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We inherited my grandmother’s small house, and it subsequently had a large addition added on to it before we actually took possession 20+ years later. That’s a long boring story that we can just skip. Anyway, once we finally were ready to move “back home” and into our house, it needed a lot of work. And we have done a lot of work. In this post, I’ll focus on the kitchen, though the remodeling project included more than just the kitchen. I do have some tips to share that we learned along the way.
Tip #1: Remodeling costs more than you think.
We planned for some extras that we really wanted, and did our homework before we started so we’d have a good idea of how much it would cost. That sentence makes me laugh now because we truly had no idea. I won’t tell you (honestly I don’t know) how much we went over our original budget. However, you don’t have to go over budget if you’re disciplined and plan better than we did. Lots better. Infinitely better. We did spend less on a few things than we planned for, but that didn’t make up for the areas where we spent more. Not even close.
Tip #2: You can have the items you really want if you are willing to look for deals and do your homework.
I was insistent that I wanted a 60″ Viking professional range. That was non-negotiable. So in our little spreadsheet, we budgeted the cost of a new one. I found one on eBay (yikes!) for less than half of the new price. Yes, I said eBay. It was used. It weighed over 800 lbs and had to be shipped from California to Texas. And it had to be converted from natural gas to propane. That was a hard purchase for me to make because I was afraid that the transaction would not turn out well. The seller kept us informed every step of the way and we received it from the freight company. But then we had to wait several months with it sitting in the garage because the room wasn’t ready for it. But it works well, and we love it. It was one of the best purchases we made.
Tip #3: Adding propane to an all electric house may not cost prohibitive, but it’s damn close.
See that stove up there? It is not electric. There was no gas in this house, propane or otherwise. Everything was electric and I hate cooking on an electric stove. Hate it. HATE it. Well, the original builder of this house (my uncle) told me that adding propane would be cost prohibitive. He said this with a chuckle that said, “Oh you are an idiot.” Well, we did it, but it is one of the things that seriously contributed to our going over budget. We had to dig trenches, that required a tractor implement that George had to buy (what a tragedy). And yes, I’m probably an idiot. That’s okay, because I now have my Viking gas range.
Tip #4: Removing load-bearing walls is possible, but it ain’t cheap.
This is another subject that amused my uncle, the builder. I’m sure he thought, “I have contributing to raising a complete moron.” He made it clear that this too was an unreasonable expectation. Well, we removed two load-bearing walls in the course of remodeling. The ceiling hasn’t collapsed. But we had a friend who owns a company with extensive knowledge and experience in this area. Thankfully, they were available and willing to take on the job.
Tip #5: You need nugget ice (AKA Sonic ice) in your kitchen. You just do.
A Scotsman nugget ice maker was on my list of must haves. But they are spendy (I am aware that’s not a proper word). Well refer back to tip #2. Keep looking. I managed to find a brand new one someone had bought and returned because it didn’t fit in their kitchen for about half the price. It works perfectly and we use it constantly. Ice cubes? No thanks!
Tip #6: Remodeling will take longer than expected.
We started this remodel in January of 2015. It’s now August of 2017. We are not quite finished, though we just completed the last big project. At least until we think of something else. We have lots of touch-ups and finishing work to do, but the big stuff is done – for now. Part of the reason it took so long is because it went so over budget. But you know, now that it’s all coming together, it doesn’t seem like it has been that bad. And remember we were doing much more than just the kitchen. More posts about everything else will be added soon, as well as some before and after pictures.
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