Mini reveal for low budget DIY kitchen remodel

bob_cvilleNovember 15, 2013

We have a rental duplex that needed some work after the last tenant moved out. After starting the work we discovered that a drain pipe had been leaking for some time, and had soaked, delaminated, and rotted the subfloor in the kitchen.

Here's a couple of pictures after the demo of the damage.

Old Kitchen:

Old Dining Room

It's not quite done, but it is awfully close, and almost completely DIY , including the plumbing the new cork floor, the cabinets, and the tan brown granite counters.

Used Range $125
Used range vent fan $20
Used Dishwasher $50
Used Cabinets Free
New cork floor $500
Granite from craigslist $400
Cash and carry fabrication of granite $450
New sink and faucet $180
New track, Used track lights $40
Pull-out spice rack $80
PVC wine rack $8
Used Exterior Door $55

Panorama of the new Kitchen

One of the biggest difficulties was figuring out a layout using the cabinets that a friend had previously removed from their kitchen. Since there were only a certain set of cabinet sizes to choose from, it was challenging to come up with a workable layout for the small space.

The blind corner cabinet to the right of the sink was modified from a standard 36" base cabinet using the door from a 15" upper cabinet.

The deep cabinet over the fridge was a base cabinet that was cut down in height.

And the pull out spice cabinet was installed simply to fill the space. One 30" upper ( or even two 15" uppers) would have worked better, but I only had two 12" uppers, so I put a 6" filler pullout between them.

New spice cabinet pulled out, the door on it was a 36" drawer front.

There wasn't enough big enough granite pieces so the counter to the left of the stove had to have a seam

The sink was supposed to have been a top mount sink, but due to a miss-communication with the granite fabricator, the hole was cut (and polished) as if it was an undermount sink.and rather than have them re-cut it I mounted the sink as an undermount.

New Dining Room:

This post was edited by bob_cville on Fri, Nov 15, 13 at 23:20

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I am very impressed. The spice pull out from a drawer. Brilliant!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 10:27PM
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The spice pullout is something I bought, but it comes without a door. So I re-purposed an unneeded drawer front. On the other side of the kitchen between the upper corner cabinet and the 36" upper cabinet next to the fridge there was another gap that needed filling, so I made a wine rack using PVC drain pipe. I still need to figure out how to hold the wine rack all together.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 10:42PM
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It's a great re-do especially for a rental. Prospective tenants will be delighted. Can I ask where u got a lot of your used items? Craigslist? I had initially planned on getting a modest kitchen update for a rental done along with my own kitchen re-do, since my kitchen project will have some contractor downtime, but too stressful to plan. There is tenant still there and didn't want to give too many months of cheap rent.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Some from craigslist, (stove, dishwasher, combo washer/dryer, granite, electrical box for ceiling fan) Some from the local Habitat for Humanity retail store (vent fan, ceiling fan for dining room, bathroom sink, toilet. doors for bedrooms and closet, bathroom vanity light, kitchen door, track light fixtures)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:13PM
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Terrific planning! Great layout; I had that same layout in an apartment once (minus the spice pullout!) and would have it again in a heartbeat. And at first I thought you used granite tile, and thought that was very clever but my what big tiles. So just remnants, and your tenant will feel like a king.

The cork floor is a beautiful color, on my screen it looks almost like blond oak. Is it that color IRL?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:35PM
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The floor is a touch more yellow in these pictures than IRL. THe last picture is probably closest to the real color.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:50PM
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Very impressive! The track lighting is cheerful and shows off the kitchen very nicely. Are you going to install a backsplash or keep the paint? The only thing which strikes me as unfinished is the door color - have you considered painting this to match the wall or to contrast (shiny black could be fun). Great job with the budget :)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:25AM
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Way to make it happen!

Very lucky "mistake" that the sink was undermounted. It looks and functions much better.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:55AM
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What a great job on a careful budget! Looks as if you spent way more than you did, and it all works together so well. The white cabs and warm floor just liven up that kitchen! Lucky tenant to come...

Is the cork a floating floor or glue down? Brand? Are you happy with the quality you got? Thanks for any guidance.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:57AM
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That is really impressive and so clever! Someone will be very lucky to live there!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Great job as all others have said. Lucky tenant-nothing like a new kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:10AM
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The floor is a floating, click together laminate-style cork floor that I bought at Lowes. I don't remember the brand, I'll see whether I can find out. So far I am happy with how it has turned out, but because it has been covered by cardboard since it was installed until yesterday, I don't know how durable it will be. Especially when a tenant is in there. I did have a problem where the tongue end of one entire box of flooring pieces was smashed in shipping, although I could have returned that box and ordered another, I managed to work around the problem by using that box as end-of-run pieces.

Also I thought about the layout along the long axis to make sure there wouldn't be short pieces at the end of the runs, but it never occurred to me to similarly plan the layout along the short axis of the pieces. Fortuitously, the last last row worked out to require a whole piece, minus the width of the tongue part that would click into the next piece. Don't try this at home. :-)


The mistake with the sink cutout was doubly lucky, since when I picked up the sink that I had given to the fabricators, the rim was slightly bent, and it wouldn't have been usable as a top-mount sink anymore, and I had no proof that it wasn't damaged when I delivered it to them, so I might have ended up eating it.

The old kitchen had a single ceiling-mount ceiling fixture that could only hold a single 75 watt max bulb. The light was woefully inadequate. I like the track lights for several reasons: they allowed me to defer the exact placement of the lights until later in the process, they didn't require holes into the ceiling that would have dropped dirt and old insulation in my face, and the fixtures were only $1 each.

We are planning on leaving the backsplash as it is. It doesn't show well in the pictures, but the walls are a linen white, and the backsplash area is a semi-gloss sagey-green. We had the green paint as a sample color from when we were painting our dining room.

There still are tasks remaining that aren't obvious. The granite backsplash pieces are just set in place, as are some of the trim boards, and the cabinets are missing toe kick boards in places. I am planning on painting the door, but haven't decided on the color. Maybe I should post the colors I have available here and let gardenweb vote.

Thanks to all for the kind comments, part of the layout was thanks to posts and comments from gardenweb So you all get partial credit for the result.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Wow, now that is an impressive remodel for that budget! A perfect example of why it is great to have some basic DIY skills and ingenuity! Not sure about the Lowes cork specifically, but we put in glue down cork and love it!

I love the modifications you made, everything looks like you designed it that way. Wonderful shopping skills too. Not only is it a nice upgraded look, but also a very green remodel. Your renters are very lucky!

I'm going to show this to my mom, who is also looking to remodel with a limited budget. She has great problem solving abilities and imagination, so I've been sending her links to awesome budget remodels like this for inspiration.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 12:52PM
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That's an awesome transformation with less money than most spend on a new fridge! What ingenuity and skill went into that project. What an inspiration for others. I hope you get top dollars from your next tenants.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I am impressed! Your next renter will hopefully be so grateful, that they will treat the kitchen with tender, loving care!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Any renter should be thrilled with that kitchen!!! Nice job!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Wow. I'd have been thrilled to have such a functional, nice kitchen in my apartment -- great job! Love the single bowl sink--every apartment I ever lived in had an evil, stupid, shallow double bowl sink. That would have been awesome.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Wow, that is amazing what you did with your budget! Great creativity to make used items work so well! I wish I had the ability to be so thrifty & creative! Great job!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 12:55PM
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I would have been happy to have anything as nice as that in any rental I've ever lived in. Actually, it's way nicer than in the 2 homes that I've bought, ha.

Looks great, nice job. Very bright and cheery and functional.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Wow! That is so beautiful! Wonderful job!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 6:42PM
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That is an awesome display of what ingenuity can do ... it's functional and very pretty.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:26PM
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My wife found some pictures of how it looked before. It has been so long I forgot how really awful it was.

and a view from the kitchen into the dining room.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Amazing changes with your budget, congrats!

Could you post details on how you undernounted the overmount sink? Did that sink fit within the 24" (?) cabinet without having to sit on the frame?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:02AM
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The sink did fit within the 24" wide cabinet without sitting on the frame. The sinks rim was about 1" wide, and there was maybe 1/8" gap between the sink and the cabinet on one side, and about 3/8" gap on the other.

To mount it under the counter, I made a frame from oak boards, cut small slots in the boards for the mounting brackets the were already on the sink. I then mounted the frame tightly to the bottom of the sink through the sides of the cabinet. Once I had it mounted tightly, I lowered it down, used a clear silicone-like sealant around the rim, and pressed it back tightly into place and reinstalled the screws through the cabinet sides.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 3:49PM
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thanks Bob, it looks awesome, this mistake really became a silk purse!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 9:33PM
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