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The Real Cost Of Renovating - A Kitchen Refresh

With so much conflicting information that exists today in the market place about the cost of renovating, I thought it would be a great time to pull back the curtains of the design industry and clear up some of the mystery, myths and untruths out there.

Many clients are surprised, and even shocked at the cost of doing a kitchen and bathroom renovation; even ones done on a tight budget, like the one we are featuring today. So, I will show you real life examples here in a series of blog posts over the next few months, of projects done on a tight budget, and how the costs are still not as low as consumers are led to believe by the industry these days.

open kitchen with two toned cabinets, glass front upper cabinets
Kitchen Designed By Veronica Solomon | Casa Vilora Interiors

Because I value the privacy of my clients, and I don't want to reveal their budgets, I will only be using my personal projects. Keep in mind that as a designer, there are a lot of ways I save on my projects that would not be available to consumers. So that needs to be considered as you read through these posts.

Where do I save?

Obviously on design fees - I don't bill myself for my personal designs and managing my own projects (I should)

No markups - I don't add a markup on materials that I purchase through my firm and resell for my personal projects

Discounted rates by my trades - my trade partners have been with me for many years and offer their services at prices less than retail for my personal projects

Discounts on products - As a design business, our vendors sell products to us at wholesale prices

These are all costs that as a consumer you would be paying for your projects, so keep that in mind. Basically this project would likely be more than double for a consumer.

So let's get right into the meat of the matter of this kitchen refresh.

I bought a brand new builder basic home back in March of this year (2018). The plan was to not add any upgrades from the builder, but do all my personalization and custom touches after market.

This is what the kitchen looked like in the middle of construction before I closed escrow

Before of kitchen to be remodeled
BEFORE - Kitchen

The Renovation Plan

*Keeping the exact same layout

*Keeping all the cabinet boxes and changing door fronts on uppers and turning cabinets to drawers on the lowers. Adding trim detailing to cabinets and glass fronts. Paint all cabinets and add accent stain

*New floor - that runs throughout the rest of the space

*New cement tile backsplash

*New porcelain countertops with waterfall on one side

*New appliances including range hood

*Add pendant lights

*Add hardware

*New sink and faucet

*Window treatment

*Accessories and styling

These decisions were made to keep the cost down as much as possible.

Before I get to the numbers, and seeing the list of items we tackled, I want you to make a guess as to how much this all cost with labor included. Go ahead, take a guess? :-)

kitchen with porcelain countertop and cement tile backsplash
Kitchen Design By Veronica Solomon | Casa Vilora Interiors

Ok, let's get to those costs, shall we? Some numbers will be rounded up to the nearest $10

- The floor is a 30x30 porcelain made to look and feel like natural wood with a parquet design. Cost for material for about 1300sf including freight cost $10K, cost for labor which included ripping out carpet and tile $3960 (Note that the floor ran through the entire downstairs about 1300sf total)

-The cabinets and pantry door trim work - Uppers had all doors replaced with glass fronts, range hood added, lowers were turned to drawers, panel moldings added on sides and island - $3975 not including glass, paint and stain

-Paint/stain cabinetry - $3875

-Faux finish cabinetry - $1480

-Glass fronts for upper cabinets - $450

-Porcelain countertop with waterfall on one side - $8710 material and full fabrication including measure, plywood base, cutouts and deep sink

-Faucet and soap dispenser - $400

-Plumbing/gas connections - $600

-Cement tile backsplash and grout - tile $1410, grout $50 and labor $650

-Appliances - New black stainless fridge, cooktop, wall oven, dishwasher, range hood - $3600

-Cabinet hardware - $400

-Pendants - $1200 including installation

-Window treatment - $700 including labor and installation

-Barstools and accessories - $800

kitchen design with white cabinets and blue island
Kitchen Designed By Veronica Solomon | Casa Vilora Interiors

kitchen with glass front cabinets
Kitchen Designed By Veronica Solomon | Casa Vilora Interiors

I love my kitchen and it turned out beautifully, but I would not consider it a high-end kitchen at all. In fact, I had to keep in mind that the subdivision I moved into was predominantly first time homebuyers. I paid $201K for the home (average home price in my area is around $275-$300K), so a high end kitchen would not be a wise investment for me personally. The total spent was $28,300 not counting the flooring, since it ran through the whole area and just a small portion in the kitchen. But if I were to count the floor, I would be at around $42,260.

So, you can see that a kitchen renovation is not an inexpensive undertaking. A total rip out, reconfigured layout, and custom cabinetry and materials would be over $80-100K on a size kitchen like this.

My personal project (not counting the floor) could have easily been about $35-40K for a consumer.

My recommendation to you if you are looking to renovate a kitchen or bathroom, or any room of your home, is to sit down with a designer and be open and honest about your budget, and allow the designer to guide you through what your budget will allow, or help you to establish one.

At Casa Vilora Interiors, we work with clients to establish a budget, or to best utilize what they have to work with all day long. I am not saying that you can't get a kitchen for $25K, but it would be a totally different kitchen from an $80K kitchen. You need the expertise of a designer to help manage your expectations of what a budget of $25K will get you.

Reach out to us anytime for guidance for your next project

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