No. of Recommendations: 7
Any words of wisdom for us?

No one will ever accuse me of being the most frugal person on this site. DW and I did a complete DIY kitchen remodel almost 15 years ago. Average sized galley kitchen, with vaulted ceilings. We ripped out the existing soffit boxes and installed extra tall upper cabinets for extra storage (GREAT idea). For cabinets, we went the HD route, and spent close to $12k for upgraded finishes and all plywood construction. I don't regret paying the extra for the more sturdy construction. We also went with a light rail and stacked crown moldings, which weren't exactly cheap, but really made the finished product look professionally done. Also added under cabinet and above cabinet lighting - all DIY.

I had no issues self-installing the cabinets, but I am a handy guy (engineer by trade), and I did carefully shim each cabinet box, and drilled/screwed all of the face frames together, making a SOLID completely unit out of the cabinet boxes. We enjoyed that kitchen for nearly 10 years, and it was still a selling point when we sold the place. Zero regrets - first person that viewed our place made an offer on he spot.

During the remodel, we were on a first name basis with the folks at the Chinese take-out place next to Home Depot. Our nightly ritual: pick up whatever you need for that evening's work, and grab take-out on the way home. We had it down to a science, DW could order when I got in the check out line, and food was ready when we had the car loaded. Not having your regular kitchen is a pain in the *** from demolition until you get your countertops and sink back in.

I don't get the detractors of granite in some of the posts above. I've had it in my kitchens the last 2 houses, and zero regrets. It's heavy/solid, durable, heat proof, and looks good. I've never had issues with any of it.

In our new house, one of the reasons we bought it was the prior owners had installed a very nice kitchen - the permit history shows they spent $53k! Huge kitchen, easily 30 cabinet boxes, and all manner of drawers, slides, pull-outs, pantries, etc. We still ended up re-doing the island (added a 45 bottle wine fridge), and replaced all of the countertops while re-tiling the downstairs. DW opted to put in a single large basin sink, which I was initially against. Turns out she was absolutely right - it's great for washing large pans, cookie sheets lie flat, etc.

The kitchen island is really the hub of the house. It's a focal point when entertaining (which we do a lot of). Ours normally has 4 barstools, and has room for 8 when you use all four sides. We also use it for most of our meals when it's just the two of us, or if we have another couple over. It's where you drop stuff when you come home. It's where you go through the mail. It's where you open those Amazon boxes. It's where you use the laptop. It's where you wrap presents. It's an all-purpose desk/workspace we use all the time. If you have a layout the supports a good island, they're great to have.
Print the post  


Disclaimer - Please Read
A message about professional advice.
Useful Resources
Our Home Center has all you need to make buying and owning a home a great experience. Get or refinance a mortgage and much more!
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.