Budget Breakdown: A Cramped Eichler Kitchen Gets a $49K Refresh
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Budget Breakdown: A Cramped Eichler Kitchen Gets a $49K Refresh

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In San Jose, California, interior designer Cathie Hong opens up a dim, confined kitchen to better serve a young family.

A 150-square-foot kitchen in a 1963 Eichler home in San Jose, California, has been transformed into a bright, functional, family-friendly space. Renovated once in the ‘80s, the previous kitchen had an L-shaped design that the owners wanted to replace with an island and breakfast counter for better circulation. They needed additional counter and storage space while keeping the kitchen open and uncluttered.

$4,000
Appliances
$820
Kitchen Window
$290
Light Fixtures
$8,000
Kitchen Cabinets
$1,200
Paint
$2,400
Countertops
$150
Knobs & Pulls
$400
Backsplash
$1,500
Flooring
$580
Sink
$500
Floating Shelf
$280
Ceramics
$800
Stools
$20,000
General Contracting
$8,000
Electrical & Plumbing
Grand Total: $48,920


More Budget Breakdowns: an ‘80s kitchen in Florida gets a new look for $42K

Interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors met their requests by changing the footprint and orientation of the kitchen, opening up the cramped shape to comfortably accommodate an island.

Before: This Eichler home had most of its Lauan wood paneling intact, so interior designer Cathie Hong chose luxury vinyl tiling rather than hardwood flooring.

Before: This Eichler home had most of its Lauan wood paneling intact, so interior designer Cathie Hong chose luxury vinyl tiling rather than hardwood flooring.

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Cathie Hong kept the wood paneling in the adjoining multipurpose room, preserving the warm, midcentury feel.

Cathie Hong kept the wood paneling in the adjoining multipurpose room, preserving the warm, midcentury feel.

"We had to extend the kitchen partially into the adjoining multipurpose room, but this was an easy trade-off for us, as we wanted the kitchen to be the hub of the home," says Hong. 

Before: "We debated whether or not to keep the wood paneling along the main wall of the kitchen, but because of the way that the wood panel was ‘chopped’ with the white beam above the window, we decided to remove it all and drywall it to make it look lot more clean and streamlined," says Hong.

Before: "We debated whether or not to keep the wood paneling along the main wall of the kitchen, but because of the way that the wood panel was ‘chopped’ with the white beam above the window, we decided to remove it all and drywall it to make it look lot more clean and streamlined," says Hong.

Hong chose light vinyl tiles to brighten up the space. This was a durable option that was appropriate for the owners, who have two children in preschool.

Hong chose light vinyl tiles to brighten up the space. This was a durable option that was appropriate for the owners, who have two children in preschool.

Working with Santa Clara–based builders Arnold’s Custom Homes, Kitchens & Baths, Hong removed all the original cabinetry, appliances, pantry, and wood paneling, and replaced the old window with a dual-pane window.   

Before: Though floor-to-ceiling windows drew light into the home, the kitchen felt dark due to the mahogany wood panels. 

Before: Though floor-to-ceiling windows drew light into the home, the kitchen felt dark due to the mahogany wood panels. 

A good chunk of the cost of renovating the kitchen went into updating the outdated electrical panel. 

Hong elevated the new IKEA kitchen with white slab fronts from Semihandmade. 

Hong elevated the new IKEA kitchen with white slab fronts from Semihandmade. 

They also added a floating teak shelf from Semihandmade, which was a pretty close match to the Lauan wood paneling in the rest of the house. 

They also added a floating teak shelf from Semihandmade, which was a pretty close match to the Lauan wood paneling in the rest of the house. 

Hong says that one of the most challenging aspects of the update was finding a way to preserve the original midcentury style that defines an Eichler home. 

Though the homeowner had a strong preference for a blue backsplash, Hong feared the shade would disrupt the midcentury feel. As a compromise, she opted for a subtle, earthy slate blue in a cool matte finish.   

Though the homeowner had a strong preference for a blue backsplash, Hong feared the shade would disrupt the midcentury feel. As a compromise, she opted for a subtle, earthy slate blue in a cool matte finish.   

"We also chose to stack the tiles horizontally to be consistent with the clean, modern lines of the midcentury-style house," says Hong of the backsplash. "Happily, this turned out to be one of the owners' favorite aspects of their kitchen design!"  

Project Credits: 

Interior designer: Cathie Hong Interiors / @cathiehonginteriors

Builder: Arnold’s Custom Homes, Kitchens & Baths 

Photography: Christy Q Photography