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I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Posted by belle_va (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 23:04

Talk to me! Quotes are slowly starting to trickle in and I am feeling sticker shock. I know I have upscale taste. I have a 10 x 9 (on a good day) kitchen and that includes 2 doors and a window. I had hoped to stick to a 30k budget. That seemed reasonable. Our house is small and though historic and charming, a 50k kitchen would be inappropriate for the home and for the neighborhood. My project involves no demolition. Appliances will all stay in the same place. There will be 3 uppers & some open shelves and 5 lowers including two corners. One lower is all drawers. One is a sink base. I do have some pricey things on my wishlist- a paneled fridge, a concealed trash bin & a wood hood. I am looking at painted shaker inset. Quotes are coming in at or above 20k. Is this right? Is it regional? I guess I was hoping the smallness of my kitchen would enable me to afford a higher end cabinet... I was thinking of 15 or 16k for cabinets and an overall budget under 30k. Am I just being unrealistic?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

If that's a beer budget, then mine is a ditchwater budget! As you say it should be appropriate for the home, but do try to keep things in perspective - how much will you enjoy the changes versus other things you might want to do with the money?


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

skip the wood hood and painted inset. full overlay cabs/probably frameless should give you that sweet spot of efficiency, looks, and value.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Your cabinet quote seems a bit high for that many cabinets, even with inset and the hood. Is that installed? Try getting at least one good site-built custom quote, and drop the hood or go with a simpler model. There is a very good thread with relative pricing of inset shaker... see where your target lines are coming in, because pricing can really vary between the lines.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

My kitchen is about 12x10, that's what I paid for cabinets and about my total budget. I will have nice frameless, stained cabinets with soft close and full extension drawers. It would have been a little less, but I have a 12 inch pull out pantry and fancy double angled corner cabinet that I didn't plan on, but just seemed to finish things off so well I got attached.

For me, that budget includes removing soffits, new ceiling (easier than dealing with popcorn repair/addition), new cork glue down floor, paint, new recessed lighting, UCL, and paint/fixtures for bathroom.

Now I might be a bit over depending on my choices, but I know what cabs/install will be and what labor/basic supplies for the rest will be.

Things that stand out as driving your budget up are the wood hood, paneled fridge, inset doors, and painted cabinets. I've seen people post where the line they used only had a small up charge for inset or painted, but I suspect hey may have been more expensive lines to start or maybe promotions. Or custom, which might actually cost you less.

I definitely understand the shock. I had to wait a few weeks after my first quote came back before proceeding, had to readjust my expectations. I still panicked a bit when I ordered my cabinets, I was nauseous the whole day and wrote a long post here for reassurance.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Totally doable, but not easy. How many linear feet of cabinetry do you have? That quote seems high to me too, but we had to shop a lot to find good quality cabinets in our budget--so keep looking! We eventually found a small custom cabinetmaker who could do our kitchen to my specs within our budget, but it was an exhausting search. (We have half inset and half frameless, and are in a very expensive labor market, so that made it tricky.)

As far as cost savings, though, I would consider dropping the paneled fridge and dishwasher. Those will add a lot of cost in my experience--not to mention that the appliances that take panels are a lot more costly than the equivalent models without panels.

For a drawer-heavy small kitchen, I would also consider skipping the inset, too. You can get a nice period look by using a little filler around frameless cabinetry for aesthetics while getting far more storage for the space.

FWIW, we also found that local custom cabinetmakers where we are were far less costly than any of the semi-custom lines. This varies regionally, of course, and you have to look at the specs carefully to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. But it can be done! We pulled it off with almost a third of the budget dedicated to structural work, so if you can avoid that, you're ahead of the game. Good luck!


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Some estimates include cabinet installation; others don't. I studied the thread about relative prices and narrowed my choices accordingly. I also used that thread to negotiate the overall budget with my DH so I was surprised to find my estimates coming in so much higher. I do have 42 inch uppers so that is probably one thing contributing. It is a very small kitchen. I don't *have* to do my kitchen- it looks okay. Because of this, if I can't afford what I want right now, I guess I will just wait. We have no plans to move anytime soon so this is for us to enjoy. When all the estimates are in, I'll give you guys the full run-down. I am wondering if it is regional. I hear you Williamsem about adjusting my expectations. I can do that though there is a certain $ that I think is just too much for this house at this moment regardless of what I can afford. And Artemis- I bet I could find a better price with a local custom shop... but finding the time... maybe I need to take it slowly and be more patient. (? Dumb question- when calculating linear feet, do you count uppers and lowers separately?)

This post was edited by belle_va on Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 0:07


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

We did all of this

 photo kitchen1.jpg

(the peninsula has 3 set of drawers under there) and all of this

 photo kitchen2.jpg

for $14,000-odd. Our kitchen space is maybe 10 x 12. These cabinets are InnerMost frameless cabinets from Home Depot, which, I believe, are one of their more expensive lines. That price is cabs only, not installation. Painted cabinets would be more, but not that much more. We paid extra for all the finished insides on those glass front cabinets and the finish panel for the back of the peninsula. I think the several finished ends were part of that month's "deal" as well as the sink cabinet. Best I can tell they always throw in the sink cab, or at least they will if you ask. You should definitely be able to do a nice kitchen for $30K in your space. It might help to know how the bids are breaking the job down - how much for materials, how much for labor, how much for odds and ends like permits.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Since you have time, I would definitely take it slowly. Keep looking till you find a great match, and work on refining layout tweaks or other changes you might like (appliance picks, etc.) in the interim. It took over two years from when we started thinking about our remodel until we actually started, and I'm really glad we had that time to sort through all of the ideas.

Yes, for cabinetry, upper and lower are separate for counting linear feet. Linear foot estimates are only rough to begin with, too, since the cabinet specifics make a huge difference--but it gives you a starting point for comparisons.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I should clarify, I didn't just decide I had to spend what I was initially quoted. That would be very costly, don't do that, lol! But based on the line I was quoted, the features it had and quality, I realized what I wanted in terms of features and quality would be a little more than I initially thought since I literally just pulled a number out of thin air.

After the first quote and some research, I adjusted my budget up to 8-10k, which probably would have been close before I met GW, lol! I think 15 k is still reasonable for my house, though at the top of what I think is acceptable. But I fell in love with a premium stain (+5%), upgraded to maple from alder because we are too clumsy for soft wood (+5% I think), had to have the pull out pantry to save precious inches (+1k if I remember), fancy double angled cabinet (+unknown $), one 15 inch deep upper (+ unknown $), end panel for oven cabinet because it will be pulled out 6 inches for 30 inch deep counter, mixer lift, and a filler pullout. Without the fancy stuff I would probably be close to 10 k if I had to guess.

I could have cut out most of that and been in my "adjusted" by reality budget and been fine. But that first number I made up was not possible for the quality and features (soft close, full extension, ...) I wanted. At that first number I would have had either almost what I wanted but still had soffits (36 inch uppers cost more), or had stock cabinets I would not have been happy with.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

My kitchen is 11x 12 and I had custom cabinets with soft close doors and drawers. I have several radius cabinet doors and some angled cabinetry too. Not inset and not painted but probably more cabinetry and with installation it was under $20,000. Mine were Amish made, so I'm sure that is a factor and I know prices vary by region but a local custom cabinet maker may actually be more budget friendly for you. It's certainly worth looking into.
Here is what I was able to get for less than your current quote:
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This post was edited by badgergal on Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 1:02


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I'm also thinking you might want to check on some other options, like Cliq Studios. I don't know why, but as soon as I read your description, Lisa_Wi's kitchen came to mind. She used Cliq, which is out of Minnesota, and her cabinets came to, drum roll please, $5500. She had a 16K budget, and got it all done for that - including granite counters.

There really are ways to get a champagne look on a beer budget. It's not easy, though. Hope Lisa gives you some inspiration!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lisa's Great Cliq Kitchen


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Looking at online magazines and GW can give you expectations that "everyone" is putting your wish list into their kitchens. Nothing could be further from the truth! If your home is in "average America", take a look at the homes for sale in your location. You'll probably find no drawers, a 12" deep cabinet above the fridge, a cheap under cabinet hood, and basic cabinet construction. That is what 70% of the kitchens that I redo STILL ask for. They are all pleasantly surprised with a few simple extras that I include, like a pull out trash and maybe full extension drawers. That is IT for the real world average kitchen's upgrades.

A wood hood is about 4-6K worth of cabinets (PLUS the insert that you will need). Inset is another 2-4K upcharge. Depending on the line, plywood adds in 1000 -4000. A paneled fridge adds in 2-3K. Take all of those upgrades away that aren't really appropriate for your described location and budget and you are below your budget. And, it's not so much the budget that is "off" for you, but your want list.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Hi Belle va,

Sorry that you are experiencing sticker shock. We sort of went through the same experience when we renovated two years ago: we assumed that since we didn't have a very large kitchen we could afford the inset painted cabinets we wanted without breaking the budget. We ended up paying about 30% more for cabinets than we had hope to.

I know from your other Gardenweb posts that you are very interested in a real hand-painted finish and that you want your kitchen to relate well to your older home. If that is the most important quality you are looking for in your new kitchen, stick to your guns. If not, you can pursue less expensive options and probably be just as happy.

Did you get a quote from Shiloh or Crown Point? I know you were interested in them in your other post. We considered Shiloh and were impressed with the quality and value. Crown Point was delightful to work with and was sensitive to helping us figure out less expensive alternatives to keep the cost down (to a certain extent).

I will second what others have said, the panels on appliances do add a lot to the cost. We got a panel ready fridge, but used a less expensive stainless panel, keeping our options open for a paneled fridge down the road. Glass fronted uppers also add to the cost because the insides of the cabinets then require a higher level of finish.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Here are my bids:

I'm having custom cabinets built for my 10'x9' U-shaped kitchen, plus a 5'-wide pantry wall. Uppers are 42". Soft-close doors and drawers, full extension, trash drawer, base lazy susan in an angled corner, built-in spice rack inside a cupboard door, built-in cutting board, crown molding. Laminate counters and installation: $18,670 (includes tax). I'm waiting for a new bid with Cambria counters (I'm ballparking $2500).

Electrician to move the stove, add outlets to the pantry, install undercabinet lights, and replace the outlets and switches (since the house is 25 years old): $2000.

UC LED lights, no dimmer: $665

Luxury vinyl tile flooring, installed $1650 (plus $250 for underlayment, if necessary)

Miscellaneous other expenses: new sink, disposal, supply and drain hoses for the DW, range hood, drywall repair, counter microwavwe, paint, building permit: $1300

Grand total: $27,035

DH and I will take out the old cabinets ourselves, plumb in the sink, and paint.

We are not replacing appliances at this time, because everything still works, but I expect it won't be too long (range and fridge are 24 years old).


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

We did 2 kitchens within 5 years. In both cases we absolutely wanted inset cabs for a period look. We did shop around and found to have inset cabs going to local cabinet makers was the way to go. Since you have the time I recommend you get at least 2 quotes from cabinet makers as well as seeing some of their work.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

A 30K budget means the house is approximately 150K. A starter home. A home in that range would have NONE of those items that you listed as you want. 15K worth of basic cabinetry. Usually in a stained wood or maybe a thermofoil.

The want list that you have would be better served by at least the national average kitchen remodel budget which is 56K. (27K worth of cabinets) That is NOT for addressing structural elements. It's like for like replacement.

Or else you need to approach your remodel as a complete DIY, with your budget only going for materials.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I found a web article that agreed with GreenDesigns number crunching. That's all well and good and it's solid info, but if that isn't what you have to spend, well then it's not what you have to spend.

As to whether you are being realistic, the best (and only) way to know that is by doing exactly what you are doing, getting local bids on an actual layout. I agree with the advice to look at local and custom cabinetry if you haven't done that already, three bids is a nice minimum number to go for.

Good luck! (I love inset cabinets)

Here is a link that might be useful: Determine a kitchen remodeling budget


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I personally don't want to spend 20% of my home's value on my kitchen. If I did the kitchen would be totally bangin'! But way outta line for the neighborhood. I'm aiming for no more than 10% and that's WITH structural. (Before you thnk I'm nuts our master bath gut redo was 2.5 % and looks good for the neighbourhood).


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Badger - I am moving to Wisconsin! Wow!


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Thank you all! Live wire- you are probably right on- I am sure my panels and wood hood are kicking things up higher. I guess I knew that in my gut but like Francoise47, I was hoping the size of my space would make those things more doable. I guess I just have to decide where I'm willing to compromise or how much more I am willing to spend. I do think those budget guides are more appropriate for average American homes. You could fit my entire first floor in my parents kitchen. They have a 5000 sq ft newer build house in a rural area that cost less than my house. Greendesigns- this is not really a starter home by national standards though by virtue of its size it is not a large family home either.. It is a $350k home in a historic district. But it is a very small house with a very, very small kitchen. Previous owners have taken great care to make thoughtful changes that keep with the period of the home. It has wonderful moldings and woodwork throughout (now painted and I like the painted look) and I want to do a simple kitchen that keeps with the overall vibe of the house. I developed my budget based on the small number of cabinets and the tone of the neighborhood. Houses cost more because this in a prestigious in-town neighborhood but the level of restoration varies greatly. (i.e. a combo of folks who have lived here for decades who just haven't made changes and house poor young families who stretched their budget for the great neighborhood and can't afford fancy upgrades.) Regardless, I know my wish list is already fancier than my neighborhood and would be absolutely unnecessary for resale. Without doing anything, I already have one of the better kitchens in our neighborhood. I just wanted to understand if my list and the size of my kitchen would require 20k of cabinets. You guys are such a great resource. I am glad to have you. I will get a local quote too, just for comparison... and I have a couple still coming so we will see how those play out. . Annkh- your summary was really helpful since I do need to start plugging in all those little costs too. Francoise- I am getting a quote from Crown Point. I certainly expect it to be the highest. I was also very impressed with Plain & Fancy. The paint finish seemed smooth and lovely. Not hand painted but it was matte and creamy and I think I would be very happy with their cabinets.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Picking an arbitrary number like 20% of the value of your home is overly simplistic. You need to look at your particular neighborhood and what the houses around you are like. Houses in my area are about 300-400k and about 20 years old. Does this mean my kitchen renovation should cost 60-80k? Absolutely not! If I spent 60-80k on my renovation I'd have the nicest kitchen in my neighborhood by a long shot. As it is I am spending closer to 40k and I am confident my kitchen is going to blow everything in my neighborhood out of the water.

In other areas of the country 300-400k can get you a brand new McMansion, but in my part of the country it gets you a decent single family home, not too fancy but nice enough. You have to remember that home value is based on more than just the house. There is also the land the house sits on. As realtors say, the 3 most important factors in a home's value are location, location, location. My home's value is based mainly on its location. Therefore spending 60-80k on the kitchen isn't really appropriate for my location and will not add nearly that much value to the house.

In the end you have to choose what is most important to you for your circumstances. Are you planning to spend a long time in the home and feel the kitchen of your dreams will make your life happier? Are you planning on moving and just want a kitchen that is up to par with the rest of the neighborhood so your house will sell more easily?

Its hard to think rationally when you see lots of beautiful kitchens on this website, but not all of us have wealthy husband who can give us everything we want. In all likelihood once your remodel is over you will visit this site significantly less and will be less swayed by pictures of over the top kitchens. At that time you'll be able to focus on your new kitchen and how it makes you happy. Think of the things that will make you happy at that time and budget accordingly.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Lisa_wi's kitchen looks great- she definitely achieved a period vibe on a modest budget. Thanks for linking to her kitchen. I think this process. is a good exercise in creativity... figuring out where to splurge, where I can save.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I would skip the inset and do frameless instead. Your kitchen is small, and even setting aside the additional costs of inset, you will benefit from the added storage space of frameless cabinets.

For the fridge, often the panelled "built-in" fridges that are not "integrated" fridges aren't that great-looking, since you can see the sides, the fridge trim, and if there is a water dispenser, you can see that. For the fully-integrated look, where the fridge disappears into the cabinetry, you will pay $7000 or more. Perhaps this is something you need to forego, in favor of a really great kitchen otherwise.

I am linking Brickmanhouse's kitchen, one of my favorite "budget" kitchens, which is in an 1840 home. While the kitchen is much larger than yours, you can see how frameless cabinets can look so good in a vintage home.

Check out Brickmanhouse's stunning wood hood - now THAT is a hood. The hood itself bought on eBay, and Brickmanhouse explains the wood surround construction in a post toward the end of the thread. You could have a good contractor do similar.

Brickmanhouse Budget 1840 Kitchen

Brickmanhouse Photo album


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Realism....that totally makes sense to me. If I were out in the burbs my house would be almost twice as big for the same price and I would probably have to spend twice as much for the kitchen.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I'm really glad I could help, belle_va. You are right, Lisa did a great job for any price point, really. But for 16K? Wow.

Cliq Studios is still on our short list - as is Barker Cabinets. With both, you order on-line. Lots of us are considering either Cliq or Barker, which is frameless, with plywood boxes you assemble yourself with screws. Barker has more ability to customize but generally comes unfinished. You can now order 2 paint colors (both whites) or get a clearcoat. Free shipping to the Lower 48 for orders over $3, I think it is (I'm in Alaska and will have to pay for shipping).

There are a lot of threads floating around GW you can search on these companies. I find the best way to search to do it through google and put Gardenweb in the title.

PS - Brickmanhouse's IKEA kitchen is TDF. If we had an IKEA within 3500 miles, it would be on our short list - maybe with custom doors from Barker or Scherrs, which is another way people go.

Given you are in a historic district, are there restrictions for you?

I'm just now in the process of getting actual estimates and I'm afraid I'm going to have the same sticker shock you are going through, My kitchen is small, too, and I only plan 2 uppers. But geesh, they seem to cost a lot more than I think they should!


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I'm always amazed at the difference in house costs depending on where you live. I've been flabbergasted by what you can get in suburban Atlanta (thank you, HGTV) and parts of TX vs. what you can get in my neck of the woods. My daughter can't find a house that isn't 1) a tear-down and 2) more than 1000sq for less than $600K. Due to the geography of the place almost all the lots are the size of really small postage stamps. They're already 45 min away from SIL's work, and even if they went another 20 min. north, the prices don't improve. She lives and rents (for $2600/mo) in Marin County (n. of San Francisco). If only SIL did the kind of work where you have geographic options, but he doesn't. What he does pretty much only happens in SF and LA, and LA is no better on house prices. Where they are is a much better location for their young family, so they rent. She wishes she had a kitchen like even the most basic one on this site! You know, the kind where the cabinet doors stay closed and the refrigerator has all of it shelves and the range has more heating options than "off" and "really, really high."


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Thanks you guys for a lively and informative discussion. I think relative house values certainly do have an impact and it amazing how different they can be across our country. I guess calculating a budget is a process based on what you can afford, what's appropriate for the home and neighborhood and what look you want to achieve. You have given me a lot to think about and consider.

This post was edited by belle_va on Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 14:17


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Check your area for local craftsmen. Do you have an Amish or Mennonite community nearby? They do beautiful work. Here is a description of my kitchen cabinets now in the process of being made. Price few thousand lower than the quotes for your kitchen.

My kitchen cabinets will cover three walls measuring 16'4", 13' 5" and 13'. They are painted inset, 27" deep with full extension and soft close. (28.5 deep with countertop). All lowers are drawers except for a base pantry pull out and a 18" trash pull out. Three of the 35" drawers have custom cutlery dividers, two have spice organizers and one is divided vertically for casserole dishes, baking pans etc. Two drawers for dishes. Also, a tall pull out pantry with another above it to reach 9' ceiling. Custom panels for french door fridge and dishwasher, custom wood hood, two open shelving units from ceiling to counter measuring 27" and 36" wide, three uppers with glass doors, beadboard backing in open shelves and glass cabinets. Uppers will be 51" high since ceiling is a little over 9'. Trim and 5" crown above cabinets. All cabinets have one inch thick drawers and doors. They also will have a very light rub thru. Hardware included.
Custom made by Mennonite.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

quiltgirl--can I ask you where you live? I am on Eastern Long Island, NY and I would love to have someone( Amish or Mennonite) custom build my cabinets at a reasonable price. Does anybody know anyone?


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I hope your counting installation in that figure? What sort of brands are you looking at? Did you add integrated panels on the sides? and are there a lot of them? or stack cabinets?

Price point insets- Medallion, Shiloh, Showplace Wood Products. Ought to be a few more but those are the price leaders (around here anyway) for insets.

I just took ten minutes and threw some stuff into an SWP order form to check-
matte white beaded inset, reverse panel shaker door, blumotion all drawers-
36 SB, 36 3db, 18 deluxe double trash, wood super susan, blind corner, two w3636, another w3636 with matching interior to mimic your shelves, 30" wood hood (nice one) fridge side panels, fridge face panels, w3618, double stack of molding, toe board- I didn't detail it as I normally would-just left plain finished sides. Here in NY this comes to between 9 -10 K depending on the dealer. Fuss with it a little ( a few flush sides extended ears, a couple of odd sizes, a hafele lemans) and still not going to make it past 13. Not including tax or installation.

The others mentioned - Shiloh about the same, Medallion a tad more ...there are some other options around.

Get someone to who will work with you on the price- I don't mean negotiate, rather who will figure out how to get what you want for what you want to spend, give you an idea of your options. Local builder or otherwise.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Jackuvall thank you so much for chiming in. I did receive a Shiloh quotation. I wasn't necessarily considering Shiloh but the dealer just quoted me in all her lines. Shiloh came to 18k + tax + installation. I definitely think prices must be higher in my region. The Plain & Fancy dealer (my favorite cabinet of the mainstream companies both because the finish is gorgeous and because they have a stock white color that is exactly what I imagined) also carries Showplace. She said she would do an estimate just for comparison. I am going to check into Medallion.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Belle- based on your list I'm surprised. I'm used to Shiloh and SWP being head to head.

Higher in your region? I've run into some pricey places- NYC, Greenwich, Cape Cod...there's something I'm missing, details that are costing you.
Stacked cabinets? over 96" total? lot of integrated ends? every one a custom size? All glass? what are those shelves? Not a mantle hood is it? a ton of molding?

... maybe I should move :)


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I got champagne taste too. Makes life difficult! We have a very small house in a very nice town, and renovations vary greatly, from mid to high end. In the NYC area here...most of my quotes for cabs (uninstalled) came in 16-22K. If I went for WoodMode, I would have had to spend 40K for my small kitchen cabs. I went for Schuler from Lowes...and then had my contractor create some custom molding that matched my existing old house molding, using the Schuler touch-up paint, to create a higher-end look. Total renovation costs were crazy high (at least I thought so!), but we moved and knocked down walls and had to go down to the studs and change out pipes, update electric, everything in the "ugly part of the house." I splurged on some stuff (soapstone, faucet, tile behind the range) and saved on other stuff (found a great deal on field tile and scratched my original plan for a wood hood and paneled fridge and dishwasher). Definitely come up with your priority list and weigh the pros and cons and how each affects your budget. Then make the decision that's right for you. Good luck! Oh, and if you're in an historic district, contractors may upcharge based on location. They definitely do that in my town :-(

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


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

pghgolfgirl's kitchen is another one done very nicely on a budget. The cabs are stained but you may get some ideas on how to maximize your space. I've linked below (it's also in the FKB).

I've been on this forum for over 3 years now and my plans have changed many times in response to the wonderful kitchens, both large and small, that I've drooled over. I've considered tearing down the wall between the kitchen and DR, take out the island and make the perimeter counters deeper, adding a peninsula, white vs. stain, the list goes on and on. There are definite advantages to taking your time and mulling over all the wonderful options. I've narrowed down what is really right for our family, our house, and our neighborhood. My advice is to take your time and really shop around. We all want our dream kitchen NOW, but I really believe that by waiting I've dodged some mistakes. Good luck and I'll be very interested to see what you decide!

Here is a link that might be useful: pghgolfgirl's reveal


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I recently posted my kitchen reveal with pics and the cost of cabinets plus install was $17k which did not include the mud room. They are custom Mennonite built cabs. Crown Point quoted $30k...I was shocked. Other custom shops quoted $40k, so keep getting quotes to find your sweet spot.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Duh! Forgot to mention we waited for a big sale at the big box and wound up paying ~12K for cabs (not including install).


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Cookingbuff, I am in the Wisconsin Illinois border area. I am sure there are Amish communities within a few hours of you. Pa. has tons of Amish. The guy who is doing my cabinets came from Pennsylvania several years ago and that is where he learned the art of cabinet making.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Dusty- thank you for the link. Your kitchen is just lovely and you definitely achieved the period feel. And it looks to be comparable in size to my kitchen. (BTW- my downstairs bathroom also has beadboard!) I LOVE the special custom molding you added. What a great feature. I love your black hall cabs and those glass knobs. I just can't believe you only spent 12k on cabs! Do you like your fridge? Is the one you have a shallower depth than normal? Did you consider inset? You incorporate so many things on my list- love the faucet, the slide in range, the glass cabs. And you seemed to get lots of great storage extras. Did you design all that yourself? It looks good. Jackuvall- I should start another thread with my kitchen diagram since you guys might have feedback on it and then you might see where my extra cost is. I am probably not explaining it well. Architechtmamma- I remember thinking you used your space so wisely and did a really nice kitchen. Given the size and the extra areas like the mudroom, to me, it seems like you got a great deal. Even Crown Point's quote for your space seems reasonable to me. It looks much bigger than mine but I took note of so many good ideas. That is why I love this board.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Thanks, belle_va. The cabs normally would cost a lot more, but the big box stores have about six sales a year and if you catch one (I waited for it!) you can save a ton. I would have gone the Amish route but the quotes at least that I got were higher (from contractors, so perhaps the numbers were padded?) I wanted inset, but since we are not handy the construction costs for the kitchen, bath and mudroom were so expensive. So I settled on good quality semi-custom full overlay. I designed it all with the help of GardenWeb (thank you GWers!) We like the fridge, although the "change filter" notification light doesn't seem to work (I have to call Kitchenaid). It's "counter-depth," although unless it's one of those uber-expensive built-in units, it will stick out a little. It definitely is streamlined compared to my old ugly giant black side-by-side monster fridge.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

It would do everyone a lot of good to read about KCMA certification. Many of the site built and shop built cabinetry could possibly pass some of the construction tests, but NONE would pass the finish testing. You simply cannot get the same quality finish as with a high quality manufactured cabinet. That may not be important to some, but to most, knowing that their money is going towards something that will look good in 10 years time is very important to them.

These tests create, in accelerated form, the cumulative effects of years of normal kitchen conditions of pre-finished cabinets. Cabinet finishes are inspected to ensure that stringent standards of appearance are also met.To test the ability of the finish to withstand high heat, a cabinet door is placed in a hotbox at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent relative humidity for 24 hours. After this test the finish must show no appreciable discoloration and no evidence of blistering, checks, or other film failures.
To test the ability of the finish to withstand hot and cold cycles for prolonged periods, a cabinet door is placed in a hotbox at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent relative humidity for one hour, removed and allowed to return to room temperature and humidity conditions, and then placed in a coldbox for one hour at -5 degrees Fahrenheit. The cycle is repeated five times. The finish must then show no appreciable discoloration and no evidence of blistering, cold checking, or other film failure.
To test the ability of the finish to withstand substances typically found in the kitchen and bath, exterior exposed surfaces of doors, front frames, drawer fronts and end panels are subjected to vinegar, lemon, orange and grape juices, tomato catsup, coffee, olive oil, and 100-proof alcohol for 24 hours and to mustard for one hour. After this test, the finish must show no appreciable discoloration, stain, or whitening that will not disperse with ordinary polishing and no indication of blistering, checks, or other film failure.
To test the ability of the finish to withstand long periods of exposure to a detergent and water solution, a cabinet door edge is subjected to exposure to a standardized detergent formula for 24 hours. The door edge must then show no delamination or swelling and no appreciable discoloration or evidence of blistering, checking, whitening, or other film failure.

Here is a link that might be useful: KCMA testing


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

I was thinking along the lines of what hollysprings pointed out. The other thing to keep in mind is that most site built and local custom cabinets are built with pocket hole face frames. Now those are just fine. It is the type of face frame construction you will find in semi custom and stock brands.
It is just not the same as doweled or better yet mortise and tenond face frames (not doors) used in the better manufactured brands. If you do find a local builder using mortise and tenon that will likely show in the price. When I built em I priced out in thw Wood-Mode range.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Dusty- Thanks for the info! You should put your kitchen on the Finished Kitchen Blog. It is a great resource. It is great to see other small kitchens for ideas about everything- especially appliances! Every inch counts in a tiny space.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Jakuvall, excuse my ignorance, but how are pocket hole face frames constructed? I've never heard that term. Thanks!


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Kbspider-Pocket holes - an angled hole is drilled into the rails and they are screwed to the stiles. You can feel the pockets in the stiles on the back side of the frame.
Glue is applied to the joint but glue doesn't hold with end grain of the rail. That is the reason behind dowels or motise and tenon which create a long grain to long grain glue joint, which is as strong as the wood (actually stronger with modern glue)


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

Of course you have champagne taste...so do I, unfortunately! It's more fun that way! I agree with the poster who mentioned the custom panels on DW and refrigerator, and the hood as well. I had an idea of what I wanted and couldn't be swayed, but I would have saved THOUSANDS if I had not done the custom panel integrated fridge and European dishwasher...and don't get me started on the 66" wide hood and insert I needed to go with it. What your choices will come down to will be save/splurge and exactly what items you will be able to compromise on. Do your research and get a few quotes, for sure. The differences can be surprising. Don't forget to factor in the costs of counters and hardware, sink, and faucet. Those items can add up quickly as well. Where I live (southern CT) labor and building costs are astronomical.

Do you want top of the line appliances or expensive marble? What are you willing to give up to get what you want? And how long do you intend to stay in your home? All things to consider.

Good luck. I look forward to seeing your choices.


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RE: I have champagne taste. Do I have a beer budget?

This is a great thread! I think you have gotten a lot of good advice regarding finding the "sweet spot" compromise. I agree that spending a lot of time on GW can make you think anything but built in/paneled appliances is low end.

I have champagne tastes but might live in a beer neighborhood. Our kitchen reno is going to be more than 20% of the cost of our house, but where I live real estate is cheap, the market got slammed, and the homes within most neighborhood vary wildly in price. I'm going to build the kitchen I want without regard to those kinds of rules. :) MMTB some might say, but I'm not looking to sell. I'm making an investment in my HOME.

Good luck! Your house sounds beautiful!


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