updating what we own-suggestions please!

dckitremJune 28, 2012

After thinking about my new kitchen (white cabinets, wood counters) since we moved into our house in 2005, we've finally decided we are not comfortable putting $40 to $60,000 into our house, which we would not recoup since we bought at the height of the market. Therefore we are going to live with what we have, though I'd like some suggestions on updating.

The cabinets are only 15 years old, though they are builder grade (with the middle piece if wood where the doors meet-hate). They are stained a cherry color, with arches on the top doors and slab drawers. They look like this:

The countertop is a dark granite with shiny flecks, (maybe blue Volga?). We would consider replacing that since we'd like to upgrade our appliances, including a small cooktop that has four seams around it, including one removable piece of granite that is in front of the cooktop about 2 inches wide and 30 inches long.

The kitchen is dark with a small transom window and 6 recessed lights. How could we brighten up this space? New counter, granite, backsplash suggestions? Also hardware suggestions (builder brass is on there now)

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

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You say "brighten", so I'd first consider painting the cabinets a white, cream or light grey. If you have upper cabinets, under cabinet lighting would brighten things up without the added expense of replacing granite. It seems to me other than the cook top that there isn't really a real REASON to replace the granite???
If you take a picture of the space as it is now, you'll get a lot more personalized suggestions. I cannot really comment on b/s as you didn't say what is currently there.
Also, you say you do not want to spend 40-60 K(either did I and we are keeping this house a while). What IS a realistic budget. If it is 10K, you may not be able to afford to replace the cabinets and may have to paint. If you say 25K, you may be able to replace the doors you do not like, but not the boxes. So, budget has a LOT to do with what is possible and what is not.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Look at linelle's kitchen. She had her cabinets painted and put on new doors, backsplash and counter. She did it very economically.
Beekeeperswife's previous kitchen was also a preexisiting kitchen that was painted, new BS and counter.
These are just two off hand. Hopefully other examples will surface.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:57PM
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How long are you planning on staying in your house? If it isn't another 15 years then I have a suggestion.

We remodeled (DIY mostly) the kitchen in our current house even though we knew we would only be there for 5 years. We needed to make it more functional for us and reflect our style.

I found a discount cabinet manufacturer in my area who was having a sale and was able to purchase new cabinets for around $7000, and then we installed them ourselves. They are beutiful espesso shaker cabinets, all wood boxes. The construction is okay and nothing to complain about.

I then bought precut granite and just used the provided piece for the 4' backsplash. 3 precut pieces of granite for about $1000, installed for $2000ish.

After that it was just appliances!

Your layout may be great, and your cabinets good enough, but I just wanted to give you another perspective.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 6:00PM
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We were in a similar situation and decided to leave the cabinets alone. I really think darker wood cabinets are going to stand the test of time, while the painted cabinets are going to be dated in a few years (personal opinion!). And cabinets are the big expense. We instead are doing a great countertop and backsplash and painting the walls. I played around with the idea of removing the upper cabinets completely and that may be an option for you, especially if you could store the uppers if you plan to sell in a few years.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:06PM
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What about using a light granite, like white Nepal, to add more light to the space? I know you could paint the cabinets but I agree with kmonson and think the factory finish is going to be more durable than a painted one.

Have you looked at the LED bulbs that fit into existing can sockets? We replaced incandescents with those and they are much cleaner looking, the light is purer. They are pricey, $40 ea without a rebate, $25 ea with a rebate (at least in my area).

As for hardware, I would look into brushed nickel or chrome. I know chrome equals bathroom to some people, if you feel that way then maybe stainless steel?

Oh, what color are your appliances? Or rather, what color are you leaning towards?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Check out this update/redo - it's stunning and shows what you can do if you want to refinish your cabinets and update with new doors. The end result also has similar cabinet stain to what you've posted above and with the green granite and beautiful backsplash it is bright and fresh.

Here is a link that might be useful: AnnaC54's kitchen

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:25PM
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What look do you love more?


Or these:

I love painted cabinets, but since yours are such a pretty color (one I'd consider more classic than trendy/dated), what about just updating the countertop? I didn't see you mention your current backsplash, but a light countertop would make a huge difference in the feel of the room. Granite is one option, but also check out Corian, quartz and marble.

Paint can be a pretty inexpensive DIY thing, though it's time consuming and may or may not live up to your expectations. If you're having it done for you, though, I don't know which would cost more: painted cabs or new countertop.

If you have some pretty stemware or dishes, you might consider adding glass to a door or two.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:54PM
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we've finally decided we are not comfortable putting $40 to $60,000 into our house, which we would not recoup since we bought at the height of the market.

You wouldn't recoup the money you put into the kitchen if you hadn't bought at the height of the market, either. You never do. You renovate for you, not for the next owner. It is (nearly) always a net loss.

Moreover, I doubt that the differential between what your house is worth with a newly remodeled kitchen and what it is worth without that depends on whether we are pre- or post-crash. So I think you can make the decision without reference to the purchase price of your house. If you ain't comfortable, you ain't comfortable!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone!!
We finally have power back after the storm, though a/c is broken...

Bahacca, if I can get caught up, I'll be sure to post photos, thanks.

I'll check those two out ellendi, thank you.

Laura12, I will have to look into that, maybe cabinet discounters?

Kmonson-we do have room in the basement to store uppers...

Engineerchic, I never heard of White Nepal, but it's beautiful, that would certainly change our look.

Smaloney-that is a great kitchen link-thank you. Amazing what the right backslash/granite combo can do (we don't have any backsplash now)

Jessicaml, I love the 2nd photo the most, but do think light counters can really change a space!

Thanks AngieDIY-how do people get comfortable with spending that amount of money? I guess I'm too cheap!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:44PM
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How do people get that comfortable spending the money?

Only each person (and you) can answer what the comfort level is. You also have to realize that people on this forum have a huge spread on the income level.

Many pay for their 6 figure priced kitchens with "cash".

Don't let other sway you into spending more money than you feel comfortable doing.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:06PM
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how do people get comfortable with spending that amount of money?

In my case, it was by convincing myself it would be a lot less than what we wound up spending! :-)

I truly think that, from a strictly financial perspective, you would often be better off moving than renovating. But I love our house and don't want to move.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:50PM
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I think most of the things I would suggest have already been mentioned. If you are going to leave the cabinets as is, lighter countertops would be my first step. My kitchen was the one referenced in the link above (thanks smaloney for remembering it!), and changing from white tile to the darker granite really made a difference in the brightness of the kitchen. It's still fine as we have a large window and a patio door right there as well, but there was a definite change in the atmosphere. If you only have a small window, I imagine that the dark counters are absorbing quite a bit of the light. There are some very nice light counter materials out there.

The suggestion to have some glass doors put in would also help lighten up the feel of the upper cabinets. I wanted to do that to ours, but got talked out of it by DH (and the contractor). Still wishing I had them put in.

Have you considered a Solatube? It might help brighten things up during the daytime. How about having someone put in more lights in the ceiling? Undercabinet lighting can make a big difference if you don't have it now.

If you think you want to paint the cabinets, be sure and question thoroughly the contractors on exactly what they will be doing. One guy we got a quote from for refinishing ours was just going to spray them with the doors on and "wipe off the hinges and stuff afterward". Make sure you educate yourself on proper painting technique so you can tell if you're getting "BS" from anyone giving you a quote.

Please post pictures when you can, and tell us what "feel" or style you would like your kitchen to have.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:05AM
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Could you post pictures?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Been thinking about this A LOT!
I am going to post a current layout so people can give me some suggestions on a better way to set up kitchen. If we can make the current layout work then I will post again asking for help in updating the counters and adding a backsplash.
Thanks again for all your suggestions!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:45PM
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