I wanted to go through my last post and break down my splurges and saves so readers would know ways they can do a kitchen reno on a budget too. Although I try to be a DIYer and I can paint/refinish furniture and sew a bit, I am no carpenter, plumber, or electrician. If any of you or your spouses are handy around the house, you could probably save even more by doing much of the grunt work yourselves. I’ll start with the elements in this first image:
The farmhouse sink–kind of a splurge. I was really hamstrung by the length the sink had to be and I knew I didn’t want any detail on the front. I could have gotten a much cheaper one if I had been OK with a scalloping on the front or a dramatic taper. Having said that I did extensive internet shopping and got this one for less than half of what was quoted to me for the same sink in a local supply store. For a real bargain, check out Ikea’s double bowl farmhouse sink, or single bowl farmhouse sink. The single one (Domsjo) can be inset. I used the double bowl for a client and she loves it.
The cabinetry—save and splurge. For our budget it was a bit of a splurge even though they are Home Depot cabinets and not from a specialty cabinet maker. Home Depot has different levels of cabinetry that they offer and we chose the most high end. It’s from Home Depot though so still not a total splurge. Also, we saved by reusing half of the existing cabinetry–the ones on the back wall. I also saved by doing open shelving for some of it. The cabinets were 1/10 of the budget–not counting labor to install.
The unlacquered brass faucet–total save. After realizing that unlacquered brass was only offered at very high end plumbing manufacturers, I asked around our local plumbing salvage stores and found out that any lacquered brass can be stripped–even if it says “lifetime finish.” The only prerequisite is that it must be solid brass. I found a faucet I loved by Rohl but couldn’t afford and after much searching instead found this one on Signature Hardware’s website and ordered it. Unfortunately, when it arrived, I realized it wasn’t completely solid brass–just the neck was brass plate on copper. I could tell as soon as I picked it up. I took it to my hero, Ragnar at The Sink Factory and he said they could still strip it and it would patina the same as long as I don’t over scrub it with abrasives or try to polish it, I should be OK. Whew! This faucet was a huge bargain too. Way less than pretty much everything else in the budget.
Appliances—Save. We didn’t buy any appliances except our new dishwasher which was a splurge but since we didn’t buy a single other appliance–we came out way ahead. We also didn’t move anything so no major plumbing or electrical had to be done. The appliances may not be exactly my aesthetic but they are good (Dacor), newish and well-functioning. The dishwasher we went with was the Fisher Paykel double drawer with cabinet fronts. I think I will really like it–but the top drawer broke the first time we used it! I’ll let you know after it gets fixed tomorrow morning.
Marble counters—save. I did another post on these earlier. I just happened to find a really good deal here in the East Bay on carrara marble slabs. I know marble isn’t for everyone and I have been warned by just about every contractor and salesperson that it will show all kinds of stains, it chips, etc etc. I knew though that I wanted the look of an old farmhouse kitchen and the stains, etc were just going to be part of that character and age for me. I did follow the advice of another designer friend who said to get a marble tile and live with it in your kitchen for a few months. Pour red wine and lemon juice on it and try to put dings and chips in it. I did that and it did get some discoloration but I liked it. I did get my counters sealed and I will seal them again myself in a few months. But am I going to seal them every 6 months? Probably not.
I think the key to being OK with marble aging in a kitchen is to not get a decorative edge. I had to pay extra to my installer to get him to take off the bullnose on the slabs and I definitely would not have chosen a decorative bevel for this kitchen. First of all, this isn’t a beveled edge kind of house and you probably wouldn’t have found that level of decorative element in a farmhouse anyway. (Granted, our house isn’t a farmhouse, but it’s an old rambling brown shingle craftsman and it was one of the first houses to be built on an old farm/orchard, the Kelsey Farm, so I’m going with it). If you get too decorative with your edging in marble (which I love in the right setting), you loose that baker’s slab feel and then the wear and tear is going to feel much more dramatic. I’ve seen it in other kitchens and it really makes a difference.
Chalkboard wall—save. Just a wall built to enclose the fridge with plywood. Decorative molding added to make it look like an old frame and then I painted it out with chalkboard and magnetic paint and then did a paint treatment on the frame.
Hardware—save. I highly recommend Van Dyke’s Restorers for vintage looking hardware and architectural accents.
Floors—splurge. We had new semi wide plank oak laid down and then painted. There was nothing but plywood under our tile and I wanted the floor to look like it was part of the original house. You can’t get old growth Doug Fir anymore so we mimicked the width of the rest of the house and then painted the boards so no one will ever know it’s oak instead of Doug Fir. As you may know from previous posts the painting was more painstaking than I would have thought but I really like the finished look and I have been told it is one of the most durable kinds of floors around. The kids and I will definitely be hard on it so I will let you know. If you like the look of painted wood I think it is something a savvy DIYer could do. I would just be sure to do a lot of research on how different grains absorb paint and what kind of sealer should be used–especially if the paint is lighter in color.
Rug—save. Six Ikea rugs sewn together.
Table and Chairs—save. Chairs are vintage that I painted and covered with fabric I already had. Table I already had too and table cloth is burlap pieces sewn together.
Lighting–sort of a save. I only had to get two fixtures and add a couple of ceramic wall mounts for the new pantry. The pendants were on sale and much less expensive than a lot of lighting sources. I’m sure even less expensive options could be found but as everyone knows, I love Omega Too Lighting and it was really important to me to support them as local artists, etc.
Panelling—save. This is such an easy and inexpensive way to add character.
Painting—save and splurge. Although we had someone spray the cabinets which was a splurge (but well worth it since I know cabinets can really take a beating), I did the rest of the painting myself. Actually, I’m still doing the rest of the painting…
Antique grain table—save. I was prepared to shell out some dough for this piece, whatever it was going to be, since I knew we would be losing some counter space and I had to work with some really specific dimensions on this wall. I thought it would be an antique buffet or something like that but I happened upon this piece at my favorite salvage store, Urban Ore, and I fell in love with it immediately. It was a bargain and ended up setting the tone for the rest of the kitchen. I love it when you stumble on just the right piece and it brings everything together!
Labor—SPLURGE. This was well over half our budget and definitely where more handy people could save some money. I work with a really fantastic contractor who has excellent craftsmen and we wanted to do this kitchen, do it right, and do it once. Also, the various things that came up for us regarding the floors, some shelving issues, painting, etc, would have been much more of a headache and probably ended up costing us more in the long run if we had gotten in over our heads doing it ourselves or trying to hire handymen to do it for us. Not to mention, this reno took only 3 weeks and that alone has saved us stress and money.
Although I included most of my sources in this post, I wanted to also give the paint colors:
Floor, window and door casings: Benjamin Moore, November Rain
Mullions and door: Benjamin Moore, Deep Creek
Walls and cabinets: Kelly Moore, Swiss Coffee
Hope this is helpful for your next renovation!