1. The window sat far too high for me to see into the backyard where the children played and it was difficult to open.
2. It was very outdated.
3. Although the picture doesn’t show it, the kitchen had three doors in the tiny space; one from the dining room, one from the hallway, and one leading to the back door and basement. The only usable wall is the one you see in the photo.
Unfortunately for me there were many other items on our to do list that trumped the kitchen. This needed to be done on a tight budget if it was going to be done at all. It took about three years of working in stages, but it is finally cleaned up. Working in stages and looking for deals on kijiji, at Habitat for Humanity, and in second-hand stores may have lengthened the work schedule but it sure kept the price down.
Our first money-saving move was a decision to keep the current layout and the cabinets. We saved money by not moving electrical or plumbing. I priced potlights but we went with track lights because the install fee was too high. We found a dishwasher and an over the stove microwave at RoseHill Auction for a great price. I was thrilled to add both to the kitchen but the dishwasher stole valuable storage space.
To gain space we closed off the doorway leading into the hall. It gave us a corner to add another cabinet and in the hall it gave us another closet (and who doesn’t need more closets?). We found a freestanding cabinet like the one below on Kijiji. Kevin built a riser so it sat higher, popped off the top and make a third shelf so the cabinet reached from floor to ceiling. He trimmed it out so it looked like a built-in unit and I painted it black. Voila!
We used bead board to cover the damaged walls and I found our floor (inexpensive peel and stick floor tile) at the dollar store to cover the red and grey beauty we found under the old laminate. The new corner unit helped a bit with the lost cabinet space but I still struggled to find a place for everything – especially the recycling bins.
We had an old dresser we purchased years ago at a barn sale and Kevin never really loved it. We popped off the top, added a countertop that had a generous overhang and found bar stools on Kijiji. We removed the bottom two drawers and had a friend build two sliding drawers that hold our recycling bins. Recycling problem solved!
We updated the countertops, reused a second-hand faucet, second-hand pendant light, installed a second-hand window, and found glass tile at an online outlet store that offered free shipping in Canada. I painted the cabinets, updated the hardware, and Kevin added new trim to the top and bottom of the upper cabinets. We found battery operated under cabinet lights at the dollar store (of all places!) and I made our roman blind with fabric purchased on sale.
The pictures don’t show it, but we switched out the hollow door that led into the basement and to the backyard with a ‘new to us’ french door. It lets so much more light into the tiny space.
The project was long (almost three years) but I am thrilled with the results. We worked in stages and the kitchen steadily improved in functionality and looks. The experience showed me that updating a kitchen doesn’t have to blow the budget. We made choices that both satisfied my desire for pretty things and kept us within our comfort zone. We compromised on lots of things we thought we wanted to save some dollars, but now that it is finished I don’t even miss the more expensive options.
The total cost from top to bottom (includes paint, trim, dishwasher, microwave – everything) came in under $1800. Splurges included new counters and glass tile @ $600 combined. Biggest saves include pendant light @ $14, used window @ $50, corner cabinet @75, and the floor @$45.