Kitchen Renovation: Cost Breakdown

One of my favorite things that home bloggers do is to share their cost breakdowns. For the uninitiated, renovations can be incredibly daunting and overwhelming. HGTV shows are not necessarily helpful since they toss around very large, round numbers… granularity provides the additional context for those considering their own renovations.

I find the transparency really encouraging since it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about if a certain material or design choice is “worth it.” Let me be clear, please keep your negative opinions to yourself on this one. Feel free to judge, but this money is water under the bridge so any negative opinions are for you to think about and not send to me. Thank you, haha.


Cost Transparency

Cabinets: After shopping around to 4 or 5 places with my self-designed layout in hand, I chose Cabinets To Go because their prices were low, they were running a special, and the customer service was attentive and listened well to my wishes and concerns. $5000 for cabinets + $2142 for cabinet install.

Countertops: Wow, it was hard to find a countertop company that would special order the specific Formica I had picked out. Which was a shocker, since the design I wanted was front and center in Formica’s 2020 lookbook. Countertops 4 Less in El Cajon came out to measure, ordered the right material for me, and installed quickly. There was a problem with the first round of countertops being damaged so this was our first delay. $1650 including install.

Lighting: Doug let me have free reign with the design, but his request was to have can lights added in the ceiling and under-cabinet lighting. $2500 for materials and labor. The additional cost on top of lighting was very extensive drywall work which added another $1500.

Paint: Ceiling paint, drywall primer, and 2 gallons of wall paint came to around $250. We painted everything ourselves.

Flooring: I hadn’t originally budgeted for flooring, planning on pushing it to 2021, but after demo it became obvious that we would have to put in new floors right away. I chose a luxury vinyl plank that will hold up for a long time. We installed it ourselves and learned a lot in the process. $470, DIY installed.

Sink & Plumbing: The new, deep sink and cool faucet are one of my favorite things in the kitchen. For labor, I think I got somewhat taken for a ride by the plumbers who annoyingly insisted upon replacing my angle stops (the shut offs under the kitchen sink). I think what was there was fine, but at that point in the reno I was too tired to get a second opinion. $2300 for new sink, new angle stops, new garbage disposal, and labor.

Tile: This was my big splurge to elevate the kitchen’s look. Loving the look of handmade tiles from Zia and Fireclay, I chose something with a similar essence that was much more budget friendly from Bedrosians. Tile was our second major delay, being backordered a little bit (for the square tiles) and several weeks for the border pencil tile. $450 DIY installed.

Appliances: We saved a lot of money by reusing our stove and dishwasher, which were already white and looked great with our new white cabinets. I did select a counter-depth refrigerator to streamline the room and make the floor plan work. It was such a nice upgrade. $1284.

Budget Reflection

I think there are two things that blew the budget. The first was the under-cabinet lighting. The end result turned out fantastic, but to make it happen there was much more labor. The electrician essentially rewired the whole kitchen, which is a huge invisible value add. To add the under-cabinet lights and the cans the scope was much bigger than expected and we had to hire out extensive drywall patching.

The secondary labor cost was the plumbers. They came in at triple what I expected.As I mentioned above, they insisted on replacing my angle stops and they also wouldn’t reuse my garbage disposal (which was only a few years old and in fine working order). After 6 weeks with no kitchen sink I didn’t have a lot of fight left in me to get multiple quotes; I know with more effort I could have saved money in this spot.

Conclusion

All in all, taking a kitchen from 1969 original to 2020 brand new came in at approximately $17,500. This was around $5000 over my ever-shifting budget which in all is not bad for a top-to-bottom kitchen renovation. Almost all remodels come in above budget when the scope grows and splurges arise.

I had the home appraised for a refinance a couple of months after the kitchen was completed and the appraiser was very impressed and the new kitchen improved the value of the home more than $20,000. Not bad for spending $17,500 (plus 3-4 months and some blood sweat and tears). In conclusion, I think it turned out amazing and it was totally worth the whole ordeal!


What kind of Realtor doesn’t add in her own self-promotion at the end? If you are tired of your kitchen, I am available for a conversation to talk through the costs and benefits of a remodel based on my experiences and professional network. For a total change of scenery, I’d love to offer my sellers’ and buyers’ services. I work in San Diego county and southern Riverside County and I also have a deep referral network across the USA. Leave a comment here or contact me through my real estate website: SDHomeDreams.com.

2013 Christmas Cards

Hey all,

It’s been over a month since I last posted. Wow! It doesn’t feel that long. This year, the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter than normal, but for me, Thanksgiving seems so long ago. Shortly after Turkey Day, my grandmother (mother’s mother) passed away. I flew to Oklahoma City to remember her life and be with that side of the family. Thankfully I was able to escape from work, which is not a given when working retail during the holiday season. I’m so grateful I got to be with my extended family during the holidays, even though the circumstances surrounding the occasion were somber.

In a way, I do feel like I got to “go home” for the holidays, even though my home is right here in CA. Being with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins for Thanksgiving in the Midwest is something we haven’t been able to do in probably close to ten years(!), and this may be as close as we get for a while.

Then, I returned home and hit the ground running when it came to work. The Holidays, people, when many retailers make three months’ worth of revenue in two weeks. Did you know that? It’s totally, absolutely, literally exhausting. Please be gentle on us for a little while. We are still trying to recover.

All this to say, I have been notably absent from the blog. Part of me has missed blogging, and another part of me forgot all about it since life has been so crazy. It is something I enjoy doing, and I’ll try to climb back on the horse (as they say) and come up with some fun and interesting stuff to populate this little corner of the interweb.

This year, amidst all the madness, I wanted to try to illustrate our little family for a card, instead of having our photo taken. It was more work than I anticipated, and that is why I’m getting them sent out today, on the 27th (sad trombone noise). Drawing the sketch was fun, and outlining it in sharpie was stressful. Doug managed to scan it into the computer and used Adobe Illustrator to clean it up (I’ll have to have him show me how to do it).

2013 Christmas Card

Since the photo and message on the back are all black and white, I tried to inject a little pizzaz to the card by using leftover envelopes from Stephanie’s wedding invites. I love how special they are. I’ll probably order metallic envelopes for all my holiday cards from now on!

Thank you all for reading, and especially for commenting throughout 2013. The year went by so fast! I am eager to see what 2014 will bring.

Instagram Fridge

This was such a simple project, and I’m in love.

A few weeks ago I realized that I hadn’t ordered any prints of my instagram photos in over a year, so I took advantage of a fall sale and ordered 60+ prints through the Postal Pix app.

The stack sat in my kitchen and I flipped through the pictures many times, but wanted to display them somewhere! I have a little scrapbook I started with instagram pics in it but I didn’t feel like scrapbooking. I did feel like throwing away all the expired coupons, takeout menus, and storing away old thank-you notes from my fridge, though… so I took an idea that has been done in 1,000 blogs before mine, and ran with it.

It started with cleaning off the side of the fridge and then cleaning it thoroughly with windex. Kitchen surfaces can get so grimy, can’t they?

insta_fridge1

Then, I spread my prints out on the kitchen counter and started taping up photos in a grid. There’s about a centimeter (give or take) between each photo. I made sure to mix light, dark, and vibrant photos evenly so the eye isn’t drawn to any one area too strongly.¬†One tip for a cohesive looking collage is to use one or two filters all the time, instead of always going with a different one, so the color wash is similar on them all.

insta_fridge2

This was such quick and relaxing project. I love looking at photos and reminiscing. I completed the whole thing before my mug full of tea even had time to get too cold. Now I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my kitchen gazing at my loved ones and remembering great times.

insta_fridge3

It also serves as an antidote to all the stark white, too!