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Welcome back to the Kitchen Remodel On A Budget series. If you haven’t checked out Part 1, hop on over HERE and see how we even got into this mess!
The Two-Tone Kitchen
We left off last time getting the plan finalized for our kitchen update. We had scored a free fridge, and were able to re-purpose the cabinets that had been (weirdly) installed in our garage for the past 5 years. The problem was that we didn’t have the right cabinets to replace the lower ones in the kitchen, and the old cabinets were looking pretty rough.
But, being the DIY genius that she is, Michelle came up with the perfect plan.
She decided that we were going to refinish the cabinets by painting them and lining them with new shelf paper to give them an updated feel. At first I couldn’t picture it, because our upper cabinets were now going to have a cherry stain, and she wanted to paint the lower cabinets a grey color. But after she walked me through some cool looking two-tone kitchens on Pinterest, I was sold.
The New Kitchen Layout
So now that we had decided on the cabinets, were started staring at our empty corner in the kitchen. Apparently it was supposed to be part of an “eat-in” kitchen, but I was looking at it like “what?! Is this in an eat-in kitchen FOR ANTS?!” (Zoolander, anyone?). It was obviously too small for that, hence the reason we stuck in a big metal shelf to store things on. Then Michelle had another brilliant idea.
We were going to grab the lower cabinets from the garage and install them along the wall to gain more storage and double our counter space in the kitchen!
Michelle got to measuring and found cabinets that would work, but we’d have to do some modifying. Her brother mentioned it would be doable, so she drafted up the kitchen (another awesome skill Michelle happens to have experience in) and we started planning on lining the wall with the cabinets. BOOM!
So far, we hadn’t really spent any money, the cabinets and fridge were free and planning doesn’t cost anything 🙂 But now we had gotten to the part where we actually had to consider spending some money. Based on our plans, the countertops were probably going to be the most expensive part of the kitchen upgrade. We decided that since our budget was paper thin, we were going to find a nice laminate countertop instead of going granite or some other fancy stone. Laminate these days looks WAYY better than it used to, and should save us hundreds, if not thousands, over comparable granite.
Michelle called around, and we ended up going in for an appointment at Lowe’s hardware.. We met with a nice gal named Laurie who sat us down and went over the details of the laminate countertop installation. First, she complimented Michelle on her drafting SKILLZ! Then she walked us through how the installation would go, talking about the prep work needed for the cabinets and that we needed to remove the old countertops and sink. Everything was sounding great until she gave us the quote.
“That’ll be just under $2,000” she said as she printed out the quote. I gasped, looked at Michelle and said something like “wait, what?” I guess I also overreacted a bit, Michelle would say that I “freaked out”, but that’s probably an exaggeration….I was a bit shocked. The reason I was shocked was because we had budget just under $1,000 for the counters, based on Pinterest said it would cost. All I knew was that we were now over $1,000 over budget!
I came back to reality and realized we had grossly underestimated the countertop cost. I realized pretty quickly that getting a full kitchen countertop installation for under a grand was actually crazy talk, and really $2,000 wasn’t too bad. Especially considering the average kitchen remodel costs over $80,000 (according to HGTV), $2,000 to help improve the value and enjoyment of our home by a substantial amount didn’t seem too bad. Though we still had to talk it over for a few days, we eventually decided that’s the route we wanted to take.
New Layout (Again)
After taking home a sample of the countertop we wanted, Michelle’s brother and I decided to bring in the lower cabinets to put them in place to see what it would look like. We moved everything out of the corner and brought in the cabinets that Michelle had measured for this spot. Things were looking good.
But…Michelle’s brother had a genius idea. As we were putting the cabinets into place, he turned one at a 45-degree angle, and it PERFECTLY aligned with the other two cabinets. He said we could have an angled corner cabinet, and not only would it give use even MORE space, but it would save us having to modify the cabinet at all.
Taking the Plunge…But…
We went back to Lowe’s and showed the new layout to Laurie, and she mentioned that laminate wouldn’t work too well at that angle. After running the numbers, she actually mentioned it would be cheaper to upgrade to solid surface (corian-style). This brought our total to about $2,150, which at this point, wasn’t too bad. We were also able to move to doing an under-mount sink, which was our goal all along. WOOP!
We finally decided to take the plunge. We set a date for “templating” the kitchen, and a date for installation, and bought the countertops. We were well on our way to having all new countertops in the kitchen!
But literally the day after we had made the purchase, we finally received an email back from one of the companies Michelle had reached out to that changed everything…