I think when people hear the phrase "kitchen renovation" they (and their bank accounts) start to sweat. Notoriously expensive, kitchen renovations can cost upwards of $20,000. When it came time to finish out the kitchen for the Myrtle House, we didn't have a set budget (though I knew it would be way less than $20,000) - it was more of a "let's do this for as little money as humanly possible" kind of situation.
In the end, we spent around $5000 which is still a big chunk of change, but not bad at all considering the following things:
- We had NOTHING to salvage. The current kitchen was once a storage room. So we didn't have cabinets to keep or appliances to recycle or anything. It was a complete, start from scratch, gut job.
- Our kitchen is actually pretty big for the size of the home (17' x 13'). Big kitchens mean more cabinets, countertops, and backsplash to complete it.
- I didn't have to sacrifice on style. We probably could have completed the kitchen for a little less if I had gone with salvaged cabinets, appliances, and countertops, but I am glad we spent a little more to get the specific look I wanted.
This is what it looked like before we started renovations (just inspires you to cook, doesn't it? ;) You can see all of the before and afters here. I am not including costs of electrical, plumbing, and structural repairs because I think most people will already have these in place and won't need to include these in their budget. The $5,000 renovation costs include just the cosmetic remodeling expenses.
MATERIALS AND COSTS:
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- Hardwood flooring materials: $270 (boards, nails, underlayment)
After a lot of research, we chose Lumber Liquidators Utility Grade Oak Flooring. We were able to salvage the original oak hardwoods in two of the rooms, so continuing the oak made the most sense financially and aesthetically. Brian and I installed the flooring ourselves to save money (check out this post if you are interested in our installation process and tips).
- Hardwood refinishing: $660 ($3/square foot for 220 square feet in the kitchen)
Again, after doing a lot of research, we decided to hire out the job of refinishing the hardwoods. I knew the trying to match the old floors and the new was going to be a pain, and we decided that was a project better left to the pros. We chose Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Our contractor only left the stain on for minimal time so that the floors weren't super dark.
- Wine Fridge: $147
We actually had a wine fridge in our last home (but no dishwasher - #priorities) and really enjoyed it so this was a fun little splurge. Our favorites wines are from Trader Joes, and since we don't live near one, we usually stock up when we go back to visit family. It is nice to have a dedicated place to store our favorite bottles and I love how the stainless finish breaks up the sea of white. As an added bonus, the wine fridge acts as a little nightlight for the kitchen. To install it, we simply removed the door from the front of one of our cabinets. There was a two inch gap on top, so Brian added a piece of melamine trim to frame out the wine fridge so it looked more custom.
My go to source for hardware the past few years has been DLawless Hardware. Their prices can't be beat and they have a decent variety of options. The chrome knobs and pulls we chose have held up well so far and add the little bit of shine I was looking for. Their shipping can get a little pricey if you are only ordering a few things ($10 shipping fee), but if you order $50 or more, shipping is free so I would recommend buying all of the needed hardware at once if possible.
- Shelf brackets: $30
Since we only had room for upper cabinets on one wall (the wall of windows ate up the other space) we decided to add some shelving over the wine fridge. We salvaged a piece of barnwood from the backyard and made a few shelves to house wine and champagne glasses.
- Cabinets: $1600 (stock cabinets + melamine for fridge built-in)
I really wanted a white, shaker style cabinet that didn't cost an arm and a leg. We didn't need fancy soft-close features, nor did we really care all that much about solid construction. We threw around the idea of buying unfinished oak cabinets and painting them white ourselves, but that sounded exhausting just thinking about it. We stumbled upon a line of stock cabinets at Lowe's: the Arcadia Collection. This line is affordable (not much more than unfinished cabinets) and seemed to fit the bill. While they definitely gave us the look we wanted, the construction does leave a bit to be desired. The doors and drawer fronts of the Arcadia cabinets are decent, but the boxes are pretty cheap. When our order arrived (we opted for delivery), some of the upper cabinets were bent and cracked in the corners. Since the boxes are made of particle board, it almost looked like something heavy and wet had been stacked on top of them. It ended up not being a big deal since the corners were hidden once installed, but if I were doing a more high-end renovation, I would probably go for something a little nicer. Rentals or low-end flips? These are great. If you are looking for a budget-friendly stocked shaker cabinet, I have heard great things about Home Depot's line: The Hampton Bay Shaker cabinets (available in white and espresso).
- Countertop: $489
Since I already dedicated a whole post to our countertops, I won't go into too much detail here. Long story short, we chose the Formica Calacatta Marble laminate countertops and absolutely love them.
- Backsplash: $8 (tile was on closeout)
I seriously loved the price and style of these tiles. They remind me of the ones in Joanna Gaines' kitchen.
- Sink: Free ($50 for replacement rim)
Here is the post on our free Craigslist sink. It has help up super well so far (even after being subjected to paint projects and Lola baths). We did end up spending $50 on a new metal ring.
- Faucet: $116
A pretty faucet was really important to me since the sink is the focal point of our kitchen. I absolutely LOVE our chrome, vintage-inspired faucet. I was a little concerned that it wouldn't feel substantial since it is on the lower end price-point wise, but it has turned out to be great. The only complaint that I have is that the sprayer trigger is a little tricky to hold down when my hand is wet (the curved design makes my thumb slide off sometimes) but that is seriously the only tiny thing I don't absolutely love about it.
- Chandelier: $49
I have no idea how we scored such an amazing deal on this chandelier, but I sure am glad we did. I found it marked down 75% one day at Lowe's and snatched it up. Maybe it was an overstock price? Who knows, but I love this little guy. He wasn't so fun to clean the hardwood refinishing dust off of (so...many....crystals) but he adds the perfect touch to our wall of windows.
- Flush-mount light: $30
This was an open-box clearance item on Wayfair. The seeded glass is really pretty and adds a little bit of a vintage touch to the kitchen.
- Barn Door Hardware: $70
We re-used one of the original interior doors to make a sliding barn door to the new pantry. All it took was a little bit (aka LOTS) of elbow grease and a boat-load of paint to get this door pretty again, but I love the character it adds. We purchased the hardware on Amazon (hint, hint: it is a lot cheaper than the ones at big box stores).
- Appliances: $1915
Our appliances are not super fancy, but they are not bottom of the line either. The set is Whirlpool and I mostly chose them because they were on super-duper sale and looked pretty. We don't do a lot of extravagant cooking or entertaining, so I figured more basic (but pretty) appliances would fit the bill. The thing I don't like about them is all.of.the.fingerprints. Since buying our appliance set, we have purchased a smudge-resistant set from Frigidaire for another project and that is definitely a feature I will look for going forward. Here is our stove, dishwasher, and fridge (microwave is discontinued).
We actually cashed in some credit card points for Lowe's gift cards (amounting to $1400) and used those on our cabinets. So with that subtracted out, we only spent $4061 on our kitchen.
Anything I would do differently?
Luckily, I really can't think of anything I don't like about our kitchen. We had about two years to plot and plan the renovation and finishes, so that helped out a lot with not having too many regrets. The one thing that was a little silly is the dishwasher placement. We were going to salvage the cabinets from the old kitchen and stick a dishwasher on the end of the run of cabinets. So we did the electrical with this in mind, but then we ended up buying all new cabinets. So the dishwasher isn't right next to the sink. This "whoopsie" allowed us to flank that long bank of white cabinets with stainless appliances (wine fridge and dishwasher) so this symmetry-loving girl will take that as a win.
My favorite part?
This really is hard to pick, but I don't think our kitchen would be nearly as neat without the exposed double-sided brick fireplace. I think it adds so much character and texture to this space. I can just imagine masons laying these bricks 115 years ago and are a great reminder of the history of this home. I also love that all of the little decorative items on top of our upper cabinets were all original to the house. The coal ash buckets, silver serving tray, and glass etagere all belonged to Brian's grandmother, which is special to me.
Thanks for sticking with me to the end, friend! Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything. Renovating your kitchen on a budget is absolutely doable. Think about how you can reuse things you already have. Getting creative can save you a lot of cash.