We expect so much from our kitchens. They need to be fully functional, roomy enough to cook and prep Instagram-worthy meals, and provide increasingly copious amounts of storage. Then there are the material choices: the backsplash, the countertops, the cabinetry. Not to mention the appliances, lighting, and hardware.
In short: kitchen remodels can be overwhelming. And if you aren't careful, costs can skyrocket. Here we take a look at five kitchen renovations that range in cost from $7,800-$91,000, proving that if you set a realistic budget, it is possible to prioritize your needs and stick to them—and that a beautiful, functional space doesn’t always have to blow the bank.
The first thing many people want to renovate in their midcentury home is the kitchen. And the 150-square-foot kitchen of this classic Eichler was no different. Interior designer Cathie Hong was able to successfully transform the dark outdated kitchen of the 1963 San Jose home into a bright, functional, family-friendly space. She removed all the original cabinetry, appliances, pantry, and wood paneling, and replaced the old window with a dual-pane window. She also added an island and a breakfast counter for better circulation and extra storage space to help keep things from getting cluttered.
Ben Ediger of the design-build studio Spacecraft gave his tired midcentury kitchen a much-needed update with a $26,000 budget by using humble materials, like plywood and laminate, in clever and creative ways. When Ediger and Emily Wyant bought the 1959 Portland, Oregon rambler in 2016, the kitchen lacked appliances and had two layers of linoleum on the floor. On top of that, the plywood cabinets were hidden under so many layers of paint that the doors were sticky and the drawers wouldn’t close. The creative couple's renovation of the 81-square-foot space focused on inexpensive materials that are durable and aesthetically pleasing. Ediger also took on much of the labor, putting the budget into a wood-wrapped feature wall and custom cabinetry, which he designed and built by himself. Money was also saved by getting seconds from local tile maker Pratt & Larson for the flooring; lighting and hardware from Schoolhouse Electric; and sourcing solid surface counters at Home Depot.
Designer Francis Dominguez of EFE Creative Lab, a boutique architectural and interior design studio in Miami, took on the renovation of his brother and sister-in-law's Fort Lauderdale kitchen to modernize it, improve the functionality, add storage, and enlarge their laundry area. The first task at hand was to get rid of the kitchen's dated 80s decor. From there, Dominguez opened up the layout by knocking down walls and replacing the cabinets and countertops. In the end, he was able to transform the previously cramped quarters into a bright and modern open kitchen—for a grand total of $42,045.
In order to keep her renovation costs down, Colorado-based fashion and lifestyle blogger Tabitha Shakespeare chose to renovate the 100-square-foot kitchen of her 1940s Denver home with IKEA cabinetry and appliances. She went with an IKEA kitchen for the excellent storage options and pricing. She also decided to tackle the installation of the tiles and the shelving herself; however, she opted to hire the Denver–based firm Idea Guy Assembly & Installation to install her cabinets. Shakespeare concluded that unless you have plenty of free time on your hands, you should definitely hire a professional to install an IKEA kitchen. "We've built our fair share of furniture, but this was a whole other ballgame. We estimated it would have taken us two to three weeks to do ourselves, so the time we saved having someone else do it—and do it right—was well worth the extra money."
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After being repeatedly outbid while house hunting, a young family in the San Francisco Bay Area shifted their strategy and set 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 a renovation. Eventually, they found a midcentury, ranch-style home and decided that their top priority was to transform the cramped, dated kitchen into a functional, modern space with the help of Ayesha Sikandar of MA Dimensions. Ultimately, the family went a little over budget because they decided to opt for top-of-the-line cabinetry and high-end appliances—but because these elements are always on display in their open-plan living space, the splurge was well worth it.
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