How I remodeled my kitchen for under $4500.
Before you jump into your remodel take some time and answer these questions:
What is your budget?
What can you salvage and save from the existing kitchen?
Where are you willing to splurge?
Can you find things you need inexpensively on Craigslist?
How much of the labor are you willing to do yourself? (usually trading cost savings for time)
What is your timeline? Add extra wiggle room!
Are there friends/family willing to help you?
Do you need to replace the appliances?
Think re-sell value. Are you making changes that will improve the value of your home?
Step 1: Design Inspiration
When I first walked into my condo I was immediately in love. I saw past the ugly carpet, the easter egg colored walls, the outdated gingerbread kitchen. I saw POTENTIAL. So when I was ready to tackle that ugly kitchen I jumped on Pinterest and started pinning things I really loved. After I pinned for a few days I went back and looked through what I had and started to sift through what caught my eye. Here's my kitchen board.
I realized how much I loved dark cabinets and butcher block countertops. So I ran with that. You can see some of the photos I based my concepts on.
Step 2: Budget
The thing about a budget is that it can be hard to stick to. Do the best you can, but be realistic and try to do your homework ahead of time. I tried to be overly conservative to compensate for the little things I knew I was missing. Get quotes and look around. There are lots of deals on the internet, and since I was a new homeowner there were tons of coupons coming to me in the mail -- Thanks Home Depot!
So how did I spend my budget?
$2200 Countertops (From Chop Bloc)
$700 Appliances (Used)
$130 Random Things
$35 House Plants
$0 Rug (Gifted - thanks Mom!)
Step 3: Demo Day
Day 1: Demo Day
We ripped out the countertops, all the tile backsplash and the sink. Then we cut the plywood to size and laid out the plywood which will support the new butcher block countertops. This was a full day of labor. Get your dustpan and brooms ready too because there's a lot of dust and debris.
Step 4: Subway Tile
I love the clean modern look of subway tile! Plus, it's super affordable and really popular. For those of you tempted to do your own tile work, you should! It's easy and gratifying. I used a grinder instead of wet saw since this was a relatively small project, but either would work. I went with a 1/4" spacer and a dark gray grout, unsanded. After the grout dries (usually 24 hours) you can seal it.
Pro tip: The grout will get as hard as concrete so do your best to clean it off the tiles while it's wet or you'll have your work cut out for you.
Step 5: Installing Counter Tops
The day the countertops go in is always exciting!
Pro tip: Save the cut tout from your sink and make a kickass cutting board (or two cutting boards if your sink is large like mine).
When installing these Chop Bloc countertops we had to make some important decisions about how the grain would appear. Originally, I had ordered the counters so that we would do a miter cut in the corners, but I started to second guess this. We realized we could create a seamless flow of the grain and instead of having the contrast of the miter cut. Doing a straight cut and joining the pieces together is a lot easier than a tricky miter cut. I'm really glad we decided to install it this way.
Worried that butcher block might be too much maintenance? Here's my video on how to take care of your cabinets! Spoiler alert: It's not hard and TOTALLY worth it!
Step 6: Refinishing Cabinets
Refinishing cabinets is a HUGE cost saver. Even "inexpensive" Ikea cabinets will set you back 3-4K.
- I removed all the cabinet doors. (Put hardware aside -- or replace it).
- Use an electric sander to sand down the cabinets. Make sure not to go too deep, especially if it's a veneer or not real wood.
- I set up a spray booth in my parent's garage. This step takes longer than the actual painting (which is fun and easy!). Make sure to remove anything you don't want over spray on.
- Mix the paint.
- When using the sprayer go lightly. You don't need to totally coat the first time. Use long sweeping motions. Try to prevent drips.
- Update hardware for a clean, modern look.
Step 7: Sand and Oil Counters
There are two ways to finish your counters:
1. Mineral Oil
2. Clear Satin Polyurethane
I like the mineral oil look because it's more natural and less shiny looking. Try both of a test sample of wood and see what you think.
Oil everyday for the first week then you can switch to once a month.
Here are some care instructions I made on how to care of your butcher block countertops:
Step 8: Before and After
Ok, here's the reveal:
What did I learn?
Nothing happens on the timeline you want. Whatever timeline your handyman tells you -- double it and add 2 days.
You can do more than you think! Learn some new skills and don't be afraid to make a mistake.
Patience really is a virtue.
Have questions? Comment below! :)
Check out all my DIY videos here.