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First time home buyers and remodelers

Posted by Dtrivi2209 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 11:01

Good morning everyone!! My husband and I are in the process of purchasing an adorable home built in 1986. However, the kitchen has not been touched since then. It is in DESPERATE need of an upgrade and we want to do as nice an upgrade as possible with our budget. We currently actually really love the footprint of the kitchen so we won't need to do anything there. We will be removing the wall that has all of the upper cabinets to make room for a large breakfast bar where friends and family can gather and to make way for a more open floor plan. Anyway, the kitchen is an 11x08 and we are trying to stick to around a $10,000.00 budget. Is this completely unrealistic? We would like decent quality cabinets and would prefer a low maintenance countertop (i.e. granite or quartz). We have a friend in the appliance industry so we may be able to cut some costs there. I would love to know what everyone thinks and please help us out!! We are newbies to remodeling a home but my husband luckily worked in the construction industry for a bit and I am extremely patient and handy so we should be able to do a good majority of the work and install on our own.

I included a picture of what the current kitchen looks like.

I would like to show more photos, like of the current footprint, etc. but I am not quite sure how to add more than one photo?

Thanks for everyones help!!

*EDITED* We have several animals and my elderly mom is moving in with us. Despite the continual suggestion of "moving in and living with it" that is not an option for us. We can not have an extensive renovation going on while we are living in the home. If we begin the project once moved in then we will have to deal with finding a place for my mom to stay and boarding the animals for long periods of time.

This post was edited by Dtrivi2209 on Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 11:00


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

This is the footprint that my husband and I sketched up. Currently there is a wall where we show a breakfast bar. There are no photos of the opposite wall but that is where the refrigerator would be and some more cabinets (upper and lower)


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Last but not least this is the photo of the shallow, pretty much unusable nook area. On the left hand wall there is a pretty decent space that we could utilize for more upper and lower cabinets. What do you guys think?


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Your budget is not realistic by a long stretch, unfortunately.

Your best bet would be to settle into the house, learn about home ownership and all the other things that will suck your money the first year or two, and then start carefully researching, planning, and comparison shopping, while you learn how you use your space and where it works and doesn't work for your lifestyle.

If the breakfast bar wall is load bearing, your entire budget could be eaten up just opening up that wall.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

The wall is not load bearing luckily because there are cut outs above. We had a contractor tour the house with us and said that since it is a small kitchen and we are not changing the footprint that $10,000.00 would be a fine number. We cannot settle into the home with the current state of the kitchen. There are no appliances and the cabinets are awful. We are remodeling the kitchen prior to moving in.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Totally unrealistic budget. The counters for my small kitchen were $4K, and the floor was $5, for example. Ask the contractor what was included in that price. Floors? Counters? Appliances? Cabinets? Lighting?

If I had your home, I would buy $100 used appliances on Craigslist (I've seen Miele dishwashers in non-stainless for that much) and use the existing kitchen. Then I would spend the $10K on relocating the kitchen to a room with a nice window, preferably facing the back yard - it wouldn't pay for everything, but it would get the process started (design, structural, plumbing, electrical, gas). It would be a long-term project but I think it would be worth it.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Not an unrealistic budget according to our contractor friend. We like our existing flooring so that is staying and there will be no moving of the electrical or plumbing which saves a cost. Basically what we are doing is new cabinetry, new countertops, and new appliances end of story. The appliances will be about $3,000 because we already found a decent suite that we like.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

You say there will be no electrical. However I see outlets in the wall you plan to tear down.

Cut outs in a wall does not mean the wall isn't load bearing.

Have your priced granite? And cabinets? And labor? Painting alone could easily run you $1,000.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I don't know how your contractor friend can say the budget is realistic for $10G for what you are listing you want to do. You likely can't get cabinets unless used for much less than $10G. I spent $6,500 on granite for our small to medium kitchen although I could have likely bought a less expensive type for around $5,000. Even a new sink unless its a very basic SS will cost a few hundred and new fixtures for it can be in the hundreds. If the size and shape of sink change at all it could mean a plumbing bill to move the connections and trap. Backsplash tile and the supplies even if DIY will be another expense. Range hood?? Door pulls alone can be hundreds. These are just a few things off the top of my head that will chew into that $10G very quickly. Unless you are planning to flip the home soon, I would take my time, save more money and do it with quality items that will make you happy in the future.

We spent way more than $10G and all we did was replace the fridge, stove, countertops, backsplash and sink.

Unless your contractor friend is building all the cabinets for free labour and has an in with a granite company and building supply store where he gets good discounts, I can't see it.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

We arent tearing down the wall. We are keeping the existing electrical and creating a breakfast bar there. It is confirmed not load bearing. I would not spend 10k on appliances. Are you guys paying attention to the fact that I stated we are maintaining the current footprint, electrical, plumbing, and floors. It can be done for 10k if we don't waste money on ridiculous upgrades that would over improve the home for the neighborhood. It is a $200,000 home and I won't put more than $20k into this kitchen because it wouldn't make sense.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Cabinets, appliances & granite cost varies greatly depending on what you choose. You can paint walls yourself, paint is not expensive. I think it can be done, if your are willing to settle for less than high-end components.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Yes definitely willing to do the kitchen mid-grade. We are doing ALL the work ourselves...hiring a painter would be a ridiculous expense. We are handy and much of the work can be tackled using good old fashioned elbow grease. I am not one of these people who need things done for them.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

You are DIYing quartz counters?


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Feisty68 did I say DIYing everything? No. So many critical and unhelpful people on this forum. I am realistic. We know our boundaries and know the things that we won't be able to be tackle on our own. If you don't have anything helpful or any advice to spare please refrain from commenting.

This post was edited by Dtrivi2209 on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 18:43


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

"So many snotty and unhelpful people on this forum."

Well, I certainly know of ONE!

See how much help you get with aggressive nasty posts.

Good bye.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I responded on the kitchen side. Keep a few things in mind when reading the responses.

Prices vary widely across the US and of course in other countries. I live near Buffalo NY. The prices here compared to NYC are like night and day. I listed my costs in your thread on the kitchen forum.

DIY skills vary widely. If you have decent motor skills and common sense you can learn to DIY a lot. For interior work the only thing hired out was the kitchen granite install. DH DIY'd everything else. How much you can save will vary greatly from area to area.

So just saying that for many reading this your budget seems completely unreasonable based on their experiences and where they live. Also, you must budget extra because things do happen.

Just glancing at your kitchen.... are you going to put in real venting? I would and move the mw to a better location. We had no venting and DH was able to DIY it for not much money (about $250 plus a $300 hood). Well worth the expense.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I don't understand your tone.

You sound very unfamiliar with this community of GWers.

You asked if we thought 10k was enough. They (We) all said no. But, you rebutted it 3 times. Did you really want to know, or not?

Do you really want to know anything? Or, are you just an excitable new homeowner who wants to share with the world their before and after kitchen? If the latter, that is fine. Many people do. But, don't ask if 10k is enough if you have, hands down, decided it is...

Good luck with your project.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

While not what I eventually selected found:
- Medallion silverline cabs for $5K, incl. a couple drawer base cabs
- stove, fridge, MW & DW pkg for $1800 (link)
- granite countertop for $750
- sink $200
- BS: DIY tile $2/SF

Sure you can spend $10K on stove, fridge, counter, sink & BS - IF you want to. However, there are other options.

I've found most people on the forum to be very kind & enormously helpful. :-)
There are a few that are quite abrupt and quick to jump to conclusions. :-(

Good Luck! Please be sure to post updates.

Here is a link that might be useful: stove, fridge, MW, DW pkg


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Have you worked in a kitchen where the sink is across the room from the stove? That's a lot of back and forth travel carrying ingredients. Imagine carrying a big pot of boiling pasta to the sink to drain. It would be a shame to put in a new kitchen and not correct layout issues. You should consider a prep sink on your breakfast bar.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Allow me to backpedal here and apologize if I came off rude. I came onto this forum more or less seeking constructive suggestions on how to make the most of a $10,000.00 budget not to be berated or judged and told that the budget is "completely unrealistic". I have seen people redo small kitchens before for $10,000 or less utilizing strong DIY skills and mid-grade components. I am not hoping for a chefs dream kitchen, I am not UNREALISTIC. All that we are trying to achieve is a more appealing kitchen with some nicer finishes. The kitchen is currently empty and has no appliances so we figured since we have to go out and purchase brand new appliances why not do the entire kitchen at the same time. It just seemed like the best option to knock the kitchen out of the way prior to move in.

The kitchen where we rent currently is almost and identical layout and I am not so ridiculously discerning and picky that the layout bothers me. It is all of maybe 5 steps from the sink to the stove...I don't think that is a huge inconvenience.

I told you guys in the original post that this is an 11x08 kitchen...its small...by no means a kitchen where I am carting pots of water clear across a space.

Like I said, I may have phrased my original post incorrectly. I don't want to know if any of you THINK our money is enough to remodel our kitchen, I would like helpful suggestions on how to get the most bang for our buck.

That all being said, I do apologize if I came off rude at any point I just felt a little bit discouraged that so many people had so many negative things to say about our goal of a $10k kitchen remodel...I understand we may need to go north of that budget a bit but I still feel it can be done.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

OP: "We are doing ALL the work ourselves …"

OP: "did I say DIYing everything? NO."

Waiting until late in the thread to say you are doing the work yourself and then denying you said it is a little crazy.

And using ALL CAPS is considered yelling and it not tolerated here.

I see a quite a few poor assumptions by the OP but I'm going to give this thread a pass.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Dtrivi2209, in your first post you asked:

"Anyway, the kitchen is an 11x08 and we are trying to stick to around a $10,000.00 budget. Is this completely unrealistic? We of course want real wood cabinetry and granite or quartz countertops."

You also wrote:

"We are doing ALL the work ourselves"

In my two posts to you I was responding to the quotes above, and giving my input. I am partway through a small kitchen remodel that is completely DIY except for counters and floors. We even demolished walls ourselves and didn't use a contractor. I am pretty aware of prices as our budget is very modest compared to many GW members. My neighbour just spent >$10K just on plywood cabinets in her small kitchen.

I try to be courteous but also frank and straightforward in giving my opinion. I apologize that my posts came across as "critical and unhelpful" - that was not my intention.

Bowing out now.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Is the fridge on the opposite wall? Getting a shot of that wall would be helpful. There are instructions in the "New to Gardenweb" thread on how to get a photobucket or other photosharing account and then how to link the photos.

I'm happy to see that you've edged up your budget a bit. A lot can be done via DIY with 7K (10K minus the appliances), but maybe not with all the things on your wishlist.

Are there cabinets on that other fridge wall as well? What is your target style? It seems like from your drawings, if the fridge wall is full of cabinets, you are talking roughly 52 lineal feet of cabinets (if you add a full set in the eating area, and no uppers along 3 of the walls in the working area). Per your drawing, you have 12 in total width and 17 in length (10 where the working part ends) --- That's a pretty medium sized space and a lot of cabinetry.

The cabinets are the area where you should continue to focus your research. If you check out the cabinet threads here you'll see there can be a 4 to 5x range in price per cabinets for various lines from the same basic cabinet. There have been also illustrations on how different features like plywood sides, all-wood drawers, and all-drawers will increase the price of a given cabinet, in a given line.

As pointed out above, you'll likely need a new sink and faucet. Have you considered wiring for under cabinet lighting, and with the new opening to the family room, some pendants or sconces? With such high ceilings, any overhead lighting can create a lot of shadows. If and when you take that wall out, you have the option to really rethink the lighting. You didn't mention permits, but if you do pull permits, there's a good chance that something built in 1986 will have to have something upgraded to the current code.

For your nook, you might consider a banquette seat. It can really save space and allow an eat-in area with less floor space. Having dimensions would help with better suggestions here.

Have you measured out the number of square feet you'll need? You plan suggests 60 to 65. costco.com has an estimation tool for budgeting, and once you have a cabinet plan you can begin shopping for some firm quotes.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

you can do what you are stating for 10K.

be aware that gardenweb has some kitchens that top 100K so the ones that do not appear to be helpful just don't know.

I have renovated four kitchens, all under 20K.

As someone mentioned above, IKEA, if there is one near you, is by far the best bang for your buck, and has a homeowner friendly mounting system. I paid 17K all of my appliances (except hood and gas hob), cabinets for three bathrooms, and a 24x22 kitchen with a 10 foot island, and granite from IKEA. So you can SURELY do your kitchen within your budget.

As far as DIY is concerned, I assemble and installed all cabinets with trim using a $20 skill saw, and a rental compound miter saw, pulled electrical wire for additional outlets to meet code, installed a disposer, and tiled a backsplash using a rental wet saw for two of the four kitchens I've done.

can you post pictures of 'inspiration' kitchens so we can help you source budget choices?

You will find lots of support here, there are those who cannot do budget and don't have to because they just have more to work with, and that is ok.

There are many of us who don't and make do in a beautiful way as well.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I'm on the boat that says $10,000 is not an urealistic budget (assuming your not in a high cost of living area such as NYC). We renovated out 1980's built home over the last year, just moved in. We did our kitchen for $15,000. It is 11x11, L shaped with a medium sized island. We certainly could have done it for $10,000, but I wanted a few upgrades (all drawer bases, a pull out at the stove, counter depth fridge, mid prices convection range, quartz).

We also kept the same footprint, same floors, didn't move walls or windows. I would say go for it. Get some price quotes, look at appliances, and see what you get. Some things I found:
1- I loved ikea cabinets, but that didn't have a color my DH liked. I know some people choose to have custom fronts made, but it drives up the price.
2- with specials and sales factored in we got kraftmaid stained maple shaker style cabinets at just slightly more than ikea. They were not the cheapest kraftmaid option either. In terms of cabinets, for lower cost you are going to want to stick with a stained style, not painted. Painted significantly ups the price (unless you go ikea). We opted not to do crown molding, it's more money and not a look we love. Stick with 30" uppers to keep cost down. We also did not do "furniture finish" ends. We are not going for a high end look, this was an unnecessary up charge.
3. Lowes / Home Depot and other big box stores are your friend for a tight budget. The big box stores get a bad rap here on GW. Shopping big box is not what the "cool kids" do, but it's the only way we could afford a nice kitchen. I will say work out your floor plan and layout before visiting the kitchen consultants. Ikea and lowes both have online room planners for kitchens.
4. Watch for appliance sales around the holidays.
5. Counters. Well, I will agree this is where you might have some difficulty. We were all set to go with solid surface, but found it to not be budget friendly unless we chose patterns that looked like they belonged in a public bathroom. My husband didn't want laminate or granite. That left quartz. Our $15,000 remodel was actually set to come in a couple of thousand under budget, so we went with quartz. I love it, but it wasn't cheep. If you like the low budget granite at big box stores, or have local sources for inexpensive granite, you might be ok. Otherwise I would consider laminate or even wood. I think quartz would eat up close to half of your budget, even in a small space.

Also, plan on more time than you think you will need. Just in case. We also did not do a tiled backsplash, but figure that is something we can do later when the bank account recovers.

It certainly does feel like you have gotten a lot of negativity and pushback. GW is a great place for ideas, but it is also heavily geared toward high end remodels, especially kitchen remodels. The prevailing though on gardenweb is if you can't afford to do it "right" don't do it at all. Which was also not an option for us. I got some negativity on my layout when I posted it. I simply could not afford to make the changes many people thought I needed to make my kitchen "work". But you know what, it works just fine for me. Perfect in fact. It doesn't phase me a bit that my main prep area is opposite the stove, and several steps away from the sink (across an aisle even!) It doesn't bother me that my island /peninsula is a bit of a clutter catcher. It works.

Here's what I got for my $15,000. And good luck!
Before:
Kitchen renovation photo image.jpg

My "bad" layout
final kitchen photo kitchenf.png

My perfect (for me) kitchen
 photo image-17.jpg
 photo image-22.jpg


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

@ chrissyb2411 - glad I am not the only one on the boat. You shared some VERY insightful comments. Your kitchen looks great.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

While I responded from my heart on the cross-post in the Kitchens forum, I just want to point out (again) something I feel very strongly about.

Your budget is not your issue here. yes, you can do a LOT with 10k, I did quite a bit in my own kitchen for far lass than that.

I strongly feel you are doing yourself a disservice by not waiting and living in your home awhile. Especially being first-time home-buyers and not knowing at all how your whole house will function for you. I said it over there, but I will say it here too: a kitchen reno is never just about the kitchen. How you use the rest of your home directly impacts how you will this this particular kitchen in this particular home.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Aww, dtrivi, I just want to hug you and tell you everything is going to be okay ... but it probably won't be.

My DH and I are probably a lot older than you with a lot more DIY experience under our belts. Like you, we bought a new-to-us home that hadn't been updated in a while (40 years). Also like you, we were determined to redo the kitchen before we moved in. Ours wasn't just ugly, it didn't take advantage of the stunning lake view and it was not functional to the point where there was no landing space near the stove and we couldn't fit a normal sized fridge in there.

I'm not even going to talk budget yet. I just want you to consider the chaos that is trying to get a kitchen finished while cleaning/packing/moving/working/living and occasionally ... sleeping. It's harder than you think it will be.

Even with a contractor doing most of the work, our kitchen still isn't completely finished. We moved in two months ago. The reno started a month before that and was supposed to take a couple of weeks, 30 days max.

Stuff goes wrong. Cabinets get back ordered. One measurement is off by a couple of inches and suddenly your whole layout must be re-construed. The perfectly fine sink you planned to reuse has a death grip on its ugly old counter and must be scrapped. A screw gets drilled in too far and an entire countertop is ruined.

You must have the patience of Job (which, um, so far, you haven't exactly displayed on this forum). You must also have a tremendous love for fast food or lunch meat dinners assembled from ingredients fished from a cooler and served on paper plates or on dishes that you wash in the bathroom sink.

You may be able to handle all of that but keep in mind that trying to get a champagne kitchen (all wood cabinets and quartz tops) on a beer budget will only add to the stress.

And about that budget ...

Ours started out at $16K. And yes, we had a contractor do a lot of it and we had a couple of walls totally removed and installed a big honkin' window -- but that budget didn't include appliances ... or cabinets.

We thought at first that we could reuse the ones in the house -- we couldn't. We ended up stalking craigslist until we found a set of used ones (solid wood!) that would work with a little repair and repurposing. Our budget also didn't include quartz. We used plain old Formica on the perimeters, a thick-ish walnut veneer on the island.

The list of things that budget didn't include goes on ... faucet, lighting, flooring (I know you are keeping yours), hardware, backsplash, bar stools. Some of the biggest things it didn't include were the really great ideas that came up along the way -- from the beverage center to the cool little custom end cabinet to hold all of my cookbooks. There are things you'll feel you desperately need that aren't even on your radar ... yet.

And before you think I must live in one of those high dollar labor areas. Nope. I have a good ole country contractor who works dirt cheap and has access to what we've come to call the Amish Mafia. He's picked up all kinds of stuff for us at huge savings over retail -- which is what you'll be paying as D-I-Y ers.

Can you remodel your kitchen by yourselves? Probably. Can you bring it all in at your proposed budget and on time for the move? I'm not so sure. Wouldn't you rather go into this thing with your eyes wide open? I hope so.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

To add to my post in the KF, I see electrical outlets in the wall that you are proposing to remove, which means you will need an electrician, as they are too high and vertical. I'd also bet that there is a plumbing vent stack in that wall going up. Can't see the other side or top, but there also could be HVAC vents in the wall as well. Plus, even if the wall isn't holding up the roof, I'd bet it's a contributing factor to holding up the drywall on the ceiling. That all has to be dealt with as part of it's removal.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

The last kitchen we DIY-ed cost us $34K in materials (13'x20', porcelain tile floors, plywood Kraftmaid cabinets, granite counters).

The one we're doing now will end up around $5000 for a 9'x13' galley gut job, but I'm building my own cabinets and laminating my own countertops.

I've also replaced cabinets/counters/floors in a couple rental properties with tiny kitchens ~ 8'x8' for ~$3000, but that was using Lowe's in-stock cabinets, pre-fab laminate counter slabs, and sheet vinyl. Here's one:
 photo 101_1789.jpg

$7K will not likely get you mid-range cabinets with granite/quartz counters. The best way to find out is to take your measurements to HD/Lowe's and have them sketch out a plan and price it for you. They can also price stone counters. That's the best way to see if the price is reasonable. And it'll be more accurate than a GW poll. :-)

I'm guessing the only way to get to your price point is to go with lower grade cabinets and, if available near you, the pre-fab granite slabs that you cut yourself.

There's a lot of little stuff that will add to the costs of the basic cabinets + counters + appliances. The "general supplies" category can add up nickels and dimes for those screws, drill bits, caulk, lumber, drywall, etc. and be $1000 at the end of the day.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I know you want granite countertops, but have you thought about laminate? There are some excellent laminates out there that are more cost effective than granite, and they would be in keeping with the overall cost/value of your home. Also, the cost savings might be important to you - no matter how good of a DIY'er you are, there are going to be unexpected expenses as you do this.

Have you considered ebay and/or Amazon for pulls? We got ours from Amazon for about $2.00 each in a bulk package. Also, some people have gotten creative and bought odd/leftover pulls at a low price. As long as there is a cohesive element (color?), assorted pulls can look fun.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Dtrivi2209:

You may or may not know, but I am a columnist for an online magazine (links by request only). One of my last columns was on potential customer denial and if I may be brutally honest, you are exhibiting classic symptoms.

I have had to tell potentials that their project/idea was completely wrong and that I could do it, but wouldn't. I have lots of opportunities, but only one reputation. Your's isn't, but you've made up your mind that this remodel is happening for 10K and you're not going to hear anything else about it.

Although in 30 years of construction, I don't think I've ever been successful, I'm going to try once more. Please take the advice you've been given, even though it's not what you wanted to hear. Especially because it's not what you wanted to hear.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 10:01


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

You may want to check with your mortgage holder and insurance company. Many have requirements that you occupy the house within 30 or 60 days of closing. Mortgage lenders may have a bit more flexibility, but insurers tend not. Insurers love to find a reason to deny a claim.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Dtrivi2209, I responded on your thread in the kitchens forum too, but after reading this, I have more thoughts.

I don't see why you can't put new appliances in this kitchen. Do you have to put new carpet in a room, before you can buy a couch? I think you can get decent appliances now that will also work in a remodel.

You've accused many people here of not listening to you - but you aren't doing a lot of listening either. Some people have suggested that because a person did a $100K remodel, they don't understand your needs, but I don't think that's true. Just about everyone who posts here wants the OP to have a functional, comfortable kitchen. We've all seen very expensive kitchens that we would not want to cook in, because they were all about looks, and high-end finishes, and not at all about function.

What I'm hearing from you is that you don't like the way the kitchen looks. You haven't said anything about improving the function - layout, storage, prep space, flow. Several people have suggested that your proposed layout - or even the location of the kitchen - may be far from ideal.

You are renting now, and this is your first house. It's exciting to be able to change things the way you want them - I get that. And some modest upgrades might make this kitchen better than the one in your rental unit - I get that too. But since this kitchen IS useable (or will be, with a fridge and range), I don't think there's a rush. If you can spend an additional $5 or $10K in a year or two, and make the kitchen twice as good, isn't it worth the wait?

Here are some examples, now that I've seen your photos:

1. Venting. If you do much frying or sauteing, or boil water, you should vent to the outside. Since the kitchen doesn't have an outside wall, you'll have to go through the roof. It's not a huge job, but not one I would DIY (and I am very handy). I just don't want to mess with my roof. I'm almost positive you haven't included that expense in your plans.

2. Your range is squeezed into the corner, and there's very little space to the right. Granted, you may do most of your prep on the counter adjacent to the range, but I would not like that placement. In my old kitchen (a U shape), the range was a foot from the corner, and we moved it away another foot. The difference is dramatic! It feels so much more spacious! But you don't seem to have room to do that, without getting too close to the door. I would be tempted to find another spot for the range.

3. Upper cabinets. You want to take out a wall, eliminating most of your uppers. But what about the range wall? There's a weird soffit there, so if you wanted to increase your cabinet height, that would have to be changed. In a small kitchen, every inch counts - especially when you're thinking of taking out a lot of cabs.

4. Utilization of space. So far you haven't said anything about how the space will work - which makes perfect sense, since you haven't lived there. But it also means you haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. Where will you put potholders and cooking utensils? Plates and bowls? Pots and pans? Food? It's impossible to come up with a cabinet order - whether it's Ikea, pre-made, or custom - until you know what your cabinet needs are.

Someone suggested moving the kitchen entirely. If you have an unfinished basement or crawl space, that might cost less than you think. Again, living in the house will tell you how you use it, and what would work best for you. And if you put the kitchen on an outside wall, you wouldn't have to demo the old one until the new one was done, making the process a bit easier.

5. Electrical - it's been mentioned before, but codes change. My house was built in 1989, and when we remodeled, the outlets in the kitchen had to be changed to comply with existing code. We also moved the range and DW a foot - just slight modifications to the old footprint, but enough to have to move the wiring. We also put in undercabinet lighting, but no overhead lights - and it cost us $2000. Electricians aren't cheap. The point made earlier about lighting with your vaulted ceilings was an excellent one.

6. I assume since you haven't mentioned it, that you don't know exactly what you want - and it seems to me that time is running out. "In the process of buying" means that you haven't closed yet. How long do you plan to stay in your rental before moving into the house? I would be reluctant to buy anything until I owned the house - one never knows what might happen between now and then. Can you put off moving for the 3 or 4 months that the reno will take? If you build your own cabinets, you'll need both time and space to do so.

I'm sure it feel like we're picking on you, but you should ask yourself - perhaps if 40 people are telling you the same thing, there must be a good reason. This community really does want people to be happy in their new kitchens, and you are not currently on that path.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Ann just mentioned something to consider. If you stay in your rental for the period of time you're working on your house, you'll be paying rent and making mortgage payments. Whatever you're paying for rent could be pocketed and put towards your new kitchen.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I agree with what the others have said regarding delaying the reno until you are actually living in the house. Living in the house can definitely save you money...I know you've said that you have an elderly mother and your dogs to be concerned about - you don't want them underfoot during a reno. Um - I understand elderly parents, having had them myself. Also the pet issue. Challenges, yes, but not insurmountable ones. Many people here lived on takeout and frozen meals during renovations and building projects. Not ideal, but it allowed them to live IN the house during the work. You probably need to be a bit open minded about this - look at options that were previously NOT options.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Good quality (but not TOP quality) cabinetry alone for a kitchen of this size will run more than $10k


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Methinks the OP has left the building.....


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Believe me, I understand about tight budgets. Well...lets see. If you do the demo and cabinet install yourself you will save a lot, especially if you do RTA cabinets. Your kitchen is small, as you say and you want to remove all the upper cabinets. So we are not talking about too many cabinets. But - will you have enough storage without any uppers? Another thing, if you put in drawers on the lowers, that's going to drive the price up quite a bit. . Laminate counters instead of granite, perhaps? You can get knobs and pulls cheaply on ebay or amazon, or buy multipacks from HD that are not expensive. But no matter how you budget, stuff always comes up that you don't expect, everything costs more than you think it will. If you do need to call in an electrician or a plumber, that will add up fast. We did a reface to our kitchen, refaced all the cabinet boxes,(18 of them) with maple doors, drawer fronts, end panels, and mouldings. New sink, faucet, laminate counter tops, subway tile backsplash, cabinet knobs. We did everything ourselves except for the counters, and it cost us around $7000. This is keeping our original cabinet boxes, as well as the old appliances, mind you. So, a 10K budget for new cabinets, appliances, sink, granite counters, etc, that might be a challenge to do it for that much. If you do it all yourselves, using mid grade materials, maybe..... Not impossible, but I suspect, you'll have to make a lot of concessions between what you want and what you can afford.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I haven't left the building all =)

I have just been taking some time reading through all the forums and absorbing your advice. I appreciate everyones tips, tricks, suggestions, etc.

We are still proceeding with the renovation and we are keeping the layout the same. I know many of you said the layout is not good but my family quite likes it so it doesn't make sense to do a complete gut job.

I understand unexpected issues will arise but we have budgeted for that and we actually had an extra electrical inspection to assuage that fear prior to even thinking about renovations The electrical has been updated according to our electrician. The only concern we might have is plumbing but we will cross that bridge when we get to it I guess.

Also, the soffits are "decorative" haha if you want to call that decoration, yuck...anyway, they are being removed to make way for 42" cabinets...


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Do you have 2 kitchens? The layouts between your posts look quite different.

Updated... Hmmm,maybe not.

This post was edited by mdln on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 1:58


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

$10,000 could be the cost of materials alone - cabinets can be about $300 a linear foot for top and bottom - high quality and the countertop $70 a square foot. There are a lot of variables here..if you can find remenants of the countertop or a special on the cabinets you can save a lot. The floor can be over $10 a square foot - so a few ways to save money on your kitchen remodel short term is - dont install a backsplash initially, use low cost vinyl or engineered flooring and plan on replacing it in 3 or 4 years, use the old appliances in the new kitchen for a few years. I use the kitchen remodel cost calculator at http://www.remodelormove.com/kitchen-remodelling to get budgetary remodeling estimates

Here is a link that might be useful: remodel or move


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I agree, the price of $10,000 is undoubtedly materials only. They have to come out and look at it before they can give you an install price. And removing walls definitely ups the cost. Are you handy? If so you can save a bundle by doing much of the work yourselves. Look into ready to assemble cabinets (RTA) Barker is reasonable and people seem to be pleased with the quality. Don't get the 42" cabinets, that will add up the cost. Get lower cabinets, not drawers, that will save a lot too. Agree with the other post regarding keeping your appliances for now. Keep your existing floor unless its in bad shape. Yes, I know no one likes giving up on things we really want when remodeling, but when you have a tight budget, concessions are an unfortunate reality. A 10,000 budget is not going to even begin to be enough if you are hiring someone to do the work. Even with a DIY, you will still find it difficult to get all that you want for that price. Better to wait until you can afford to do what you want, rather than put junk in that won't hold up. I know this is not what you want to hear but that is the unfortunate reality. Kitchen remodels cost money, and it can add up quickly depending on what you want.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

We spent $23K on Kraftmaid cabinets, but it was for a 13x20 space, included upgrades for plywood, glazing, 42" uppers, all drawer lowers, an island and a penninsula, plus some end pieces, crown and light rail. Granted, that was 7 years ago, but $23K for your kitchen seems way out of line. More recently (<1 year ago) I priced cabinets at Lowe's for a 9'x13' galley kitchen and it was around $9K for Shenandoah. That's closer to what I'd expect for your space (and why I didn't think your $10K budget was sufficient).

I would look at the detailed output of the quote. See where the expensive upgrades might be and back them out if they're not essential.

I wouldn't, however, shrink your cabinets from 42" to 30 or 36, or do things that will impede efficiency and utility. It sounds like it's less an issue of "don't have the funds" and more "don't want to spend more than we have to." If that's the case, then cut back wisely. Lose the frou-frou (or add it later), but keep the utility.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

If you read my initial post the home comes with NO appliances. Everything has been removed by the prior owner. Also, my husband and I are installing on our own. We are handy and we have all the tools necessary...the only thing we won't install on our own is of course countertops


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Weedyacres, I 100% agree with you. The KD at Lowe's has been terrible and refuses to print me out a quote...I think she fears that I will shop around which is what I am doing regardless of whether she prints me a quote or not haha...any way I agree that $9,000 for the mid range cabinetry sounds a lot more realistic. I have NO idea where she came up with $23k for an 11 x 08 kitchen.

And no, 42" cabinets are a definite...I would not be happy with 36"


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

I did use Lowes for my mothers kitchen remodel, it came in at around $10,000 for mid grade cabinetry, and laminate counters. This was for a small galley kitchen, keeping existing appliances, keeping the floor. 36" upper cabinets, lowers were cabinets with 1 drawer on each (none all drawers), 1 super susan. This was about 3 yrs ago, I can't remember if that included labor or not. To do new cabinets, granite counters, new appliances, new floor, removing a wall, will be hard to squeeze it all in for $10,000. I know that is not what you want to hear, but we're just trying to answer your original question - Is it a realistic budget? You might be able to, but - So much depends on what materials you choose, how much you can do yourselves. If you do your own labor, you will save a lot. Strange that Lowe's would not print you a quote, they did it for us. But big box stores are not always the cheapest and they don't always have the best contractors doing the work. Its a good idea to get a few quotes for comparison. If you are willing to assemble your own cabinets here is a link that might be helpful. Several GW postings gave Barker Cabinets good reviews - http://www.barkercabinets.com/


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

If you really want the Lowe's details, then I'd suggest either (1) tell the KD that the price is more than double what you expected, and you need to see the details to figure out where to cut, or (2) go when she's not working, and get a different KD to print it out for you.

If you're handy DIY-ers, then RTA is a good option to save money. I've bought doors/drawer fronts from Barker and they're very good quality.


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RE: First time home buyers and remodelers

Both major box stores have policies in place that prohibit giving customers copies of designs or detailed quotes until the kitchen is purchased. That policy gets violated frequently, but they are starting to crack down on it. Too many people take the work elsewhere and they lose the sale.

KM is a mid grade cabinet. American Woodmark/Shenendoah is not. It's higher builder grade. The finish quality isn't as smooth and consistent and it lacks sizes and features found in a mid grade line.

The Savannah doorstyle in the paint and glaze is the most expensive door in the line, and there are several doors in KM or Diamond/Thomasville that would be cheaper if you could give up some of the detailing. You could have better construction and a better finish simpky by moving to partial overlay door and giving up the glaze. It's dated, even here where trends take forever to reach. A door that is less fussy would stand the test of time better as well. Not shaker though, as that's being overdone.

I'd expect cabinets for your room to be in the 10-12K range in a plain paint partial overlay door in a mid grade line. 7-10K in a high builder line. The better hardware and finish is worth paying the difference for. The useless 20% charge to ''upgrade'' to plywood is certainly NOT worth paying for. That money is better spent on moving up to the better line, or a useful upgrade like more drawers.

The layout needs tweaking though. It isn't that functional.


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