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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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Remember, it's an interim plan. As far as the sinks are concerned, we have a double sink where one side is very large and the other is small. The disposal is in the small side. Mrs. Varmint wants two large sinks, or at least, the sink with the disposal to be fairly large.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Just as an example, the smallest kitchen we did in the last few years was about 8 x 12, mid-priced cabinets with thermofoil doors, corian countertops, AO tile floor and mid-line appliances and the total cost (including labor and all subcontractors) was almost $40,000. Labor costs would be somehwat lower in Varmint's location, but taking that into consideration I think you're off by at least $15-20,000 even using price point materials.

Having spent some quality time in Varmint's kitchen, I really like the interim idea that he got from the designer. It would be a very realistic and workable solution.

When he's ready for the major overhaul I think moving the kitchen to the living room would be perfect. The room is underutilized right now, but it's a wonderful space with vaulted wood plank ceiling that just begs to be the center of activity.

Well - I came to residential construction by way of commercial construction. I am used to paying wholesale prices for fixtures and materials - hourly design fees - and bidding out labor contracts (not necessarily to the low bidder - but I always got 2-3 bids). The first time I crossed over to the residential side - I was surprised that no one complained about the generally outrageous markups (frequently 100% or more). Well - I didn't complain either - but I wound up doing my residential jobs the way I did my commercial jobs - using my commercial design firms and paying wholesale prices - and I probably saved lots of money in the process.

By the way - let's be useful to Varmint. My kitchen numbers are out of date because the last time I did one was 7 years ago. Can you give him realistic numbers for cabinets per running foot at the low/medium/high end levels? Giving specific examples in terms of brands. Similar running foot figures for counter costs for formica/corian/granite etc. Same for flooring. Basic material prices without markups or installation costs. Robyn

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I had the big sink/little sink at the house. That worked well. The critical thing was that the smoker grates, refrigerator shelves, big pots, roasting pans, etc. would fit in the big side. This was a builder grade sink, elkay I think. I liked it.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Remember, it's an interim plan. As far as the sinks are concerned, we have a double sink where one side is very large and the other is small. The disposal is in the small side. Mrs. Varmint wants two large sinks, or at least, the sink with the disposal to be fairly large.

Look at Elkay. I have one large sink because I have lots of large things that need washing. Would have liked another smaller prep sink but I didn't have room for it. Robyn

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There will only be a few new cabinets: The ones around the range, the lower ones housing the sink and dishwasher, the lower and upper where the marble slab is, and we'll make the upper oven space and the cabinet above it into one large recessed cabinet with pull out drawers. Although I'd want the wall oven to be in the upper spot, Mrs. Varmint won't let me. That's the only time she's made a demand (other than the budget, of course!).

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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interim plan, preliminary, temporarily

What time frame do you think of? At a certain point, a double investment (for prelim now AND final later) economically doesn't make sense.

BTW, Is there a list of the most hatred elements in your present kitchen?

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Of course it doesn't make sense economically. But that's not the point -- I can no longer tolerate the current configuration and I don't have the money to do a complete gutting and renovation. Thus, the interim solution! The range and hood will stay where they are in the final arrangement -- that's my biggest expense. The cost of the new cabinets will be a couple grand, but we can handle that. I won't be tearing up the floor and putting something new down. I'll be adding complementary "highlights" in the areas where there currently is no tile. Really, this is a pretty simple job and will conform to my "no longer than 1 month" requirement.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Oh, most hated items? You should probably go back to the beginning of this now very long thread, as there are so damn many. The range. The location of the dishwasher. The maze design. The upper cupboards. The lack of ventilation. The hardware on the cupboards.

That's just a start.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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i2126.jpg

I remember these tiles. They were all the rage in the late seventies; they also came in blue. I remember kitchens that looked JUST like this. All you need is a Marimekko wall hanging and a couple of joints being passed around...

Kitchens get really dated; this is a perfect example of a kitchen that would have recieved oohs and aahs thirty years ago (well, except for the layout, but even then some of his architect buddies probably thought it was clever.) I predict all the kitchens with granite counters, light wood cabinets, and lots of SS appliances will feel this dated 20 years from now. For me, I guess the takeaway message is not to assume you are doing a kitchen that will last a lifetime; spend only as much money as you feel comfortable investing in something you are going to want to gut in 20 years.

Edited by marie-louise (log)
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i2126.jpg

I remember these tiles. They were all the rage in the late seventies; they also came in blue. I remember kitchens that looked JUST like this. All you need is a Marimekko wall hanging and a couple of joints being passed around...

Kitchens get really dated; this is a perfect example of a kitchen that would have recieved oohs and aahs thirty years ago (well, except for the layout, but even then some of his architect buddies probably thought it was clever.) I predict all the kitchens with granite counters, light wood cabinets, and lots of SS appliances will feel this dated 20 years from now. For me, I guess the takeaway message is not to assume you are doing a kitchen that will last a lifetime; spend only as much money as you feel comfortable investing in something you are going to want to gut in 20 years.

Wonderful advice. I understand you're a dedicated cook and frustrated by a poorly laid out kitchen, but will you be satisfied by half measures? And are you sure the next layout won't contain its own imperfections and frustrations? From all the wonderful descriptions of the BBQ it doesn't sound as if your kitchen keeps you from good food and good fun. Kitchen architecture is a fad. Your kitchen has personality and history to it. It doesn't look like some merchandiser's dream and your bank balance nightmare.

Small changes can make a big difference in the appearance of your kitchen. Your floor looks functional and neutral. But tired of red tile (for example)? replace it with an economical black formica counter (for example). You can save much money by doing the removal itself. It will work well with what you have and last 20 years or til you get the itch to renovate again. And besides, it's a wonderful background for food.

And as Marie-Louise points out all the new glam items are tomorrows time warp. Update the equipment, throw some rugs on the floor (even cleaning them will be cheaper), and put 20/40 K in the kids' college funds. Reward yourself with a few super-splurge meals and bottles of wine or a great family vacation and calculating the beauty of compound interest.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Thanks, but the one important point that you haven't read in this thread is that I curse my kitchen every single day. I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore. With the budget limitations, it's an interim plan or nothing at all. And nothing at all is not an option. Thus, this is where we are. In order for me to update the equipment, I must rip out cupboards (see the current cooktop photo). I expect to spend approximately $8-10K on equipment (36" range, hood, sink, wall oven). I expect to pay a few grand for new cupboards where they're needed. The floor will stay, and what we'll probably do is have the L'il Varmints make new tiles to go in the empty spots as a semi-mosaic. What could be more fun, whimsical and unique than that??? Demo will be cheap and easy. Moving plumbing and wiring around won't be god awful. In the end, I'll have a functional kitchen where most of the expense went into the appliances. Sounds like a good solution to me!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Sounds like a plan. And if you can keep most of your expense in the new equipment, you can't do better than that. The one change I would make in my kitchen if the space allowed is to have a larger (and better) stove and a good downdraft exhaust. I'm tempted because my less than 2 year old GE (with oven cleaner) could be passed on to my kids.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I currently have a 4 burner electric cooktop, two ugly (but functional) convection wall ovens, and a downdraft charbroiler that doesn’t work. Even when the charbroiler worked, I didn’t use it very often. I can grill outside. It’s very rare when I actually broil something in the ovens.

I was thinking of getting a 36 inch dual fuel range and one new wall oven. That’d give me more functionality than I currently have, plus giving me a better broiling situation (as the range’s oven would vent to the hood). However, I’m starting to question this logic. The range would cost me about $5500. The oven would be another $1,000 to $1,500. With the range, I’d lose all the storage currently available under the electric cooktop. Why do it this way? Because of the broiling.

This doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Why not buy a cooktop for about $2,000, and a dual convection wall oven for about another $2,000 - $2,500. That’s $2,000 - $3,000 less than my prior arrangement, and I keep the storage space under the cooktop. I also don’t worry about an oven’s performance as much as a cooktop’s, so I could even get cheaper ovens if need be.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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This makes some sense to me since you are starting to analyse what you really do, like my cooking diary thingy.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Hell, I could add a warming drawer in the space where my wall ovens are currently located, too. Having two individual ovens takes up a lot more room than an integrated double oven. Anyone use warming drawers?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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This doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Why not buy a cooktop for about $2,000, and a dual convection wall oven for about another $2,000 - $2,500. That’s $2,000 - $3,000 less than my prior arrangement, and I keep the storage space under the cooktop. I also don’t worry about an oven’s performance as much as a cooktop’s, so I could even get cheaper ovens if need be.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

This is what we've got, and I love the arrangement. We keep pots and pans in two deep drawers right under the cooktop.

We have the GE Profile Performance dual convection ovens. They're huge and have been totally reliable for the last 4 years. I'm pretty sure they were less that 2000, but it was 4 years ago, so price have probably gone up. If I design another kitchen it will not have the oven under the range. It's just a pain in the butt to stoop down to see into.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I looked at warming drawers, again went back to my diary, and concluded that I wouldn't really use them. Then again, the GE range has that smaller oven that can run at low temperatures so that could be used for warming if I were ever so inclined. That is where my diary paid off. I ditched the warming drawers. Your answer may be entirely different.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Oh, most hated items? ...  The location of the dishwasher .....

Where to place the D/W?

Wrt. cooktop vs. range: good idea, methinks. Keep the ovens.

You can get a decent interims kitchen for 6-8k.

Paint the floor.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Home Depot type cabinets can be pretty damn good if you select carefully. We have a regional chain (Chase-Pitkin - owned by the Wegman's Grocery folks) that has a 20% off everythign in the kitchen department sale twice each year. They had some sort of additional cabinet promo that coincied with the sale. My cabintes were from either Starmark or Crestwod but it seems that every big chain has a catalog with mid range cabinets in it and the catalog remains the same everywhere with only the brand name changing. These are obviously all coming from one primary manufacturer. I really wanted all plywood sides and bases but the price difference was compelling in favor of composite/particle board instead. I opted for all plywood on the bathroom vanity that I purchased at the same time due to moisture issues but ended up happy with the other cabinets. The frames, the faces and doors were all maple. I was not thrilled with the somewhat fake look of the end panels on the few cabinets that did not abut other cabinets or a wall but no one who visited seemed to notice.

The cabinets were those in the pics that I posted previously.

I had:

six base cabinets - three small and three large - one large with two rollouts

four upper cabinets - one large and three small - all full height

three wee little upper cabinets to cover the header

one bathroom vanity for 19" sink

IIRC I paid less than $2500 delivered for the whole bunch and they were very good. My brother was in favor of my getting the European style cabinets that mount on rails and may be moved/repositioned if you renovate again later on. That solution did not fit my needs but I can see the appeal in a situation like yours, particularly if it's a well established and readily available line that would allow you to add and reconfigure with addtional matching cabinets a few years down the road.

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If you don't broil now, you likely won't start even with your fancy new range. I didn't bother with a warming drawer at the end of the day. I have two ovens as well. One mounted underneath my cooktop and one at the end of the island. I use one of those for warming if I really need it, which is almost never. Both my ovens are convection/conventional, and I love them.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Phaelon,

I agree that some decent cabinets can be arranged for (especially if you catch a sale as mentioned) from a large outlet that wholesales them.

The question on the particle board vs. plywood/hardwood is another matter. Anything made out of particle board here in my little part of the swamp will soon cease to be a board and quickly become a particle. We have to use wood ( plastic would be better, but not as esthetically pleasing :laugh: ) or we will soon have shelving and cabinetry that sloops in the middle and is basically useless because the hardware no longer fits the boards.

Vermint, on the other hand may not have the hunidity issue quite as badly as I do (hell, I don't think the rainforests of Borneo have a humidity problem like the Central Gulf Coast, where many of us average 55 plus inches of rainfall per year, and Mobile-only 90 miles away- is the wettest city in the US) as I believe that Raleigh Durham is a much drier climate and certainly has a cooler temp profile.

So maybe they would work for him.

There are always tradeoffs in quality, but my natural reaction when I see the word particle board is to run.

Incidentally, we actually found that several of our cabinet quotes from local guys were lower than Home Depot and Lowes. One of these guys had this cool trailer set up and pretty much built the cabinets for our bathrooms and some new interior doors right in the driveway. They were beautiful and fit and were hung perfectly. Still are. Some day I will get him to come back and reface the kitchen, but that will be 6 more years of Private school for two boys away. :blink::biggrin:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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My carpenter on this project is a cabinet maker. It won't cost him that much to fabricate something that will match (or, more likely, appropriately contrast with) the existing cabinets. I showed him the new design today, and I hope to get a price estimate soon. Of course, I really need to prepare a comprehensive spec sheet for him.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I was thinking of getting a 36 inch dual fuel range and one new wall oven.

Why would you get a dual fuel range and a separate wall oven (probably electric)? An all gas range would cost considerably less and give you flexibility of having a gas oven in the range and the separate electric wall oven.

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I was thinking of getting a 36 inch dual fuel range and one new wall oven.

Why would you get a dual fuel range and a separate wall oven (probably electric)? An all gas range would cost considerably less and give you flexibility of having a gas oven in the range and the separate electric wall oven.

Good point. Something to consider, eh?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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