Kitchen Remodel On A Budget: Part 4

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Welcome back to the Kitchen Remodel On A Budget series. Make sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to see how things kicked off!

We left off having just scheduled our granite countertop installation, and replacing the upper cabinets with the new ones from our garage. All the cabinets were hung and doors put on, things were looking GOOD! We also brought in our stainless, French door Samsung fridge that we scored for only $14! IT BARELY fit, but we put it in place and it looked OH SO GOOD!

Things were really starting to pick up, and we had about 3 weeks to get ready for the new countertop installation. This means we had a big list of things to complete in 3-weeks’ time. We crammed our evening and weekends full of kitchen work to get everything prepped.

Out With The Old

This was the part we were dreading. Not only did we have to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL to preserve the old cabinets (because we were re-using them), but we were also going to be without countertops AND a sink for a whole week! With 2 kids.

What could go wrong?!

We dove right in on Monday evening. I grabbed a crowbar, some hammers, and a few other tools to see how we could tackle this thing. We first used the putty knife to cut through the caulking on the backsplash and was able to pull it off with ease. Then we used it to get between the cabinet and countertop. I was then able to use our small paint can opener tool to work the countertop away from the cabinet, and then got the crow bar under to pry it out.

Remove Backsplash

Remove Backsplash 2

It was tough, but we were able to eventually get it out in chunks. Once I reached the sink area, I shut off all the valves and removed all plumbing from the sink area, and removed the sink. We then pulled the rest of the countertop off, and gave each other some hi-fives! We cleaned up some of the debris from the cabinets, and we check that everything was level.


Remove Countertop 4

Remove Countertop 3

Remove Countertop 2


Remove Countertop 5

Kitchen Plumbing

We were now ready for our brand new granite countertops!

Painting The Lower Cabinets

In our kitchen upgrade, we decided to leave the lower cabinets in place, for a few reasons. One, because it would just be a huge hassle to replace the cabinets that housed the oven and held up the kitchen sink (and plumbing!). And two, because the cabinets we had in our garage WOULD NOT work, so we’d have to buy cabinets, driving up the cost. Plus, the stain and style would be tough to match our other cabinets. So Michelle (designer extraordinaire!) decided we were going to have a two-tone kitchen.

But this meant we needed to paint all the lower cabinets before the new counters were installed. And since Michelle’s brother, Matthew, is a jack of all trades, he decided he could help us spray them to give them an even look a feel. Only problem is, we didn’t have access to a paint booth.

DIY Paint Booth

Since we didn’t want to spend a ton of money (or any, really) on renting some type of paint booth, we decided to build our own inside our garage. We cleared out one side of the garage (which was no easy feat!), and bought 400 yards of painter’s plastic. We then rolled it out and hung it along all sides of the garage stall. We stapled it into the wood and drywall of the garage walls, and also taped it to ensure it wouldn’t fall down. We also threw down old sheets on the floor for protection.

Paint Booth 1

Paint Booth 2We bought a cheap paint gun (woop, Harbor Freight!), picked out the paint we liked, and borrow an air compressor. We ended up hanging the cabinet doors on the walls with nails, and put the others on a make-shift bench we setup. We opened the garage door and let Matthew do his thing. We had him come back a put a few more coats on, but we were happy with the results. BOOM!

Paint Booth 3


Painting Door 1


Painting Drawer 1

Meanwhile, Michelle was inside hand-painting the cabinets themselves. We weren’t going to uninstall them, so she just painted them with a small brush. She put a few coats on as well, and we let everything cure while we waited for countertop installation.

Granite Installation

I took Friday off to be there for the granite installation. Gammie took the kiddos, and we welcomed our installers around 11am. They came in, measured a bunch of stuff, and got to work! They would occasionally ask a few questions (“can you move the fridge?” “no”, “ok”, “where do you want the seams?”), and quickly cut the plywood base template and installed. They worked quick, and knew their stuff!

Part of the installation was installing our new single-basin undermount sink, which we were pretty excited about. We provided the sink, and they got to work! They used a wet-saw to cut of the stone, and some kinda blow torch to seam it together and smooth out the edges (or something). Either way, watching them work in our driveway, I was SUPER glad I didn’t opt to try this myself.

After just over 5 hours of work, they had completed installation! They had done a fantastic job, and even went above and beyond. Do to the stone we selected, we were expecting a little overhand into the doorways. We were going to trim those out, so we were fine with that decision. Michelle still asked them anyways if they could make it flush with the doorways, and they said “maybe.” After install, we were pleased to find out they did make it flush, and it looked 1000% better than we anticipated. They also cut out stove/over hole to comply with new standards, as our older stove was a bit smaller. That way if (when) we upgrade our stove/oven, it’ll fit perfectly and not be too small!

Granite Install 1

Granite Install 2

Granite Install 3


The Kitchen Project Keeps Going

It was a glorious win for our kitchen remodel, but there was still work to do. I still needed to plumb the sink back in, we needed to tile the backsplash (and grout and caulk), install the microwave, install new hinges and the cabinet doors, put in contact paper to line the drawers/shelves, trim the top cabinets, and a few other things. There is definitely more to do, and some awesome surprises ahead.

But you’ll have to wait until next time. 🙂

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

13 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel On A Budget: Part 4”

  1. That’s really coming along! It’s been great watching/reading about the progress. You guys are doing great at keeping everything low cost and looking awesome. Good job!

    • Thanks Mr. SCC! It’s been quite the adventure, but we’re learning a ton and it’s feeling so much better to walk into our kitchen. Excited to complete it and do the final before/after comparison.

  2. It looks like you put in a lot of work from what these pictures tell. I really think it turned out well, those counters are beautiful. I’ve been thinking about remodeling my kitchen of late, we have no counter space. We have to use our washer and dryer every single day to chop vegetables on. Are the counter tops marble?

  3. I left the lower cabinets in place for my kitchen remodel for similar reasons as you. Specifically, it is just a lot cheaper to repaint rather than replace the cabinetry. I really liked the idea you had to transform your garage into a makeshift painting room! This definitely helps you to paint more at once, which helps the whole process go faster. I will definitely have to follow suite and do this with my own project. Thank you for sharing!

  4. You have really done some great work till now. I really liked how you changed entire look of your kitchen by spending so less. I am also planning to remodel my kitchen but it might take some time. Eagerly waiting to see the final look of your kitchen. Hope you post it soon.


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