Return to the Kitchens Forum | Post a Follow-Up

updating what we own-suggestions please!

Posted by dckitrem (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 28, 12 at 17:21

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

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

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

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

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

How long are you planning on staying in your house? If it isn't another 15 years then I have a suggestion.

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

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

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

After that it was just appliances!

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

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

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

What look do you love more?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Or these:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic A_IMG_006220copy

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

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

we've finally decided we are not comfortable putting $40 to $60,000 into our house, which we would not recoup since we bought at the height of the market.

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

Thanks for the feedback everyone!!
We finally have power back after the storm, though a/c is broken...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

How do people get that comfortable spending the money?

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

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

how do people get comfortable with spending that amount of money?

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

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

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

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

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

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

Could you post pictures?

RE: updating what we own-suggestions please!

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

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Kitchens Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here