Low end of high end

missy111July 27, 2013

I have read where many of you feel $100-250K is the high end of kitchen remodel. My remodel is just a replacement of an ugly, poorly installed kitchen in an otherwise beautiful 5 year old house. My kitchen is 12 x 19 with 10' ceilings and a large center island. I want what everyone wants -- beautiful, yet practical (we cook!) stuff at the low end of that price range.

What can I expect for $100K (NOT including appliances)? Is a high end replacement doable on 100K (flooring too)? What cabinet lines should I be looking at? What flooring should I expect?

Do contractors and cabinet companies charge more if you live in a more expensive house???

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I am thinking your question is a bit open ended, and nearly impossible to answer conclusively. Having said that, and having just finished my project (at the high end of mid range), a 100K budget (minus appliances), could be do-able with that size of space, depending on some big variables:

Labor cost is more dependent on your geographic location (say Manhattan vs suburban LIttle Rock) and skill/reputation/overhead of your contractors than on how much they think you can pay.

Also important is how many layout changes you intend to make. Since your house is new, I am suspecting you won't run into the numerous physical upgrades many of us have to make to our electrical, plumbing, windows and foundations. But, do you intend to move/add walls or make additions and bumpouts?

And, of course, your material choices will be a big swing factor, especially at the high end. There are a number of budgeting threads available, if you use google to search gardenweb.

Regarding cabinets, either choose a local craftsman or check out one of the cabinet threads for manufacturers. Or, one of the pros will chime in. There is an ultra high end that is out of reach with that budget, but these are very rarely used by GWers. Cabinets are the biggest budget variable and you will have to make tradeoffs to fit in the budget.

Flooring in a space of that size should not be an issue, unless you are going for some exotic wood species or unusual mosaics or marquetry.

Material selections can vary wildly. Do you have a wish list or inspiration look you are targeting?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Thank you for the reply. I know it is open ended and I really don't even know how to frame my questions. I am just trying to find some transparency in the pricing of some of this stuff and there just doesn't seem to be any. I have talked seriously with a couple of cabinet companies. These are my most bizarre of the experiences: One never even followed up with a quote, one quoted cabinets only and did not seem interested in doing any other part of the kitchen, and one presented a proposal that was 25% over my budget AND it did not cover the entire kitchen, only a portion of the cabinets and countertops. When I indicated that was more than I wanted to pay, I didn't hear from them again.

I see beautiful kitchens in this forum and while not many of you are forthcoming with prices you paid, I bet you all are not doing 250K kitchens.

I am located in the midsouth. My neighborhood would be considered one where there are only high end custom homes although that is not really true -- it has it's share of specs with "custom quality" -- love that term. All hard surfaces are natural stone or wood in this price range although I'm not a snob about that and think there are ceramic (or porcelain?) tiles that are way more beautiful than some of the stone that I have. I have marble countertops and floors -- hate 'em both -- especially with kids. All of my appliances are built in with furniture panels (poorly installed) and the cabinet doors are inset (but the tolerances are not tight enough to look nice).

I'm not moving walls -- just replacing pretty much everything and I guess what I am really trying to figure out is how to find someone who will work with me on my budget or if my budget is just unrealistic altogether.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:06PM
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add up your linear feet...shop around to some different showrooms and tell them this number, and your budget, and ask them to show you what ball park of cabinet quality you would end up in. Do you want inset again?-full overlay with frameless is gaining ground..it would probably save you...and painted? vs a wood species? makes a significant difference. It sounds too early for shopping around, but you are doing it anyway, so be specific with the people. Of course, they all want to do your kitchen, but it's time consuming if they don't know what stage you're at and if they'll ever see you in again. I would look at pics on Houzz, make a list of dislikes about the kitchen, and summarize the style of the home, along with a specific wood [just for starters]...and the budget, and your running number of feet. Of course, everyone will say"it depends".....but you seem to want to get some traction right away. And more fundamental even-are you certain some "adjustments" to the poor install and expansion problems of your inset drawers can't be addressed without ripping it all out.....then you could toy with refacing/painting/refinishing.There are many options-the infrastructure condition of the cabs should be considered and segregated from various "tune up" issues.....

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Thank you for your suggestions. I have thought of all ways to try to fix it but at the end of the day, it just needs to be gone.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 4:16PM
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but don't rule out some warranty issues if 5yrs only has passed. I would be irritated [and then some] for such degradation.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Do you have a picture of your existing cabinet gaps? The cabinet experts may give you valuable advice on what can be done.

Which brands did you have quoted or were they all local custom? What type of door, species and finish are you looking for? (and the questions herbflavor posted above) Without that type of basic information it is difficult to suggest names and give approximate figures. You must have some idea, in order to get some range of quotations back.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Our new construction kitchen breakdown (central Illinois):

Custom Cherry/Paint Cabinetry plus installation - $18,000
Hardwood Flooring - $2,000
Granite Countertop - $5,000
Walnut Countertop (7' x 4.5') - $700
Appliances (SubZero 36" Over/Under, Wolf 36" rangetop, Wolf d ouble oven, Sharp MW drawer, Bosch 800Series DW) - $18,000
Backsplash with installation - $2,500
Independent Bonanza Hood - $750
Hood insert - $750
Pulls/Knobs - $500
Siligranit Prep Sink - $100
Kohler 30" Whitehaven - $700
Delta Trinsic Faucet (2) - $200 each

Grand Total - $49,400

A $100,000 kitchen is possible based on location. In my area, $50,000 is considered expensive. My first semi-custom cabinet bid was $33,000 which makes the custom cabinets seem like a steal. We did a kitchen in 2002 and the semi-custom cherry cabinets were $10,000. I thought that was expensive!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If by a Mid-South location, you mean that you are close to Memphis, I'd go see the Dynasty/Omega cabinets at the new ProSource in Memphis. Live_wire_oak, who is a frequent forum contributor, is the Kitchen Designer there. I came up from MS to attend their grand opening and thought the showroom was small but well done. And Omega is a very nice upper end line that can do some amazing things. It would be worth the trip, even if it's a bit of one, just to pick LWO's brain. Take a layout of the kitchen as it exists, and of the home itself so the relationship of the kitchen to the rest of it can be seen. You can at least walk out knowing you've gotten straight talk with no BS.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:07PM
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The biggest factor in whether or not you can do a high-end remodel for that price is the general contractor you go with. At this early stage I'd estimate GC fees at about 50% of the overall project. But those fees could change by 50% depending on who you work with. If you find someone who is used to doing even larger projects, he may give you a very high estimate - easily over $100K - but may include all parts, labor, and warranties to cover everything for the whole job. If you can find a GC who charges primarily for labor and lets you select product choices without a markup, you may save some money and get more for your budget.

You should think about what's important for you to spend extra on, and where you're willing to scale back. After the GC, cabinets is the next big-item expense -- I would look at a couple fully-custom as well as semi-custom lines. One idea would be to try Home Depot just to get a baseline -- they will do a full layout for you & give you a price, from which you could work up. My main advice there is that before you spend more to go to a higher-end line, know why you're spending the extra money.

For $100K you should think about hiring an architect, or at least an experienced kitchen designer. For a small part of the overall price you'll have someone who will help you with creative ideas throughout the whole process, and also uncover hidden costs during the planning phase. If appliances aren't in the $100K budget this sounds very doable, but the bigger issue for you will be in making sure you spend the $100K wisely on the things most important to you.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Whoa, what am I missing. My kitchen design if fine; things are right where they should be. If I am only replacing things, not reinventing the wheel, why would I need an architect??? Are you saying that I should be starting with a general contractor rather than visiting cabinet shops???

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You can start with either. A cabinet shop will have contractors that they work with and contractors will have cabinet shops that they work with. But, if all you are doing is changing out the finished surfaces, then the structural element becomes less important to be concerned with and the decorative one receives the most emphasis. Therefore, I'd talk with cabinet people first.

But, I'd also post the current layout here, as even "just fine" could possibly be tweaked to be better. People can get used to some less than optimal conditions and don't realize that they don't have to work so hard in the space if a few changes were made.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:44PM
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100k is more than sufficient budget.

Are you replacing the appliances?

ETA: nevermind, I see that you are not replacing appliances.

100K is very generous without appliances.
Flooring: 5K
Cabinets: 50K
Counters: 15K
Sinks: 1500
Faucets: 2k
Lighting: 2K
Backsplash: 5K
Hardware: 1k
Labor: some of these prices include Labor, like flooring and counters. That leaves you with 20K for labor.

This post was edited by pps7 on Sat, Jul 27, 13 at 22:40

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Thank you for the responses. I have been up all night thinking about this. If one has to pay 50% GC fees, then some for architectural fees, then some for kitchen designer, what is left over for the kitchen??? Again, I am not making major changes.

Does a GC get that much better pricing on cabinets to justify fees like that? I realize I'm going to have to pay someone to handle the project but I was not counting on 50%. What will that get me? What kinds of professional fees is everyone else paying?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:10AM
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I was told the KD probaly gets 25-30%. If walls are not being changed, then I'd go that route.

I suspect mine will be about $35,000. The KD charged me $32,000 for everything but appliances. That includes an allowance for sink, hardware, & faucet. I'm not going with the high end appliances, as kids grown and I could be moving in 5-10 years. It is the KD's concern to move water line to new frig and d/w placement. He'll coordinate his plumber and electrician. (My wood floors are fairly new.)

For example, I'm deciding on full size FD frig, @ $2700. Anyone able to help me between GE Profile or Bosch?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:47AM
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bookworm:get the bosch.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:28AM
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So if the KD gets that % then she is all you need to get the job done?? She arranges everything???

I have bosch washer/dryer and 2 of their dishwashers. Happy with the washer/dryer but with the dishwashers... not so much. I don't know about their fridge.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:46AM
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Missy111 - I have the Bosch 800 Series dishwasher and hated it until we installed a water softener. It is okay, but I have nothing to compare it to. The W/D on the other hand are horrible. Bosch no longer makes w/d.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:56AM
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we have a bosch fridge: it is superior, but it is overseas and the ones made stateside are perhaps differently spec'ed. How you came to GE vs Bosch for fridge option is unknown, but I can say, hearing from someone who has regular contact with tech personnel working on GE,I would avoid a GE. Did you have other options for the fridge?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:23AM
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@missy111, when I read your initial post I thought you were thinking about $100-250K for a whole remodel. If you don't need or want to alter your kitchen design, and your structural work is very minimal (e.g. no skylights / wall changes / electrical or plumbing upgrades / limited demo), then the question is very different.

In that scenario, while you could easily spend more than $100K, you'd have to make it a point to do so. Even for a high-end $100-250K remodel, that usually includes the process of reimagining the kitchen and building from a new concept.

In your case, I'd just build a list of the things you'd want to change (e.g. cabinets, floors, counters, backsplash) and budget each one. You'd still will probably want a single GC to oversee the project but you can negotiate to keep their fees down, probably much lower than 50%.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Good sense, Calumin.

I find it interesting that the people contacted so far have walked away from $100K jobs. I'd search out good, well-regarded kitchen shops and avoid names found in glossy magazines. If necessary I'd get quotes from shops in other areas that don't try to hitch their prices to the tails of those others.

Really. We're not building the Brooklyn Bridge here. Even the most expensive prefab cabinet lines are ordered in pieces out of a catalog. The wild card is design talent--that can be worth real money and is where I'd put mine if I had it. Aside from that, though, you're basically buying a competent manager with a good crew who won't mess up bolting the cabinets to the wall or drive their trucks on the lawn.

Good for you for seeking some perspective on this. My suggestion is to decline to hook yourself up to a milking machine. It's undignified if nothing else.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:41AM
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My custom cabinet maker did my design with my input. He installed the cabinets. I hired a plumber and electrician myself. Not very difficult. I hired a floor guy to lay the tile. My handy man installed my hood. I first hired a sheet rock guy to raise part of the ceiling. I also hired the granite guys. My kitchen with appliances was under 50K. It turned out great. Oh, I also had a finish carpenter change the windows. I work from home, so could over see things and hire people. Maybe that was key.

The cabinets are mahogany full over-lay, frameless, plywood construction.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:40PM
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Chinchette was home, so could oversee her contractors. I work full time, so I would be more than peeved when people say they are coming and then delay. This seems to happen often.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I've been to the box stores and high end appliance stores. The Bosch frige has the ice maker in top left corner of frig; the new GE Profile puts it on left door. The price difference is less than $150 which is negligible. There is a group of Boston reviewers of appliances, and they gave the new GE their top mark, 10, and the Bosch 8.8. The saleswoman at high end appliance store pushes the GE. I guess she knew I wasn't going to go for the $9000 Miele.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Our kitchen reno is estimated at @ $100k without appliances. We are converting a garage to a kitchen, so it's basically starting from scratch. Our GC is charging 10% for his fee, plus $4k management fee. He also self performs all of the framing, etc. so he gets more money there too.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:15PM
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As far as paying a GC goes, we have GC'ed kitchen remodels for years and our fee is 10% - we also do all of our cabinet installations/finish carpentry. If you will be staying with the same general layout there is no reason to pay huge money for a kitchen designer, either. Not sure where you are located, but if you can find a company like ours that will be honest about the pros/cons of different cabinet brands vs. custom and work hard to make the best decisions for your budget (without compromising quality!) you should be able to do a very nice remodel for that size kitchen around $100K. Also, don't just defer to your GC's "standard cabinet guy" - there is a lot of variation in quality standards and a lot of GCs will use a lower grade product that "looks nice" on the outside buy won't stand up to the reality of being used in a busy kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: What You Need to Know about Cabinets and Installation

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Nice article wooden concepts. Informative.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Holly sent me a link to this thread to see if I could help you with some specifics. I'll just tell you about some of the jobs that I've done to see if that helps you with any specifics budgeting information, and if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Let's see. I'm doing a job right now in East Memphis with 35K worth of Dynasty cabinets in a painted maple finish. 8' ceilings with 36" tall cabinets and 6" worth of crown molding, a custom china hutch and wood hood. And a few other details like mostly drawers and an oven cabinet. 8K worth of Cambria for the counters and 10K worth of flooring, and 3K for the backsplash. I think her appliance budget was 10K, but she says she doesn't really like to cook all that much. The overall budget for the job is around 75K, and most would consider the home fairly high end for an older home in the area.

I did a home in Collierville in Kemper Cherry cabinets for 48K, but that included a dining room hutch, breakfast room pantries, an entertainment wall, and a powder room vanity. 42" high cabinets with molding in 10' ceilings. The island used some funky shaped specialty cabinets, and she did an exotic granite that was 12K. Not a lot of specialty items in it, just a lot of cabinets. I would call the home a high mid grade family home.

I'm working on a new build in the Forest Hill Irene area that will have around 70K worth of stained gray Dynasty and Omega cabinets in the two kitchens. (They fell in love with the Porch Swing desk area that I have in the showroom, shown below.) They have a very simple modern aesthetic and VERY tall ceilings with 27"s stacked on top of 42"s. The Silestone counters will probably end up being around 20K, simply because they have to purchase whole slabs and they want different colors in each kitchen and bath area. I think it's around a 8M build price for the home, so definately upper end for this area. Or just about any area!

Dynasty Porch Swing on Cherry

So, I think your 100K budget would probably be overkill for this area, unless you are wanting something with a lot of details like corbels and onlays and lots of glass and stacked cabinets. That can add up quickly! Even so, upper end in this area isn't quite so costly as East or West Coast areas.

I work with a couple of full service licensed general contractors if you'd like some names, or just a good old boy installer if you'd prefer to be your own GC on the job. If there's any way I can help you to sort your thought processes out, let me know. You can reach me through email on this forum if you like. Or, I'll answer your questions here as best I can if you prefer that.

This post was edited by live_wire_oak on Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 17:27

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:16PM
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I've been reading this site for months and want to contribute now that my kitchen reno is done. I have an 11x11 with an attached breakfast room, all of which were gutted and redone. Previously I had the original knotty pine cabinets that were installed in 1962 when the house was built.

I went to a kitchen, granite shop that was locally rated well by both Consumer checkbook and Angie's List (I live in the Washington D.C. area). Although the process wasn't perfectly smooth, it worked out well for me. I am a teacher and am off in the summer so I was able to be very involved in all aspects of the job. The supplier I used let me do all the purchasing so for the last several months I acquired all the materials and stored them until the job began. This included a ceramic tile floor for my breakfast room, an unfinished hardwood floor for my kitchen, faucet, disposal, etc. I also purchased appliances at H.H. Gregg (I don't recommend). My breakdown of costs is below for your reference. I used Kemper cabinets and ivory fantasy granite with a anthrocite siligranite sink which I had the supplier order for me so I wouldn't have to worry about shipping breakage.

Contract for Cabinets, counters labor, sink, window $23,165.00
range and Microwave LG $1,470.00
Delta Faucet and soap dispenser Amazon. $177.00
Disposal. Amazon $117.50
Knobs. Amazon. $34.00
Hardwood floor. 144 sq. feet. 12x12 Lumber Liquidators $449.79
Breakfast room floor 120 sq. feet Kiev blanco. Tile Shop $433.10
Paint Benjamin Moore $77.00
Floor stain. $8.00
Breakfast room light fixture Lamps Plus online $215.00
Backsplash tile. Tile shop $177.68
Accent tiles Home Depot $32.00
Spray paint for light fixture, vent cover $12.00
Epoxy grout $80.00
Dimmer $20.00
Dishwasher supply hose. $15.00
Outlets and covers. $10.00
Carpet gripper. $8.00
Tile spacers $10.00
Shoe moulding $30.00
New door trim. $30.00
Window sill, frame wood 1x4's $34.00
Puck light $10.00
Contractor invoice includes 4 LED pot lights $736.05


Additional trim for cabinets. $220.00

This is probably more than you wanted to know but the bottom line is that if you have the time and inclination, you can save a lot of money by doing the purchasing yourself. The picture was taken just before the crown moulding on the left was installed. The cabinets by Kemper are maple Havana (decent quality but poor quality control in the factory-- lots of waiting for replacement pieces to arrive). Hopefully this will give you an idea of what a medium sized kitchen in an expensive area could cost.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Here's another photo of the sink area.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 8:02AM
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