Ballin on a Budget Kitchen Renovation – Lessons Learned & Cost Breakdown
“There are two things that will never be more stressful on your marriage: a death in the family, and living through a remodel. If you can make it through those, you can make it through anything.” – Larry Duffrin (Haley’s grandfather, married 65 years to the same woman)
This is sage wisdom from a guy who has not only done multiple remodels, but built his own houses from the ground up. I can thankfully report that our marriage is still going strong, although we may have clashed a few times on what we wanted (to which I usually conceded).
Having never done a kitchen remodel, I don’t think either of us expected just how long it would really take. Doing much of the work on our own in our spare time to maximize value definitely slowed things down, but also working on contractor timelines when Reno is having such a build boom was definitely a contributing factor. Thankfully we didn’t really have a deadline or a film crew following us around waiting to wrap up. In my mind I envisioned the whole thing taking about a month to complete, with the granite being the limiting factor. Let’s not even mention the four weddings we attended this summer.
As it stands right now, I began painting the cabinets on April 29th, 2017. We hung that giant clock and “eat” sign (another project in itself) on September 24th. That puts us at 148 days, just shy of five months — five times longer than I had expected. So…I was a bit off to say the least. As Haley can attest to, I’m a very poor judge of time when it comes to projects, especially ones I’ve never done before. But who really cares other than us? We’re in it for the long run.
Looking back, I suppose the big question is “what would you have done differently?” I’m actually really proud of how the whole thing turned out and how well it all tied in together. Taking our time and making sure everything was just the way we wanted it really paid off in my mind. However, that being said, there is one that definitely bugs me — that big ass microwave.
It’s funny for me to think about because I installed that microwave back in May, and yet I can probably count the number of times I’ve used it on one hand. We just don’t microwave things all that often, but I realize how convenient it is when we do. Having spent so much time looking through the photos, you can probably imagine that I was leaning towards a full size hood range.
From what I’ve gathered, it’s a common dilemma among people remodeling their kitchen. On the one hand, the overhead microwave saves so much counter space. On the other, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing nor does it function as well as a dedicated range hood. You can go back and forth on it for hours, I sure did.
“I’m a very poor judge of time when it comes to projects, especially ones I’ve never done before. But who really cares other than us? We’re in it for the long run.”
In the end, I’m satisfied with it for now and it doesn’t look that bad. I purposefully bought extra tiles so that down the road, should we change our mind, we could switch over to a dedicated range hood. If we did this though, I would have to modify one of the cabinets for a built-in unit, because I wouldn’t want to sacrifice any counter space for something we don’t use all that often.
Other lessons learned:
- Measure twice, cut once. If you’re like me and have some level of ADD, you should probably measure three of four times, because there were plenty of “cut twice” moments for me. It was to the point where I probably wasted some money. Oh well.
- Value the knowledge of those who know more than you. I had initially thought about running the outlet for the wine fridge myself, which is something I’ve done before. However, had I ran it the way I had planned to, it would not have been up to code, as a wine fridge (or any major appliance) needs a dedicated circuit. This could have ended up costing me down the road should anything have gone wrong, or if we planned to sell the house and it was caught in an inspection. Luckily, the electrician had this knowledge.
- Keep your scrap pieces for awhile. This isn’t something I necessarily made the mistake of doing, yet the plumber did. When he went to cut into the wall to reach the drain pipe behind the sink, he ended up throwing away the drywall pieces, which would have been a perfect fit to patch it. Instead, I had to make a template and cut a new piece which was a real pain in the ass to do and wasted time. There’s not much room down there!
- Relax a little. If I’m being honest here, I probably didn’t need to stay awake until 1am painting cabinets. It was going to get done eventually and I probably would have benefited from proper sleep. I have been known to be a tad neurotic though…
Here you have it folks, the numbers you’ve all been waiting for. As mentioned in the first section of this two part series, our budget was $10k. We definitely over shot this a bit, so in project management terms we failed because we were neither on time nor within budget. Still, it was within our capacity to do so and you might as well get what you want, right? I mean we use this thing every friggin day and love to cook.
- Appliance package – $3,500
- Garbage disposal – $100
- Granite countertops including labor – $4,500
- Sinks/faucets – $600
- Window trim – $0 (not part of original plan)
- Blinds – $200
- Tile backsplash – $500
- Cabinet paint – $100
- Cabinet hardware – $100
- Under-cabinet lighting – $150
- Plumber to lower sink drain – $0 (didn’t plan for this)
- Electrician to add wine refrigerator outlet – $150
- Misc supplies – $100
Total Projected Cost – $10,000
- Appliance package – $3,575
- Garbage disposal – $117
- Granite countertops including labor – $5,104
- Sinks/faucets – $1,273
- Window trim – $104
- Blinds – $98
- Tile backsplash – $1,483
- Cabinet paint – $127
- Cabinet hardware – $86
- Under-cabinet lighting – $73
- Plumber to lower sink drain – $208 (didn’t plan for this)
- Electrician to add wine refrigerator outlet – $295
- Misc supplies – $128
Total Cost – $12,671
*Note: If you would like an itemized breakdown, let me know. At the time of writing this I was running out of juice and didn’t care enough to fully break it down. All figures are rounded to the nearest dollar.
And there you have it folks. We may have come in 26.7% over budget which is pretty bad in the project management world, but the satisfaction factor is priceless. I hope you enjoyed reading about our project as much as I enjoyed doing it.