Friday, April 23, 2010

Kitchen Remodel Budget Breakdown

Our house was built in 1987 and when we moved in the kitchen had been slightly refurbished from the original - cabinets were painted white and corian counters. Aside from the general eighties-ness of it, the size was the biggest issue. Roughly 9' x 10', not including the nook area. Pretty small for a nearly 2000 square foot house.

We didn't have concrete plans to upgrade anything until the slab leak happened. Me, the addict of DIY projects, lived in our house for more than a year and hadn't changed anything in the house aside from painting some of the rooms, changing a light fixture, and swapping out dated brass cabinet knobs. Water-damaged cabinets. The holes all over the house meant the kitchen had to be redone. We had talked about doing an addition but I'm glad I chose not to (how much would that have sucked? Most of our savings would have gone to pay for a kitchen addition at the time both got laid off. And one of us is still out of work).

Original Kitchen:

Original Kitchen After Slab Leak Repairs

(original kitchen layout - 9' wide X 10' long - 90 square feet)

Original Kitchen

(picture must be from first month we were there - old brass knobs still present)

Original Kitchen After Slab Leak Repairs

We ended keeping the stove in the original location, though my drawing had it swapped with the refrigerator. Due to the width of the room - the side by side refrigerator doors would have bumped into the cabinets. If we moved it closer to the dining room entrance to avoid the lower cabinets, it would have stuck out in front of the door way. The dining room entrance could not be moved nor could the back wall (unless we wanted to reconfigure the staircase and the load of the upstairs master bed and bath.... umm, no). The new plan (imagine that the stove is where the square "F"):


New Kitchen Plan

Pictures as of April 2010:








What we spent to get here:

Soapstone countertops (60 square feet): $5200
IKEA Cabinets, sink, and trim: $4300
Home Depot (new windows, paint, etc): $1200
Lowes (drywall, backsplash tile, cabinet hardware): $900
Microwave (new, craigslist): $100
Dishwasher (used, craigslist): $200
Tile floor: $200
Plumbing: $1200
Fixtures - faucets: $400
Pendant lights: $140
Electrician: $500
Blinds: $100
Contractor Labor: $2000
Hauling (466 pick up, and then 48 DIY): $500

Stove and Refrigerator - purchased in 2007 when we first moved in.
Total: $16940

It's not a small amount, BUT considering we moved the sink, added a pass-through (the hole near the stove was a solid wall with cabinets), changed the size if the windows, gutted down to the studs, completely new cabinets, etc - it was, in my opinion, a thrifty renovation. About 50-60% of the project was DIY.

Things we paid other people to do:

(1) Countertop installation
(2) Drywall installation (not texture - I floated the mud on the ceiling, and we did the "orange peel" texture on the walls)
(3) Framing/wall changes
(4) New window installation
(5) Plumbing
(6) Some electrical

Things we did ourselves:

(1) Demo
(2) Textured walls and ceiling
(3) Installed cabinets and trim
(4) Painted walls
(5) Baseboards and molding
(6) Tile backsplash
(7) Blinds installation
(8) Saltillo tile flooring installation
(9) Appliance installation
(10) Pendant lights installation
(11) Final stucco coat outside

I am guessing had we paid someone to do everything it would have cost closer to 30K... Had we chosen a less expensive counter material, the 17K number would have been a thousand or two lower.

What do you think? Does it look like it cost more than 17K or am I delusional?

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Not A Tumor

Have I named a post that before? I feel like I have, given I am a bit of a hypochondriac. This week, I honestly thought I might have a brain tumor or some neurological disease because I spent a large portion of the week feeling as if I were having a constant mild case of vertigo. Like, a weird dizzy feeling. Turns out my brother-in-law has been having the same issues the last 2 weeks because we're having the worst pollen in 20 years. Talk about relief to find out that I wasn't dying (or, rather, dying faster, really, since we're all going in that direction). Just a horrid case of messed up ears from wack allergens. I am still feeling slightly off - there's only so much Claritin can do.

I had been planning on doing a post about my kitchen remodel cost/budget breakdown (which I am going to do, soon) but with the in-laws in town for the Husband's birthday, it's hard to get anything done, really. I am pooped from the weekend. Weekend was not relaxing. Was more a constant preparing and cooking of food. So much so, that last night, as I was falling asleep I had a semi-awake dream where I panicked that something on the stove needed to be stirred or else it would burn and be ruined. Seriously - neither myself nor The Huz signed up for the party so it didn't feel all that great plonking down the moola for all the food (and replacing the empty keg in the kegerator), and then busting our asses through the day. Though I'm sure most were thinking that they offered to help and we were just putting the work on ourselves (myself) but the reality is, it's hard enough cooking recipes you've not done very often by yourself. Having to delegate, under time pressure, to anyone other than your spouse - who understands your method of madness - is even more impossible (and frustrating). If I ever have an involuntary party (meaning people just sort of tell you you're having a party even though you are not really wanting to have one) it's going to involve grilling and absolutely nothing fancy. I don't care what the occasion.

I hope to be better rested next weekend.

Anywho. House Updates. The week before last (Easter weekend specifically) we bought a water softener because Sears was having 0% interest. Why? Well, the biggest reason is that tankless water heaters do not run very well in hard water conditions. But, really, our water is so damn hard, it's like showering in mineral water or something. Instant spots all over your shower doors. Back in Massachusetts, where I grew up, the water hardness was 1 grain per gallon. Our water here is 15-19 grains per gallon. Freakin' hard water.

Hard water means you use more soap, your pipes get more mineral deposit build up (which, with copper piping means higher likelihood of leaks), your dishes look like ass when they come out of the dishwasher, your skin feels like sand paper (in an already dry climate), etc, etc. The tankless water heater was the straw that broke the camel's back. It's been a week and a half and I can feel a bit of a difference but I'm thinking we need to up the hardness setting on the softener. I used 15 gpg (from the city water quality report - it said it was the average - with a range up to 19) but I'm thinking it's probably closer to the 18-19 number and needs to be ticked up a bit. I would think it should replace most of the hardness and it still feels hard to me. Anyone out there with a water softener? And the install cost was almost as much as the heater due to the way the pipes had to be run. That was less than fun - paying the $500+ install on top of the $400+ softener price tag. Oh well.

But we got our TAX REFUND! Woo Hoo!!! Finally. Which means... MASTER BATHROOM REMODEL this summer!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nester's Mantel Mania and New Curtains

My mantel is far from super-chic, dressed up like Miss Layla's @ TLC but I think that the transformation from what it was, to what is it now, is the good part.

Last September, the fireplace looked like this:


IMG_0636

We ripped the brick off, replaced it with stone-like veneer (i.e. concrete that is formed and tinted to look like real stone) and a new hearth. I added a simple mantel that a distressed and stained and voila! Here it is today:


I still want to add a bit more pizazz to it - add some more color to the items on the mantel or swap out the big black and white frame with colorful art. I still need to add the trim around the stone hearth to hide the gap between the stone and the edge of the wood flooring.

For those of you who are have seen my fireplace already and are bored, thinking "yeah, and?" I have finished my living/dining room curtains! Woo hoo! They are cotton duck on top, a strip of cotton print fabric (from JoAnn Fabrics) and burlap on the bottom.



The top part, I bought 63" long white panels from Target - 15.99 per pair. I cut off the bottom hem part and then sewed the rest of the stuff to the bottom. That way I had already built-in rod-tab thingies (whatever the heck they're called) and I didn't have to sew them myself. Plus, the cost per yard of white cotton sailcloth would have been pretty similar to the cost of the panels already made. A while back, I grabbed 15+ yards of burlap (still on the bolt/roll) from a gal on Craigslist for $15. Score! I knew I'd use it eventually, so I grabbed it a month or two ago.


Overall, burlap is quite stiff. I chose it because it would hide dirt and such at the bottom, and I liked the rustic texture. But it doesn't necessarily drape as well I had hoped. Nonetheless, I am happy with the outcome - around $20 per panel. So, more than just plain 'ol white panels (84" long at Target is only 17.99 per pair), but I think they look a little more fun than just plain white.