Friday, March 7, 2014

Kitchen Renovation: The Final Cost

This post hurts. It stung to type out these numbers and seeing them totaled definitely bought about some mixed emotions, but here it goes. 

We were not that couple that redid our kitchen for a few hundred dollars. We didn't salvage our cabinets because they were crumbling in pieces. We didn't find discarded ones on the side of the road.  We didn't have a relative who is a master electrician who could magically rewire our house. We also are not that couple that did everything ourselves because honestly getting our kitchen back in full working order was a high priority and we don't have the skills or tools necessary to handle this type of renovation. Plus, the sheer number of times we ate takeout during this renovation was mind boggling or at least it felt like we were eating takeout every night when I know for fact we weren't.  

One of the things I most appreciated from other blogs when researching kitchen renovations was a line-by-line budget of what it actually cost. A favorite of mine was the kitchen renovation wrap up post from Seventh House On The Left. Post here. I remember showing the hubs their finished kitchen and when we saw that they spent $28-$33k on their kitchen we felt good with our $30-$35k ballpark budget. Although I must have overlooked their line about where to store their cookie sheets because that is literally the only thing I would change in our kitchen too! 

Coming up with a rough estimate of the budget was really scary. We've read formulas that say "your kitchen budget should be roughly 10% of your home's value" or "your final budget should be 3x your cabinet price." Somewhat helpful, but still pretty vague. We started things off by going to Lowes to talk to a kitchen designer and came up with a very rough estimate for cabinets. Without even reworking our plumbing we were looking at spending $10k on cabinets. That's really the number we used to come up with our ballpark budget. We figured our cabinet cost would be higher and then we threw on a bit more for extra plumbing and electrical. The worst thing we wanted to do was to save up money for this renovation and then find out we had grossly underestimated what it would cost to complete the renovations. 

From there we met with three very talented design firms. We spent about an hour with each firm and held follow-up meetings with two of them. At the end of the day we were absolutely blown away with the design (and price!) from About Kitchens and More (located in Annapolis, MD). They were the only firm that saw a way to rework our kitchen into our original dream layout and stayed within our budget. I really appreciated that we got to pick out every single element in our kitchen, even if I did change the color of our cabinets after the hubs picked something else :) 

Without further ado, here's the total cost for our kitchen renovation.  
  • Appliances:      $4,548.74 (includes taxes)
  • Backsplash:      $1,011.84 (supplies + installation) 
  • Cabinets:          $13,309.00 (supplies + installation) 
  • Demolition:      $1,060.00 ($360 dumpster rental + labor for wall removal) 
  • Drywall:           $675.00
  • Electrical:         $4,215.00 (includes recessed lighting and rewiring with copper wires) 
  • Flooring:           $1,610.88 (approximate, did not include living room floors)
  • Granite:             $3,336.00 (includes extra rebar supports in overhang)
  • Hardware:         $290.00
  • Lighting:           $258.00 (only includes pendant lights) 
  • Paint:                 $131.15 
  • Plumbing:          $1,620.00 (rework plumbing across room, move gas hookup)
  • Micro Vent:       $255.00
  • Window:           $1,748.49 (window, labor, and new vinyl siding) 
TOTAL: $34,069.10

Design and Contractors: About Kitchens and More // Cabinets: Wolf Classic Cabinetry Dartmouth in Dark Sable (USA!) // Floors: Mohawk Natural Hickory (USA!) // Quater Round: Bellawood Hickory (USA!), purchased from Lumber Liquidators Paint: walls Sherwin-Williams 'Mountain Air' (USA!), ceiling Olympic Icon(USA!) // Backsplash: Meram Carrara Subway Tiles, The Tile Shop (installation materials are USA!) //Granite: River White, MS International // Pendant Lights: Rejuvenation (USA!) // Sink & Faucet: Eclipse Stainless // Window: custom American Craftsman (USA!), ordered from Home Depot // Garbage Disposal:InSinkErator (USA!) // Appliances: GE Profile Gas Range PGB950SERSSGE Profile 
Dishwasher PDT750SSFSS (USA!), GE Profile Microwave PVM9215SFSSall purchased from Lowe's // 

I know that's a lot of money. I can tell myself over and over again that it's well below the national average for renovating a kitchen or even well below the Baltimore major remodel average of $53k (source), but it still put a sizable dent in our savings account. It's a lot of money and it took us about two years to save up for it. This is by far the biggest remodel we have planned for our house, we knew we were going to gut the kitchen when we bought the house, and the plan was always to do this remodel before we started to think of expanding our family. Neither one of us saw an extra $35k lying around once kids enter the picture! I hear those little mini-humans are expensive.

Now that the kitchen has been structurally finished for about a month we've really been able to appreciate it all now that we're getting accustomed to it (aka we know remember where the desired glass is without having to search in multiple cabinets).  I haven't once looked at anything in the kitchen and grumbled, "you cost me a new pair of shoes."Instead, I love that the hubs and I dance around while the dishwasher cleans our dishes in near silence. Seriously, it's so quiet we thought we didn't turn it on once or twice. Or that we try new recipes just to use our griddle. And that we hosted poker night two days after the kitchen was finished because we wanted to have friends over for game night. Sure, we're probably guilty of over-testing the soft close features on our full extension drawers, but it's nice to know I'm never going to close a drawer on my finger again.  I certainly couldn't say that in our previous kitchen.

Could we have done this renovation for cheaper? Absolutely. We didn't need a gourmet double oven. We didn't need a marble backsplash. We didn't need hardwood floors. We didn't need an exotic granite. We didn't need full extension drawers. We didn't need solid hardware, etc. But we wanted them. This is our 30 year house and we wanted what we put in our kitchen so we took the extra time to save up for it. We didn't want to put in a kitchen that we would elicit lukewarm feelings, so instead we lived with a craptastic kitchen for over two years in order to save up and come up with a kitchen that we absolutely loved.  It took time, there was a lot of frustration in waiting so long, and there were a few delays along the way, but it was worth it to us. 

In a nutshell, we always wanted the kitchen to be the center of our home and now it is. We love it. We hope to have new barstools within a month and then we hope to eat dinner in there every night.  Now, I just need to find a mat to put down in front of the sink so Jewels has a warm place to sit down in front of the air vent. Jax still hasn't acclimated to the new oven's distinctive beep yet, but he's a big fan of hanging out in the kitchen because we've been cooking so much. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks so much for reading along during this process. 


  1. WOW, your new kitchen is SO SO gorgeous!
    i can imagine it is just wonderful cooking in there :) congratulations!

  2. It looks so beautiful! I'd say that was money well spent!! You'll love it for years!!!! Enjoy it!

  3. It looks gorgeous! I love that flooring...

  4. Simply gorgeous!
    I love the rich, darker brown of the cabinets against the lighter wood floors.

  5. Love your choices. Almost $35,000 seems a bit much, but actually it doesn't surprise me. When we did our kitchen last year, the final cost was pretty overwhelming until our contractor said that it likely will pay for itself when we resell. And, as you said, the fact that we get to enjoy it while we're here.

  6. Just found your blog and it's really nice how honest you are and to list everything. I remember my parents renovating their kitchen a few years ago and it was such a HUGE ordeal. Your kitchen looks beautiful. I love the brightness and the dark cupboards. You'll appreciate it everyday.


  7. I'm incredibly impressed with the turnout, Heidi! From the flooring to the countertops, your new space looks great. I know you two put a lot of your own sweat (and tears, I'd imagine) into it, too! Congrats! Hope one of the first things you did this weekend was pop a bottle of bubbly.

    Hope it's been a great one!

    x Hallie
    corals + cognacs

  8. Just found your blog via your comment on YHL. Your kitchen looks amazing! I must admit it's nice to see a done with professional assistance since we are also not DIYers. Our kitchen was done by pros and maybe one day I'll feature it on my blog - you've inspired me.

    I'm adding you to my Bloglovin feed and look forward to reading more. And again: AMAZING job on your kitchen!

  9. As someone who has spent a fortune on renovating a house that started in terrible shape (without a single electrician uncle or contractor friend), I know how it feels to total up the bills. But honestly, sometimes doing it new just makes the most sense in the long run. Think of that money as an upfront investment for a more functional life for years to come. Even if you don't count that you will likely see a lot of this money when you sell, just think of it as the price of a nice cup of coffee for the next 25 years. More than worth it!

  10. Money well spent! This looks beautiful! Congrats on the upgrade. Thank you for the line item list! Ps found u thru PDB.

  11. So worth every penny! Though I know it's jarring to think about the cost (which makes me like you even more that you're real like that ;-) When we looked at our final cost for our basement reno, we had the same thoughts--probably could've done it for less but it's been 2+ yrs & it's paid off in terms of improving OUR lives. Just like your gorgeous kitchen that you use everyday.

    Btw, it's stunning!!!


  12. This whole "costing" story will help me in planning a hybrid renovation for my kitchen. Thanks for sharing the insights, now I understand how one can utilize every penny in an efficient manner.

  13. Kitchen is a place where not only cooking but some of the gossips with best friends, double as bar for guys, work area, etc. So designing kitchen as well as choosing granite worktops or marble or quartz or wood and choosing lightings, furniture all needs lot of work.