We had been house hunting for about a year when we finally found ‘our’ house. We really loved our little townhouse with it’s quirky layout of two bedrooms, a loft, and garage in the back. The house was too small but we still loved it and we needed a pull out of the house since it wasn’t quite pushing us out. Our real estate agent had us set up with an automatic email update of new properties on the market before they hit the main listings. I saw our house and fell in love with the red brick front and window seat in the kitchen. I emailed the listing to my sister-in-law and she texted back, “Buy it for me.” Laughingly I wrote back that we will set up a viewing and see how it goes.
It turned out that the house was just one street over from our old house, on a quiet, treelined street. We loved the curb appeal when we walked up to it and the fact that the garage was at the back. When we walked in we saw that the carpet had seen better days and it needed a fresh paint job throughout, but when I walked through the living room to the kitchen, I knew that we had found our new house. We hadn’t even been upstairs yet, but I knew it didn’t matter. I don’t care much about huge bedrooms and luxurious en suites. I care about the size of the kitchen, the kitchen layout, and most importantly, the light in the kitchen.
I could see the potential of the kitchen and it was already halfway to where I wanted it to be with white kitchen cupboards. We briefly entertained the idea of updating the cupboard doors with higher quality doors but that would have been about $8000. Just obscene for only doors and a couple new cabinets.
The things that absolutely had to go were: the ugly pale peach counter, the breakfast bar, the doorknobs, the old white range hood, and the open shelving. The two items that irritated me the most were the breakfast bar and the open shelves. Unless you need the breakfast bar to separate a kitchen from a main living space all they do is close off the kitchen and become a dumping ground for clutter.
Open shelving is very popular and I like the look of it but it is completely impractical for me. The shelves in my kitchen were made of cheap MDF, so they were pretty scruffy up close but what really annoys me is that anything that you take down from the shelf to use has to be washed. Before we added the cupboard, ever time I would take down a large bowl, or pitcher to use, it would have a film of greasy dust because of its proximity to the stove in a working kitchen. I really don’t know how people with lots of open shelves get used to that unless the items on the open shelves are on a very heavy rotation and are constantly being used and washed.
We hunted around for a while to find a countertop and we finally settled on a Corian countertop that we bought through Costco. It was by far the best deal because they were running concurrent sales. The square footage that we needed gave us a discount and included a fully integrated Corian sink. I wanted a white counter top and many people tried to dissuade me from this because I also have white cupboards. If you have a vision in your mind of what you want in a renovation, don’t let someone talk you out of it.
There was space next to the dishwasher that would allow for a skinny cabinet and there was quite a bit of space between the end of the counter and the wall next to the pantry that was just dead space begging to be filled. When we were looking into getting custom door replacements we also wanted those cupboards added. Once we recovered from sticker shock we went to Home Depot and saw that we could get cupboards that would work nearly perfectly with our existing cupboards.
We went with just flat fronts on the drawer and cupboard next to the dishwasher since the other drawers had flat fronts already. For the large cupboard next to the pantry we found door fronts that were the closest to the other cupboards. Since they were not right next to the others, we figured that people wouldn’t notice that the profile is ever so slightly different.
Simon was not best pleased that I booked the installation of the new counter the same week as deer hunting week, but dammit, I wanted my new kitchen! I was not best pleased that he used a week of vacation to go hunting, so I think we were even.
The counter was installed and it would be another six months before I could call the kitchen reno complete. We had yet to choose a backsplash and we hadn’t figured out what we were going to do where the open shelving was. To get a cupboard with glass doors the same height as the other cupboards (we have 9 foot ceilings) would cost about $800. I had an idea that if we just bought off an off the rack cupboard from Home Depot again, we could put a wine rack underneath to make up for the height discrepancy. We toyed with the idea of just closing off the gap between the cupboard and the wall but we decided to put skinny shelves there instead.
I can’t quite remember what all the exact costs were for all the items for the reno but here is a list of the costs to the best of my memory:
- cupboard hardware $60
- backsplash (tiles and materials from Home Depot) $350
- additional cupboards (Home Depot) $592
- 2 wine racks (Ikea) $26
- Corian counter with integrated sink $4500
Total renovation cost: $5528 (approximately)
I’m not including the cost of the fridge and stove because they aren’t really part of the renovation. The house came with a scruffy old stove and dishwasher, but not the fridge. We brought our Kitchenaid dishwasher with us from our old house and bought a new stove (gas – hurray!!) and a new fridge the same time we bought a new washer and dryer. I’m pretty sure we got some sort of bundle price because we were buying so many big ticket items at once.
The faucet was part of the swag from the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2013, so that is also not included in the cost listing. It is a Delta Touch2O® faucet, Cassidy model. I think they retail for around $400.
I think the one of the biggest cost savings for us, was that my husband is quite handy. He may not be an expert but he is willing to figure out how to do things and I know to stay well away from him while he is working on anything to do with plumbing.
I’m sure that I missed some details on how we did our renovation, so please pepper me with questions and I will be sure to answer them in the comments. If you really want to know how much the appliances cost, then I’m happy to dig up the receipt. I’m sure it is around here somewhere.
If you head over to my Facebook page, I will be posting a few more pictures of some of the little details I added to the kitchen. If you feel like giving my page a ‘Like’ while you are there I’d appreciate it. Let me know if you want any other detailed photos and I will post them on the Facebook page too (ie. a closer look at the backsplash, or something like that).