Budget Breakdown: A Bay Area Family Splurges on a Dream Kitchen for $91K
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Budget Breakdown: A Bay Area Family Splurges on a Dream Kitchen for $91K

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Premium cabinets and appliances turn a dim, disconnected kitchen in San Bruno, California, into a central space that checks off all the boxes.

After being repeatedly outbid while house hunting, a young family in the San Francisco Bay Area decided to shift their strategy by setting their sights on more affordable homes that would require some work. The lower price tag meant that they would be able to put more money towards crucial renovations. Eventually, they found a midcentury, ranch-style home with admittedly "very little curb appeal" in San Bruno. After the purchase, they sought out Ayesha Sikandar of MA Dimensions for a complete renovation. Transforming the cramped, dated kitchen into a functional, modern space was their top priority.

Plumbing Fixtures
Tax on Appliances

Grand Total: $91,951

The home was built in 1956 and hadn’t been updated since. "Everything about the existing home—and especially the kitchen—was dated," says Sikandar. 

The kitchen was originally close to the garage, which made it feel disconnected from the rest of the house. Sikandar flipped the kitchen and relocated it toward the back, allowing anyone in the kitchen to look out on a lush lawn perfect for their young daughter to run around on.  

Sikandar was able to tap into some additional square footage toward the side of the house. 

The family favored a clean, modern aesthetic and wanted an open floor plan living space. Sikandar enhanced this vision by raising the ceiling height with trusses to create a vaulted ceiling. She also inserted clerestory windows for increased light and views. Outside, a new wraparound deck gives the kitchen an indoor/outdoor connection via glass folding doors. 

One of the top items on the renovation wish list was a large center island to provide space for the family to enjoy casual meals, hang out, and entertain.     

Because the kitchen would be the focal point of the living space and where they predicted they’d spend much of their time, the family decided to splurge on top-of-the-line cabinetry by Cucine Lube, an Italian company. The glossy panels are crafted from acrylic and glass dust to form a light and sturdy material that is "as luminous as glass." In addition, the panels are easy to maintain; resistant to water, heat, stains, and chemicals; and designed to be in contact with food.

Before the renovation, the home lacked curb appeal, and the interiors were run-of-the-mill as well.

Lackluster updates, like new laminate countertops, had been made to the kitchen in order to prepare the home for the sale.

The clients also decided to invest in high-end Wolf and Sub Zero appliances instead of going with mid-range models. And while these decisions put them significantly over their original budget, they were purchases they didn’t regret. 

The biggest splurge of the renovation was on top-of-the-line Italian cabinetry by Cucine Lube. The smoky shade is called Argilla 9572.

The homeowners offset the cost of high-end appliances with budget-friendly, quartz countertops and more affordable, engineered hardwood flooring. The tile backsplash is from Porcelanosa. The refrigerator is from Sub Zero, and the induction cooktop and hood are from Wolf. 

To help keep the rest of the budget in check, they chose to balance their expenses with quartz countertops and engineered hardwood flooring. The homeowners were also able to save some money by choosing more affordable, folding glass doors from Panoramic Doors. Despite having gone over their original budget, the homeowners couldn’t be happier with their decisions: they love to cook and watch their daughter play in the yard, or entertain friends and family in the new, light-filled space. "Wherever you sit, you always feel like you are a part of any conversation that is going on," they say.

Maximum glazing significantly increased the natural lighting. 

Skylights were added to further brighten the space. 

Glass folding doors added a direct connection with the new wraparound deck and enables indoor/outdoor living. 

More Budget Breakdowns:

A Laser-Cut Steel Addition Sharpens Up a Michigan Home For $85K

A Designer Couple Revamp a Tiny Seattle Condo For $13K

Project Credits:

Principal Designer: MA Dimensions, Ayesha Sikandar

Builder/General Contractor: David Cao

Structural Engineer: Saabco Consulting Inc., Mohammad Sabir

Countertops: Corner Stone Home Design

Cabinetry Design/Installation: Bay Area Cabinetry

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