Instructables
Remodeling a kitchen is no easy task, but every time I see a home show where someone says something along the lines of "and our remodel only cost about $40,000" I have to laugh to myself. I bought my house right out of college as a foreclose for just a little over 60k. The house was built in 1901. It needed a lot of work and given the modest salary of a full time graduate student, everything had to be done under a very tight budget. I had no prior construction experience before I purchased the house. I was fortunate enough to have an Uncle in the area who had been through some similar things to get me rolling, but it was largely thanks to internet resources such as this site that I was able to acquire the knowledge I needed to get the job done.

The kitchen renovations took place in two main phases. Phase 1 was when I first moved in and the goal was to get things "livable." Phase 2 came a year and a half later when it was time to do things right. Phase 1 cost probably in the neighborhood of $500 (including appliances) while Phase 2 ran about $900, bringing the total cost to a paltry $1,400.

If you want to checkout any of my other projects visit the blog I've kept on the renovation at http://mrbippers.blogspot.com

Also please vote for me in the Burning Questions 7 contest if you like this Instructable.
 
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GinetteG3 hours ago

I did almost the same identical counter top. Instead of granite I used porcelain tiles in a granite pattern (looks exactly the same, but very non porous and much harder). At the suggestion of the owner of the tile store, I used epoxy grout, which is a bit of a pain to apply due to its fast setup time, but it virtually indestructible!! My counter edging was identical to yours, but made of cherry to match my cupboards. After 7 years the counter and edging still look brand new. I also refaced my cabinets and replaced the doors, going from elm plywood to beautiful cherry solid wood doors.

Good job! I love the look of your new Countertops. I wish we could do the same renovation in our kitchen. Useful post.
minus52522 years ago
Love how you're renovating this house! Enjoying the entries!
Adastra623 years ago
Mr.Bippers, I recently replaced the hinges on my cabinets (early '70's) in order to cut costs of kitchen updates. Mine were similar to yours and I cruised the 'net' and found a great solution that only cost about $100 total for all 13 of my cabinets. You can get any of this hardware at Ace, Lowes or Home Depot. It looks great and TOTALLY UPDATED the look of my small dark cabinet kitchen. I took the liberty of photoshopping your end photo with a mockup of what it would look like with the same hardware that I used in my kitchen. Just a suggestion man, it might get you going in the direction your were looking for, for a minimal amount of money. It took me every bit of 3 hours to completely update all handles and hinges to get a more modern look! Good luck on yours, my friend. :D
The-final-product(with new handles).jpg
Allen White3 years ago
If you are remodeling and attempting to save money you can always resurface as apposed to replace for a fraction of the cost. Why replace your bathroom accessories when you can have them refurbished? To ensure best results refinishing should always be done by a professional contractor. When considering refinishing, a person wants to be sure they have the right crew for the job. An experienced professional who has mastered restoring, refinishing, and resurfacing existing counters, sinks, bathtubs, and showers. I have an interesting article that elaborates for you on Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6287572 please feel free to visit.
Improving your home is always a rewarding endeavor, & having it done right the first time is priceless.
dwosullivan4 years ago
 Just a thought but putting a fridge right next to a stove/oven is not a great idea!!
I would give thought to changing out the double window to match the over sink window and extend the counter to the wall. The cound under half a window is disconcerting. BUT this is a major improvement and it is amazing do it your self. I am sure you increased the value of your home far more than 5K.
modern fridges are very well insulated, and ovens are too. Also heat from the stove and oven will go up more than sideways since heat rises. touch the side of your oven next time you have it on, it really won't be very hot at all.
Pwag chrwei3 years ago
You just end up having to clean the stupid fridge every time you cook something like bacon. It gets morose after awhile.
w0lfie4 years ago
Hah! Genius!

Thanks so much; I'm redoing my counters this weekend and had already informed myself on most of the details and had came to the same conclusion on 24" vs 26". However your idea of using wood trim for the edges is genius and something I had not considered!

Thank you so much since I agree this works fine and looks great. And is MUCH MUCH easier than dealing with cutting all those extra tiles!
kathynv5 years ago
I'll add my cheers to all the other comments here, because this is one terrific instructable. A few years ago, we did a complete gut to the studs and start over kitchen renovation, and discovered many of the things you write about here. There are a few that you didn't mention that might be of a little help. First, before deciding whether to paint, refinish or replace your old wooden kitchen cabinets, give them a good cleaning with paint thinner and 0000 steel wool. In our new home, years of previous homeowners' crud came off, leaving cabinets we could live with through phase 1. We did the kitchen renovations in two phases as well; first was "good enough to live with" and second "should last many years." Second, whatever kitchen cabinets you decide upon, it's really nice to be able to see into every nook and corner. You could paint the inside of the cabinets white before installing them, which is easy but could be sticky and smelly for quite a while. I used white laminate, which should last almost forever inside those cabinets, and provided me with a clean, washable surface that was bright and visible, even though we did not install any special cabinet lighting. I was given the roll of laminate and did the installation for the cost of the adhesive, but if cost is a factor, self-stick vinyl is an option as well. Thanks again for such a terrific instructable!
MrBippers (author)  kathynv5 years ago
A sheet of laminate would certainly be the way to go if you have an option like that. I actually also used some scraps of vinyl flooring for the bottom of the base cabinets for a little more durability and in retrospect some on the upper cabinet shelves would probably have worked out a little better than the shelf liners I'm using now.
Wow! You really worked hard! well done! Just a suggestion; You modernized beautifully-how about re-thinking the dated cupboard knobs.
MrBippers (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
Those knobs actually are replacements, albeit they were unused leftovers from the house my parents built twenty-five years ago. But you're right, I should probably keep my eyes open for something that's a little bit of a better fit.
Utahtabby5 years ago
one thing I just learned when you install a dishwasher, make sure the hose to the outlet (to the sink) goes UP and over the dishwasher, so that dirty water in the sink is NOT ABLE to run down into your dishwasher and make it stinky. If you DO have a smelly dishwasher, look into the sink cabinet and nail a large nail up high and hook the hose from the dishwasher up over the nail, so the dirty sink water cannot run back down into the dishwasher. Then run a bleach cycle with no dishes through your dishwasher by putting a cup of bleach in the bottom of dishwasher, NO DISHES, and run a long cycle.
Also, we're going to use a flat-pack cupboard set, with white (laminate, I think) outside, do you have a suggestion for what we could use to trip the benchtops? As obviously we don't have a timber to match to. How would you go about placing bullnose tiles? Would you do tiles along the vertical edge or just use the ones on the counter-top? Thanks!!
MrBippers (author)  nitapetapumpkineater5 years ago
The easiest route would be to do the wood trim and just paint it instead of staining it. If you go this route look for a paint in the finish "kitchen and bath enamel" for the increased durability it will need.

Depending on the accents you could even try wrapping the wood in thin sheets of copper or stainless steel. There was an instructable where printing offset sheets obtained free from local printing presses were used to make an aluminum desk, so that may be an option.

If you do go with bullnose you would add the bullnosed edge to the vertical tiles. Unless you can find a bullnose of identical granite, you would either have to cut the 12" tiles into thinner strips and try to edge them yourself or have some place do it for you. It may also be an option to find a bullnose in another style tile that picks up some of the colors from the granite and acts as an accent. Keep in mind the height of the tile and just make sure you have enough clearance to still open any drawers. Good luck!
Thanks, good ideas!! :) The reason I was asking about the ply was that I didn't see the 3/4" in my local hardware store's very comprehensive catalogue so wasn't sure if they have it. I'll look out for it at the actual store :) Thanks again!
This is a wonderful instructable, great ideas! I love your idea to do a granite tile benchtop... I was so wanting a granite benchtop, but no way were we going to fork out the cost for it!! When I showed your idea to my husband he was very impressed and we're going to use it :) With the ply board for under the granite tiles (under the concrete board too, obviously), can you use a thinner ply? Or is the 3/4" needed for structural strength?
MrBippers (author)  nitapetapumpkineater5 years ago
I've only seen it done with 3/4" so that's probably the minimum I'd go with (or 23/32" is close enough. With the tiles if there's any flex in the base you then start to worry about cracking the tiles or grout. I went with the plywood that's unfinished on both sides and it only ran like $20 for a 4x8 sheet if cost is why you're looking at thinner stuff. Since it's not going to be visible, there's no point in getting the sanded stuff.
Loghome5 years ago
Show off those great talents to the world. You are discovering abilities passed on to you through generations of do it yourself-ers.
PKM5 years ago
This is a great Instructable. A friend has inherited a house that pretty much defines 70s decor (mmm, orange and brown stripes on *everything*) and is thinking of remodelling it- he's getting a printout of this to peruse before starting the job.

(and I love your Tetris tiles :D)
MrBippers (author)  PKM5 years ago
I'm glad people are finding this useful. I truly enjoy renovating my home and working on various related projects. Hopefully I can help others experience the satisfaction of doing it yourself first hand. I'll try to get up some more guides to the various other work I've done as time permits.

Also, remember if you like this instructable to rate it using the stars in the top right corner. If you don't like it, well you can skip that part =).
tweeder82o5 years ago
laminate or stone... hey granite tiles!! nice
rivetgeek5 years ago
What a great article. Im looking at doing this soon myself and plan to take a few of these ideas.