(and where we spent—and saved—our money)
Renovations are expensive. There, I said it. That show on HGTV that said they did a full kitchen renovation for $15,000? They’re lying. Maybe that cost didn’t include labor, and/or products were gifted. Or maybe the episode originally aired in 2001. A full-sized kitchen renovation—which involves replacing cabinets, countertops, appliances, tilework, the works? Does not cost $15,000 in 2022. Not even if you’re DIYing every inch of it. At least, our kitchen still would not have cost $15,000 if we’d done the work ourselves. (We hired this job out to a professional contractor—for us it was not worth the risk, the headaches, or the time to DIY.) That being said, I know of plenty of gorgeous kitchen remodels that cost $15,000 or less—they just aren’t full gut jobs!
I started planning our kitchen renovation before we even closed on this house. (And homeonharbor didn’t even exist yet!) We knew we wanted to remodel almost every room, but the kitchen was our priority. It’s our most-used space in the home, and I wanted that space to bring me joy! And kitchen renovations typically have a great ROI (return on investment), so it felt like a good place to start. Robert and I were fortunate enough to have made a profit selling our first home, so we had some money to invest. And we chose to invest a lot of it into our new home. Here’s how we spent it in our kitchen.
*Because homeonharbor didn’t even exist yet, nothing was gifted, nothing was sponsored, and we purchased everything we used at retail cost.
Total cost: $56,700
Locality caveat: We live in Cleveland, Ohio. This kitchen would probably cost a different amount in different parts of the country. I have no idea what labor costs in California or New York or West Virginia…and materials could very well cost different prices depending on where you live, too. Maybe you can find a nice blogger closer to home to help you out if 100% accuracy is important to you. 🙂
Trade work and Labor:
This is going to be a huge chunk of your budget! If you’re planning a total DIY renovation, congratulations, you can skip ahead to the Materials section.
Design services: $1,500
I have a confession. I consulted a local interior designer to begin our kitchen project. She helped with configuration, recommended a contractor (who we loved and hope to use again in the future), and helped with sourcing some materials like our range and the custom-made hood. I don’t talk about this experience much because unfortunately, the relationship ended poorly for us. (No, I will not get into the details.) I do think that a designer is still a great way start if you have no idea where to begin. My tips for finding the right designer for you is a whole other blog post, but I will say that it’s imperative to know where your money is going and to set those boundaries from the get-go. That being said, I know of many, MANY lovely interior designers that I would happily recommend.
In the end, we paid the designer about $1500 in total for her hourly services.
Our kitchen was about a 5-6 week project from start to finish, and our contractor cost us $12,000. This included demo, cabinet installation, crown molding and trim work, tile installation, painting the trim work to match the cabinets, adding the glass inserts to the top cabinets, building drawers for the cabinet towers, and installing our microwave and trim kit. He was pretty much a one-man show and did all of the work himself, with the exception of a little help with the demo and the backsplash tile installation.
Caveat: this cost also included adding recessed can lights throughout the kitchen and family room space. I think this was the majority of the cost. We also paid this invoice through the designer, not the electrician himself.
In addition to the recessed lighting, we hired an electrician to move all of the lighting around in the kitchen. He removed the fan over the island and installed pendants, and then reconfigured new electrical panels. He also hung a chandelier over the kitchen table (which I then made Robert switch out for a different one months later, hahaha), and installed two sconces over the kitchen sink.
After the cabinet pantry was demo’d, we found a water line hiding inside. So a plumber relocated that into a different wall for us. He also hooked up our sink, faucet, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. He was amazing and came out on a Saturday morning to reinstall our faucet right after the countertops were in so we didn’t have to keep doing dishes in the utility sink!
Materials and Sources
And now on to the pretty stuff. I worked pretty hard to make sure we purchased everything for the lowest prices possible. One of my biggest tips is to source materials during major sale events! For example, I bought a lot of these during the Black Friday sales (we started our renovation in January), and we saved thousands of dollars that way!
Cabinets and crown molding: $12,600.
Cabinetry is likely going to be the biggest chunk of your budget (other than maybe labor). And the range of cost here is wide—stock cabinets (that you can buy pre-made from a store or wholesaler) will obviously be less expensive than custom-made cabinets. We were told custom cabinets would cost us 2-3x as much.
We purchased our cabinets from a local wholesaler, through our contractor. I think they are a really great quality, especially for the price point. We also have a LOT of cabinets because we stacked so many to reach our ceiling.
Our countertops are MSI Calcutta Verona quartz. Quartz made the most sense for us because of the durability and price point. I LOVE real marble, but it wasn’t practical or within our budget. I think this material gives a pretty similar look at a much better cost.
Backsplash tile: $1,240
It’s the ever-popular Cloe tile by Bedrosians. You just can’t beat it for the price. It looks like artisan tile that might cost $20 a square foot, but I think this cost us $7 a square foot. I also have a few boxes leftover because you want to make sure you order 10% overage. Especially with the variation in this tile!
Alexander James Tile Shop sells the EXACT same tile (sourced from the same factory in Europe!) and they’ve given me a 15% off discount code: HOMEONHARBOR15. So definitely shop it out for yourselves if you’re interested in this tile!
The Hallman range cost $3,600, which was our “splurge” appliance. For a 36 inch range, it really was one of the least expensive options, too. (We adore it, by the way.) We needed a counter-depth refrigerator, and this one fit the bill. It was $2,030 on sale. We also offset the cost of it by selling the existing refrigerator for $1100 on Craigslist. The microwave and trim kit cost about $400. We kept the existing Bosch dishwasher (recently replaced by the previous homeowners) to save on costs. It does not bother me that the appliances do not match.
Hood vent and custom hood: $2,775
The hood vent insert over our oven range was $700 (and it’s powerful and great!) and we spent $2,075 on a custom hood cover. We had it color matched with our cabinets, and it truly makes our range wall the focal point of the kitchen.
Floors: approximately $1,800
We replaced the floors throughout the entire first floor (excluding the mudroom) right around the time we had our kitchen renovated. They are Mannington white oak 7-inch plank engineered hardwood floors. We ended up ordering the product online and installing them ourselves to save on costs (the savings was astronomical!) For 1200 square feet of flooring, we paid $5,500. I’m guess-timating it cost about $1800 for the kitchen area.
Sink, etc.: $1,465
A farmhouse sink was a must-have on my list. (A single basin sink is just better than a split basin. Try washing a big pot and tell me I’m wrong.) This one fit the bill and cost $699. I love our Kohler faucet so much, too. I was able to score it as an open box item on Wayfair for about $425 and saved hundreds of dollars that way! (Open box usually means the item was returned before it was used, so really only the packaging is affected. I buy open box items all the time.) The garbage disposal and air switch cost $340.
Cabinet Hardware: $900
Cabinet hardware can be tricky! I was willing to splurge on Rejuvenation hardware (while on sale, of course!) because we saved so much by going with stock cabinets. I wouldn’t skimp here if I were you, either. It’s like jewelry for your kitchen. Rejuvenation’s aged brass hardware also matches up really well with the brass knobs on our range, so it was meant. to. be. in my book! I used knobs on the upper cabinets and drawers, bin pulls on the lower drawers, and offset handles on the lower cabinets.
We chose these pendants for over the island to help tie in the matte graphite range, and the brass sconces over the sink are a great Wayfair find (I think I might have scored at least one open box too). I originally purchased a different light for over the café table and to save a little money, went with one I didn’t completely love. Well, that backfired. Because a few months later, I couldn’t get the one I really liked out of my head, and ended up buying it anyway. It changed everything for me in this kitchen, though, so it was well worth the cost.
Our kitchen shelves are one of my favorite Etsy finds to date! I love that we were able to support a small shop and I also love that they didn’t break the bank. We were quoted triple the cost for custom shelves made locally, so when I found this Etsy seller, I couldn’t have been happier.
The kitchen café table is from Crate and Barrel and extends into an oval for when we have more people over. I repurposed our old dining room chairs here, so they were technically “free.” I also found these shaker stools at Target for only $50 each (I think they’re $55 now). They’re perfect for this tight space and don’t get in our way at all.
At the time, it felt like we were spending SO much money. (And we were!) But in the end, I couldn’t imagine having NOT spent it. I really think we made some good choices on where to spend (and not spend) our investment. Our kitchen is truly a dream come true. And I hope this helps shed some light on what a kitchen renovation REALLY costs!
For a full round up of our kitchen sources, see this post.