Scrimp on this, Splurge on that....

alku05October 29, 2007

So lets face it, even us TKOers have to face the reality of our budgets. Part of making the budget work is deciding what to splurge on, and what to scrimp on to make those splurges possible. So what were your scrimps and splurges?

I'll go first.


*Cabinets- We went with a good midpriced brand and chose the least expensive door and a standard no-upcharge finish. We also chose to put Blumotion on the select drawers that needed it most rather than all drawers.

*Sinks- Went with Ticor SS sinks instead of the Rohl apron front I dreamed about, or the pricy big-name SS sinks. (The Ticor sinks are such good quality that I'm hesitant to really classify this as a scrimp...but the low price was definitely scrimp-worthy!)

*Backsplash- Got a $7/sqft closeout tile instead of the $30/sqft ming green marble with Tantrum accents that was tempting

*Flooring- Kids are in the future so we chose inexpensive laminate that we plan to switch out for hardwood in 10 yrs or so

*Kept our old fridge- It was only a few years old and working perfectly, so we couldn't justify replacing it.

*Hardware- Yup that's $1.29 pulls on all our cabinetry. They look great and have standard 3" holes so if we ever want to switch them out we'll be able to.


*Choosing to do the bumpout addition so that we'd have the large kitchen with the awesome layout that we got

*Granite- I know for many granite prices have become much more affordable, but for us, it was definitely a splurge. We chose an average priced stone and our granite bill was still ginormous.

*Appliances- all really nice appliances well suited to our cooking and cleaning styles, including a beverage center which is by anyone's standards a splurge.

*Faucets- Those pull down faucets sure are pricy, but so nice to use.

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my choices aren't decided yet, but am leaning toward very similar situation to you. splurges will be granite (i'm drawn to pricier patterns :( ), maybe bosch range, maybe grohe faucet. i am also keeping my fridge and not going high on cabinets; i'm even doing thermafoil since i want white (prob. slab) and in my narrow galley you really don't get a good look head on at the cabinets unless you're doing dishes!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 2:11PM
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Ikea cabinets (though they are so nice, I don't feel at all deprived)
Ikea butcherblock countertops
Ikea apron front sink (wow, what a great sink though!)
Amerock cabinet pulls and knobs
Kingston Brass faucet off overstock

LED recessed lights
Advantium oven

I think the rest of our choices were pretty middle of the road in price (cork floors, low-end Bosch d/w, GE profile range, GE bottom freezer refrigerator, etc.)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Honestly, by some posters standards my whole kitchen is a "splurge" and I cringe when I read of the tight budgets some are under; the converse can also be true however. That said, here are my relative scrimps and splurge:

refrigerator bought new, but not a built in which I used to justify my splurge on a paneled beverage refrigerator for the dining. I like to think I got both for about 1/2 the price on a SZ.

no glaze on cabinets, mid-priced door style, no wood hood

less expensive backsplash field tile (to justify my splurge on 5 metal accent pieces for the cooktop focal point)

cheap bar stools on sale at Target

no insta hot or warming drawer

simple microwave - no convection or speed cook

Milguard vinyl windows

cabinet hardware - a steal eBay

not really a skimp, but I got the Bosh DW with the bottons on front instead of on the top of the door (which costs a few hundred more). I did prefer not to see the buttons, but reasoned to myself, it was after all a kitchen... and wouldn't affect the quality of the DW (which was a splurge)

good quality cabinets with plenty of BLUM drawers (by GW standards I'd classify them as mid-range; however, for us, it was a splurge)

two skylights

relocating kitchen to old family room location to address flow issues - entailed removal of old fireplace, bearing wall, and new window and patio door

good quality appliances including two ovens and gas cooktop and real Vent-a-hood

granite was a spluge--but did not even consider some of the higher priced granites and shopped around for a less expensive fabricator

rift & quartersawn hardwood floor

sinks & faucets

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 2:54PM
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I'm not done yet but my entire kitchen is a scrimp ;-( I have about $7,000 to work with and DH is doing all the work.

The only splurges I have so far are

1) Swanstone, granite composite sink
2) 2 Fisher and Paykel dishdrawers (these are really a scrimp, I bought them off of ebay for $580 for BOTH and drove 600 miles round trip to pick them up)
3) I will have some sort of glass backsplash
4) Self installed Blumotion of some of the drawers (especially the lower ones I can shut with my feet lol)
5) Completely redesigned kitchen layout, knocked out load bearing wall to open up to living area.

My scrimps are

1) Old refidgerator (want a new one and might buy one after remodel).
2) Inexpensive cabinets (less than $4500).
3) Flooring, left over from a remo that DH did at Borders.
$) Granite or porcelain tile instead of solid surface counter.
5) Amana cooktop bought off ebay (gently used $150)
6) Cabinet hardware will be bought off eBay.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 3:16PM
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I'm terribly bad at scrimping, but, that being said, I don't like to pay full price for anything. We're remodeling our whole house (actually starting a whole house remodel on number two as well, so)

I purchased MANY items on Ebay. I got what I wanted, but didn't pay any were near full price on:

Franke Professional Sink 30x12x18
KWC Systema Faucet (main sink) great bargain!
Bar Faucet, Danze Opulance,
Pot Filler, Franke (saved about $200)
Half of my handles/knobs ( were on discontinued sale at around $4.50 each. That gave me room for the other 26 styles which were mostly rediculously priced (but still on sale heh heh)
Bar sink, Elkay 12" round

and I saved the oak floor by refinishing it. It now appears that in "refinishing it" the contractor might have ruined it beyond saving, and I'll now have to buy a new one...this does not make me happy
I saved $3000 by shopping around for granite. I would have gotten the same slabs from the same slab yard at a couple of different places. The place doing the fabricating also sold me enough other "stuff" that I saved $3000 on the kitchen counters.
Hood insert and home built (contractor) hood which will be plastered like the walls instead of a custom built wood unit. I actually prefer it now, but originally wanted a custom, which would have been near $10,000 for the hood alone!

I tried to save on cabinets and it was a disaster. We're not in splurge level pricing to get what we want, probably Omega in some rooms and Hertco in the kitchen. Both are budget killer, high end cabinets, but they're worth it.

We got the appliances we wanted. Some would be considered splurge easily (Lacanche Range, SubZero fridge) but the DW and Trash compactor are both Kitchenaide. Not for money savings but because we liked them best after trials.

My subway tiles. They're hand made by anorexic faries on the Oregon coast. They sprinkle fairy dust on them directly from their fairy wings, which is very hard on a fairy as you may well know. For this (and it's the only reason I can figure out that they cost so much) they charge about umm $68sq ft. know, they're made by fairys and stuff....(ok I'm just making stories up to justify them, but I had to have them! They are the only appropriate backsplash for our granite).

Stainless steel countertop custom made for the main work surface. Well worth the cost.

A very expensive :) AND I LOVE IT espresso/coffee maker. I look at it in the morning and it says "Hello Gorgeous...want some coffee you skinny babe? " (Delonghi)

Antique lighting, but that again I saved on by refinishing and having it rewired on my own. They're $2000 each retail and I have about $600 each into them.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 3:58PM
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Scrimp: kept the range, cabinets, counters, flooring, faucet and fridge.

Changed: DW, sink, cabinet color and a few cabinet locations (hardly splurges)

Splurge: Hardware

(Being able to work parttime with no debt - and early retirement in sight: priceless!)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 4:21PM
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Well, I'm almost embarrassed to post mine, because our budget was so tight that some of my splurges might constitute skimps for others! :-) But here goes:


Lowest priced wood door style for kraftmaid cabinets, with a standard stain, no upcharge.

Lowes white subway tiles for backsplash (less than $2/sq. ft)

No cabinet "enclosure" for refrigerator. I went for a bumped out cabinet over the refrigerator, instead. Much less expensive and gave us a couple more inches of cabinet storage.

Freestanding Frigidaire range instead of slide in or other high end range. (This was a steal as it was being discontinued, but I can honestly say that so far, I'm very happy with it)

Lower Priced Granite instead of Quartz counters (not technically a "skimp", and I do love my granite, but I really, really wanted quartz counters -- they were just so much more expensive than granite and I couldn't justify the expense)

All black appliances instead of stainless. Didn't want to pay a premium for something I thought was purely aesthetic.

Inexpensive Kichler light fixtures.

Ticor Galaxy stainless sink instead of white farm sink. I really wanted the farm sink, but couldn't justify the expense. I'm happy with the Ticor.


GE Profile bottom freezer refrigerator. (I know, this doesn't seem like a splurge, but it was way over what we originally budgeted for a refrigerator.)

Kitchenaid dishwasher -- also more than we wanted to spend, but it's a nice, solid dishwasher.

Top Knobs cabinet hardware. I just loved the silky and solid feel of this hardware, and because it's what we feel every time we open a cabinet or drawer, I felt it was worth it.

KRAFTMAID pullout trays from ebay for my pantry and base cabinets. We originally did not put this into our budget, but we love them and am glad we splurged.

Undercabinet lighting. I originally thought this was a luxury we couldn't afford. Now, its the most used lighting in our kitchen and I can't imagine not having it.

42" upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling. We have so much more storage space now!

Decora switches, outlets and covers w/hidden screws.

Cushy cupboards. Love it!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 4:41PM
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I didn't do a lot of skimping because this is the kitchen I'll have until we retire to a smaller place and my kitchen is really very important to me. But here goes:

no soft close hardware on the cabinets; I'm perfectly able to close doors so I didn't see a point
 no instant hot water dispensers or filters
 good quality but not high end dishwasher, fridge, and second oven/micro stack
 refinished rather than replaced wood floors
 available Lowe's and Great Outdoors' pulls etc.
 Ikea cabinets in the laundry room
 by happy chance some hardware for hanging frequently used equipment that I bought for another house, 2 remodels ago that didn't work there fits into my baking area perfectly. It was still in it's original packaging from 12 or 14 years ago and I just put it up this morning.

Slurges (I'm much better at this =o ):
 soapstone farmhouse sink
 Wolf range
 custom cabinets (not a splurge really since our 50s era lath and plaster walls aren't plumb and don't have any right angles so we needed custom)
 took out a wall to increase the sense of space; doesn't enlarge the kitchen footprint but unites the area to the new family room.
 Tapmasters for kitchen and pantry sinks
 oh! the whole pantry with a baking area was rather a BIG splurge + it necessitated a whole new laundry room

Potential splurges:
 hardware for a console on the back of the peninsula that faces on the family room. Can't afford them now with the Writers' strike an ugly possibility but maybe one day  they'd be about $500. But they're gorgeous and would be perfect with the new light fixture.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 4:46PM
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*Kept 2 yr old white fridge- so all new appliances are white- (still feeling a little uneasy about this decision in light of the seemingly overwhelming popularity of SS- BUT figure we will be staying here for at least 10 yrs, and can buy new SS appliances then to sell house which may be more of a selling feature than 10 yr old ones?)

*Bought $600 Blanco faucet for $200 from Home Depot Auction

*Bought $2400 Chandelier for $240 from Home Depot Auction

*Bought $500 SS Sink for $200 from Newspaper Auction

*Cabinets- super deal from new company- 1/2 to 1/3 the price of other estimates- having problems getting some cabinets delivered from manufacturer- so this company is having them custom made locally for same price (still has to happen, so jury is out)

*Installing cabinets ourselves- saving thousands of $$$, and probably more care taken (DH is a perfectionist engineer)

*Gutting and drywalling and painting and installing all wiring/lighting ourselves

Splurge -

* Two Garden Windows - wish I had ordered them down to counter height- but otherwise am very happy

* Tigerwood flooring - just love it! The Oregon fairies sometimes come up and dance with me on this!

*Granite counters and are also having matching granite on pony wall in living room

*Building lighted alcove into furnace duct- hope this turns out to be a really special feature to display 'stuff'. My house is terribly short of display areas.

*Two Pantries- you can never have too much storage- right?

*Pullout shelves on all lower cabinets and in pantries

*I have scrimped so much and saved so much, I would love to splurge on an espresso/coffee maker- maybe for Christmas?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 5:02PM
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Our whole budget is $13K and we're doing all of the demo and install work ourselves - just to put it all in perspective.

-black appliances instead of stainless, I like the look better with the new cabinets and it meant I could keep our nearly new stove
-honed & filled travertine backsplash tiles from Lowes instead of really pricey glass from the tile store
-traditional dishwasher instead of drawers...I can always upgrade in a couple of years
-keeping the old fridge for another year until we can afford the french door model I really want
-using a RTA standalone hutch instead of a built-in that matches the cabinets...turns out we would have had to rebuild the wall to mount anything on it.
-DH and I are the labor force

-Kraftmaid cabinets in the exact finish and door style I wanted (Huntington door, maple with Praline finish), I'll be living with this kitchen for the next 20 years so I wanted to really love the cabinets
-added more countertop outlets and recessed lighting, we had an electrician do the work so it would get done right - I'm very happy
-cork floors - laminate would have been cheaper but I loved the look of the cork
-granite...will be installed on Thursday!! I love the look of natural stone and I still twitch when I think about the lemon/lime laminate that came with the house

We're still not finished but I'm loving the choices we made. The kitchen will be warm, simple and comfortable - exactly how I like a kitchen to feel.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 5:14PM
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I updated my 12 year old kitchen for about 15K.

- kept old cabinets, old footprint, old fridge
- Delta pull out faucet from ebay
- bought upgraded hood but kept it recirculating so we didn't have to do complicated venting
-inexpensive orb cup pulls and knobs from ebay

-statuary marble brick tiles for back splash - I LOOOVE it
-honed jet mist granite - I LOOOVE it
-replaced white vinyl floor with solid hardwood

Neither scrimp or splurge
- knob-less Kitchenaid glass cook top
- low end Kitchenaid architect dishwasher
- Bosch convection oven
- Ticor sink

Still deciding if we should splurge on built in microwave or scrimp and put a counter one in a cabinet.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 5:42PM
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I can't say our entire project was either a scrimp or a splurge. But we definitely wanted a new family room, so we added that FIRST. This gave us a place to move the kitchen into, temporarily, and also a more realistic idea of what we could afford to spend on the kitchen.

We went with HD's Thomasville line of cabinets. It's a scrimp because they weren't custom made, but they were the higher ended cabinets rather than the lower end of HD's lines. We also got in on 2 other deals that HD was offering at the time....$1000 off cabinets if you ordered by a specific date, and a free sink. So that saved us about $1500 right then and there.

Granite countertops. Of course we also got in on a better deal going with our own GC. He knew a better granite guy than we would have gotten through HD, and about $2000 cheaper. Wow, nice savings right there.

We didn't replace the dishwasher or the refrigerator. Both are black, like we were doing the new kitchen with. We bought both OTR microwave and range from military exchange systems, because it saved us sales tax. Both DW and refrig are standard sized and can be replaced down the line.

We went with a ceramic tile floor rather than laminate, mostly because of the money saved on the appliances.

This stupid state of ours requires permits for the DUMBEST things. It would save people SO much hassle and money if the state wouldn't require permits! And if they still have to, why do they need to tack something onto an unrelated project? For instance, the permit for our family room addition alone was about $1K (I think). It required 5 inspections. The LAST one required us to add smoke detectors to all 4 bedrooms in the house - unrelated to the addition of a family room. Never mind the fact that there were smoke detectors outside of every bedroom in the first place!!!!


    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:14PM
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I splurged on
-cabinets, sink and granite because there is no going back once they are in.
-marmoleum because I love it
-backsplash (if it ever gets finished) because it's so small but has big impact
-lighting, because it's so hard to retrofit
-removing the lowered ceiling because I was told it would be cheap and easy. Not.

I scrimped on
-a dishwasher because a $400 model gets dishes as clean as any other. I just don't see the point.
-a range because I don't cook that much, and it can easily be replaced if I change my mind.
-bells and whistles because I don't have the space, thank goodness.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:26PM
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Good thread--it's interesting to see all the tradeoffs. My entire kitchen was a scrimp as new kitchens go, with used and low-end items wherever possible. My real splurges are long stretches of windows and airy open work counters, both at the expense of convenient over-counter storage.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 7:08PM
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very interesting thread. We splurged on many items as dh and I felt this was our opportunity for the kitchen of our dreams, and we weren't living through a renovation again. Having said that, here was our list:
-no insta hot water
-no water filter system (still looking into ones though)
-did stainless hood instead of wood chimney hood to match cabinets (we did this to save money and in the end I like it better)
-beverage center went with ge instead of subzero or uline which were very pricey
-refinished existing hardwood floors instead of putting down tile (we also did this to save money and i like it better this way)
-simple backsplash with no mural or accents above rangetop- again did to save money but like how it turned out.
-stools ordered from home decorators got them for $$39 each! if I don't like them can replace in a year or two and not feel so bad.

-all wolf/sub zero appliances
-azul macaubas granite- total cost was almost equal to price of the appliances -YIKES!- but I fell in love with it and had to have it.
-prep sink and pot filler-wanted both as we are a 2 cook kitchen and glad we went with it.

Having lived with our new kitchen for 2 months, I'm very happy with all of our decisions .

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 8:23PM
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What an interesting thread! OK here's mine. Some of ours were planned and other parts just happened. It was more important to me to add character, storage, and prep space than to add features, though we are in love with our new appliances! Love love love the KA dishwasher!

butcher block instead of soapstone or marble on 6 feet of prep surface
discontinued Chicago faucets sink
deciding not to combine laundry room and kitchen to make a larger room
painting all trim, walls, and cabinets myself
Ebay vintage slip shade light
antique fair Art deco rug
vintage Wedgewood stove-traded for
subway tile from the manufacturer's outlet
having dad make the breakfast nook trestle table
staining and finishing built in pass-through buffet myself
Sears outlet store dented fridge and washer/dryer
Butterfly hinges instead of mortised to keep down labor cost

rift and quartersawn wood floor (unexpected, as we planned to refinish the fir floors until contractor cut it up- Grrr!)
Shaw farm sink
cabinets with inset doors and birch ply construction
beveled glass on built-in doors
Mission copper hardware on built-in buffet
art glass shades on buffet sconces
HDTV TV for breakfast nook
soapstone counters
custom hood and vent-a-hood insert
custom built-in buffet (also required non-bearing wall removal)
inserting fridge into laundry room wall

favorite things-
breakfast nook
prep counter

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 8:42PM
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Hmmm...interesting thread. We restrained ourselves where we could: Durasupreme cabinets instead of the Crown Point custom that I'd orginally preferred. No regret there. Splurged on lighting fixtures from Rejuvenation, since their period stuff was most appropriate for our home. Did hardwood floors throughout (quartersawn oak was a bit pricier than the standard, but we're glad to have gone that route.) I bought hardware that I love - not the top of the line, wherever that is, but not cheap stuff, either. Maybe $7 per piece? Splurged on custom tile for the backsplash, as I have something of a fetish there. Still, didn't do the Motawi ($$$), so it could have been worse! Went with a builder that was probably on the higher end, but feel like that was money very well spent.

Pulled a cheapo ($250 or so ?)stainless Franke undermount sink right off the shelf at Lowes. With my three kids in tow, I was more or less just desperate to provide the granite guy with a basis for his template. No regret there either. Sinks don't excite me especially much, and this one works perfectly well.

Splurged on beautiful windows; went with three doors of glass w/a transom, as opposed to the double French doors the architect originally proposed. Big upcharge there, but again, feels like money well spent, since we'll likely be here forever, and it adds much light to the room.

Re-used all of our home's original beadboard and fir flooring in the new powder room & laundry room. Neither a scrimp, nor a splurge there, I guess, it just felt good to be using as much original stuff as we could, even if it meant that the effort for demo had to be pretty delicate, in order to preserve all of those materials.

The choice of bianco romano granite for the island over calacatta marble was done at least in part as a cost savings effort. As it turns out, the granite was no bargain; nevertheless, I'm SO glad not to have gone the marble route! I think of this a number of times a day, as my kids spill g-d knows what on the island, somebody hoists a bunch of grocery bags, greasy pizza boxes, whatever lands there. No worries! I know that I'd be anxious with marble, exquisite though it is. The carrara double vanity in my master bath is showing obvious wear and tear, even after only 6 - 8 weeks of use; I can only imagine the beating our family would have given marble in the kitchen!

Also glad not to have hired a kitchen designer; this site was an invaluable resource. Saved money w/ the architect, as well, as we hired somebody to do the bare minimum for drawings. Decided that we could handle the zoning/permit stuff on our own, and happily, such was the case.

Anyway, very interesting to read how we've all shuffled various priorities!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 9:37PM
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I don't feel like I scrimped on anything, although I certainly saved on certain items. But I ultimately bought them because I wanted them. For instance, I looked at loads of faucets, but I kept going back to the Delta. It had the lines I was looking for.

We originally were going to go all out and do a no-holds-barred custom kitchen. Then we saw this house an DH fell in love, so we decided to move and renovate this new-to-us house with the monies we had originally allocated to just a kitchen. The new house needed a lot more attention than just a new kitchen, so the budget was a lot tighter than previous. Therefore in a way the whole kichen is a scrimp, but the entire house is a splurge!

That said, DH and I decided that for the kitchen each of us should choose one splurge, one thing that will make the kitchen special to us. I think this is good advice for anyone on a budget. Make sure you put in at least on fabulous thing that will make you smile whenever you are in the kitchen.

Good Buys...
Delta faucets
IKEA light fixtures
Backsplash (Don't know what it is yet, but it's gonna be cheap!)
IKEA cabinets (as another poster said, doesn't feel like a scrimp)
Kenmore Elite range hood
Bar stools from West Elm (not yet purchased)

80 square feet of Carrera marble counters (my choice)
Cork floors (DHs choice, which I was really coveting as well)

Our appliances are all mid-level (Bosch, KA) and don't feel like either an economy or extravagance.

The only other thing I really wanted was to buy wood doors (either from IKEA or Scherr's) and have them professionally painted a rich dark red. This would have added about 7K to the budget and I just couldn't justify it. Besides, that will be an easy thing to change out if we want to in a few years. That's the beauty of IKEA!


    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 10:00PM
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(Since we're only partway through Phase 1 - haven't even got to the kitchen yet - I may add to this later one, but...)

Basically, for most people ALL the kitchen items we've collated so far are a skimp - the splurge is that we're doing it at all! However, some specifics. I note as I type this that the "skimps" are actually "splurges" which I found cheaply by getting them on Craigslist; if we hadn't found these "luxury" materials that way, we'd have been going with low-end everything to try and come in for our budget. The entire project includes refinishing the attic (which required significant structural work including adding windows, reinforcing joists, new partition walls, hvac, wiring etc), rebuilding and relocating stairs, relocating sink and stove, removing a load-bearing wall... The entire project budget is less than I have read some folks in here have spent on just their cabinets, so it's TIGHT! But, we're doing it with the help of an amazing GC who we admire more each day - his work is gorgeous and he has gone to such lengths to work WITH us and make this project happen. Rather wonderfully so far.

I'm now just dying to see the finished result because I'm so happy with the way the attic is coming along, and with the materials I have assembled for the kitchen itself!

From Craigslist:
- New dishwasher, oven, microwave
- Cambria quartz counter (if we hadn't lucked out with this, we'd have been going for off-the-shelf laminate or, at best, Ikea butcherblock)
- Blanco undermount sink (already attached to the Cambria)
- Kraftmaid mission style cabinets. These are used but in good condition and cost less than a third of the same style new. We've had to buy 2 additional cabinets to round out the sizes, but even with that extra $300 we're STILL coming in well under 50% the cost of new.

- a dishwasher
- I'm planning to add some Revashelf fittings, including perhaps a filler pullout and some rollout trays.
- the two extra cabinets (we could have "made do" but decided the savings elsehwere meant we could get what we REALLY wanted on this)
- similarly, I'm going to add some mouldings and probably KM ones at that (not cheap). I'm hoping to go the eBay route on these, though, to save a little more
- I'm going to get or have somebody make me an open plate rack in just the right size for the eventual spot it will go

We'll see what the other splurges are by the time we get to the end!

Great thread topic - fascinating reading!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 10:44PM
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*Kraftmaid ginger glaze cherry cabinets
*Oven - double frigidaire convection oven
*Paying for help to hang cabinets (diy otherwise)
*Marvin windows
*Rejuvination light fixtures
*Gold and Silver Granite
*Extra cabinet for linen closet with built in laundry (small house)
*new dishwasher - didn't need one, wanted it so the appliances look the same
*new fridge - $1000 - was $2000 at Sears Outlet, but the splurge was the panels that we didn't plan for as we had no clue what we were ordering as we had to get something upon move in.
*Blanco sink - got it for $250 from granite guys but didn't need that one - wanted it due to the shape

*exterior door - homedepot solid wood off the shelf
*vinyl floor (not on purpose - couldn't decide, got the $58 special and like it)

Still Undecided
*faucet (have IKEA $30 special)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 11:45PM
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Cabinets - custom, QS Oak, inset doors
Shaws sink
Rohl faucet in polished nickel
professional marble fabricator
professional drywaller
professional electrician
professional floor install - red oak, site finished

cheap appliances - Samsung fridge, LG dishwasher, Frigidaire range and hood were all on sale or discontinued items in basic white
backsplash - DIY Rittenhouse white subway tiles
marble - a remnant was just big enough for my small space
microwave - hid the old one in a cabinet
DIY demo to studs
DIY all installation except range hood
DIY paint
DIY plumbing - put in copper and got rid of old galvanized pipes for entire house (DH was very proud of himself)
no structural changes - kept the uneven windows and sloped ceiling to add *charm*!

A year and a half later, I wish I'd splurged on the stove. My gas Frigidaire is fine, much better than the 70s era electric we got rid of. But, after cooking on these two high BTU burners, I now want a range with ALL power burners -- and a warming drawer.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 6:37AM
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How could I have forgotten my beloved Tapmaster? Definite spurge. Definitely worth it.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 6:42AM
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Very fun thread! And informative!

We're completely redoing our kitchen. Ours is an old house kitchen with only a sink hanging on the wall and cupboards in the pantry. It's like working with a blank canvas, and the scrimps definitely outweigh the splurges.

Scrimps (but still quality)
-DIY destruction of old walls, ceiling, etc.
-DIY construction of new.
-DIY painting and staining
-DIY construction of custom cabinetry
-DIY construction of cement countertop
-OK, DIY everything, I guess.
-Galaxy Tool Supply stainless steel sink. Great sink for great price.
-$2-4 cabinet hardware
-Kept original windows and hardwood floor
-Kept old refrigerator, had it repainted red by auto body shop. It's so COOL!
-Black appliances instead of SS. I tend to buck the trends.
-Three craftsman-era pendulum lights for $18 each, discontinued line at BBC Lighting in Milwaukee

Splurge (but still price conscious)
-All new appliances, except for fridge. Was able to get good appliances for good price due to vendor connections.
-Kohler faucets for sink and pot filler
-Craftsman stlyed wicker chairs for kitchenette (still hoping to get)
-Stackable washer/dryer to go in what will become the pantry/laundry (still have to present DH with that idea:-)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 8:40AM
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Don't know why I didn't think to include this first go 'round, but we did elect to exclude the interior painting from our contract w/ GC in order to save several thousand dollars. Wishing now that we hadn't. My poor DH has spent every waking moment prepping and painting for several weeks now. It has been a big PITA. Money spent to have the professionals do this would have been well spent, in retrospect! Oh well, live and learn.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:12AM
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Wow. Some very interesting info here. Our entire kitchen was a splurge as we will live in this house till we retire - a good 20 years away unless we win the lottery LOL

High arch faucet on eBay less than $150 looks like $1500 one
Prep sink faucet was a gift but I chose it
Refinishing kitchen table instead of getting new one
no steam oven :(
Painted backsplash instead of tiled or stone

Don Silvers LOL - hard to work with when out of state but we do have a very functional kitchen
Marron Cohiba Granite
Miele DO
2 dishwashers although we did reuse our 7 yr old Miele
Custom cabinets although these were cheaper than store bought
Magic corners
toe kick drawers - love the extra space
Bluemotion drawers - love these too as my kids seemed incapable of pushing a drawer all the way closed LOL

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:34AM
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Like many, I'm better at splurge than scrimp, but I did scrimp on everything for 4 years after I bought my house so I could pay for the remodel in cash without incurring any debt.

Reused dishwasher (but it's a fully integrated 3-year old Miele top of the line at that time, so I'm not sure it counts)
Carrarra marble floor instead of the Statuario I really wanted (truth is, i couldn't care less now!)
Basic Halo 6" recessed can lighting
30" built-in Liebherr fridge instead of 27" fully-integrated SubZero (saved about $3K there)
Pella sliding door (when I really wanted Marvin French doors)

Miele integrated Coffeemaker (about $1K) more than my old countertp superautomatic which was just as good - this splurge looks cool, but was not worth it in retrospect)
Poggenpohl cabs and accessories (especially my unglazed clay breadbox insert)
Backsplash cabinets and aluminum backsplash
Blanco Purus II faucet
Moving my AGA 23" - silliest $4K spent according to DH since it had to be disassembled, stored and then rebuilt in the new location. But I am so glad I did this.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:54AM
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Love this thread! We've been in our house for 3 years now, and have been planning our kitchen addition from day one. Our house is 100+ years old and from what we can tell, the last kitchen update was when they bought a fancy new stove in the 1940's. We have the old apron front, double drainboard farm sink (which we love and are keeping) and the original built-in kitchen cabinet (the one and only cabinet in the kitchen).

Our hope is that the new kitchen will look original to the house, only equipped with lovely things like a dishwasher and counterspace. Our existing kitchen will become our breakfast room. We're using lots of salvaged materials which often cost less, but we didn't pick them specifically to try to save money, but rather to add age and character to the new construction. The footprint of the new kitchen is fairly small (10 x 17), so there isn't room to fit in too many dangerous splurges :)


We're a one-cook, two-person household, so we only have one sink, one dishwasher, one fridge, etc.
We're keeping the white Amana fridge we bought three years ago
Re-using sink
Salvaged lighting, doors, hardware, backsplash tile, pine flooring (actually purchased for another project altogether a couple of years ago, so that makes it almost free!)
We salvaged the heart pine shelving from our old walk-in pantry before it was demolished, and will reuse it in our new walk-in pantry...instant patina! DH will build the pantry shelving/cabinetry
We're doing all of the painting ourselves


Custom cabinets (although I'm painting them myself, which will save us a few thousand)
Custom range hood
Custom window over sink which will integrate a piece of stained glass we bought 10 years ago
Dishwasher with cabinet panel
Quality labor

We're just now framing the addition, so I'm sure there will be lots more skimps and splurges in the near future!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 10:55AM
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This is great. I've enjoyed the read ......

We aren't finished yet, but most is paid for, with expection of backsplash & hardwood floors.

*(not really a skimp-but still saved money) using existing cabinets and floor plan.
* moderate priced appliances. Nothing too fancy - but affordable.
* pulling all our favors of being good friends and neighbors. Was able to get paint & tile at contractor prices through friends who own businesses. Our tile man is next door neighbor and owes DH a favor.

* granite (original plan was for formica)
* pull out faucet, which I love, love, love
* counter depth frig with ice & water in door to make the flow in kitchen nicer
* floor tile, which I also consider a skimp... higher priced, got good contractor price for it. But still almost too expensive considering ....
* new couch & chair in living room

*** DH and I have been married for 16 yrs and have never bought anything large and new ourselves, except cars and a lawn mower. Our first "house" we rented and came furnished, including the washer/dryer. We did have a bedroom suite that we used and my parents got us a couch and love seat, but it was used and UGLY!
2nd house we inherited from my grandparents which is the house we now live in. Everything was paid for in cash when my grandparents built the house, which means it was the lowest of the price band. The carpet needed to be replaced and the appliance, while still worked, wasn't exactly what we would have gotten. So, we saved some and borrowed some and are buying all new stuff, including hardwood floors and things we would get if we were building. It's all a splurge for us! But we have tried to save money buy doing a lot ourselves where we could and trying to shop around.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 1:28PM
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We're not done, but here's the plan:
+ kept original footprint
+ didn't demo soffit, there were pipes in it
+ black stove, dishwasher instead of stainless
+ kept fridge
+ kept floor (3/4" hardwood, probably maple, installed 20+ years ago by former owners)
+ stock hardware
+ didn't demo former laundry closet, bought stock shelving instead and kept behind doors
+ nice but not ridiculously expensive faucet
+ cabinet hanging by individual who used to own a co. and now works as an on-site problem correction person for a large cabinet company locally
+ update track lighting instead of installing new recessed
+ served as my own KD and GC

- granite counters, albeit lower price granite
- granite backsplash since the area is so small and husband hates tile
- undermount sink
- ply cabinets (too many water issues in the last three years to even think mdf)
- pullouts in pantry
- wood (no veneer) doors on cabinets
- fix the mickey mouse electrical in the kitchen before we have a fire

That's the plan, anyway. Now I just need to commit to a cabinet in order to begin execution.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 2:28PM
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This is such a great thread because it gives us all a chance to see what trade-offs others have made . . . and if they regret anything. Our cabs are being installed as I write this, so I haven't had the chance to actually "live" with my kitchen as yet. This will hopefully be the home we retire with and we've put a lot of thought into a layout, appliances and cabs that (we hope) will stand the test of time.

-We've been planning this kitchen reno for many years now, doing research on everything and saving our money so we wouldn't have to finance this (the biggest savings of all!)
- no antique glazing or special finishes on our Brookhaven cabs.
- no expensive trim or mouldings on cabs
- KA French door fridge instead of Sub-Zero
- no added sf, as we'd hoped
- no warming drawer
- no new windows at this time
- went with one of the cabinet hardware selections that were offered free with our cabs (we do like them, though)
- I did MUCH online research to find the best prices for our appliances, light, sink, faucets, etc. and got pretty darn good deals, I think.
- no wine cooler (DH hates this one as I'm always forgetting to chill the white wines!)

- single-hole Vinnata pull-down faucet
- Hudson Valley Randolph pendant light for over sink.
- Silgranit double, undermount sink
- Silestone counters
-Blumotion on everything. Our kitchen opens into our family room; We have brick floors and adobe walls throughout this house, which makes for a LOT of sound bouncing around!
- cabinet fronts for fridge and dishwasher
- KA's top of the line dishwasher
- Sharp MW oven drawer
- paid to have the gas and water lines moved (with brick floors and thick adobe walls, this was a huge splurge!) but we were very tired of having the main view from the family room be of a refrigerator. Now, we'll have a beautiful, Old World hood and gas cooktop to look at instead.
- went with a small, local cabinet company, KD and privately hired (great) GC, instead of buying our cabs at a big box store and using theirs. We'd actually had plans drawn up with one BB-place, but got spooked by complaints about some not-so-good subs and installers they were using. We liked that our KD was going to be with us every step of the way. He's actually here today as they install and was here yesterday checking off and inspecting every piece as it was delivered. This was somewhat more expensive, but has been a HUGE peace-of-mind for us, as DH works extremely long hours and has zero time left for any DIY.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 3:34PM
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Budgeting was important in our build because although it will be our retirement home in approx. 10 years, we still have to maintain our current home for a time for job commuting.

We tried to go with spending now on the "bones" of the house figuring we can upgrade on furnishings and some appliances later.

But for now...

Splurge -

Carlisle wide plank pine floors (love them!)

My top-notch soapstone guy who did the
Countertops,sink, bi-level island, backsplash & the hearth for the parlor stove (open to the kitchen)...he also did a vanity for the laundry room lav.
My soapstone is my favorite thing in the whole house and, to me, worth the splurge.

Lighting fixtures from Rejuvenation Hardware

Upgrade to have my island finished in a custom blue stain.

Walk-in pantry with custom shelving

Bank of windows (level to the countertop)on sink side.

Holland bar stools (pricey, but comfy and likely to last)

Scrimps -

No instant hot water
No tapmaster
Dual fuel slide-in instead of pro range
No plugmold
No custom cabinets w/ inset drawers

I don't feel I gave up what I most wanted and, the kitchen got the lion's share of the budget. I'm really happy with it.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 4:16PM
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adunate-- can you tell us about your fridge paint job? Wowee! I.e., how did you get it to the body shop, how much did it cost (if you don't mind saying,) and how easy/difficult it is to keep clean. If you don't answer, I'm gonna start a new thread-- what a great idea!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 4:35PM
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This is our first home and we remodled the whole thing (bought my grandma's house that was not kept up after my grandfather died). Not done yet, but hopefully soon we'll be done enough to move in.

I'm gunna try and contain this to the kitchen and nowhere else in the house since this is the Kitchen Forum. Hehe.

*Sliding glass door added
*DCS 30" AG range (least expensive out of my top 3 choices)
*All new - and then some - plumbing and electrical (soon to be father-in-law is an electrician)
*Switched location of sink with range
*Moved washer and dryer location from kitchen to bedroom that will now be an office/laundry room
*Moved wall seperating kitchen and bathrooms to create 2 good enough sized bathrooms instead of 1 and a half small baths
*Glass tile backsplash

*Instock cabinets at Lowes that we're installing ourselves
*Installing tile flooring ourselves
*Buying KA fridge and dishwasher on clearance
*Buying matching KA hood online (not the best experience, shoulda just bought it closer to home instead of saving a few hundred dollars)
*Stainless Steel countertops - buying from metal fabricator and installing ourselves if labor becomes and issue.
*Kitchen table instead of cool-a** built-in restaurant-like booth

Still have plenty of stuff to buy, but I hope there won't be anymore splurges. Knowing me and my DF, there will.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 5:07PM
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bump for adunate

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:27AM
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We're mostly done now. I have to say the whole reason for our remodel was kind of a splurge. We remodeled to raise the cabinets and counters 1.5 inches so we could get the dishwasher in and out over our wood flooring. Then it snowballed into let's get the white cabinets DW always wanted and lets get the granite and new appliances, etc, etc....We have a long list of splurges but also several scrimps.

- Keeping the layout basically the same
- Reusing the natural oak hardwood floor
- Reusing the KA dishwasher (and replacing the motor/pump myself)
- Reusing the disposal (only 1 year old)
- Reusing the main faucet (only 2-3 years old)
- Moving the OTR microwave to another wall (it didn't fit and had to be sold but that's another story!)
- Used relatively cheap GC

- Mid to high end cabinets with soft close on *every* drawer, turned legs, upgraded solid doors, end panels, painted and glazed finish
- Drop in gas cooktop with griddle, Double 30 inch convection ovens, custom hood insert, beverage center
- Custom Island with turned legs, display shelf and end panels
- Cut and refinish a channel in the wood floor to get electrical to the island
- Fabricate a custom liner for the arched hood
- Enlarge the ducting to 8 inch for the hood
- demo the old light soffit and relocate water, gas, electrical, and one HVAC duct
- Granite slabs (needed three but have about 65 SF left over)
- Granite fabrication (only found 1 shop to do a double cove edge)
- Walker Zanger backsplash
- CX Design pendants
- Remodel the bar area as well with new stained cabinets, glass fronts and bev center

It took us about a year to get comfortable with the amount we would have to spend on the project but we ended up running about 25% over budget. We kept rationalizing that we're only doing this once so let's do it the way we want.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 1:56PM
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I think we are mostly scrimp, but:


reused refrigerator and dishwasher
got deals on other appliances
ebay knobs
ebay faucet
did not change the floor
husband installed tiled backsplash himself


cherry cabinets
quartz counters
copper sink
blumotion on drawers and doors
maple wood drawers (I know this is standard for most people, but we used to have those cheapy white ones)
tearing out the nitch in the living room, to put in cabinets that matched the kitchen

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 2:18PM
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"It took us about a year to get comfortable with the amount we would have to spend on the project but we ended up running about 25% over budget. We kept rationalizing that we're only doing this once so let's do it the way we want. "

Ya I used that rationalization as well...and I'm still not comfortable with the budget (it's an entire home remodel and we're about $210,000 over where we had originally planned to be) And "we'll only do this once" kept coming I have house number two LOL and must do this all again! (That is if I ever finish house number one!) I will NEVER tell myself I'm only doing this once so go for it!!!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 2:29PM
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"I will NEVER tell myself I'm only doing this once so go for it!!!!"

Yes, it's amazing what we will say and do when things are ALMOST done yet there's another $$$ to add or fix the last detail!!! For us the pain level for the last bit of perfection is getting pretty high too. LOL!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 2:57PM
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Splurge--Wood Floors: We bought a beautiful Asian Walnut that is fabulous but much more expensive than other wood floors we were initially interested in.
Scrimp--Installation of wood floors: I had a friend that helped me put the floors in. He made good money off of it but in the end, it cost me about $1 a square foot to install, instead of the $3 that others would have charged me.

Splurge--Cabinets: A great small company did our cabinets. Though not as expensive as many of you have done to get truly customized, we did get some customization and it cost us much more than just the standard cabinets from a big box store.

Splurge--Countertops: We went with the cambrian black antique. Not cheap but should turn out well.

Scrimp--Appliances. Though we did spend just a bit over $5,000 which is not truly scrimping, it could have been a lot worse if I went to the highest end with Wolf, Miele, etc. We got some very good appliances, but did not break my bank.

Splurge and Scrimp: Walls and Open floor plan. We took down all the walls and have a huge open floor plan...but we scrimped as I helped my contractor do the work and helped get up the drywall, etc. Total, to take down 4 walls, put up structure support beams in the ceiling, put up drywall on the entire ceiling and all the walls and tear up all the old floors, we spent under $10K on our guy--a definate splurge on doing work that we didn't have to do, but pretty cheap for all the work that we did.

Scrimp--Did not get a new patio door that leads out from the dining room to our backyard. I want one and we will get one, but for now, we didn't get and we are stuck with the old door.

Moderate--faucets and pulls for cabinets. Nothing extravagant but not real cheap either. A kind of in between.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 4:04PM
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On my last house it was scrimp, scrimp, scrimp and DIY. This time it was mostly splurge. Even though it was nice to splurge, I really felt great about my scrimp kitchen. Doing alot of the work myself gave me more satisfaction and making smart decisions is always a good thing.

Next time (that will be in another life time) I think I will try to find a middle ground.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Fun thread! Hmmmmmmmm
~kept footprint and tile floor
~DIY removal of half of a wall to open to the living room
~passed on a really cool hood above cooktop and wish I hadn't
~oven/micro combo instead of a double oven
~a deal on my huge ticor 1 3/4 sink
~cabinet hardware that I also love was a 10 pack at HD for $20

~48" built-in fridge w/water and ice dispenser
~all ss appliances
~5 burner gas cooktop
~Love my blanco rados faucet!
~potfiller, too~
~changed layout which added cabinetry and countertops
~48" cabinets (and the step stool to reach everything)
~ivory coast granite which I love because it is beautiful and uncommon

In all honesty, this whole project has been a splurge for me.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 8:41PM
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The biggest scrimp for us was working within the existing house space for the demo/reno and NOT adding on to the house to make the kitchen and DR larger. Adding on was one of the ideas we had toyed with, but it would have taken just about all the $ we had for this project (to do the construction), and we'd have been left with an empty shell, or at best, using the cheapest cabinets and appliances to outfit our kitchen. I suggested to DH that if we could come up with a way to maximize the existing space (e.g., changing the window to allow for cabs along that wall, and moving the range over a little, etc.), I'd rather skip the addition, and get the best things that we could afford. The parts were more important than the larger space.

So, I guess the splurge is just about everything else in the kitchen in a way. Certain things were rejected so early on in the "look-see" process (because of cost or other reasons), that I don't know if the actual items we chose instead would be considered scrimps, splurges or other.

The only thing we didn't get that we'd always wanted was a big, big, big kitchen, but we still got an awesome one so that's okay by us!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:52PM
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Okay, my turn. Mostly scrimp but the fact that we remodeled was a splurge in and of itself. Our old kitchen was only 5 years old but had cheap builder's grade white thermofoil cabinets and very little floor space. The reason for the remodel was water damage to our hardwood floors from a leak in our refrigerator's water line. We had wanted to change the footprint of our super tiny kitchen from day one and rather than just replace the floor and then have to tear it out again later for a remodel, we moved up the remodel and did it now.

* DIY demolition of old kitchen
* DH DIY'd all lighting, electrical, and plumbing. I DIY'd backsplash, painting and staining of some trim.
* Whirlpool SS appliances. New appliances were not originally in the budget (so this feels a bit like a splurge) because old appliances were only 5 years old and DH is cheap, but I saved us some money here and there on things like matching beadboard from the cabinet company (stained some ourselves), shopping around for our sink and faucet, and because Lowe's and Whirlpool were giving rebates at the same time.
* Cabinets...Shenanadoah Winchester maple with coffee glaze from Lowe's.
* knobs and pulls from e-bay
* re-used lighting from old kitchen as it matches the rest of the house, which we replaced from cheap ugly brass fixtures about 3 years ago.
* saddle bar stools from Linens n' Things.
* accessories (art, towel pig, dish towels, microfiber, oven mitts, decorative plates and metal planters, new silverware, new rugs, new chair for family room, etc.) all purchased on clearance or from discount stores.

* changing the footprint of our old kitchen to open it up.
* replacing hardwood with slate tile (price per square foot is cheaper but labor to install tile made it twice the price of hardwood)
* granite, although Corian and quartz weren't much different in price they both came with free sinks at the time and I did NOT want laminate countertops again.
* Mockett pop up outlet in my island instead of regular outlet on the side. It's perfect for my laptop and I love it for vacuuming too!
* little extras from the cabinet company like the pull out shelves, spice drawers, sink tilt out, half round bookcase on peninsula, and appliance garage...those all may sound like every day stuff to most people but for us they were splurges.
* oil rubbed bronze faucet finish (much pricier than chrome or stainless!).
* new copper vessel sink, copper faucet, maple vanity and maple mirror cabinet for powder room instead of just replacing the floor (fridge leak ruined hardwood in there, too).

Like many others, this is all really a splurge for us. I am a stay at home mom, DH is a software developer and makes good money but still we are a one income family. That fridge leak was a blessing in disguise though as with our old kitchen you couldn't have more than two people (or one person and a 100 lb goldendoodle) in the kitchen at one time.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:04PM
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I want to thank everyone for their fascinating input and honesty re: prioritizing and their budget(s). It is truly refreshing and validating, if that makes sense.

Robin -- I am you! Well, a SAHM with an engineer spouse and feeling like getting to do a kitchen is a splurge in itself.

It's now looking as if the kitchen portion of our remodel (this year is the main level, maybe next year or the year after will be the upstairs) will start the week of Christmas -- no joke. Our cabinetmaker told our GC they should dismantle the kitchen that week so the following week (the New Year) they can start installation. Ha ha ha ha ha. My only mandate is that the whole house must be absolutely finished by January 31st as we're adopting a puppy in February, and I don't want the house in a tip with a new little furry life. (The puppy will actually arrive around Valentine's Day, that's why I gave the January cut-off, to allow an extra fortnight of wiggle room.)

Even though we can technically afford this, I am growing more and more conflicted, more and more ambivalent about it all. It is almost hurting me to spend the money; it feels both obscene in light of others living conditions (here in N. America and abroad) as well as scary to take such a sizable chunk of our savings. "How long will it take us to recoup?" I find myself wondering with more and more frequency.

Has anyone else felt that way? All our appliances / fixtures are purchased, and while they are all "splurges" they are "skimps" a la meme fois. Like igloochic, I fastidiously researched every single thing and got the best prices available, even if that meant purchasing way in advance to take advantage of a sale or special offer. And like cat_mom, our biggest "skimp" is that we're not building an extension, so with what we're making do we're really making do, full steam ahead!

We hate our kitchen at present: its layout is crap, unfunctional, and yes, aesthetically displeasing. I'm really excited about having a kitchen which functions for us (a two-cook family) and is pretty to boot. But thinking of all this money going out hurts.

I guess we could start from scratch. Again. (many of you were so kind to me earlier this summer when we had a major kerfuffle with our [former] KD) We could use cheaper cabinets, and a cheaper countertop. But when I've broached the cabinetry thought both internally with myself as well as externally with my husband, we both come back with: in for a penny, in for a pound. Why spend any money if we're not going to get what we want? Then let's just live with this kitchen we hate rather than spend any money on a kitchen which causes us to think "well, this is our so-so space. Blah."

Thanks for letting me vent. Since we're still newish here in Colorado I don't have anyone local with whom to share my trepidation(s) without fear of sounding totally bourgeois. Of my dearest girlfriends, three live in other countries so are in different mindsets about what a living environment entails, and the one who lives here in the US is dealing with a child recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum, so my fears would sound terribly trite and petty at this time. I know you all have lots of stuff going on in your lives, too, but we're all here in this forum because of kitchens, so I feel safe.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:39PM
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Just so you know- another SAHM (well, I am, even if both have left home- one is still in University) with an engineer hubby.

If I may make an assumption- as SAHM's our job for many many years is to make that one income go as far as possible while raising the kids- and spending on ourselves seems hard to justify. That may be why you're having such a hard time. As long as it's not going to cause financial hardship and make the family suffer cuz there's no money- I would say- try and enjoy the process- I'm sure you will continue to make money-saving choices, but don't get consumed with guilt if you do splurge once in a while!



~Love my blanco rados faucet!

That's the kind I have to (still in box). So, I'm going to be happy with it? Like an idiot, I phoned the store (HD) when I was checking it before granite fabricator came. "Pullout doesn't stay in"- in panicked voice. Before I took it back, engineer Hubby figured out it had weights to keep spray head in place. 'Crisis averted'!!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 3:17AM
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Count me in as a SAHM with a computer geek husband. Like the rest of you that is my biggest splurge, then we have to figure out how to live on one income. Raehelen, you hit the nail on the head about having trouble spending on ourselves. My children have way better wardrobes then me.

We moved about a year ago to a house with a tiny really bad kitchen (no counters on the wall the stove was on, electric stove...). So most of what i have done currently is a scrimp that will get us through to a remodel. We used Amex points to get el cheapo Mills Pride cabinets for the stove wall. Now I have a place for my pots in one cabinet and my kitchen aid in the other. Please more counter space then this kitchen ever had. however we splurged, for us anyway, on a Capitol range. We had started with a used gas range that from a recycled goods place and their were several issues with it. When we do renovate the kitchen the range can move to the new space.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 9:33AM
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Hey all,
I have really been working on the whole skimp/splurge issue as we have gotten new (hopefully, realistic, quotes). We are doing a semi large scale remodel/extension on the house we bought a year ago. Now that the numbers are in and are higher than we were led to believe, we have to rethink what is needed vs. what is not necessary. Like noted above, we have to make it worth doing without breaking the bank. There are some things that can wait but others that are tied into the project and would be not cost effective to delay on. To do the work, we have to cut wherever possible, which is hard because I thought I had already been cutting costs as much as I could, and the few things I didn't, we already own without being able to return. Our total will end up over $100k, but hopefully, not by much.

Our splurges will be:
the backsplash tiles (delay list, but done eventually)
the glass arch of cabs (delay list, ditto)
humidity sensing vent fans for bathroom
chandelier for dr with matching sconces
reworking the roof and ceilings to have cathedral ceilings in living spaces

semi splurges: Not the cheapest, but not crazy
linoleum for tv room floor (vs. carpet)
custom granite counter for vanity
medicine cab set
skylight in master bathroom (those in den/kit are needed for town code for light and air)
ceiling fans - mid-range priced
kit faucet - mid range price
Bosh dw - scratch & dent price, but more than cheap ones cost
marble for kitchen counters

no front porch
simplified border tile for kitchen floor instead of mosaic border
fewer skylights overall
no special linoleum pattern with extra labor costs as planned
re-using windows for bedroom
not replacing all interior doors to match (at this point)
carpet in MBR instead of hardwood floor
may not change footprint of master bath
may not extend master bedroom if we can't afford it
free kitchen sink (vintage, would have paid a bit for it, but didn't have to!)
picked up our Chambers stove out of state, but saved a bundle
using regular Andersens instead of Marvin Tilt n Turn windows
using regular siding and roof rather than spend extra for the choices I'd rather have
delaying adding a separate hot water heater
no radiant heat under tiles, doing regular baseboards
delaying new garage door

The biggest waste of money was for the architect's plans that have to be rewritten. We have spent thousands of dollars for plans that are too grand for our budget. At minimum, we have to just take off the front porch and lose some skylights. The worst case scenario is that we also have to give up extending the master bedroom (planned 4 foot extension to line up the back of the house straight across with the kitchen and den extension).
Oh well.... time will tell....

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 10:23AM
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I sure hope you like your rados as much as I like mine. When I first pulled it from the box though, I couldn't believe its size. It looks perfect with my very big sink. I also got the soap dispenser (splurge) and have just those two things at my sink. I am trying to become a minimalist. I hate clutter so this has made me happy. I am glad that someone else found blanco. I have their potfiller, too, and love it as well.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 10:37AM
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Cherry cabinets (42" Natural) from cabinet maker in PA
--Full extension drawers
Brazilian cherry floors
Granite countertop
Glass blacksplash
All SS appliances (but, they're GE Profile, so some may put it as a half-scrimp)
Went with a GC instead of DIY

Cabinet hardware from IKEA
Faucet & HW dispenser from E-bay (Re-used the HW tank from the previous owner's)
Light Fixture from outlet store in Delaware
No airswitch
No hidden plugs
No pullout shelves or pull out pantry

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Rileydog: I am also looking at the Blanco Rados faucet because I am also looking at the Siligranit super single bowl sink. Do you think this faucet will look right for this sink? Does it by chance swival at all and if so how much? Any splashing problems if your sink is deep? The Siligranit will be around 9" deep. Right now I can't run down to a HD or anywhere because I live overseas so I am relying on GW for opinions. We will get to the states during Christmas and New Years and then I will run around. Thanks so much for your input!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 12:41PM
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The Blanco Rados swivels 360 degrees.

Now I get to add another Scrimp-
Went to HD to get a soap dispenser, and was prepared to buy the matching Blanco one- However there was a generic solid brass construction one that looks just like the picture for the Rados (would have had to special order) and it was DRUMROLL please... 1/10 the price the Rados would have been.
I almost didn't want to buy it cuz it was so cheap (in price- looks just fine) The fellow at HD convinced me it would be just as good. If you knew me, you would know that it is 'completely out of character' for me to worry that something was too inexpensive!

Figure if it doesn't work out, can always order the Blanco one later-

Rileydog- do you happen to know what size hole was needed for the soap dispenser? And yes, boy this faucet is big! I am also pretty giddy about reducing the clutter from the sink area.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 7:01PM
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Our ongoing kitchen project is both a scrimp and a splurge.
This, if not our forever house, is at least our "for a really long time" house. So we want something both beautiful and functional. But we're also committed to doing it without borrowing.

It's in a 1947 bungalow we bought a year ago. It had a reasonably functional, but dated, 1970's kitchen. We wanted to add a dishwasher, give it a facelift, widen the opening between the DR and kitchen, and find a new location for the cooking area.

I've added rough costs (CDN$) because I always find it helpful in posts. Apologies to those of you who will find this declasse :-).


No changes to footprint - leaving us with 9'7 x 8'7
85% DIY
IKEA cabinets and pulls(a scrimp I can EASILY live with)- $3K
reclaimed fir floors ($200 - again, too beautiful to really feel like a scrimp)
DIY concrete counters (concrete costs are all in the labour)- $350
16 Guage stainless Julien-copy sink off EBAY for $375 (no available fancy accessories, however)
Scratch and dental model JennAir french door CD fridge (saved $1K, dent covered by cabinet panel, full warranty)


2 new wood custom windows (including 5x4 counter height garden window)- $2500
Fisher & Paykel single wall oven $2500
30" Windcrest induction cooktop $2200
JennAir DW - $900
Faucet - not purchased yet, but I'm always a sucker for a gorgeous faucet $400?

In addition to these costs, we've spent roughly $1200 on electrician's costs to add some additional plugs, wire the cooktop, fan, etc, etc. Drywall/paint materials - $500. Wood shelving/brackets $300.

Rough total: just over $17K (not incl backsplash tiles, which will be a future project). We'll probably come in around $20K when all is said and done.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 7:51PM
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Kulagal~ I don't have any problems with splashing in my sink with my rados faucet. It does indeed swivel up a storm if desired. I have the stainless steel and I think that would go well with your silgranite sink.

raehelen~ I don't know what size hole was cut in the granite. I just handed the box to the installers and they cut away. I got a great price on the blanco faucets and soap dispenser from a friend in the business. It is a crazy price as were the grids for the sink I almost bought. That's why the ticor w/grids for around 250 was a great deal.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 9:34PM
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We aren't quite finished, but here is the scrimp/splurge list:
DIY electrical: added/moved recessed halo lighting, added mini halogens over island, added/moved 220 for induction cooktop, covection microwave, wall oven, dryer
DIY demolition
DIY added walk-in pantry and dedicated laundry room, including design/build of pantry fittings[decreased size of kitchen- it was too big to be functional- still huge area]
DIY plumbing changes/install
[the DIY not really a skimp- kind of fun]
Kept Stainless Bosche d/w
DIY customization and install of Ikea cabinets [not really a skimp]
DIY paintiing of cabinets and walls
DIY crown molding
Kept heart pine floors
Ikea wall sconces
Lowes track lighting over sink wall
White Americast sink [not really a scrimp- I had one for 10 years and I loved it- quiet, easy to keep clean, great value]

Paid extra for costa esmerelda slabs large enough to have no seams
Had professional intall of counters
Professional floor refinishing
Thermador 30" induction cook top and downdraft vent
Pantry large enough for the freezer
Rohl single handle faucet and soap dispenser
Replaced garbage disposal with batch feed
KA convection m/w and wall oven
Xenon undercabinert lighting
Mackintosh Hill House solid brass replica door "jewelry"

Mistake scrimp/splurge:
All fridge/all freezer pair from Electrolux [would not do again- it is just Frigidaire with a stick-on "Icon" plate, which was crooked and removed by me] After 5 months, still waiting for the trim kit.]Also, my DH tore out the fridge/wall oven wall on his birthday, while I was out of the house gathering food, etc. for the surprise birthday party I was throwing for him taht night at our house. Hmm, who was surprised?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 5:04PM
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To Jenellcal, Did you have any trouble installing blumotion on your drawers? We are going to install them on 27 in. top drawers. Happy Thanksgiving! LM

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 12:06PM
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I was working on a budget (refused to go into debt) and doing most of the work myself -- so my whole kitchen reno involved a lot of scrimping. Also, I'm still working on it, bit by bit, which allows me to afford things that I couldn't have afforded all at once. But some things were still splurges for me.


Ikea cabinets (but in Tidaholm, one of their more expensive styles)
Ikea sink
Kept white fridge (still pretty new)
New vinyl windows (would have preferred wood)
MDF trim (again, prefer wood)
Slate floor tile on sale at HD
Laminate counters


Nice bevel-edge on laminate counters
Stainless steel stove and dishwasher
Pull-out faucet (love it)
All new wiring (necessary, but expensive)
Cool, chimney-style range hood
Copper handware from Lee Valley

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 1:22PM
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Here's some perspective on this issue: we did a whole house remodel in 1989/90, so I redesigned the U-shaped kitchen myself. Yes, went through the whole "bleeding money" thing - painful! Thus, we skimped on some things simply because There Was No Money Left. These items would be redone in a 2003 remodeling.

1) Going with semi-custom Kraftmaid frameless instead of basic American Woodmark framed. AW cabs would have cost our partner $3K (1989 prices, remember?). Instead the KM cost $7K, more than twice what he was estimating.

Worth it? Oh yes, definitely. The cabs clean like a dream, I can put dishes away sopping wet without harm, and I have two full-height pantries with pullout drawers, two fabulous Lazy Susan base cabs, an EZ-reach upper corner, and a base spice pullout. Full extension drawers, full-opening hinges, and finished sides/bottoms were STANDARD in those days! I love these cabs. Occasionally I go to Expo and check out the kitchen displays. There is nothing out there that feels or looks any more solid than my KM frameless (a line called Euro6 which they dropped in 1997). If I could take them with me when I leave, I'd do it in a heartbeat! I am rough and tough on my kitchen, but they look and perform as well now as in the beginning.

Did I mention I love my cabs? ;))

2) Splurged on an entire back wall of picture windows and a cathedral ceiling to top off a revised layout of the main living area. This changed a drab little cottage with the usual chopped-up rooms, into a stunning contemporary open plan where the LR, DR, and kitchen blend into one another. When you enter the house, you look straight through the LR into the kitchen and a fabulous hillside view. Worth every penny, and then some. My previous kitchen was a "black hole." What a change to not have to turn on the lights from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset!

3) Lots of lights for when it does get dark. Halogens were unheard of in 1989 and fluorescents were green and buzzy. Lighting consultants didn't exist, at least for low-budget kitchens like ours. I bought five recessed lights with eyeball trim for the whopping price of $6 each, a bargain even in 1989. I added a simple hanging globe pendant on a separate switch, over my next splurge listed below. If you add the two halogen range hood lights, I have 575 watts in a 13x14' kitchen - bright enough even for us aging four-eyed folks. No dimmers, I just use the hanging light if I want a gentler "light the way" mood.

4) A movable island cart. They aren't cheap now and they weren't cheap in 1989, either. In a modest kitchen, there really isn't room for the usual center island. It's only 5 steps from the furthest points - sink to refrig. BUT, even 5 steps with something really heavy - a full 7-qt Lodge cast iron stewpot, for instance - can be a pain, literally. And everyone needs as much counterspace as possible, right?

So I splurged on an expandable, movable cart. It's 18" x 30" closed, holds a ton of stuff, and the top flips out to a full 5' of additional countertop. This gives us 30' of countertop in a modest-sized kitchen - not too bad for a room where 4' of one end of it is an open aisle to the back stairs.

Scrimped on:
1) Appliances. This is a starter home neighborhood, where most of the cottages don't even have disposals or DWs. Putting in a Wolf range or SubZero refrig is like dressing up a pig in pearls and sequins. You can have a lot of fun with it, but nobody's going to pay you for the privilege. It's a Kenmore neighborhood - but surprisingly, those are pretty darn good appliances for the money.

I do, however, wish I'd known to plan for bigger or different-sized appliances. Trying to cram in as much storage as possible, I used no filler strips. So I'm limited to replacement appliances that fit in a certain sized space. I can't put in a pro-style stove, for example, because I have exactly - not a millimeter more - 29-7/8" for a stove. To put in a 30" stove I would need to rearrange 4 cabs and have one custom-made to match the existing - won't happen!

2) Flooring - installed a sheet vinyl remnant from HDepot. Easily replaced in 2003 with Metroflor solid vinyl tiles in a gorgeous slate-look.

3) Counters - I designed a total of 25', much more than I'd ever had before! But when the money ran out, pre-formed laminate in-stock counters from HDepot were installed instead of something fancier. Both my DH and I loathe tile, so it was never an option. The laminate was fine for many years. Really, it's space and layout that count the most, not materials per se.

In 2003 we upgraded the countertops to Swanstone. At that point we also switched out the sink and faucet, going from a durable but irritating Kohler Executive Chef double sink (our big pots couldn't fit) to an easier-to-clean, what-we-wanted Swanstone single sink.

BTW, I think it's worth spending $$ on a good sink. They really do take a lot of abuse. That Kohler looked as good when it was pried out as the day it first went in. We gave it to a friend for a rental apartment, in fact.

No matter where you splurge or where you scrimp, the essence of a good kitchen remodel is one that produces a kitchen which is more efficient and more of a pleasure to cook in.

We are at the stage where anything I spend on the kitchen is now a splurge. There is nothing that will make it work better, just fancier stuff that would be "dressing it up."

And even after all these years, I still love being in my kitchen! It was the best thing we ever did, and even with the mistakes I made, worth all the money and angst.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 2:23PM
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I'm not sure if I can really say we've consciously thought in terms of scrimping and splurging...the house is 110+ years old and our intent of staying true to the age and style of the house precludes much of what would probably fall under the category of splurging. We're keeping the original kitchen cabinets and we'll just prep them, paint them but switch to some vintage brass and ceramic knobs we found at the ReStore (36 knobs for $20!). The flooring under the grungy old vinyl is pine which we'll keep and refinish if needed. As old house owners much of what we're doing is revealing the original features and finishes that need rejuvenation rather than replacing. Patterned backsplash tiles I found again at ReStore and I really love them so I don't think of their ReStore price tag as a scrimp. I suppose the new, coordinating, solid color Saltillo backsplash tiles were the splurge. The light fixtures are not pricey but are consistent with an old house kitchen so I don't really see them as a scrimp. The kitchen had 2 bare bulbs hanging from wires for light fixtures when we moved in, so anything is a splurge over that!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 1:56AM
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So - what do you think? We are SO_O out of money - but HAVE to finish before we consider selling our rambling multi-level to the next generation.

If I put in a cheap OTR microhood, instead of a more attractive curved undercabinet vent - it will save big bucks on 1) initial price of unit, 2) not needing a tiled backsplash 3) and can just use the recirculating feature instead of installation work to connect to outside existing vent.

Then perhaps can afford to install a warming drawer where the gaping hole in my microwave cabinet (on other wall) is.

OR - should I leave it gaping and go for replacing the front bay window, which is currently being propped up with concrete blocks - negating all the rest of the to the studs renovation we have done in the house.

Blast this darned market downturn!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 3:45AM
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jubileej, you might want to post your questions under their own discussion topic in the forum, so you don't hijaak the OP's thread.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 12:17PM
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What great reading. Surprising how differently we think things are a scrimp or splurge. We are in the middle of our remodel, here's my list. But first, special thanks to my hubby, who agreed to sell some of our toys ('65 Mustang Fastback) to underwrite the makeover. What a guy!

Lots of DIY and recruiting friends who are plumbers and drywallers!
Kept same footprint, would have loved to bump out for a little more room.
Kept free standing butcher block island
Travertine tile - wanted distressed hardwood
Relatively inexpensive refrigerator (samsung french door)
Keeping current MW - hiding it in a cabinet
Inexpensive ss sink as opposed to the soapstone farmhouse style
Sold our old cabinets on Ebay. Easy and fast cash.

Custom cabinets with inset doors
36" pro look dual fuel range - got a great deal from a local
Soapstone counters (I hope! Still researching this but I
am determined to get them in our budget some way)
Asko dishwasher - can't wait for this, current one sounds
like a 747 is landing on the roof and the dishes are
never clean.

Looking forward to finding out if these were all good choices. Cabinets due next week.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:36AM
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Our project is one that grew. We have a 60's ranch style house that had knotty pine cabinets. I painted them around 10 years ago. Started out to just repaint cabinet doors, but after checking out this site decided to get new Shaker style doors, It has grown from there. The last door order is due this next week. I started in July, and I am ready to finally be through with the cabinets.

Kept same footprint and cabinets
DIY painting of bases and mounting new doors.
DIY demo of old bar and changing out a couple of cabinets.
DIY crown molding to match cabinets. There was shoe molding up there when we first bought the house.
Kept oak floors
Kept two year old white refrigerator and DW--
an LG French-door model and a Whirlpool DW (had a bad experience with Bosch. Seal and timer went out after about 5 years, and the parts were discontinued, and this was an expensive DW)
Kept a six year old GE Profile gas range (also white--DH likes white) One of the burners needs to be looked at, but it is still in great shape.
Will keep the faucet. It is brushed nickel& moderately priced from HD. Delta, I think.
Didn't order doors to go to the ceiling because it would have doubled the price of the doors for 4 extra inches of door. DH hates them, and I almost reordered, but he decided he could live with them. It does limit what will fit on the top shelf, and if I had it to do over, I would get the full sized doors.
No disposal. I just never have used one. Most of it goes in the compost pile.
Got a cabinet off the shelf at Lowes to do a small island. We are pushing it to have an island in our space, but love the extra counter space.

Neither a splurge nor a skimp
Brushed nickel pulls from Lowes
Hidden hinges that really made a difference in the look of the kitchen.
A new sink yet to be decided. It will not be over a couple of hundred dollars, but anything is better than the UGLY brown sink I have now.
A new pendant light for over the sink that I am getting from craig's list. Would be a splurge if I had to pay full price for it.
The back splash will not be expensive whatever we decide on.
A new window and door that will pay for themselves in energy savings.

Added a couple of pull out drawers and lots of nifty organizers from the Container Store.
Granite. We did get a remnant for the island and will be using prefab for the counters, but we will finally be replacing the linoleum (yes they are linoleum) counters.
This is a January project, but I can't wait.
Advantium over the range oven.
Will be getting insta-hot. Our kitchen is a long way from our water heater, and it will be so nice.

By reusing, doing most of the work ourselves, and buying in phases, we have been able to do this project without borrowing any money. The drawback is that we had a mess for longer than I would have liked. It is coming together though, and I like the kitchen for the first time in the 18 years we have lived here. I am amazed that I am talking about a new kitchen at all.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:05PM
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Our kitchen isn't finished but so far here's what we've done:
Kenmore appliances instead of Viking/Subzero (maybe someday)
Faucets ( used chrome finish instead of ORB or brushed nickel
Cabinets Diamond from Lowes- DH Installed them
Prefinished OakFloors DH installed them too
No Instant Hot or Garbage Disposal
Barstools from

Shaw's 36 inch Fireclay Sink- My Favorite thing in the Kitchen
Soapstone Counters and Soapstone Prep Sink
Hiring Our only Contractor to install Lam Beam when Load Bearing wall was removed by DH (Cost just as Much as Counters!)

Still need :
Knobs/Pulls will probably skimp
Backsplash- will definitely splurge when the pocketbook is replenished
Almost ALL the work was done by Hubby (except countertop install)- alone!- amazed he started demo June 26th- and had a functional Kitchen October 20th. He works full time in Manhattan also- can't thank him enough! Can't wait to post pics- waiting to be a little more finished though.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 4:10PM
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Oooh, what a fun topic! My kitchen isn't finished yet, and we didn't skimp much because this is the house we plan to die in, but here's my list:


saltillo tile floor (not really a skimp because it's beautiful, but it is cheap--$1/sq ft)

simple one-bowl cast-iron sink

skipped the sprayer, soap dispenser and pot filler

Thermador double ovens (would have been a splurge except we got a floor model)

top of the line KitchenAid dishwasher (would have been a splurge except ditto)

regular dryer instead of the one that "matches" the front-loading washer

not really a skimp b/c I like it better, but a 4' wide pantry "closet" in the kitchen with shelves and a pair of doors--*so* much cheaper than the equivalent amount of cabinets

wood countertops made on-site from tongue-and-groove wood flooring


separate scullery to keep mess and dishwasher noise out of sight and hearing

built-in hutch between dining rm and scullery with drawers that open both ways: i.e. in the scullery you open the drawers and load them with clean dishes and silver, and in the dining room you open the same drawers to set the table.

Thermador pro-style cooktop

French-door fridge

separate walk-in pantry

20 cu' upright freezer (*so* done with bending and rummaging in my old chest freezer!)

custom Arts and Crafts style light fixtures

custom all-wood true divided light windows

two days of a cabinetmaker's time to draw up my very non-standard designs, plus building same


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:14PM
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My skimp was to keep the original cabinets and have new doors made for them. I'm also keeping my original black dishwasher because it's only about 3 years old.

I splurged on everything else...granite, hardwood floors, new window, new lighting, ss appliances, and $400 for a ss Broan hood. I didn't even ask the price of the granite...just saw what I wanted and said that's it. My splurges may not seem like much but keep in mind this is only a $300,000 house near Boston.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 4:29PM
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This thread has been very enlightening about how other people think and what their priorities are....thanks for starting it Alku! Still helping us all!

When we came in way over budget, we talked long & hard about what to eliminate or postpone since we did not want to go into debt with this remodel (college for 2 kids is coming up in a few years!). We decided to "scrimp" on things that we could "add back" later w/o structural or other costly changes. Things like the backsplash and the decorative door panels on the ends of the cabinet runs & the back of the peninsula can be added later and, while not ideal, will still look fine for now.

The hardest thing for me was the change in door style (switched from Artesia...which I love! to Anson...similar but lacks the raised center panel.) Everything else I could probably live with permanently eliminating...but not the door! I have already told my DH that after we've paid for this remodel I want to begin saving again to replace the doors. I will hold off on the decorative door panels until I've replaced the other doors with my Artesia door! (Why pay for an Anson door end panel when I plan to replace them eventually?)

Less expensive door (but same drawer front)*
No Miele oven as second oven (went w/GE Profile double Trivection + convection rather than single Trivection + single Miele)
No mudroom added to garage*
No organization closets in FR* (were planned b/c no mudroom)
No instant hot water
No Tapmaster*
Ticor Sink--but I have high hopes for it based on everyone's comments!
Reused main sink Faucet*
No decorative (non-functional) doors on back of peninsula and end of cabinet runs*
No separate Message Center*
No tile backsplash (for now....and may DIY)*
New carpeting in FR, LR, Den rather than install hardwood*
KA DW rather than Miele
No garbage disposal on prep sink*
Stock cabinet in powder room
Inexpensive cast iron sink in PR
No soft-close on cabinet doors (standard on all drawers though!)
Painting ourselves
Finishing the inside of the pantry ourselves
Stainless Steel hood instead of decorative wood hood
No beaded inset cabinets (my first "want" along w/cherry wood way back when this all started!)--but don't really care now!

* Can be added/changed later as funds become available!

Bay window raised to be able to put a cabinet run on the window wall
Semi-custom Cherry wood w/coffee glaze cabinets
Granite counter (Diamond Black) in kitchen and PR
Remove most of wall b/w Kitchen & DR and added peninsula w/seating (requires rerouting of HVAC ductwork)
Remove soffits (requires rerouting of some electrical and working around a small amount of plumbing...dictated the location & height of wall cabs!)
Redesign of entire kitchen, added lots of counterspace & cabinets!
Almost all drawers in base cabinets
Plugmold on long cabinet run
Baking Center Peninsula
Hardwood floor in DR
Corner Walk-in Pantry instead of row of pantry cabinets (debatable if this is a scrimp, splurge, or neither...but I wanted one!)

Neither Splurge or Scrimp:
Tile floors in Kitchen, Foyer, PR
Sharp MW drawer instead of Dacor DMT2420 in an oven cabinet (preferred the Dacor MW, more functionality, but no place to put it since we went w/a double wall oven) [Not really a scrimp since cost of MW drawer = cost of Dacor + Trim Kit, but not what I wanted]

Re: Mudroom. We've decided to do it DIY. We have a couple of friends who have some experience in this area so we hope to have them advise us and, if necessary, show us how to do things. We'll learn how to put up sheetrock (for exterior), hang cabinets & doors, and lay a tile floor. Sure, it'll take longer, but not only will it be less expensive, but we'll learn some valuable skills. Maybe we'll be able to DIY our upstairs remodel much less expensively and sooner than originally planned! [WeedyAcres has been an inspiration!]

Re: Organization Closets in FR. Now that we're DIYing the Mudroom, we've decided instead to put in a built-in desk and surround it w/cabinets for books, games, etc. This is actually turning out better than we had planned...sometimes it does help to have a limited forces you to think and make choices that often ultimately lead to a better design/plan!


I should note here that we knew we were over budget (our KD kept reminding us!). However, in the end we decided to plan the "ideal" kitchen and then go from there. Even if we don't have everything we want right now, we have a plan for eventually getting most of what we want. And, since this is probably our "forever" house, we have time to do it!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:25PM
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We're in the process of redoing our 1942 kitchen. After reading these posts, I realized that what seemed like splurges to me may in fact be considered skimps! But we're happy with how it's turning out so far. Our house is not a high end one in our area, so it wouldn't make sense to overdo it. I guess the main splurge for us is that we decided to renovate our whole home before moving in, and it's been 5 years so far...!

Here's what we've done:

**We completely rewired and replumbed the whole house. The contractor who did the rewiring is an old friend. He hasn't charged us anything yet, and despite our nagging him for a bill for 2 years, we don't know if he ever will.

**We installed HD Thomasville cabinets, which I guess are middle of the road. We had them painted, which was more expensive. Our kitchen is really small--there's only one pull-out cabinet! So no bells and whistles there.

Our walls are not plumb so the installer had to do a little magic to get them in. Because we ordered everything incl. the installation through HD, and they had some really good specials going on (ex, $750 gift card), we saved ourselves some dough.

**We were going to use Renovations for lighting, which is pretty expensive. But we found some really inexpensive and cool 40's lights that are just right for our home. We wanted to keep it to the period if we could.

**Refinishing the old fir floors is really popular in our area and a good selling point. You never know if they're going to turn out okay, but ours turned out great. It's one of the best features in our kitchen.

**We have yet to install countertops and appliances. Of course, we'd like to splurge and go with granite and stainless steel. But we painted the walls a light yellow shade that's hard to match, so we may have to repaint. Since we want to get moved in asap, we're going to put in butcher block from IKEA and a beadboard backsplash. We'll see if we can't buy some white appliances from someone switching their's out for stainless. Then we'll replace those things down the road.

**Oh, and one more "splurge" was to hire a designer, and then another one, and another one. We ended up going with mostly our own ideas, wouldn't you know. But I wouldn't say it was a total waste, because it helped us to hone our own style.

This was the first major kitchen remodel we've done, and we've learned a lot. I'm so glad to have this forum to go to for advice, it has really helped!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 9:41PM
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after having gone thorugh all of the purchasing, i have another angle on scrimp vs. save. that is, when to go "retail" and when to bargain hunt. i was comfortable saving money on plumbing fixtures by doing an extensive internet search...and ordering with plenty of time for any problems. but i ended up going to a local tile shop where i know the prices are not the lowest availa ble (bill v.- if you're reading this, you will HATE how much I paid for my Adex beveled subway!!)but, they are around the corner from me, had lots of samples i could run home with, could get whatever i wanted in a couple of days, and were full of good advice in helping me pick both the floor and backsplash tiles. doing this on my own, i really appreciated them and feel i got my money's worth. in fact, the owner even talked me down on how much floor tile to buy - which only hurt her revenue - and she was right about the amount.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:24AM
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Glad, We all need to know which city you are in!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:05AM
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lol, footballmom. i am in fairfield county, ct -- aka nyc metro -- aka $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:07AM
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On January 2nd, I demolished (really did! Loved that hammer! And had a great time after an argument with my 22-yr old son! A gal has to find some stress-relief, right?!) all the cabinets and soffits, re-mudded the walls and ceiling (after installing some pieces of sheetrock where the soffits used to be) removed the old vinyl flooring and old glue, and now I am starring at blank walls for another few days. In my spare time (3-6 am, hey! I am a 58yr old woman who can't sleep!), I designed on paper my ultimate kitchen (of course on a small budget!) I found an incredible cabinet maker who is charging me about $4500 for great cherry cabinets with soft close doors and drawers (no extra cost), glass or wood doors (my choice), full extension drawers, all drawers in base cabinets as I asked. Total of 26 cabinets including 2 giant floor-to-ceiling special designed/built large pantries, crown molding and all my little special requirements (oh the price also includes install of cabinets and granite). See his website: The granite I chose for my 2 long (39 sq/ft) countertops is "absolute black" 3CM granite for $1400 (you can check out their granites on same website). I just cannot be happier! No fancy name brand but great quality just the same.

DIY design and planning instead of hiring a kitchen designer or contractor.
Using a handyman to help me install backsplash and flooring
I have a white 2-yr old french door fridge so I am going to buy the brushed stainless steel soft metal (
to refinish it in SS until I can afford to buy a new one!
Not buying top of the line appliances. I am sticking with GE Profile for everything. I have American Home Shield and through their purchasing dept, I get extremely great savings on all american appliances. What an incredible saving there too! I chose double ovens with double self-clean and double convection, top of the line dishwasher, great microwave and best looking 36" glass cooktop (black & SS) that has a bridge and several other cool things.
I chose granite tiles instead of 2CM granite sheets for backsplash ($400 including install).
I am leaving my concrete floor as is until I can figure out what I want to do. Most likely go to Ged's carpet & tiles outlet or other builders' outlets and choose some really nice tiles at half (or more) the price of major stores. I will then purchase the tiles, get my handyman to help me install them (cheaper if I help) and that will be that.

- Used electrician to wire for recessed lighting, wiring and tying together over-cabinet, under-cabinet and inside-cabinet lighting to ONE switch - dimmable. Also to move the wiring of some appliances to new locations and switching hard-wire to receptacle for new microwave and disposal. And a load of other little things. Total $745.
- Used plumber to work on plumbing lines for new sink, moving the fridge water line to new area and wiring for deck-mount pot filler. $400.
Buying 1HP Insinkerator Excel disposal instead of smaller (even though I don't one that powerful) because of their jam-sensor circuit & low low noise.
Could not afford all SS appliances so mixed and matched with black and SS. Both will look great with black granite. And nowadays, everything gets mixed and looks great.

And most importantly? Researching and shopping on the internet with companies who offer free shipping and tax and reading every single blog on this website and getting incredible ideas from you guys to make my kitchen even better and elegant. Should be done within 2 weeks and will try to post before and after pictures.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:16PM
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Has anyone seen the Thermodore mirrored silver finish? I can't find anywhere in Central Ohio to see it. I am going to have an induction, just trying to decide on which brand. This silver seems like a good choice with my stainless appliances. any thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Responding about the Thermador (but I think it needs to be a new thread).

I've seen it - it is very mirrored, but quite sharp looking. We decided on the Monogram silver sight unseen partly because of the price difference and partly because I think the Monogram is a better cooktop.

I wouldn't want the Thermador anywhere near natural sunlight as the surface is potentially very reflective.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 10:30PM
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    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 9:40AM
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Scrimped on IKEA cabinets (would have loved Italian modern cabinetry, sigh)

Splurged on appliances and complete change in layout, plumbing, and electrics

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:25AM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:17PM
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Great thread!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 7:07AM
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