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Design Dilemma: Saving on a Kitchen Remodel

farmhouse kitchen how to tips advice

There’s one room in the house that seems to get more remodeling attention than any other. And that’s the kitchen, of course.  Should we change the cabinets? Replace the countertop? Put in a new backsplash? Retile the floor? It’s the subject of never ending rumination, speculation and dreaming. Problem is, kitchen remodels cost a lot of money. The national average for a major upscale kitchen remodel is about $113,097, according to one report. A mid-range professional, top-to-bottom kitchen averages almost $57,000. That’s a lot of dough for most of us. And if you’re considering an uber-luxurious kitchen with top-notch finishes, you’re looking at much, much more. In a high-priced market, you can drop between $200,000 and $600,000 on a luxury kitchen.

Okay, so that’s how high things can go. Very few of us, however, can afford prices like these. The reality for many of us would be closer to about $25,000, which is what the average minor kitchen remodel in the U.S. adds up to.

So let’s say you want to keep your remodel at $25,000 or even far below that. Can it be done?

We say, yes, if you follow a few rules:

 

1) Look for ways to save on cabinetry. For one, you can use ready-to-assemble cabinets. You’ll save yourself a bundle, since cabinets are the biggest budget buster in a kitchen remodel. Custom cabinets, depending on the materials you use and the size of your kitchen, can cost anywhere between $10-$60,000. But off-the-rack cabinets, particularly in-stock ready to assemble cabinets of the sort you might find at Ikea or a big box hardware store, might cost only a few thousand. Below, see an example of a kitchen remodel with ready-to-assemble cabinets.

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

You can also save on new cabinetry by simply re-surfacing your existing cabinets, or repainting them. The cheapest option is to repaint, especially if your cabinets are of good quality and you like the style and configuration of your cabinetry. Resurfacing is a good option, but not always much cheaper than buying a whole set of ready-to-assemble. It can run in the $5-$15,000 range, depending on the size of your kitchen. Finally, you might consider using open shelving as a way to slash your cabinetry costs.

If you are able to keep your cabinetry budget under control, you have an excellent chance of keeping your remodel within budget.

2) Keep your existing configuration. What really boosts costs with any kitchen remodel is moving around plumbing lines and electrical outlets to accommodate a move of appliances and sinks. But if everything stays pretty much where it is, things get much simpler.

eclectic kitchen how to tips advice

One popular remodeling act these days is knocking down a wall to open up a closed kitchen to a dining room or living room. This can make a dramatic difference in the look and feel of your kitchen, but it comes at a cost. Especially if you have to put in supporting beams to take the place of the old wall, or if there happen to be pipes or electricity running through the wall. One way to lower your price — create a pass-through or cut-out rather than knocking down the entire wall.

3) Consider less-expensive countertop options. Yes, granite has been popular in recent years, but now there are tons of good-looking materials to choose from, some of which are considerably cheaper than granite — including tile, concrete and recycled materials. Laminate countertops are also much improved in style options from the days of yore. The kitchen below, for example, looks like it features high-end Carrera marble. Actually, it’s Formica!

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

How else can you save money?

  • Opt for pendant lamps or track lighting instead of recessed lighting. 
  • Consider a low-cost option for a backsplash. A washable wallpaper could be the way to go if you can’t afford a backsplash right away. Otherwise, simple white subway tiles are always a good-looking and affordable option.
  • Buy an off-the-rack island. An island from Ikea, or even just an old work table can work as an island at a much reduced cost.
  • Tackle your project in stages. Maybe this year it’s the floor and cabinets. Next year, you’ll replace the appliances and backsplash. If you do your work in stages, be sure to plan well so that the work proceeds in the right order.
  • Forego luxury brands. Yes, Viking stoves are nice, but fancy and/or industrial quality appliances can blow your budget. Look for reliable and stylish workhorses when it’s time to replace appliances.

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Moscow Attic Renovated with Scandinavian Good Looks

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A young family with two rambunctious boys wanted a renovation of a dark attic apartment in Moscow.

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The result is a marriage of blonde Scandinavian wood and creamy white paint that makes a home that fairly bursts with light and energy.

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The new two storied design is ingeniously devised to wear out the two young boys by maximizing the attic space.

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So there are plenty of opportunities for exercize, like this ladder leading to an overhead mesh trampoline that cleverly uses every inch of ceiling space.

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Yet when not in use, the mesh playground discretely ‘disappears’ into an artistic ceiling lighting system.

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The imaginative design revolves around the boys.
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The upstairs bunk gets its own mini stairway, lined with storage.
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The boys beds are beautifully aligned with the custom bunks.

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At the other end of the boys bunk room, a wall to wall bench marks what will soon become a homework center that makes excellent use of the un-needed lower space over a work table, while one wall is entirely storage.

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Initially, it will be a work space for mom and dad while the boys nap.

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Downstairs, the parents bedroom is flooded with the southern sunlight.

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As well as the master bedroom, the kitchen and dining area (not seen) is also downstairs.

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The requirement for ample storage space leads to every square inch being used.

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The TV watching space is a simple sofa in the window corner at the top of the stairs.

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To one side of this landing-cum-family room is a large draw-on wall for the kids.

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Wooden slats are used throughout and together with the warm white walls they warm up the new home.

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Ruetemple have turned a formerly dark and uninhabitable attic into a comfortable and bright loft space for this young Russian family.

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A Serenely Refined Residence in New South Wales

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Smart Design Studio’s Lamble Residence on the South coast of New South Wales catches dawn’s early light over the South Pacific.

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Every room opens up to the outdoors.

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Interestingly, the public spaces are split between floors.

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The kitchen and dining is on the ground floor and opens out onto a garden in front of Gerringong beach.

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While upstairs, the laid-back living room makes the most of its exciting panoramic views of the South Pacific ocean.

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Sublimely open, the master bedroom also captures the endless sea vista from the side of the upper floor.

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Up here, large slabs of stone mark out a generous rooftop terrace that is the epitome of calm and cool design.

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Behind the bedroom, an elegant and understated grey and white bathroom continues the unhurried recurring large stone slabs.

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The unusual arrangement with the living room upstairs, kitchen downstairs ran afoul of local planning provisions, which go so far as to dictate the configuration of rooms within a site.

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Eventually the council approved the plan. So downstairs, the garage, laundry and downstairs bathrooms are at the back of the site, with the kitchen and dining room and children’s rooms in front.

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From the street, the house resembles an ark, clad in untreated cedar which will weather to a soft grey.

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The translucent door panel is beautifully played against the soft greys of the stone entry, while a wide door in untreated cedar pivots on a central hinge.

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Translucence and soft greys blend for a calming effect on the street-facing side of the house, baffling any traffic noises.

It is a quiet and refined house, and one with a serene and lasting beauty.

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Casa Till – Pure and Simple Bliss on the Chilean Coast

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Casa Till by WMR Arquitectos is simply constructed from onsite pine for a tiny carbon footprint in a staggeringly lovely setting.

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The spectacular uninterrupted panoramic views are perfectly preserved by the supreme humility of the construction.

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The client’s wish was that the house should blend into the landscape so that from a distance it would not be visible.

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Solar panels on the rooftop supply all the electricity used by the house in its extremely remote location.

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The design is just a simple straight shot with a bedroom at each end and the public living space in the center.

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A sliding wall can separate off the master bedroom at the end of the house, or incorporate it and extend the living space as seen here.

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The utmost in straightforward design, the house is not fancy or elaborate.

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This simplicity makes the staggering views all the more stunning.

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Truly a one-of-a-kind blissful dream home.

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Design Dilemma: Getting A Little Funky at Home

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

As a long, hard winter comes to an end, and the first fresh breezes of spring linger in the air, we feel a bit like changing things up at home. And namely, we feel like bringing home a bit of colorful personality that’s in your face cool. We’re calling it “getting funky.”

We’ve run across a few interiors that really seem to epitomize exactly that spirit of funkiness. Beginning with the dining rooms pictured above and below.

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

Lets face it, the room above are totally cool. It’s a combination of the Tulip Chairs, classic and mod at the same time, the psychedelic rainbow rug, and the pop abstract art right down to the Brillo sculpture on the table, that makes these two rooms feel spunky, free and fun. The eye catching, in your face, pendant lights, also add another note of cool.

And sometimes it takes just one element to funkify a room. Check out the lime green Tulip Chair below in this bedroom:

contemporary home office how to tips advice

Below, find a funky living room. What makes it so beyond the pale? We think it’s the fact that every piece of furniture is treated as a sculptural element, with an emphasis on natural, organic shapes. According to the designer who put these shapes together, the organic, curvaceous forms make the angular space feel “sensual.”

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

Here, a bookcase is the sculptural element that lends this corner office space it’s funk factor.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

Now there’s all kind of funk. There’s funky offbeat, and funky boho and funky cool. Art is an essential part of any of those looks. Below, check out a funky boho bedroom made cool by a painting of Frida Kahlo wearing a Daft Punk t-shirt.

contemporary how to tips advice

And below, a nice little funky vignette incorporates a Buddha and an eclectic mix of artwork.

eclectic dining room how to tips advice

Here’s another bedroom rendered cool by the use of a Tibetan rug as a wall hanging. Vintage furniture pieces combined in an eclectic mix also up the funk factor.

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

Wallpaper can be an interesting way to go funky.

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

And so can the use of reclaimed wood furniture.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

Sometimes, funkiness is not about layering lots of pattern, texture and color. It can be adding just one unexpected element in an otherwise pared down space. Like this orange fixed showerhead and and handheld showerhead in a bathroom:

modern bathroom how to tips advice

Let’s recap how to go funky.

  • Be adventurous when it comes to color, pattern and texture.
  • Be eclectic. Mix eras.
  • Go sculptural. Buy furniture the way you’d buy a piece of art, thinking of line and form, not just comfort.
  • Go vintage. Many of the coolest pieces are from earlier time periods.
  • Add original art, the quirkier the better.
  • Broaden your decor to incorporate unusual elements, such as wallpaper or reclaimed wood.
  • Add just one unexpected element in a pared down space.
  • Let yourself go and have fun!