This was the kitchen when we bought our house. Light and sweet but if you could do a closer inspection, you would see things aren’t as good as they seem. I will take you to a small ride to our kitchen’s before and point out the things we had to change and fix.
We saw most problems so, we had no unpleasant surprises (except with the refrigerator). The budget for the kitchen remodel and renovation was taken into account (optimistically) and had to stay low.
This is our kitchen renovation Part I, the “before” – with all the costs I could remember.
Warning: this post contains at least one scary image and several bad ones.
The Before Kitchen, had very plain builder grade cabinets, handpainted white (not very successfully), against a light blue wall. A lot of light in this well loved kitchen but the cabinets had lived their long life and had to change.
All of them. (Note: the kitchen during the open house was as clean as it could possibly be – cudos to whoever cleaned it).
– There was not a single cabinet door that closed fully.
– Not a single hinge right. Zero alignment.
– Out of total five drawers, only two were opening and all of them were in bad condition.
– The countertop which comprised of 3 separating parts, was broken and chipped in several areas, including smack dub on the sink (covered with patty that kept getting wet and moldy).
– Whoever painted the rooms, had thought it a great upgrade to paint over the outlets. Big electrical code no-no that. We had to change every single one.
– The range was probably something the estate agent found in a scrap yard just for the sale. Said range was put in a corner, and if the oven was open, it blocked the side door.
– The fridge was at the wrong position, blocking the kitchen. It was bulky for the spot and we had to take turns to walk by.
– The refrigerator was also leaky (it actually damaged a wall post and the floor).
Inside the cabinets, the situation was this:
No sides, no backs, moldy, broken, swelling, sagging. Water marks (and – impossible to clean- filth) on the walls, too. The overall condition was so bad, the kitchen had to completely go. All of it. I will spare you of more images like the one above but, all the cabinets were pretty much like that.
Literally and figuratively: Gutted.
We removed everything: all the cabinets, the sink and even the floor. We deeply cleaned both walls and floor. That took
some a lot of elbow grease (and chemicals) with a lot of scrubbing, scraping, washing and drying, before I felt safe enough to proceed with sealing, painting and re-installing floors. We replaced the subfloor to make sure there was no water damage underneath the old one.
The previous owners had left several boxes of the laminate planks and the underlay sheets (thank you guys) they used for the rest of the house so, we simply used those and installed them ourselves. As our kitchen is part of an open room it made sense to keep the same flooring throughout.
The refrigerator was working but leaking which caused more mold and actually damaged a wall post (!) and the floor within a couple of weeks. The range was a broken piece of ancient history, however its burners still worked so we lived with it for months. We never used the oven which was full with rust, collapsing, broken, with a semi detached and hanging grill resistance and possibly a couple nests of vermin. I kept it locked at all times until we discarded it. So, the only appliance we kept was the old, noisy but energy efficient (win) and working dishwasher. I kept it in order to use it as a…cabinet and save money.
The things that were impractical or downright ugly and had to go:
– The sink. I wash large pans and double sinks aren’t helpful to me.
– This horribly ugly light that served no purpose whatsoever and wasn’t even centered.
– The light blue color that clashed oh-so-much with the khaki-brown color of the rest of the room.
– Fixing the layout: I wanted to move the oven and place the refrigerator where the oven was, opening up the whole kitchen. It possibly was the best thing we did. Huge difference.
– We had to put new walls where the old range was.
Costs so far:
We demolished, removed and gutted everything ourselves, saving some money. Lots of elbow grease = $zero.
There was a cost to dispose of the debris that ranged between $40 and $100 (sorry, husband doesn’t remember the exact cost).
Electrical outlets and switches -including two gfcis – cable, box and receptacle (for the oven move) were approximately $120. Installation was free because hubby is an electrician.
Drywall and plywood for the floor another $40-$50.
A few coats of primer and white paint (that didn’t manage to cover the old blue color). Low cost as we used them in other rooms as well.
New laminate floor & installation (including underlayments)= $zero
We recycled the fridge so we actually made money by that and the range was taken away for free when we bought our new one.
Most difficult thing to do:
Patching the popcorn ceiling when we removed the ugly light fixture. Those pop corn sprays? They didn’t work. We bought two different ones and all they did was a splattered mess. So, I took a synthetic bath sponge, drywall putty and tried to mimic the rest of the pop corn ceiling. It turned out ok and it is hardly visible. With the correct sponge roler, it would have been perfect.
This was before I found out we could remove pop corn ceilings easily. I was a sad puppy when I found out we can easily remove pop corn without damaging our ceilings. Which was after I had painted 5 room ceilings with 35 coats of primer and paint each.
Progress so far:
Clean slate, new floors, some new walls, corrected layout. Electrical connections checked and improved. Cleaned and primed. A coat of paint as well. Ceiling patched, primed and painted with a satin white (so it reflects more light in order to counter the pop corn effect).
Was time to buy the cabinets (on a budget). Truth is, my mother (from Greece) wired all the money I needed for the cabinets with the sole command “don’t be cheap and pick something you like”. Well, I picked something I liked and I’d like to think I was not cheap but I certainly was frugal. And I have enough left to go after a soapstone countertop. Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see. 😀
Next post, I will show you the progress with installed maple cabinets and the new appliances (and the sink and the faucet). Plus our high end…plywood countertops with – the even higher end – duct tape trim. I can tell you are getting shivers from all the excitement…
Read the 2nd part of our kitchen renovation here!