Kitchen Makeover: How I Saved $5,000 (Pt. 1)

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

My home is a sea of oak. And not a rich, dark oak; not a light, bleached oak. Nope, a honey oak color that screams, “I haven’t been remodeled since New Kids on the Block were actually new kids!” My floors are oak; the doors are oak; the trim is oak; and every last cabinet – from the kitchen to the bathroom – is oak. It’s oak overload.

Kitchen Remodel Thoughts

One day about a year ago, I visited a new friend at her house. Her home had been built around the same time as mine, but it was totally bereft of oak. Turns out, she’d hired a painter to not just paint the wood, but to minimize the amount of grain peeking through. How much had it cost her, I asked? Brace yourself: the total price tag was thousands of dollars.

But I was completely enchanted. I knew this was the way to update my home without completely replacing everything. Resurfacing, I believe is the technical term for what I wanted to do. I started gathering estimates – hoping there were cheaper options to my friend’s high-end finishes – and was sorely disappointed. One guy gave me a pretty bare bones quote at $4100; another gave me a thorough quote at $5600; yet another guy left me slack-jawed with his quote of $10,000. “It’s just paint,” I thought to myself. “It can’t be that hard.” My husband agreed; and that, more or less, is how he accepted responsibility of the job himself.

DIY Kitchen Remodel

Yes, we (errrrr, he) decided on a DIY approach to our kitchen makeover. He did all the research; he went to home improvement stores – big box stores and small mom and pop shops where customer service and an intimate knowledge of the products reigned supreme – to find out what materials he should use. He watched tutorials online, picked up old issues of This Old House at the library… and he waited… and waited… and waited. He waited for what seemed to be an impossibly long time, simply preparing and mulling this kitchen renovation over in his mind. Then one day, I came home from a business trip to discover all the cabinet doors in my kitchen had disappeared. The remodel had begun.

It’s been 3 months since that day. Technically, it’s been 14 weeks, which is a long time to have your kitchen in a constant state of chaos. Part of the hold-up was me; I had a devil of a time deciding on paint colors and waffled back and forth more times than I’d like to admit. We’re now about 80% of the way through the process… the finish line is within sight.

And we’ve done it all for a fraction of the cost we would have paid to an outside contractor:

– Sandpaper: $8

– Primer #1: $35

– Primer #2: $20

– Paint (3 gallons): $144

– Brushes, drop cloths, and other painting supplies: about $100

All in all, we spent just over $300. By now I’m sure you’re wondering exactly what we did to make this dream a reality. Don’t fear, I’m going to share it all with you (with some help from my husband). But you’ll have to come back in a few weeks for the step-by-step details!

Libby Balke

Libby is a jack of all trades, master of… well, you know how the saying goes. Media consultant by day, mommy by night, you can usually find her with a glass of wine in hand, provided the kids are in bed!

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