Replacing a baker’s rack is expensive.
One of the big reasons we bought our house was the kitchen. It was a nice size and had plenty of cabinets. It was also the only place we could find where we weren't gonna have to sink a new car's worth of cash into the most-used room in the house to make it usable. Although it seems to fly in the face of logic that we should want to remodel our kitchen three years later, we ended up doing it anyway. It was so worth it.
It started out with our wanting to replace an off-size baker's rack. Then my wife got fed up with the partition in the middle of the cabinet chipping large plates as she maneuvered them into their assigned space. Oh, then there was the stained and scratched Formica counter-tops that were easily as old as the house. Plus, the porcelain in the sink was getting chipped and harder to clean. Did I mention that our faucet was on its last leg? Or that the wife and I were both sick and tired of seeing each other's respective crap splayed out across squandered workspace?
Everywhere we looked, there was something in the kitchen that one or both of us wanted to change. The kitchen can easily be the most expensive room in a house to re-do, so this was a carefully-measured decision. Ultimately, we decided that we were committed to this house for at least ten years. With interest rates in the toilet, it seemed like a smart time to make the investment in a house our kids will most likely grow up in.
I could blab for quite a while on our 60+ day journey, but I know y'all really just wanna see pictures. To keep it brief, I'll just hit the high spots with regards to what did and didn't work for us:
- It goes without saying a kitchen remodel is an investment in your house. Do your research. Keep a notebook. Take pictures. Be nosy. Ask questions.
- Big-box doesn't mean bargain prices. We were surprised to find that custom cabinets were nearly the same price as modular. And the bonuses keep coming: by going with custom cabinetry, we were able to support local business and we got the best fit for our kitchen with minimal compromise.
- When it was time to pick a contractor, low bid was a big deal, but it's wasn't everything. We ultimately went with a competitive price, provided by a contractor that wasn't afraid to tell us what we needed, as well as taking the time to listen to what we wanted. Our contractor's suggestions ultimately saved us enough money to justify the cost of a new oven. These guys are artists, and they do this every day. What the hell do you know? :-p
- If you have a competent contractor, you need to be patient; especially when it comes to finish work. The guy putting in our counter-tops told me that he sees too many folks rush the finish. If you think about it, that's really damn silly; as the detail is what you'll stare at every day. Although it's a pain, those two or three weeks without a place to cook will be a forgotten memory in a few years.
- Play to your strengths. If you can save money with some DIY, and your contractor is amenable, go for it. At the same time, you might be in a position where it makes more sense not to do-it-yourself if time and/or experience is an issue. For us, I could handle some basic electrics, as well as some drywall work, which saved us both time and money.
- Stock your bar. I'm not kidding. Stress mitigation is in full-effect. We planned some of the big pauses in our remodel around times where I had work to do out-of-town, so my Mrs. didn't have to be subject to my moping and moaning.
The pictures speak for themselves. We're ecstatic that our home kitchen is now practical, functional, and gorgeous. Extra points for getting through the whole ordeal with sanity and marriage in-tact.
Gotta give a shout-out to our contractors:
These guys are so good and so busy, that they don't have to mess with silly things like web sites. So, if you want more than a Google listing, I'll be happy to put you in touch with them.
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