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Remodelling an old, outdated kitchen can be one of the smartest reno jobs a homeowner can undertake. A kitchen renovation can conform to your family’s unique needs, provide a focal point for gatherings, while adding to your home’s market value.
But planning a kitchen renovation is more than just deciding where the stove goes. You need to consider workflow and traffic patterns that includes room to room and within the kitchen itself. You’ll also need to consider material and select fixtures, based on both form and function.
But costing out a kitchen renovation can be daunting and with the multitude of choices it’s hard to know what decisions will work best for both your family’s needs, and your budget. To help you make smarter choices, I’ve put together the Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide. In this five-part post, I’ll break down the components that go into a kitchen remodel—components that include: cabinets, appliances, counters & backsplash, sink/faucet/hardware and floors. I’ll start with cabinets, because that will be your biggest expense when it comes to material costs.
Cabinets can be your biggest expense, according to Houzz.com, accounting for up to 40% of your kitchen renovation budget (the next two costly contributors are appliances and countertops). Yet, the cost is justifiable. Cabinets set the stage for your kitchen remodel and cabinet quality and construction not only dictates price, but longevity and enjoyment.
Still, it’s daunting picking new cabinets. At one point in time, it was easy to tell the well-made from the cheap by examining how the cabinet drawers were constructed. A dovetail joint—where a portion of one side of the drawer is carved out and the other side is carved to fit the space exactly—used to be the distinguishing mark of high-end cabinetry, but not any more. These days mass-produced cabinetry can also use dovetail joints and some of these factory-produced options use shoddy construction, explains Consumerreports.org.
The key is to match your budget with the best product you can afford. To do this you’ll need to do a bit of research. Find out who manufactures the product and determine whether or not they’re known for good quality products (a quick Internet search should give you a clue). Also, consider if the cabinets come with a warranty and check to see what the warranty actually covers.
Keep in mind, though, that the new cabinets are more than a fresh face for your kitchen. Your cabinetry also serves an integral function. Cabinets create the frame of your kitchen and establish the overall structure of this overused, highly-loved room.
Prices range based on size of kitchen, type of wood (or other material) used to make the cabinet, and whether or not the cabinetry is off-the-shelf (aka: stock), semi-custom or custom. You will also pay different prices depending on the door material and style and the finish of your cabinets and doors.
To price out your ideal kitchen cabinets, let’s examine each facet:
Particleboard is a relatively inexpensive waste-wood product made by combining and heat pressing sawdust and resin (a glue-like substance that is heat and moisture resistant). Particleboard is most commonly used in lower-end furniture, sub-floor construction (the floor you put down before you install your finished floor product) and as a substrate for kitchen and bathroom countertops.
The advantage of particleboard is that it is relatively cheap, compared to other material options and can be milled with all power tools. However, particleboard does chip and break easily and it does not adapt well to moisture or humidity. If you buy cabinets made from particleboard you may want to verify that a layer of laminate or melamine has been added (to improve both the appearance and moisture resistance).
Medium-density fibreboard (MDF):
MDF is made using resin and small wood fibers, rather than wood dust. MDF is preferred by manufacturers of higher-end furniture, cabinetry and shelving because this panel-board is easier to mill than particleboard (because it resists chipping and tearing) and it can be shaped and molded by all power tools. Another advantage is that MDF does not warp or have adherence issues, likeparticleboard, making it easier to paint and repaint.
In fact, most custom kitchen manufacturers agree: MDF performs better than solid wood when it comes to cabinetry. It’s more stable than wood and stands up better to changes in heat and humidity. It’s more water-resistant than particleboard, making it a superior produce for kitchen and bathroom use.
A study conducted by D.C. Wong and R.A. Kozak, published in the “Forest Products Journal” in March 2008, revealed that furniture and cabinet producers across Canada considered MDF superior to particleboard in several respects.
Solid wood has many benefits: it’s strong, sturdy and beautiful in its grain. However, solid wood contracts when subjected to changes in heat and humidity. If these conditions aren’t carefully controlled, all-wood cabinets and doors will shrink, crack and even warp.
When you decide on cabinets you’ll need to choose between framed or frameless cabinets.
Framed cabinets have a box and a face frame, where doors and hinges are attached. Frameless—also known as European-style—skip the face frame and doors and drawers attach directly to the cabinet box. Frameless cabinets look more contemporary and many homeowners report that access to this cupboards is easier. However, the lack of a face frame can compromise the box rigidity. According to Consumer Reports, better manufacturers will compensate by using a thicker box (3/4-inch plywood instead of 1/2-inch particleboard, for example).
For a compromise, you can get the sleekier European look with framed cabinets by choosing a full-overlay door that covers all or most of the face frame.
Well-built cabinets have solid wood drawers with dovetail joinery. They’ll also have full-extension drawer guides not an integrated rail and the doors will have solid wood frames surrounding a solid wood or plywood panel.
Factory-made cabinets and lower-quality cabinets will have integrated rails (notches in the drawer, rather than a separate guide) and will use veneered particleboard or a medium density fiberboard (MDF) panel on the doors. These lower-quality cabinets will also glue and staple (known as pinning) drawer pieces together because it’s the least expensive method of assembling the pieces.
After you’ve selected the cabinet material, you’ll need to turn your attention to the finish. The finish is the design element that helps make your kitchen remodel your own creation and expression.
The materials used and the complexity involved in the application of the colour and finish has an impact on both the quality of the cabinet as well as the final price. To get the most for your money, consider the following:
Most cabinets will have a top or finish coat applied to them. Typically this is a lacquer or urethane, although factory-made semi-custom or off-the-shelf wood cabinets can also have a baked-on finish, called a catalytic conversion varnish. The key is to determine what type of finish is included, and how well this finish stands up to spill damage from acids, such as vinegar, or oils, such as Canola oil. Typically, factory finishes excel in their resistance of food spillage damage, while all other top coats range from good to excellent in resisting stains. For a great breakdown on the difference between top-coat options, go to theDIYNetwork.com.
Used on wood cabinets, the natural part of this finish refers to the fact that no toners, stains or paints have been applied to the wood. Instead, a simple top coat is applied to protect the wood’s natural beauty. A key to this type of finish is to remember that the lighter the stain, the more uniformity the final cabinet appearance will be; the darker the stain, the more inconsistencies and patterns will appear.
Stains range from light to dark and from opaque to almost transparent. The staining process involves applying the stain uniformly to the cabinet surface and wiping off the excess so that the desired colour saturation is achieved.
When choosing kitchen cabinets, remember that different materials and even different woods stain differently. For example, although medium-to-dark stains tend to look blotchy on maple-wood cabinets they get deeper, tend to shine more and have more consistent colour on cherry-wood cabinets.
The most common colours for painted kitchen cabinets are white and off-white. In fact, you can buy off-the-shelf, semi-custom and even custom kitchen cabinets in a white that matches white kitchen appliances.
If painting cabinets, be aware of how the material will accept the paint—particleboard absorbs a great deal so more paint is required, MDF is an excellent product to paint, as is wood, although the panels and doors will expand and contract with humidity and temperature changes.
As either a stand-alone or combined with natural, painted or stained finishes, speciality finishes have grown in variety and popularity over the years. Expect to pay more for these finishes, however, because of the additional labour involved.
1. Glaze finish
Glazes are great for adding accent colours to a primary finish. They are often used to highlight cabinet details, such as grooves and edges. A glaze finish comes in both a wet and dry look: The wet glaze is applied when the primary finish is still wet to alter the overall colour, while a dry glaze is applied after it is dried and is used to add a separate layer and dimension from the primary finish. You will also need to decide on what type of application technique you like: a brushed appearance, a pencil thin line of glaze, a heavy application, or a wiped look with rag marks.
2. Crackled or speckled finish
To get the crackled effect a chemical is applied to the paint finish before it dries. The result is a painted finish with an aged, worn appearance. To get a speckled effect, a different colour paint is splattered on the surface of the cabinet door in a random, speckled pattern.
4. Distressed finish
Distressing consists of adding imperfections to cabinet doors, such as worm holes, dings and dents, and uneven sanding (to give it the look of age). This can be done in isolation or it can be combined with other specialty finishes. The intended result is to give the cabinets an aged, antique look.
To appreciate how each element impacts the cost of new kitchen cabinets let’s create an imaginary kitchen that we want to remodel. According to Consumer Reports, a typical kitchen has 25 to 30 linear feet of cabinets, so we’ll assume an L-shaped space that includes 12-feet of cabinets on one wall and 8-feet of cabinets on another wall, as well as a 6-foot island. Based on these measurements we will need 26 linear feet of cabinetry.
BASIC STOCK ($59/LF +)
If you’re on a very tight budget, you’ll be limited to the very basic of kitchen cabinets. Found in big box hardware stores or at mass-market kitchen suppliers, such as Ikea, these off-the-shelf cabinets typically come in white, although you may find common darker finishes, such as Espresso-brown, for a tad more per linear foot.
At this price point, the cabinets and doors are made from particleboard and melamine—materials that tend to have a shorter lifespan than MDF or wood. The cabinet boxes and drawers will be glued and pinned and there will be few, if any, embellishments on the door.
A good example of this type of basic cabinetry is Ikea’s Haggeby line. Priced at $59/linear foot, the front is flat and featureless and the cabinets are constructed from particleboard and melamine. (Although Ikea does offer a 25-year limited warranty on their cabinets, just be sure to read the fine print.) For our 26LF kitchen you’d only pay $1,525 (before tax).
STOCK / OFF-THE-SHELF ($125/LF – $360+/LF)
This is bare-bones, simple cabinet that can be found in most big-box hardware stores and at mass-market kitchen supplies. It doesn’t include trim mouldings, customizable interiors or built-in features (such as waste baskets or pull-out pantries). Typically, the cheaper end of these cabinets will be constructed from a combination of wood and particleboard, while the pricier options will be a mix of MDF and wood. For 26LF at $125/LF, expect to pay $3,250 (before taxes). According, you’ll pay $360 or more per linear foot for better quality stock cabinetry, meaning we’ll pay closer to $9,360 for the cabinets in our kitchen remodel.
SEMI-CUSTOM ($200/LF – $450+/LF)
These cabinets use dovetail construction with hardwood and MDF throughout. Included are a few more decorative accents, such as crown mouldings and light rail moulding. The cabinets will also feature more customizable features, such as roll-out trays, built-in waste baskets, soft-close drawers and cabinets, tray dividers, and wine racks.
The cheapest semi-custom will cost about $200/SF (for a total cabinet cost of $5,200 for our kitchen remodel), but don’t be surprised if the price climbs to $450/LF (putting our kitchen cabinets at $11,700). Every customized cabinet—such as pull-out pantry drawers, or tray dividers—will add to the overall cost. The more detail you want, the more you will pay. According to Consumer Reports you’ll pay 20% more for specialty features. That said, there are useful features that can be worth this extra cost. These include: pull-out trash cans and built-in charging stations. Also appliance garages—a lift cabinet, with a spring-loaded shelf that swings up and out and offers easy access to your stand mixer or food processor—are also useful additions to remodelled kitchens.
CUSTOM ($500/LF – $1,200+/LF)
Want the ultimate in kitchens? Then go custom. In this price range you get glass door cabinets, in-cabinet lighting, large pull-out storage (often used as a built-in pantry or as a small appliance garage), customized corner cabinets (that maximize space), microwave cabinets as well as more elaborate customized storage (think display wine racks or more decorative range hood cabinets). For the cheapest custom you’ll pay out $13,000 for 26LF of cabinetry. For more specialized orders expect to pay $31,200 and up. And for the ultimate in customization—such as automatic cabinet door openers and drawer warmers—expect to pay $50,000 or more for your kitchen cabinets.
(For more information on how quality impacts cabinets, read the Kitchen-compare.com blog.)
Now, unless you have an unlimited budget, custom kitchen cabinets are probably a bit unnecessary. That doens’t mean you shouldn’t splurge, it just means you need to consider the overall cost based on your needs. For instance, if you live in a Heritage home, where space is limited, custom cabinets would be integral to getting you a kitchen that fits the space and decor, but offers more modern amenities. If, however, you’re renovating your inner-suburban 1970s home kitchen, you may be able to get away with stock or semi-custom and get the look you want at a fraction of the price. To get some inspiration, here’s an excellent example of how Ikea kitchens are used to create a custom look from stock shelving.
Which is your fav? I love them all but the Light Switch Key Holder is fantastic.
One solution might be the answer to all of your household problems — magnets! Prepare to stick it to ’em, because if you can put a magnet on it, it can get organized in a flash.
It seems like an impossible feat. A house without one bobby pin where it shouldn’t be? If you use bobby pins, you they end up all over the house, but no more! Apply magnetic tape to a convenient bathroom surface to find them easily in the morning and store them at night, thanks to the Superwoman blog.
Metal-topped beer and soda bottles can find a home on top of your fridge. Rather than knocking them over trying to fit new food in, give them a lift with bottleLoft magnets, or attach your own.
Organize bulkier makeup items in a cute and easy-to-find place by attaching magnet tape to your favorite eyeshadow palettes, brushes and foundations like weddingbee.com.
Never play Godzilla again! Spare your feet by using magnetic knife holders to attach your child’s Hot Wheels cars. Depending on the car’s materials, you may or may not need to stick additional magnets on the bottom, but these should make for easy, kid-friendly cleanup.
Skip the cabinet clutter with this spice rack by gardenbetty.com, which is simply a sheet of steel and air-tight containers with magnets on the bottom. How clever!
Don’t clutter your fridge. Instead, decorate a wall with your kids’ accomplishments. Cover a wall with sheet metal and attach that A+ paper, family reminders and greeting cards with a magnet like blogger 4men1lady.com.
Always losing your keys? Keep them in one place — on the last switch you turn off before leaving the house. Take off the cover, add your magnets and stick those keys!
Every girl needs her hair tyes and bobby pins, but they tend to clutter up the bathroom counter. Attach magnets to small containers, add your favorites inside and attach to a sheet of metal, which you can hang on the wall, in the cabinet or stand up by the mirror.
Store your spices in a stainless steel-topped jar and attach them below your cabinets with a magnetic knife strip. Genius and pretty!
Keep track of the kids’ daily tasks and accomplishments with these hangable chore charts from howdoesshe.com, made from a sheet of metal and ribbon.
Let the kids draw on the walls! We’re not crazy. This DIY magnet and chalkboard fromamomstake.com is two-in-one solution that’s perfect for home learning.
Attach a magnet on the back of a seasonal silk flower and on the back of your lampshade with this super smart idea from twelveoaksmanner.com. Attach the two together, and bam! You have a cute lampshade embellishment you can change with the seasons.
This is a quick craft you’ll want to dish about! Add magnets to the back of a pretty dish and use it to hold your sewing pins. No more need to fuss with a pin cushion, plus you can prevent pins from dropping on the floor.
When you’re working on a project, nothing is more aggravating than losing that screw youjust had. This DIY magnetic wristband from instructables.com is the cure to all of your working woes.
What other item can do so many things around the house? Get on the magnet bandwagon, because they’re about to save you a lot of time and stress when organizing your home.
These are the items that are worth finding space for in a new home.
By Lindsey Campbell
When you’re packing to move or making over a room, it’s the perfect time to take a hard look at all your stuff — and purge. Just be careful how trash happy you get with these few things.
1. Family heirlooms
Evaluate what you have and ask yourself which ones are meaningful to you and your family now, says Jodie Watson, an organizing expert and owner of Supreme Organization. “These are the ones to keep and take with you to your new home,” she says.
2. Electronics of any sort
Hold on to them until you’ve completely wiped out all your personal information. “I can’t tell you the number of people who go on massive de-cluttering binges and don’t take the time to clear all their personal information,” warns Geralin Thomas, a professional organizer and owner of Metropolitan Organizing who has also worked on A&E’s Hoarders.
“You may need to digitize these, but you don’t want to lose them,” says Barbara Reich, a professional organizer.
4. Important paperwork
When it’s time to clean out or pack up a house, let go of as much paper as possible, says Reich. But look out for important stuff like birth and death records, marriage licenses, social security cards, retirement documents, medical records, insurance policies, and more that might be mixed into a pile headed for the recycling.
5. A landline phone
You never know when your cell phone’s battery or service might go dead. “Keep at least one,” says Thomas.
“You have obviously enjoyed collecting these items, so select the few items that you value above all the rest,” says Watson. Whether it be dolls or decorative glassware, it’s better to display and enjoy a few than to have the whole collection boxed away in storage.
7. Fine jewelry AND the boxes they came in
“Having a piece of jewelry in it’s original box adds value when reselling it and keeps the piece of jewelry in mint condition,” says Thomas.
8. Extra kitchen and bathroom supplies
Only keep what you need and use from the kitchen, like pots and pans, a good quality chef’s knife, a spatula, a wooden spoon, countertop appliances you use a lot like a blender, and crucial linens. “If you have duplicates, you can donate them, but make sure you have the basics with you,” says Reich. And the bathroom? “You should bring two sets of sheets per bed (one on the bed, one to change) and four towels per person,” she says.
9. Decorative and sentimental items that bring back precious memories
Hold on to things like a lock of hair from your child’s first haircut or the medal you won for running a marathon, says Reich. “These are items that you would not be able to replace,” adds Watson.
10. Emergency supplies
A radio, batteries, a flashlight, and a first aid kit should all be on hand when you move into a new home, advises Reich. “And if you don’t have emergency supplies, now is the time to get them!”
11. Tags from expensive handbags
“If you ever are consigning them, tags will help you prove authenticity and bring a much better price,” explains Thomas.
12. Medication and toiletries that haven’t expired yet
Replacing these can be expensive. “Medication taken daily should be kept with you during the move,” warns Reich.
How do you tell what is TRULY meaningful?
Watson says this is her favorite trick: “In any given category, like artwork, ask this question, ‘If I could only take three pieces with me, which three would they be?’ With books, the question might be, ‘If I can only take 20 with me, which 20 would they be?’ This will help you discover the items that are the musts to take with you; the rest is negotiable.”
Impeccably maintained, spacious + sunny 4 bed in Coveted River Oaks on a very quiet crescent. Eat-in Kitchen with granite, SS Appliances+loads of storage. Great entertaining space in the LR + DR plus a Family Room with cozy Fire Place.Main floor has lovely HardWood. Second floor boasts good sized bedrooms +updated bathrooms. Master retreat has large Walk-in Closet.Finished basement completes this great home with a huge Family Room, additional Bedroom, 3 piece bath and lots of storage. Private west-facing big pie-lot is fully fenced. Walk to 2 Top schools, parks, shops, Rec Centre +transit . Minutes to all Hiways + GO. Wind’15, Furnace + AC 4 years…Come see for yourself.
Before you attempt any other principles, feng shui asks that you de-clutter your space, since excess tchotchkes can block the natural flow of energy. They’re onto something, because clutter often makes us feel overwhelmed. Purge overstuffed drawers and minimize decorative items to create a clutter-free and chi-centric space. Image courtesy of designsponge.com
Feng shui sees your front door as an opening for both people and opportunities, so asks that nothing block it from opening. Tidy up your entryway, keeping shoes off to the side and umbrellas neatly stacked, to encourage the flow of positive energy in and out of your home. Image courtesy ofdecorpad.com
While we’re accustomed to having two chairs at the head of the table, feng shui suggests that this creates imbalance. All dining room chairs should make the people who sit in them feel like equals. Image courtesy of myscandinavianhome.com
Keep the outside of your home welcoming, but not over ornamented. A welcome mat and a couple trees should do the trick – but anything more can disrupt the flow of chi from entering your home. Image courtesy of comeoversunday.blogspot.ca
Your bed should be the main event in your bedroom. Feng shui suggests propping it against a solid interior wall. If that’s not possible, place it beside a door or window, but never under a window. Also try to avoid under-the-bed storage as it disrupts the flow of chi from moving freely. Image courtesy of c-home.com
Organize your shoes so that they’re facing forward and out into the world. This is said to channel progress. Image courtesy of ariannabelle.com
Feng shui sees your bedroom as a sanctuary meant for sleep and romantic connections. As such, no photos should be kept in your bedroom, unless they’re of you and your significant other. Also, avoid keeping books and mirrors in your bedroom as they encourage too much energy and thought. Remember, this room is a place of rest! Image courtesy of theglitterguide.com
When decorating, balance your home with the five principles of feng shui: earth, fire, water, wood and metal. Each element promotes something different: wood is for growth and good health, fire is for creativity, metal provides strength and focus, water is about wealth and abundance, and earth generates nourishment and knowledge. Image courtesy of thatkindofwoman.com
Relegate your family photos to one section of your home. It will bring goodwill, promote the natural flow of chi and create a nice reminder of the ones you love! Image courtesy of cocokelley.com
Country Living Mag
By Ashley Niedringhaus
Counter space is some of the most precious real estate in your entire house. Not only do you need room to cook, but often counters act as extra storage for everyday tools and ingredients. Here’s how to stretch every inch out of them, while creating a kitchen that look stylish, too.
1. Choose pretty canisters.
If you’re an avid baker who enjoys having easy access to her sugars and flours (or a stretched-thin mom who needs to be able grab Cheerios, stat), it’s OK to devote some counter space to non-perishables. But leaving them in their original packaging is just asking for a cluttered look. Joan at For the Love of a House decanted ingredients into elegant glass jars for an airy feeling, but opaque stainless canisters (like these) can lend themselves to a look that’s even more tidy.
2. Group like items to create a cohesive, intentional feel.
Marian at Miss Mustard Seed practices smart storage and clever design by layering cutting boards against her backsplash, and using a pretty white serving tray to corral large utensils, spices, and olive oil. When you’d prefer to devote a portion of your counter to tools you grab often, a tray can magically take the space from busy to neatly decorated.
3. Treat your drawers to some helpful organizers.
When counter space is limited, make drawers and cabinets more useful (and more enticing to use), by souping them up with clever storage solutions. Items like an in-drawer knife block or spice rack can find a new, helpful spot for stuff that previously only lived on the counter. They’ll still be easy to grab, but you’ll free up much-needed prep space.
4. Try a towel bar.
This simple solution takes major advantage of a portion of your counters you probably rarely consider: the sides. Janette, the blogger behind The 2 Seasons, shows that installing this bathroom staple is easy, and with a few S-hooks, it’s the perfect for hanging pots and pans (which look quite lovely displayed this way, too). Bonus: The bars come in a wide range of finishes so matching your décor is a snap.
5. Park a cake stand by the sink.
In a totally genius move, blogger Liz Marie elevated sink-side soaps and dishrags onto a cake stand (with a cute bin, to boot!). The stand adds a pretty touch, and makes the counter double-decker, so cleaners aren’t always in the way.
6. Choose a cute toaster.
Storing appliances you use every day can be a big pain, so if you must devote counter space to a blender or toaster oven, make sure it’s one you like looking at. If it’s got a pleasing color or shape, you’ll be more likely to keep it (and its surrounding area) clean and tidy.
7. And pick utensils to match.
While you’re at it, if you store ladles, spatulas, and other tools in a canister near the stove, choose versions that look good in a group to create a put-together feel, even when they’re not. Bonus points if you can get your favorite tools to also match your countertop appliances; there’s nothing that says “neat and stylish” quite like monochrome.
8. Make your backsplash work harder.
Magnetic knife holders aren’t a new idea, but don’t discount their sleek design as well as their storage sense. A repurposed curtain rod or towel bar can hold and display your graphic mugs and towels (like Anna did at Door Sixteen). Or, go all out and fill your backsplash with pegboard, for a crafty-chic look that doubles as super-flexible storage.
TELL US: How do you squeeze extra space out of your kitchen?
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