Monday, August 30, 2010

A Little Nip & Tuck (Working Within a Budget)

Not all kitchen makeovers have to be total remodels. Quite often a few well-thought upgrades here and there are all you really need to get your kitchen cooking again. I see a lot of '70s, '80s and even '90s kitchens that could be pulled from the world of drab into the world of fantastic with a simple face-lift.

This lovely 1970s kitchen actually had a lot going for it. The layout functioned just fine for the owners, a small but growing family. The cabinets themselves were dated by the door style, color and countertop materials but were well-built, giving us a good place to start. What the homeowner wanted was better lighting, a more modern look, and a more functional cabinet to replace a catch-all desk in the corner next to the refrigerator. And they wanted to be able to do it on a pretty modest budget.

Here were the solutions:
  • We had a local cabinet shop build new cabinet doors, and we painted and glazed the cabinets.
  • Horrible fluorescent soffit lighting and a single ceiling "salad bowl" fixture were replaced with ample recessed lighting -- remember it's always better to over-light and use dimmers rather than under-light a room and have to use a mining helmet to find your crock pot.
  • The old laminate countertops were replaced with a new textured stone-looking laminate, very attractive and, I might say, at a great price point.
  • Walls and trim were painted; appliances were replaced; we jazzed it all up with a tumbled limestone backsplash -- a beautiful product that also comes at a great price point.
  • We did spend a little extra money on a custom baking center hutch next to the refrigerator and enclosed the refrigerator to make it look more built-in.

I work on kitchen projects that range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars; in this case we transformed the heart of the home for a fraction of the cost of a total remodel.