How to cheaply renovate your kitchen

I thought some of you might be interested in the rough figures of the cost breakdown for the kitchen renovation.  I have all the records and receipts, but I’m just going to do this off the top of my head for the sake of speed.  :)

Cabinets, gas cooktop, stainless steel hood, double oven, double stainless steel sink – $750 (cabinets are solid wood, custom purchased ten years earlier by the seller for $20,000 – still in excellent condition since they were used by an 87 year old and his wife – I posted about how I was able to buy these so cheaply from the private seller)

Uhaul to bring cabinets home – $90

Countertops – the first set, from building materials re-use center – $30 (24 feet total, brand new, 50% off that day)

Uhaul to bring countertops home since we had all the kids with us – $65

More countertops we bought at Home Depot when we burned the first one right after installing, which matched the first set – $150

Electrician to do wiring for electric oven (we had gas) – $300

Tiles – a) four boxes of ceramic tile from building materials re-use store – brand new – $50

b) polished onyx mosaic for tiling- $70 (I think it was about $8 per square foot, and we were able to cut the mesh to get three rows of trim per sf – much nicer than anything Home Depot had, and much cheaper)- wholesale tile supply store

Lighting – two 4 foot fluorescent fixtures from Home Depot – about $60, with bulbs

That was the bulk of the expenses – then there were lots of little things, like paint ($35), stain ($6), paint roller covers ($6), screws, ducts ($20), base cove molding ($2), thinset ($20).  There are other little things but this is where I’m too lazy to look it all up right now, so I’ll just say another $100 for anything I might not be  thinking of right now, which is definitely much more than what was spent (it was probably closer to $20).  We bought a hammer drill and a jigsaw – let’s say $100 for both, though we ended up having to return the jigsaw since it didn’t work properly, so it was really just $50. 

Instead of buying new wood when we needed some, we used the extra trim that the cabinet set came with to fill in , for example, creating a bracket from a decorative piece that had been previously used to frame the window.  We borrowed the tile cutter from a friend so we didn’t need to rent or buy that.  We had grout and paint rollers left over from when we did the bathroom in the summer. 

I feel like I have to publicly say how amazing my husband has been about doing this.  (He doesn’t read my blog so this isn’t for him; it’s for me to express gratitude.)  He has a long work week and not much time at home.  When he is home, it’s for a couple hours here and there, except for his day off, which being Friday, isn’t a restful kind of day.  (Some of you might particularly appreciate the challenges in renovating a kitchen on Fridays, for all of the family members. :))  He really needs some downtime, which he gave up to do all this work on the kitchen, just because he knew it would make it nicer and more workable for me.  He would (initially) have been quite happy to have left it as it was.  That’s love.  :)

Getting back to the cost – you can see that I didn’t buy most of the main materials new, or even if they were new, didn’t get them from typical retail stores.  As a result, I was able to pay much less for supplies.  I did have a couple of expensive mistakes, specifically regarding those countertops.  The first one was when I had to pay for a Uhaul to bring them home (I can’t tell you how ridiculous I felt to pay for a 14 foot moving truck to transport two countertops – we should have gone home, dropped off the kids, and gone back to pick it up with the van empty); the second was when I used the wrong countertop for where the cooktop was.  If I had used the countertop without the backsplash for that area to start with, I wouldn’t have burnt it and wouldn’t have spent another $150 on new counters.  That would have saved $200.  If I hadn’t wanted a double wall oven, we could have saved several hundred dollars by keeping a gas oven in place because we wouldn’t have needed an electrician.  If we had done that, we could have done the kitchen for under $1500.  Even so, we’re satisfied with the final cost.  :))


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