Friday, January 16, 2009

Kitchen Remodel Take 2

Yesterday's post was supposed to bring you the tale of a kitchen renovation but instead it turned out to be a a lot of pictures of the process and some scattered memories of the hard work. I feel like I need to take a step back and fill you in on a bunch of important details. For starters, Nick (my lovely boyfriend) and I did almost all of the work by ourselves (which is why it's is still not done). I also need to give props to my best friend and her husband for helping us get those first wall cabinets hung (that was a long day).

We chose Tida cabinets in oak from IKEA because they seem to have the inability to offend anyone. Since we don't plan to make this condo our forever home we wanted a kitchen that we could look at and think "Man, that looks so much better" and that would make most people that walk into the place say "Oh,nice kitchen." I think we were pretty successful at achieving both of those outcomes.

My plan when I was sketching out the new kitchen layout was to try to fit as many cabinets in the small kitchen as possible because I was concerned with it not having enough storage space. Luckily the room didn't end up feeling too cramped and now I know better. When I flip through my inspiration files of dream kitchens, most feel light and airy and have a lot of open shelving or walls with no cabinets at all. The next kitchen I do will definitely incorporate these aspects. It's important to remember that when you are dealing with a small kitchen space the right solution is not always "cram as many cabinets in there as you possibly can". Wall cabinets especially feel very heavy and can over power the space. Our cabinets are hung higher than normal (about 24" above the cabinets instead of 18") which relieves some of that heaviness (and makes it impossible for me to reach anything).

Another lesson learned from remodeling the kitchen is that when the guy at Home Depot suggests that you choose a countertop that has a stronger contrast with the cabinets, you should listen. Also, don't get your countertops at Home Depot. Local fabricators will almost always be more reasonably priced. Back to the point about contrast, we picked a slab of granite that we thought was a nice complement to the cabinets. Once it was installed the entire kitchen looked like too much of the same color. My remedy for this was to paint the backsplash area a deep brick red since the granite has some brick colored veining. It may not be the first choice for a kitchen wall color but it was successful in bringing the kitchen to life.

More about the backsplash. I know when it comes time to sell the condo, home buyers are going to be looking for there to be a tiled backsplash. It was my initial intention to tile the entire backsplash but the problem was my eye kept going to some gorgeous glass subway tiles. With so much space to cover (remember we hung our cabinets higher than normal) it was going to be pricey investment. I would rather spend that money on a kitchen that I know I will cooking in for many years to come so for now I'm okay with the paint. When we do sell we may consider a more affordable option depending on the feedback we receive from buyers.

Here's a few tips I have to save money on a kitchen remodel besides doing all of the work yourself. We bought our appliances at a Sears appliance outlet. The stove we picked out was a floor model with an almost imperceptible scratch that made it 50% off. It was a total steal because we ended up with a convection oven, a warming drawer, convertible burners and more for about what we had planned to spend on a no frills model. Shop for faucets. The selection is variable but I was able to find exactly was I was looking for at about 40% less than retail.

So, today's tale turned out to be a whole lot of info with no pictures. Whatever I've learned through the process I'm happy to pass on to you if it could help make a project a bit easier.

I think perhaps my next kitchen should look a lot more like this.

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