Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I know that whenever I would check out blogs featuring before and after renovations, I always wondered what they spent. So I'm going to list the prices of everything here. Since the average price of a kitchen remodel is somewhere around $20,000, I'd say I did pretty well considering all the work I had done. This breakdown also includes all the work I had in the whole house, including all new flooring, light fixtures, installation of a bathroom vent, painting, wall sanding, etc.

Cabinets - $3020
Countertops - $750
Cabinet hardware - $50
Rev a Shelf trash system - $80 - best money ever!
New Stove - $450 - this was an open item at Best Buy, regular price was $750
New Microwave - $125 - regular price is $250, but I used Best Buy points that saved me tons.
Flooring - $850 - includes flooring and underlay
Flooring installation - $1000
New carpet for den - $180 - Hoss decided to throw up on every square inch of the den, which had perfectly acceptable carpet. Thanks Hoss.
Under cabinet lighting - $120
Over sink light fixture - $20
Contractor - $3000 - this price included all of their work, start to finish
Random Supplies - $700 - like drywall, a new door to the den, hardware, paint, trim, etc
Disposal - $76
Living room fan/light - $108
Bathroom vent fan - $32 - I should have spent more on this.
Paint - $130
Faucet - $120, regular price $300


The only way I was able to do this for this price was for two reasons. One, my contractors. Darden and Becky's prices were amazing. While I do not recommend this for everyone, I decided to take a calculated risk by having a ton of electrical and plumbing work done by someone who was not a licensed electrician or plumber. He came highly recommended from another general contractor who told me he had absolute confidence in Darden's work and would allow him to work on his own home, so that was good enough for me. The quotes I was getting for electrical alone was running in the $2k range, and the construction work was running over $4k, so I saved many thousands by using Darden and Becky.

Two, I researched the ever loving hell out of everything. I endlessly shopped, compared, drove all over town comparing prices, looked on Craiglist, etc, until I was confident I was getting the best price possible. Everything I bought online used every coupon code I could find. My father had to buy a whole suite of kitchen appliances, so I had him use my best buy membership so I got all the points, which I then applied towards the microwave.


Here are the people/products I used for this renovation. I have graded them based on my experience.

Contractor - Darden and Becky Borders of Quality Maintenance and Repair - A++

I could write a novel the size of War and Peace about how much I love Darden and Becky. They are the sweetest, kindest couple imaginable. It was truly like having Mom and Dad working at my house when I was at work. They even loved Hoss and would crate him for me.

Darden and Becky did almost every bit of work except for the cabinet and countertop installation. They did all the demo, extensive electrical work and updating, plumbing work, painting, fixture installation, appliance installation, drywall work, moving of an A/C vent, the list goes on and on. They are the kind of contractors that will notice something and take care of it for you, no questions asked. They noticed holes in my trim and filled, sanded and painted it for me without me asking. They noticed my nightlights were out of bulbs and replaced them for me. Darden noticed my patio door was hard to open and close, so he adjusted it for me to glide smoothly. Darden even went shopping and bought all my supplies for me because I was clueless about what I needed to buy.

I honestly miss them, and can't recommend them enough. Their prices are wonderful, they are honest to a fault, and refused to take any money from me until they were done with the job (except for materials) to ensure that I was happy with everything. You will not be sorry you hired Darden and Becky.

Flooring - A for the flooring, D for customer service
Casa Original Collection 7mm Laminate flooring in Mahogany. I bought it from Floor & Decor in Kennesaw, but those jerks royally tried to screw me over when it came time to order more flooring, so I will not give them my business again, unfortunately for them.

Cabinets - A for the product and service
My cabinets are Cardell Brand in the Shaker Flat Panel Standard Overlay in white. I bought them through Tucker Cabinets in Marietta. Charlie Tucker is a great guy who gave me a very reasonable price and was super patient with all my questions. There ended up being a delay in receiving the cabinets due to manufacturing, which added 5 days. However, once arrived Charlie's guys had them installed the next day. They even installed my door pulls and shelf system for free.

Countertops - A for the product and D for the service
I desperately wanted granite countertops, not only for the look, but for their durability. I wanted to be able to pull a hot pan out of the oven and plunk it down on the counter without worrying about a trivet. However, on my teeny budget I didn't think it was possible. One day while scanning Craigslist I saw an ad for granite countertops at $18.95/sq ft installed. I had gotten a quote from another place on craigslist that was offering $19.99/sq ft, but once they added on the fees to cut the hole for the sink, faucet, and installation, it was about $40/sq ft. LAS was honest - it was $18.95/sq ft installed, period. No additional fees. So I paid $750ish installed for my whole kitchen for Uba Tuba granite.

However, the service issues can't be ignored. They no called/no showed more than once for the appointment to make the templates for the countertops. The guy that did the templates did not make a template for the cabinet to the left of the stove, he said it "wasn't necessary". However, he did not account for the size of the stove, so the countertop had to be set two inches to the left, causing it to overhang in a weird way, and we had to cut the trim in the doorway to fit around it.I was very unhappy about this, but I knew if i sent it back it would be another 3 weeks before I'd see it again, so I decided to live with it. They installed my undermount sink, but it's not centered correctly, which also really bothers me visually. Getting ahold of Leo is like pulling teeth. Time after time I was promised a return call only to have it never happen. After all these service issues there was no follow up call to make sure I was happy with everything. If you're patient and don't care about shitty service I'd say the low price is worth it, but personally I don't believe that offering a good price on a product excuses bad service. It wasn't like I agreed in advance to pay a good price in exchange for crap service. Bottom line, dealing with the countertops was the most stressful part of the renovation.

Sink - A for product and service
I ordered my sink from Ebay seller SinkDirect and I'm thrilled with it. I bought a single bowl 18 gauge stainless steel sink, that is 32 inches wide and 10 inches deep for $99 and free shipping. The sink came very quickly and looks awesome.

Cabinet Pulls - A for product, A- for service
I ordered my cabinet pulls from Ebay seller Copad. I chose beautiful stainless steel contemporary bar pulls. You can't beat their price, I paid just over $50 including shipping for about 22 pulls in 4 different sizes. Because I bought more than one size they reduce the shipping to $6.95 for the whole order. I ordered on Sunday and it took two emails for the shipping to be updated on the following Tuesday evening, which kind of annoyed me, hence the A- for service. However, the pulls arrived quickly and were just as described, so I'd buy from him again.

Faucet - A for product and service.
When I began faucet shopping, I was shocked at the prices. It seems like everything decent was over $300, which was just not in my budget. I didn't want to get some cheap knock off that was just going to break in 6 months because I'm not very handy and didn't want to deal with fixing it. However, thanks to Amazon seller Sharo I was able to snag the perfect Delta faucet for 60% off, so I paid $120 for my little beauty. I see that it's currently around $170, so score for me. Shipping was fast thanks to Amazon Prime, so I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Paint - The paint is Sherwin Williams "Fleeting Green" bought at their 40% off sale.

Backsplash - I bought my backsplash from Overstock. I really wanted the fancy stuff that was $25/sq ft, but that was not in the budget. Thanks to a coupon code and joining their "Club O" I paid around $180 for the backsplash including shipping. It arrived quickly and in great shape. I'm very happy with the product and the price. The tiles are a 1x2 porcelain subway tile in off white.

Under Cabinet Lighting - it was surprisingly hard to find under cabinet puck lights in white that are hardwired and use halogen bulbs. I got them from Amazon seller Amertec. Here's a link to the actual lights because they were so hard to find.

Disposal - Another Amazon purchase. Amazon seller InSinkErator offered a great price on an Insinkerator Badger with good reviews for only $76 dollars.

Final Kitchen Reveal

This has taken a ridiculously long amount of time to post, but better late than never. The kitchen is finally done! As always, pardon the cell phone pics. For a little perspective, here's a before photo
Here's the after.