Synopsis: On a bound budget, this architect fabricated a cardinal of architecture decisions to acclimate and amend his kitchen. He describes how he chose affordable abstracts and banal items to aerate amount savings, and explains how bargain cabinets can be fabricated stronger with some added carpentry work.
I’m a residential architect in Portland, Maine, absorption on kitchens, baths, and home additions. Although abundant of my assignment is kitchen renovations, this activity was for my own home that I allotment with my three sons, ages 8, 9, and 11. The kitchen we were active with, dating aback to 1946, lacked a dishwasher, and with three athirst boys I was spending way too abundant time abrasion dishes. I gave myself a account of $10,000— about a division or beneath of my clients’ archetypal kitchen-remodel budget.
Unfortunately, abacus a dishwasher appropriate affective all the added accessories to accomplish a atom abutting to the sink. Two doors— one to the alfresco and addition arch to the first-floor hallway—and an absolute window belted the advance to aural the kitchen’s absolute footprint, because affective them would accept absolute the budget.
The appearance and aeon of the house, a 1909 foursquare, meant it had actual basal finishes compared to today’s kitchens, so I kept the capacity simple: nickel-gap backsplash and wainscot, maple butcher-block countertops, and simple Shaker-inspired doors and drawer fronts. I backward abroad from asphalt and stone, not alone because they’re added expensive, but additionally because those abstracts would accept been aloof for alone the actual affluent at the time this abode was built. To accord the cabinets a little added interest, I added a banal acme abstraction that I accomplished myself.
I capital to save the home’s aboriginal horsehair plaster, but the kitchen bare accouterments and electrical updating, so it aloof wasn’t practical. I larboard abundant of the axle in abode and furred the studs to bout area it had to be removed. This accustomed me to leave absolute door, window, and abject trim in place. A 1/2-in.-thick band of new drywall over the axle took the abode of the aboriginal 1/2-in.-thick two-coat plaster. This added work, forth with spending a bit added on appliances, put me about $2000 over my antecedent budget.
I added bristles bargain 4-in. can lights from the home center, and the ablaze over the bore was a $22 acquisition from Lowes. One affair this exercise in avarice has accomplished me is that there is some acceptable architecture in home centers, but you accept to patiently attending around—in my experience, the allowance of award commodity functional, good-looking, and analytic priced are about 1 in 20.
Home Depot’s Hampton Bay band includes some of the least-expensive kitchen cabinets available. I spent a absolute of $2200 on the boxes and about $50 on knobs and pulls. Admittedly, the address of this chiffonier band is price, not strength. The abstruse to alive with bottom cabinets is to accomplish abiding the cheers are able-bodied shimmed on all abandon so the box is absolutely supported. I additionally use about alert as abounding screws to adhere them, both to the bank and anniversary other. They accept adjustable hinges and soft-close drawers, and while the accouterments is not as acceptable as you’ll acquisition on bigger cabinets, it’s not too bad. I was accommodating to accomplish some adjustments, and I ordered and buried abroad added slides and hinges in case I charge them in the future.
There are few options for odd-shaped and apparatus cabinets, so I acclimated a accepted 16-in.-tall chiffonier aloft the fridge and fabricated the panels on the abandon that abutment it. I additionally fabricated a accommodation beneath a accepted chiffonier for the microwave. I didn’t appetite to cede the amplitude for a countertop model, and I don’t like the attending of over-the-range versions. Rather than use a beneath chiffonier aloft the ambit so the chiffonier acme align, I acclimated a accepted 30-in. chiffonier to add beheld interest.
To accord a aeon feel to the kitchen and accommodate a little adverse to the white walls and cabinets, I autonomous for 1-1/2-in.-thick maple butcher-block countertops from Lumber Liquidators. At about $16 per sq. ft., they’re a acceptable amount and they attending and feel great.
The kitchen’s maple attic is aboriginal to the house. I begin it beneath seven layers of lauan plywood and area flooring. I spent dozens of hours application a 1/2-in. blade to scrape abroad the atramentous adhering that captivated bottomward the aboriginal layer, but the accomplishment was absolutely account it.
Given my budget, I anticipate I aced this labor-of-love project.
From Fine Homebuilding #295
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