Our Fixer Upper Home

Tips to save big on your kitchen renovation

kitchenrenovationA year ago, my husband and I closed on our first home together. We had been house hunting for several months and in the tough Nashville housing market, getting a move-in-ready house in our price range was nearly impossible. Instead, my husband (who thank God is handy) and me loving a good DIY project more than most, opted for this ranch home that was truly the definition of a fixer upper. The kitchen floors were so worn that the subflooring was showing through the vinyl. The stovetop range was conveniently placed above the dishwasher (what?!). I’m pretty positive the stove was from the 1980’s and the configuration was just ALL wrong. We knew we were going to be removing the wall between the kitchen and living room to give us the open floor plan we wanted, which required building a box beam for the load bearing wall (more on that, later). I love finding a good bargain, and knew that with a baby on the way (yes, we totally gutted a home while I was pregnant) I wanted to save as much as we could, while not sacrificing style and getting a beautiful kitchen that I always wanted. The end result? Complete success! We spent probably around $5,000 to completely gut and renovate our kitchen. How, you ask? Below are my top 5 tips on how we renovated a kitchen on a budget, doing the work ourselves.

1. Buy Used Appliances: I know, I know, we all want the newest, shiniest don’t we? I found our dishwasher, gas range/oven, and over the range microwave for $500 on Craigslist. My theory is that when you buy a home, the appliances in it are used already, so why does it matter if you buy ones that are used to update your kitchen? I think we will be buying a dishwasher replacement in the next few years that’s a bit quieter, but all 3 are Fridgidaire or Kenmore and work perfectly!

2. Unfinished Oak Cabinets: This tip may be more of an “at your own risk” tip. We purchased unfinished oak cabinets from Home Depot, created the layout with their kitchen designer, and thought we’d save a few bucks by painting them ourselves. What we didn’t take into consideration is the amount of TIME it would take to get the look I wanted. And that I’d be 7 months pregnant painting cabinets.  Would I do it again? No way. I’ll post later on how to paint unfinished oak cabinets (at least how I did it).  We got all 17 upper and lower cabinets on a holiday weekend (extra % off) for $1,400.

3. Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Oh my gosh, where do I start on how much I LOVE the ReStore? I was involved with Habitat for Humanity in college, so I already love their mission. We were able to find our undermount sink BRAND NEW at our local Nashville Habitat ReStore. A $300+ sink for $50…say what?! Score 1 for the Knaak’s.

4. Countertops From Local Stores: New countertops are a big ticket item when it comes to a home renovation. I had heard horror stories of people buying counters from big box stores, so we wanted to choose a local company. We got ours in the Nashville area through MC Granite and we got excellent service and a great price! We went with Santa Cecilia Light because we loved the flicks of deep purple. It’s been a great choice for our kitchen.

5. Online Deal Sites: My husband chose our sink faucet and at first, I wasn’t sure about having the industrial look faucet. Now, I love it. For lighting over the island, I wanted something that had the Edison lighbulbs in them. We got both the hanging lights over the island and the faucet from Wayfair. Great prices, just be sure to read product reviews before purchasing. For the cabinet hardware, I compared prices from Lowes, Home Depot, and Amazon. I found these awesome oil rubbed bronze drawer pulls and knobs on Amazon, and we had a gift card that we applied toward the purchase of them so out of pocket we paid only about $15.


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