Friday, March 22, 2013

Our AMAZING kitchen makeover (for less)....

I know that this post is way overdue, given the fact that we sold this house nine months ago (sad face), but I wanted to talk about it anyway. Maybe this is just a way to journal the event and keep it forever, but honestly, I think I have some ideas that are worth sharing and may help you with your own projects.

When we bought our house in High Point, NC in 2005, we knew that we had a bunch of cosmetic work to do, but we also knew that it was a solid house with tons of character. A brick home built in the 40s, it was a beauty. It has been our favorite house to date, and while we loved it, we knew that even if we were to move back to that area in the future, we wouldn't be needing 6 bedrooms!

We slowly remodeled the house over the 7 years that we were in it; my husband did much of the work himself. We purposely put off the kitchen until last because it was the biggest job, and also because we had to save up the money to do it. But when it came time to sell, we knew it had to be done. The previous owners had last remodeled the kitchen in the 60s, and while I was quite content in my little kitchen, we knew it wouldn't cut it in today's market:

The first thing we did was take down the wall between the kitchen and the "breakfast nook" and put in a beam instead. We had a couple of estimates done, and this ended up being the most expensive aspect of the whole makeover. As you know, THE most expensive part of a remodel is labor, so Mike and the boys grabbed the sledgehammers and took down that wall, cleaning up all the mess, so that the contractor wouldn't have to charge us for that. The more you do yourself, the more dollars you are saving to add to those things you really want:

What a mess! (And yes, we lived in the house while this was going on...and yes, the dust was everywhere...)

(Here's the new beam we had put in...contractor did a GREAT job!)

I had envisioned what I wanted in this kitchen for years, but in the end, it's not what we ended up with, and that was good because it was better! I have a wonderful, frugal, like-minded friend (she shall remain nameless unless she comments herself) who does this type of thing for a living. She graciously came by and told us what would sell the kitchen...and then she did the work...well, most of it anyway. (THANK YOU...I know you will read this!!) So my best tip--make friends with generous, talented people!!! (hint: be that type of friend to others). Here was the end result:


Amazing isn't it? Here are some of the ways we saved a boatload of money:

1. We didn't buy expensive countertops, just plain old laminate, but in a popluar color that looked like stone.

2. While we did buy all new stainless steel appliances, we didn't get high end name brands, and we used a 10% off coupon at Lowes. The dishwasher we bought was in the "scratch and ding" section for $120 less (it had a tiny scratch on it).  Apparently though, another salesman sold it to someone else before they got it off the floor, so we got a new one for the same price! How cool is that?? We also sold the old appliances on Craigslist- stove, frig and dishwasher-and made some money to put toward the remodel. The old stuff went within hours of being listed; I could have gotten more than I did.

3. I found a new, in-the-box stainless steel microwave on ebay that had a dent on the top for $60 shipped. Apparently the box it was in had been crunched at some point. Rather than buy an expensive built in microwave, my friend custom designed a shelf in the built in pantry to put the microwave it, which, of course, hid the dent (in the top pic, the microwave is on the counter, but it ended up in that hole you can see to the right of the frig)

4. Our cabinets came from Habitat for Humanity, and again, my friend found them for me. $1000 and we had 5 or 6 left over! These were fairly high end cabinets, with pull outs and lots of little additions that we never would have added had we bought new. This saved several thousand dollars.

5. The cabinet hardware also came from Habitat. Thirty or so simple,stainless steel knobs for a dollar each, and we priced them at Home Depot for $5.95 each...same knob! $150 savings right there.

6. It goes without saying that we did all the wallpaper scraping and painting ourselves, with our friend's help, of course. Have you priced painters/wallpaper hangers lately??

7. The "in stock" bamboo shades were 12 bucks a piece at Lowes. I think they added so much to the room. Custom window treatments are highly overrated AND over priced.

8. We opted not to buy a table or put in an island.  Sometimes, less is more. It was hard for me to not put something there, but in the end, the buyer liked the openness of the room. We also took the doors off both ends of the room and again, this added to the open feel.

9. I ordered a custom cut 22"X 24" cherry cutting board (you can see it on the counter) on ebay to cover the counter seam.  I think I paid around $50.00 for it, including shipping. This was about $50 less than any I could find locally that were even half the size. Shop around.

10. We bought a stock sink that had the faucet and all the attachments. Look at all your options. Have you priced faucets lately? Our combo pack was less than many faucets alone. If you're remodeling to sell, go classic and simple.

Total money out was less than 8 thousand, and I know that this was what sold our home.

We could not have done this project without the help of our wonderful friend. She put in many hours and did it all in about 6 weeks, start to finish.  (Thanks again...understatement of the year)

Have any of you remodeled a kitchen lately?? I'd love to hear how you saved money on your project.

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