How we created a new kitchen for under $4,000

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How we created a new kitchen for under $4,000
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Kitchen Before

My husband and I bought my grandmother's home six years ago, shortly after she passed away. The kitchen was tiny -- really tiny -- and for two people who love to cook, that was a big problem. We also had newborn twin daughters at the time, so remodeling was out of the question for several reasons: We were in no financial position to incur the cost of new cabinets, new appliances, and the building materials required; we didn't want to be without a working kitchen while we were just getting used to being parents; and expanding the kitchen would mean taking away the playroom, which we knew we would desperately need in the years to come. So we waited. And waited. And waited.

In the past six years, two of those factors changed. We consolidated the girls' playroom with their bedrooms and no longer needed that space near the kitchen. Also, at age 6, our girls became more flexible in their eating and overall living habits. One thing that didn't change: our tight budget. So the kitchen remodel remained on hold -- until a few months ago when my husband looked on Craigslist for a garage door. His search brought up used cabinets that happened to be in the exact formation we had always talked about utilizing. It was a sign. The day after Christmas 2012, the wall between the existing kitchen and the playroom came crashing down and 10 days later I had a beautiful new kitchen for under $4,000. Here are some ways that we saved money to make this project fit our budget.

Cabinetry can be one of the most costly expenses with any kitchen remodel. The used cabinets we found had been in a store for demo purposes. The whole set cost us $1,200. With a little wood putty, some paint, and a Magic Eraser, we were able to make our cabinets look brand new.

Sure, I wanted stainless steel appliances, but the white and black appliances were on average hundreds of dollars cheaper per appliance. Ultimately, we decided to keep our old white refrigerator and plan to upgrade with our next tax return.

I was not going to put granite countertops onto $1,200 cabinets. So, we bought already-made laminate pieces that my husband simply cut and nailed into place.

Many big box stores will feature ceramic tile that is either being discontinued or discounted for another reason. We bought beautiful, high-end tile for only $.80 per square foot.

We also did the work ourselves. Yes, in full disclosure my husband is a carpenter. But many of our friends are not, and with the right guidance, they have done many household jobs themselves. Laying tile can be learned and so can hanging cabinets. Pull up YouTube and watch some tutorials.

Our kitchen is warm and inviting now, and our girls are part of the food dialogue in our home, instead of always being shooed out of the cramped space.

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