Do I Need Cabinets Right Away?
Must a new kitchen have cabinets right away? I'm in an unusual situation where we live in a legal 3 family house used as a 2 family (with one unit per floor over 3 floors), and our top floor tenant moved out, so we moved our bedrooms to that floor but left the top floor kitchen intact for the time being. We have a full living room/kitchen on the bottom floor, and the prior owners had pulled out the kitchen on the middle floor (which is a parlor floor suited to entertaining so we are adding the kitchen back on that floor). We want to get a tenant on the bottom floor as soon as we can, for rental income, but first have to add a 2nd floor deck and stairs, and get a kitchen on the middle floor.
We have basic architectural drawings but not a designed kitchen, contractor bids and a contractor I like and am tempted to hire. We haven't ordered cabinets or appliances, countertops or backsplash, yet.
I'm struggling with kitchen design and probably want help from a designer, but the price of the renovation is steep. We can't get a bank loan for a legal 3 family until we can show 3 kitchens. We could really use a loan to get through the renovation. It occurred to me to hire the contractor we like, get the exterior work done, get the electrical and plumbing in place, get the appliances delivered and installed, and have a minimal "kitchen". Then we could put a tenant on our bottom floor and start getting rental income again (since the cabinet installation won't disrupt a tenant the way deck construction would), apply for the home equity line of credit, and once that comes in, we could dismantle the top floor kitchen, and finance kitchen design and cabinet/backsplash/countertop order with the loan. It means the renovation would take longer but not be as financially risky, and we could live in the made-over space a bit and get a better sense of our needs.
So my question is... what am I missing? Other than the inconvenience of not having cabinets and countertop (so this is not a solution for more than a couple of months, I'd think), is this a bad idea? I don't know how many other people have been in this (strange) situation of needing rental income and a loan to finish off a renovation, and having a way to break the reno into pieces like this, but I'd love any feedback. The hardest part for me is layout and cabinets, and if we wait on that, we might pay more for if we (say) swap a sink and stove or something, but if it's financed that might ease the time and financial pressure.
Thanks for any thoughts.