am quite impressed with your no-VOC splurges. It is, of course, sad that you are so sensitive but it is a blessing, too. If only more of us were superficially (I don't mean that in a pejorative way) to the environmental toxins that our bodies don't appreciate, the world would be a healthier and safer place.

Loving the uniqueness of kitchens coming through--cork floors, pro-ice makers, hand decoupaged tile! And I love that even if people "scrimp" or spend more conservatively on things (hardware, appliances, lighting), they still love their kitchens!

Please keep them coming...I find it really inspirational :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp - DIY'd entire demolition of old kitchen, DIY'd all new tiling (floor and ceiling height backsplash), DIY'd most of electrical and plumbing, used IKEA cabinets (mix of stainless and glossy white).

Neither splurge nor scrimp - Frigidaire commercial freezer and fridge (39 cubic feet for under 3K and I love them more every day), 16 gauge SS 24" commercial sink with 24" drainboard over the DW (my mother winces when she sees it but it fits the industrial theme of our loft kitchen and we love how there is no job it can't handle).

Splurges - Bluestar 48" range, island top which combines Calacatta gold marble and Boos butcher block.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I splurged on the main item that pushed me to re-do my kitchen -- the horrid floor. When I bought my home in 2004, the kitchen had been done in 1975 so there was a really ugly vinyl sheet flooring that was curling along the walls and so grungy that even after scrubbing, it always looked filthy. I couldn't wait to get rid of it.

Replaced with a beautiful porcelain tile that was a bit pricy but is almost maintenance-free. I hired a super tiler (referred by a friend) who really did an awesome job -- he was a tad pricy too, but it was all worth it. I did my kitchen 2 years ago and I'm still in love with my floor and it feels as good as it looks. I love everything I did in my kitchen but as far as expense goes, I didn't hold back on the floor!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 7:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our renovation commences in a couple weeks.

- all new shaker maple cabinets
- caesarstone countertops
- replacing 3 interior doors in adjacent living/dining areas; instead of hollow core, we are going with solid pine 6-panel, about twice the price
- instead of DH doing it, which he could, we are hiring contractor to demo kitchen and install new cabs, floor, and crown molding/base trim in adjacent living/dining area

- keep same appliances
- instead of hardwood floors that I wanted in kitchen and adjacent living/dining area, we are going with stone-look laminate in kitchen and carpet in living/dining room
- Delta Linden, lower profile pull out faucet for about $200 instead of pricier goose-neck pull outs
- doing all the painting ourselves

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 10:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp: Keeping current fridge because it's only a few years old.
Ticor sink - great deal on
No tile backsplash yet... will wait until later when after everything is together and can see what it looks like.

Splurge: Custom made solid maple cabinets in the color we chose. Figured these were the most costly to replace later.
Grohe faucet - would have scrimped here, but GC said to get grohe or nicest plumbing because if they leak they could cause damage to new cabs.
Took space from adjoining bedroom closet and had custom pantry made
Custom door for dishwasher - we have a small kitchen and this would make things look more uniform. Also cost less than the bosch stainless door for our little 18" dishwasher.

Ways we saved without scrimping or splurging: Found Alno $9 handles for only $2 each at the knob store yesterday (yay!).
Was able to find a half-slab remnant of granite that was enough for our kitchen instead of purchasing a whole slab.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimps: Ticor sink, Delta faucet, Bellacor pendants, re-used stove (only 3 yrs old)

Splurges: removing two walls for larger space, new cabinets and wood floor, granite countertops, KA DW with cutlery tray (loving that tray), Samsung FD fridge.

I think the DW splurge turned a bit into a scrimp when I was able to get a price match.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimps: Silgranite sink instead of a big Farmsink, no warming drawer, no trash compactor.

Splurges: Pretty much everything else. I am very fortunate to be working with an awesome GC, who is worth his weight in gold. I am someone who likes to choose very carefully with the intent of never having to do it again. So, GW has been a tremendous resource and I have digested as much knowledge as I could to aid me. I am creating my joyful "Julie & Julia's" kitchen and I can hardly wait to really start cooking in it!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

On further consideration, I do have some definite splurges: Eating room vault with beams, Niermann Weeks 12 light chandy, handmade tile backsplash specially designed for my space, 48" GE Monogram SS side by side refrigerator, 36" Wolf gas rangetop, LBL mini ruffle pendants, ceiling speakers and a 46" ultra thin Samsung LED wall mount tv.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 3:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimps: ticor sink, backsplash tile, cabinet pulls, no warming drawer, no extra dishwasher drawer, no green modernica dowel fiber glass counter heigh stools

Splurge: everything else, but especially my fridge (Gaggenau counter-depth), my cabinets (custom walnut grain matched), and of course the jewel of my kitchen, the Kohler Karbon (great discount on ebay though). Counters too, quartzite bianca.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 4:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i'm still working on the plans, but i've definately got some splurges on the list, and some ways to skimp as well.
aside from the sheer size of the room, (~20x 26) the biggest spurge of all will be the fireplace in the corner. it must be ultra efficient, woodburning and have a roasting oven for dh. i'll scrimp with ikea cabs around the perimeter (lower only)and in the butlers' pantry, with custom made doors as a focal point.
i already have all of the exterior doors i need, and will have to buy a few windows when one of the big box stores has a truckload sale.
floors will be cork planks, i'll use my old appliances or buy from a scratch and dent place.
dh and neighbor will do the plumbing and electrical, and we'll leave the upstairs unfinished for the time being.eventually the upstairs will be an office and exercise room.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp - Keeping original cabinets and painting. Appliances purchased on sale. Slate tile backsplash also purchased on sale. Wood island top from Craigslist.

Splurge - Copper farmhouse sink

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 6:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimps - everything lately! Light fixtures - no designer names, no ultra cool modern fixtures that I love - no fixture over $50, and I have really good light. Shelving from plain popular. Appliances - reused range, dw, bought small, inexpensive ref combined with a separate small, inexpensive freezer.

Cabinets and wood counters - ikea. Sinks and one faucet - ikea. Doors from Scherr's, if you use their standard grades of woods, unfinished, the price is actually lower than ikea's price). Slight splurge in getting premium grade cherry and finished (totaled about 10% more than ikea doors - so about $3500 for cabinets, counters, shelf brackets, sinks, cool doors-drawer fronts, and fixas - gotta have yer fixas. Too bad they don't have fixas for margaritas, I'd be first in line).

A lot of DIY and a lot of it was hard, by hand and dirty.

Splurges - the floor, the windows, the table-ish peninsula. Stainless backsplash combined with a small amount of freakishly expensive tile. Getting the original house moldings cut at a molding shop so they exactly match. Pulls - I can't believe I spent $12 each!

Hiring good people for finish work is priceless.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 7:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I probably came in at midrange on the overall cost, but people tell me the kitchen looks more expensive than it is. I tried to follow some of the advice given in the book Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind. I also tried to buy most items at a discount.
Ikea cabinet boxes (but I used more expensive door/drawer fronts)
Marvin lower-end window.
DIY painting (but good quality paint)
Got advice from the generous people on GW rather than hire a kitchen designer.

Thermador 24" all fridge (but still bought for a discount on Ebay)
Miele lower-end dishwasher (floor model)
DCS 30" all gas range (also a floor model)
Restoration hardware pulls, bought at full price (how could I go cheap on the pulls when everything was starting to look so nice!)
KWC faucet

In the middle:
Caesarstone countertops bought with a 10% discount at Ikea
Blanco stainless steel sink (nothing fancy, but the width was what I needed)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 12:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Didn't change footprint (plumbing and gas stayed put).
DIY demo
DIY carpentry, electrical, drywall.
IKEA cabinets (DIY assembly/install)
$100 sink ($800 Kohler, return from Lowe's)
Reused microwave (now hidden in pantry)
DIY backsplash install
DIY paint

Quartz countertop
Lunada Bay Sumi-e glass mosaic backsplash

KA Range and fridge from a Sears close-out sale (40% off -- wouldn't have replaced the appliances but for this deal)
Bosch SS DW (return from Lowe's, would have kept older white DW otherwise)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Splurge: Quartersawn white oak floors
Scrimp: installing and finishing them myself

Splurge: gorgeous polished travertine BS tile with a crazy expensive mosaic
Scrimp: installing the BS myself

Splurge (sort of) getting custom cabinets, but it wasn't much of a splurge since they only cost a little more than IKEA was going to cost and they are red oak (that's the scrimp part).

Splurge: GE monogram 36" cook top
Scrimp: getting a single oven instead of a double (decided I really didn't need a double often enough to justify it).

Scrimp: most of the other appliances are middle of the road GE Profile. Good enough for me and better than anyting else I have ever owned.

Splurge: getting an exotic granite instead of formica
Scrimp: deciding to get a granite that had some sun damaged resin and saving a HUGE bundle of $$. They worked around the damage beautifully and I got Delicatus for less than the cheapest common would have cost me.

Scrimp: Ticor sinks, but I don't feel like it was really a scrimp...they are nice! Same with the Kohler Simplice faucets.

Scrimp: light fixtures. I like them, but they were VERY cheap (Amazon on clearance). I figured they are easy to replace later on.

Scrimp: the IKEA shelf I have over my cooktop. It cost $14 but looks like a million!

Biggest scrimp: Building this house myself, including Design, electrical, plumbing, framing, footer and foundation, windows, painting, flooring, etc. I did hire roofers, insulators and drywall crews though. Everything else was DIY. Hard work, but well worth it.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This thread is a really interesting read!

I'm still making choices as this is a new construction, but so far...


  • Clearance kitchen lighting since the pendants & chandy I was drooling over were DISCONTINUED and out of stock even though EVERY website I looked at & tried to order through showed they were in stock. Grr... On the bright side, I got 3 clearance mini pendants & chandy for the price of 1.5 pendants.

  • After considering luxury dbl oven, we went with a Frigidaire Gallery sgl convection. Once I paid attention to how often I really use the oven, it's all we needed.

  • Changed range from from $1200 Broan to $480 Zehpyr because it moved more air and had overall better performance... just not stylistically what I had pictured, but I can adapt. :)

I would've done more scrimping. I love bargains & equally love the work and effort of finding good ones! But we were somewhat limited by this being a new construction. E.g. plumber will not work with certain faucet brands, appliances had to come from one specific place or the cabinetry shop would not be liable for wrong sizes, etc.


  • Silgranit Blancoprecis super single sink, over the free/included SS. $539 through the cabinet shop... debating whether it's worth the delay risk of ordering online...

  • Upped our flooring cost by $5k for the wood I wanted. I knew that was something that would bug me unless it was perfect... so let's hope it comes out perfect!

  • So far, I'm splurging on my BS choices. I picked out (not knowingly, just going off looks) a handmade matte glass mosaic tile for an accent strip... wow that stuff is pricey. Good thing 1 sq ft gives me about 3 ft of accent. :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 11:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scrimp: Bought 23 year-old Quakermaid kitchen from Green Demolitions. $3500 to buy and $2000 to get it home. Paid a friend a couple hundred dollars to clean them, then I sanded and put on new finish coats. Ended up throwing away the cooktop, sink, faucet, downdraft and counters. The cabs already have all the pull-outs in them, so no updating is needed.

Scrimp: Got half-price Danze faucet from Craigslist, 4 leather barstools half-price from Craigslist (look new), half-price 36" induction Kitchenaid cooktop from Craigslist (new, out of box). Used left-over tile from 2003 kitchen reno on our last house for most of the backsplash tile. Got $60 used single-basin cast-iron sink at Habitat ReStore Re-using microwave, fridge, toaster oven. Left up two hated perimeter soffits instead of paying builder to take them down. Reused chandelier. Doing demo and painting myself. Laminate counter tops.

Splurge: $250 disposal, new single wall oven with true convection, Walker Zanger tile for a decorative stripe in backsplash. Marmoleum sheet linoleum for floor. Adding venting skylight, removing one soffit that bisects the room. Having builder build a wall behind the back of the cabinets that face the family room (his idea, to give a finished look). Adding lighting. Considering using marble or granite tile on island to match the Walker Zanger.

We are still in the acquisition phase, the builder is still busy with his last job.

Here is a link that might be useful: Quakermaid Butcherblock and Beadboard - 1/3 down

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are still working on the last 10%, but her is my list:


IKEA cabs- (in $ only- these things are fabulous- we did go with 3rd aprty doors though, only so I could get exactly what I wanted and paint them a custom color).

salvage flooring- super cheap, but better match to the original floors in the rest of the house and much better quality.

GE Cafe range- got a GREAT price- but after using is for a couple months, I think it would stand up to ALOT of the pro ranges out there- especially with the 5 burners, one of which is an 18k BTU!

leftover moldings and beadboard panels for island-(from my parents remodel)- FREE! We were painting everything anyway.

IKEA butcherblock counters- LOVE these. And they are DIRT cheap. Best bargain in the store.

OSMO Polyox floor floor finish. I did all the hardwoods by hand, so the cost to finish the entire first floor was less than $1000 (and that included the pro coming to sand!)

hardware- I am using large wooden knobs- $73 for the whole room!

beadboard backsplash- the real boards- not the sheets- was about 75% cheaper than tile, and I think it is one of those subtle things that really makes the room.


Python soapstone- By far the biggest $$$ item, and we didn't even do the whole kitchen in it! But, it is what I built the whole design around.

Rohl Shaw 30" fireclay sink. I actually got a really good price on this, but it was still over $650. IMHO, the best sink out there. I would choose it over and over again.

Rohl faucet, sidespray, soap dispenser, flange- I got polished chrome- the least expensive finish- but all total this was still upwards of $900. My opinion on the faucet is as good as the sink. LOVE it.

My other saves included working within the load bearing structure, as well as not moving any HVAC or radiator pipes. We did move the gas line slightly, and moved the plumbing, but this was not as costly as it would be for some, as all of it is accessed easily from below, and we had some of of the prep work done with our basement remodel.

Another splurge was on the amount of lighting that I used. Each individual pieces was well priced, but I used a LOT of lighting layers, and I am very happy with the result. We have xenon undercabs, flushmount pullman fixtures on teh ceiling instead of recessed cans, pendants over the island, and in my two china "closets", a wall mount over the message center, sconces in the nook created by the closets, and a chandelier over the table. Plus they are all on dimmers.

Oh, nad I forgot my other splurge- Farrow and Ball paint. I am in love with this stuff, and I will use it again and again. We have used it on the cabs and the walls so far, and it covers SO well. In that regard, it has actually saved me money!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Still in the buying (and in some cases planning) stage but scrimps and splurges so far:

Scrimps: -- Gave up the Lacanche for a stainless steel 36" Capital I found at a liquidation auction.

--Mismatched black washer, white dryer bought at a liquidation auction (but they'll be behind doors)

--White 30" Kohler cast iron single bowl drop in sink with a somewhat odd looking Brizo stainless faucet purchased at auction instead of the Shaws apron front and Rohl faucet I love.

--stainless steel french door counter depth refrigerator...bought quess where?..instead of the built in I covet.

--Not refinishing or reflooring the somewhat beaten up original dining room floor in my ancient rowhouse.

--chancing a local cabinet maker rather than buy the Crown Point cabs I KNOW would be fabulous.

And so far---resisting the urge to replace more of the painted cabinets planned for quartersawn white oak.

--Cheap wine and diet coke instead of "the good stuff".
--The yummy Sahara desert limestone bought at auction which STILL cost a third more than I had budgeted for the floor.

--Nearly $1000 of Motawi tiles for "accents" in the backsplash--I can't even begin to fathom the splurge an entire Motawi backsplash would be.

--Ann Sacks $12/sq. ft. field tiles rather than the $6 sq ft. Florida tile version.

--Stripping out and replacing as much of the old knob & tube wiring as humanly possible and beyond what is strictly speaking, necessary.

--the soapstone counter I have always, always wanted.

--Rejuvenation light fixtures

--haven't bought it yet, but I KNOW I'm gonna wind up breaking the cab hardware budget. I just see too much great stuff I love.

And by the time it's all done, I'm sure they'll be more scrimps and more splurges!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK-- As someone else so perfectly said, the whole kitchen is a splurge as our kitchen was not awful, it was just not very user friendly, and it was kinda dark and cluttered.

I have LOTS of scrimps because I am a girl that KNOWS how to find a bargain and has the patience to research everything and knows when to strike. Muahahahahahaha! I am supersniper on ebay! I should have a cape! ;^)

Scrimp-- IKEA Cabinet boxes, lots of them, with all the fittings-- mostly drawers and pullouts. YAY! I wanted storage galore, and now I've got it.
Scrimp-- Custom paint grade doors from other cabinet door company that we painted ourselves. LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out!

Scrimp--Stainless Steel convection wall oven--ebay. The freight company scratched the outer frame, and because the oven was discontinued and we cannot get the part, I was refunded the entire amount, including shipping. We had to fill in the scratches and spray it with automotive paint, but it looks fine and works like a charm! Even without the refund, it was still a scrimp.

Scrimp--SS Kitchen Aid warming drawer--ebay.
Scrimp--Stainless Hood--ebay
Scrimp--Gas Cooktop--Sears (Wanted one of those fancy range tops, but oh well.)

Scrimp--panel ready dishwasher--ebay
Scrimp--Copper sink with embossed detail--ebay
Scrimp--cabinet hardware purchased online--ebay and Knobs4Less
Scrimp--14mm wood laminate wide plank flooring--Menard's
Scrimp--butcher block counter tops--IKEA (one for our peninsula, one for our banquette bench) that we finished ourselves with Waterlox.

Scrimp--counter stools--Big Lots (closeout 2-for-1 deal)
Scrimp--Price Pfister faucets--ebay and Faucet Direct
Scrimp--tile for Backsplash, Menards
Scrimp--#1 scrimp--ALL WORK DONE BY US (except for the granite, and when we hired out to have the butcher block cut for prep sink and edge routed)

Scrimp--lighting--Creative Lighting online, and a local Lighting outlet, undercabinet lighting from Lowe's

Splurge--Blue Pearl granite countertops (but GREAT price!)
Splurge--farm sink (not near the cost of the more expensive fireclay sinks, but for us, this was a splurge)

Splurge--new french door fridge on sale, but still a splurge as our fridge was perfectly fine and still looked new.

Woulda/Coulda been a splurge--Giorbella glass and marble mosaic tile. (I only needed 4 sheets, so *whew* on that one.)

Splurge--new dining set. It wasn't really expensive, but we already had a dining table and chairs that I was going to refinish. DH said, "Ehh. Too much work. Just buy a new one." I think I was already pulling out of the driveway before he finished the sentence! ;^)

We are not done, so I am sure there will be more scrimp/splurge items to come.

This is a fun thread!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Splurge: All wood framless oak cabinets with black stain; I so much wanted black, so paid premium

Splurge: Appliances: Liebehrr fridge; Fischer Paykel stove and GE Diswasher; all are 24" width and fridge is 78" high; cost more as these sizes do not go on sale, but it saved much needed space

Splurge: Rainshower glass door in corner cabinet with glass shelves and light--did this to break up the black cabinets; looks nice but was expensive

Splurge: Opaque sliding door to close kitchen; had to pay for wall to be opened so door would be hidden; cost money, but was worth the look and convenience

Scrimp: Wanted glass tile backsplash and marble flooring; instead went with plain ceramic backsplash and flooring; got it very cheap as it was closeout sale

Scrimp: Wanted Blue Eyes granite, couldn't afford the price, so went with White Fantasy

Scrimp: Two ceiling lights instead of four, and a single pendant light in front of window which was on sale and cost very little!

The kitchen is very small, so had to be very creative to maximize space and storage and unblock a ceiling-to-floor window. The layout cost a bit more, but was worth every penny.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This has been a fun process for me because I've decided to downsize considerably in order to justify having a few nicer things in the small space. I'll be going from an 1,800 sq ft home with separate garage/workshop to a 530 sq ft apartment above a 500 sq ft garage/workshop. This is an experiment for me both in simple living as well as in designing a living space that will cost as little as possible to heat or maintain. I'm also a bachelor, so it's a bit easier making a tiny space work. This structure is also being built on the edge of an heirloom fruit orchard of mine (16 acres), and much of my time is spent outdoors.

The apartment is a comprised of a main living space divided into three areas: a well-equipped little kitchen, a dining area, and a home office. There's also a separate bedroom with a large closet as well as a full bath.

The workshop/garage is large enough to hold a pick-up truck, tractor, a laundry area, a workbench, and three large chest freezers for storage.

My challenge has been to take a serious look at what I truly need and I'm willing to give up in order to make this space work. I've learned a lot about myself in the process. In particular, a piano is more important to me than a sofa! When guests come to visit, our time indoors will have to be spent around the dining table. This is a concession I decided to make in order to have space for an upright piano. I also had to give up having a big, comfortable leather club chair and ottoman for reading and relaxing. Instead, I opted to have an over-sized bed (California King), really comfortable dining room chairs and an ergonomic chair for my desk (Aeron).

Having sized down so drastically though, I will own my home outright (and all of its contents.) It's also been designed to be so well-insulated and airtight that I'll have a monthly utility bill of around $195/mo that will cover all space heating, air conditioning, hot water, electricity and propane, including a gas range and a top of the line steam shower.

My Scrimps have turned out to be what I've simply given up:

*No formal living room
*No sofa
*No space for a comfortable leather chair
*No guest room

My Splurges are:

*Kohler Unwind Luxury Steam Shower (with six shower heads)
*Sun Valley Bronze architectural hardware
*Custom made Cedar garage and entry doors
*Custom made Cherry kitchen cabinetry
*Custom made Cherry rolltop office desk
*Custom made Cherry Shaker Panel bed and nightstands with storage drawers beneath
*6 Cherry dining chairs & table by Gary Weeks & Co.
*BlueStar LP gas range
*Yamaha Avant Grand N2 piano
*Lie-Nielsen Roubo workbench (in garage)
*BR-111 Tiete Rosewood floors and staircase
*Sorpetaler Triple-Glazed European windows (from Germany)
*Farrow & Ball paint
*Caesarstone countertops
*Rohl faucets and apron kitchen sink
*Fisher & Paykel refrigerator/freezer
*Bosch dishwasher
*Motawi tile for bathroom and kitchen backsplash

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, everyone! Longtime lurker, first-time poster.

I love this topic! Now that my kitchen is just about finished, I can contribute--mid-decision-making, I didn't want to admit that any of my selections were splurges . . . despite the little voice in my head (which sounded suspiciously like my MIL) droning "you could probably find a much cheaper __________."

-Shaw's farmhouse sink--non-negotiable, very first thing I picked out (2 years before we started on the kitchen). My husband thinks I'm nuts for referring to this sink as "my baby"--but he also thought our old 24" SS sink was just fine.

-Barber Wilson bridge faucet--tried SO hard to fall in love with a less expensive faucet, but failed miserably . . . those porcelain handles were an arrow straight to my heart! I found it at a deeply discounted price online, and even though it ended up being the biggest PITA of the whole project (dripping, leaky sidespray, multiple replacement parts, horrible customer service with BW) the faucet is just about my favorite thing in the new kithen.

-Counter-depth fridge--makes our somewhat narrow kitchen feel so much bigger.

-Gas range with convection oven--blame this one on my husband. The only thing he got really excited about during the whole renovation was a built-in meat thermometer--which (of course) only came with the convection model. So we basically bought a $500 thermometer. :-) And he thinks I'm extravagant . . .

-French doors--replaced our old, crooked back door and small window with a set of French doors leading into the sunroom. This one was a bit of a fight--DH thought they fell into the "maybe" category, I thought they were a must-have. In the end, we both agree they make the space--our kitchen feels so much bigger and brighter! (And they qualify for the energy efficient home improvement tax credit which will defray their cost somewhat.)

-Floor--18x18 ceramic tile on clearance for $1.75/sq ft. Fancied it up a bit with some glass mosaic inset tiles. This ended up being a good scrimp because we ran into an issue with a cracking concrete slab that required an expensive fix.

-Countertop--saved about 1k by going with honed Indian Black granite instead of Absolute Black. The Indian Black is ever-so-slightly grayer, but that actually works better with our color scheme.

-OTR microwave instead of hood--love the way range hoods look, but there just wasn't room in the budget. Or a better place for the microwave to go. Maybe in our next kitchen . . . (I can use that phrase safely here--not so much in front of DH!)

I guess I wish I had more scrimps to list, but even the splurges were thoroughly price-researched and purchased as cheaply as possible (on sale, free shipping, price-matched, coupons, etc.). And, scrimp or splurge, there is nothing in my kitchen that I don't love!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We're mostly done, so I can actually add comments for some of it - the backsplash still remains to be seen!


- DIY, and recruiting family on the cheap - and as it was a down-to-the-studs remodel that required moving a gas line and all new wiring, that's saying something. We did hire a plumber to move some tricky pipes, though, and man was that spendy.

- Ikea cabinets - real wood was less important to me than quality hardware and getting to have all drawers. Me and the kids had a good time assembling them while DH and his dad installed ;-)

- Lowes/Ikea pendant lights; this might change but the cost of nice glass pendants just about killed me ;-)

- Anderson door and windows, which we installed ourselves. Not exactly cheap, but not the ones DH originally wanted.

- Choosing from a prix fixe granite menu: our installers work with a bunch of different yards, but also have a choice of six granites they import themselves. We ended up with fairly nice granite for about 20% less than quartz would have cost.

- Reusing my 8 year old Bosch as DW #2 - though that's kind of cheating since we'd decided on dish drawers and weren't sure what else to do with it.

- 30" Mitrani quartz sink instead of the Shaw - you'd think since it's manufactured it would be straight ...

- And number one - living with a crummy 80s builder's kitchen for ten years ;-)

Splurges - amazing how these grow as time passes ...

- Fete prep sink with Karbon faucet, which fits in a corner under the upper cabinet soooooo nicely

- Another Karbon for the Mitrani sink, which *I* think could have used a cheaper faucet, but DH disagreed ;-)

- Dish Drawers. There are much cheaper dishwashers, but since we homeschool, I'm cooking 2 - 3 meals a day and the constantly half-loaded dishwasher is killing me. That, and I put the dishwasher in a bit of a blind spot. As my good friend said, "I love you, but you're going to fall backwards over your dishwasher door and die." Hopefully I'll just bruise my shins instead ;-) (And yes, I really am that clumsy.)

- 48" BlueStar with griddle. Also paid extra to have the matching hood painted to, um, match. Coming from a small circa 1980 downdraft, this was one heck of a splurge.

- But not as big a splurge as the 48" Miele fridge. We weren't going to buy a new fridge right then, but DH made the mistake of opening one up while waiting for our appliance guy to get some paperwork together. Stainless steel love at first sight. ;-) DH even opted to put off replacing his 12 year old Nissan Sentra in order to get it. I find it ironic that the fridge cost more than the original car.

Growing up poor in the South, this sure seems like an epically fancy kitchen to me. Now I just need to convince DH that beans and rice really *are* a food group ...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New way of thinking here. In my last house that I had custom built there were too many splurges. Sold it at a bad time and lost a lot. The new house is a nine year old tract home, much smaller and will be redone to our taste on a budget.

Savings: Ikea cabinet boxes with unfinished doors that will be painted by me. Prefabricated granite at $20 sq/ft (need to find an installer), Molding and end panels done by husband, $2 sq/ft hardwood floor from Lumber Liquidators also DIY. Backsplash will be something not too expensive and DIY. Appliances stay (stainless Kitchenaid). Sink and faucet will be midrange at most, thinking of Kraus stainless farmhouse sink $450 at Overstock. Will pay up to $350 for a faucet.

Splurges: Cabinet knobs and pulls, fell in love with pricey ones. Kobe vent
hood which is not too expensive but I'm replacing the microwave over
range that's there now. Changing location of gas range which requires an electrician and gas professional, permits etc.

Estimated cost of new 12x9 U shaped kitchen with small island is $7,000 (not including labor to move the range.) I could drop that to $6,300 if I get a cheaper sink and faucet and much cheaper knobs and pulls. If I do that and keep the microwave over range I could drop it to $5,500 total!

Frugal is fun : )

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have taken up a new philosophy--serendipity is now considered to be God speaking to me. In this case, I splurged last night...

God marked down a $300 white Artisan Kitchenaide mixer at Sears because it was a display piece without a box. I got it for half price. I already have a dull yellow 20 year old Kitchenaide which never matched anything in my kitchen. We had agreed that not replacing it with a white or grey one was a savings for this project, but I still have been looking at Kitchenaides whenever I'm in a store or on a website or at an auction. Well, it's mine now. Take that, DH! I'll need to dispose of the old one--my daughter has been hinting that she wants it when she has space. Or I can recoup part of the money on Craig's List or something. The new one is also a time convenience to me in my new kitchen since I won't have to sew a bag for its head to match the new decor.

God also threw a freestanding clamp-on pasta maker my direction at a garage sale last week, for $10. Cheaper than the Kitchenaide attachment, sez God. And now I have the space to store it.

Compared to some other posters, these are very low cost splurges, but to me, well, they're big.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't even want to think about all the places we scrimped in building this house. I splurged though on granite knobs matching my countertops (Bellarco) for the cabinets.

I guess you could say I'm splurging on the backsplash, since I replaced the first one we put in, bad job was done, so it's going to be put in again tomorrow I hope; that makes three backsplashes!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

- 30" Wolf Cooktop was splurge worthy since we desperately need a replacement we opted for a quality cooktop, since we cook at home a lot. 900 buck Kitchenaid failed us in 5 years, it is time to move up on the quality scale.
- Verde Laguna Marble Backsplash was slurgeworthy since I just fell in love with the stone and hubby could stand to have darker backsplash with lighter countertops and walls.
- Edging for countertop is splurgeworthy since we are going with an inexpensive countertop material allowing us to splurge on edging. The more high end counters really kill you on edging.
- High quality paint (since painting is a pain in the neck, I want the paint and the color to last as long as possible)
- Contractor (seeing all the mistakes that happened with our kitchen years ago, going with someone who is meticulous, experienced, and trustworthy is worth paying extra for. It is also worth paying extra to fix all the things you can even if it isn't a major kitchen renovation)

- Laminate Countertop is scrimp-o-licious because I really couldn't justify over $1,000 additional per counter premium(that is without edging) when we really are not going to sell the house. It is hard to justify nice counters when I have a 6.5 year old son with friends. Even Corian was more than twice the price of laminate and none of the patterns turned me on.
- Keeping existing appliances (oven, refrigerator, dishwasher) makes sense until we can save up for quality appliances and a full remodel where we can make space for larger appliances. I don't want to buy the double oven and refrigerator until I can install 36" units and put in additional cabinets to make up for the lost storage space.
- Reuse cabinets and hold off on additional cabinets until you need to replace them or have the money to do a renovation and get all of them you need.

It is so easy to have mission creep when you decide to change your kitchen. There is so much I would like to do, but we are not prepared to go into debt to accomplish all we can do. We also have to be careful to not put too much into a kitchen until the economy shakes out and we know if our son ends up going to an expensive college. We also have to prepare for something to go wrong and unforseen expense of fixing things.

At the end of this process I want my kitchen to be functional and nice looking as we can comfortably afford.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband = demo labor and (s)crap removal
Cabinetry hardware-super cool but on super clearance
Floor, frig & oven = kept existing since only a couple years old
OTR Microwave - One-day sale=45% discount and zero% financing for extended time
Lighting - gave up the 'to-die-for' special order octopus chandelier for a dozen off-the-shelf pendants that put off more light than the sun at one quarter the price

The cabinetry which my husband picked (I picked the color). Boy am I glad I let him take that ball and run! They are awesome!
The counters - Blue Luise - breathtaking, exquisite and worth every sacrifice we'll be making! The heart of the entire room.
The sink - Julien zero radius single bowl

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


With the economic news this week, I think we all need to think and soul search a little more...


and look for mentors...


I have opened a bottle of Rosemount pinot noir (Morelli's Liquor Store on Payne Avenue featured it as loss-leader for July). Raise a glass with me?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 7:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
My finished kitchen
This is my second kitchen remodeled with the kind assistance...
I think my quartz sample is trying to drive me crazy
We had settled on PentalQuartz Carrara for the island...
Any good, light-weight cookware out there?
I'm really not complaining. I cook on All-Clad and...
1880s house kitchen: need to work in the current space
Note this is cross-posted at suggestion of a reader Plans...
What are your thoughts on Ikea Sektion base cabinets?
I've commented here over and over that since this little...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™