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Another Kitchen Renovation

2011 July 23

In May after our house had been on the market for a year with zero offers, we switched Realtors.  We brought in the big guns, and she came in guns blazing determined to sell it quick for us.

She had some staging comments but nothing unexpected.  The greatest piece of advice she gave us was to not drop the price, but instead to update the kitchen.  The reason we hadn’t done that was we thought it would be too much money and still might not get us a buyer.

Here’s a before picture of the kitchen:

Our new Realtor assured us we could accomplish a kitchen face lift for cheap and she even had a small army of contractors that could do the work at very good prices.  The first thing on the list was granite counter tops.  I am not a big fan of granite, but if that’s what the buyer’s want, then fine, granite they could have.

We thought it would be $3,000-$5,000 for granite but the estimate including installation came in at $1,900.  Done.

We had to hire a carpenter to level the cabinets and add a little more support to a few of them.  That didn’t cost much.

Here’s a picture of the cabinets after the carpenter did his magic and leveled them and created supports for the heavy granite.

At this point the new wood floor was installed.  That was also less than expected.  For a factory finished hardwood, we paid $1100 installed.  And it looked amazing.

I then headed down to IKEA to buy some new appliances.  We got the Nutid oven, the Eldig cooktop, and the Luftig range hood.  Pretty good deal for under $1300.

Our existing dishwasher was fine, and we decided to get a refrigerator off of Craigslist to save several hundred dollars.  We found a good stainless Frigidaire for $400.

The existing cabinets in the kitchen were made from 200 year old attic boards, so we felt that they needed to be saved.  They were looking a bit tired, but otherwise were fine.  Plus, they were huge, so ripping them out wouldn’t have added a lick of functionality.  Our realtor brought over a can of gel stain that had poly in it and suggested I try that in the dents and cracks to bring out the distressed areas.  I did some internet research and discovered that distressed (“reclaimed”) wood is all the rage.  Ok, I thought, but let’s take it up a notch.   More dents = better!

I got a handfull of nails, screws, bolts and other miscellany and wrapped it up in a cloth and proceeded to beat the crap out of the cabinets (and the few pieces of new wood that were added by the carpenter).    Then I applied the gel stain and was amazed at how great the cabinets looked.  It really brought them back to life.

Here’s a picture with the finished look on the right and the unfinished on the left. It’s kind of hard to tell at this point that they were going to look good.

The cabinets ended up looking amazing. It was risky bashing them with blunt metal objects, but it really paid off.

Here are some after pictures:


Total cost of kitchen renovation was just under $6000.
Appliances from Ikea: $1300
Craigslist fridge:  $400
Wood Floor: $1100
Granite Counter tops $1900
Sink:$200
Faucet:$180
Carpentry:  $350
Electrical:  $300
Plumbing: $50

We received an offer when we were still in the middle of renovations, and they hadn’t even seen the finished product.  We closed in less than a month and were super happy with our decision.  I think dropping the price $10,000 would have  been a mistake.  It turned out to be a much better idea to spend $6,000 on the kitchen.  It breathed new life into the house and got it sold!

We moved into our tiny house in Freeport two weeks ago and couldn’t be happier.  We are almost unpacked and everything fits just fine.  I’ll post some pictures when we are completely unpacked in another week.   We are having house guests mid-August so we have a deadline looming to keep us motivated!

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One Response leave one →
  1. August 20, 2011

    Wow! The remodeled version looks amazing!

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