Small Updates but Big Changes for your Kitchen
For the home and design issue this month, I decided to enlist the help of my good friend, professional designer Mary Kirby, for some advice on how to do some simple home kitchen renovations at a reasonable cost.
Throughout my real estate career, I have helped Mary buy and sell multiple properties in the area. Witnessing her transformation of each of them has been incredible. Here are some of Mary’s recommendations to make your new kitchen pop for a fraction of the cost of a complete overhaul.
If you have ever been mid-mental-celebration because you have finally just crossed the finish-line, written your checks, and closed on what will be your dream house, but your elation is interrupted with calculations of renovation costs, NEVER FEAR—you can do this! Whether you are handy DIYer or you have a friend of a friend, who has a cousin, who knows a carpenter, you can give the heart of the house—the kitchen, of course—a little love without succumbing to a full-blown gut renovation. Chances are your kitchen is just outdated, possibly a little dingy, and “has a face for radio.” These easy fixes can give it a boost in fast order.
Unless falling apart, most cabinets can be brought to life with a good scrub, sand, heavy duty primer, and white paint. The primer should be a stain-blocking, high-hide, bonding primer. Try Zinsser or BIN. I like a warm white paint on furniture and cabinetry. Two great colors are “Simply White” by Benjamin Moore for a crisp, warm white and “Swiss Coffee” by Benjamin Moore for a more creamy feel.
Top your new white cabinets with a 2” solid butcher block. Butcher block is a great option for so many reasons. It’s a solid surface that can stand the test of time and gets better with age and use. You can re-sand, seal, and re-finish when it’s looking a bit beat up. It’s less expensive than quartz, stone, or granite options. The wood tones really warm up a space. And, there’s no need for field-measuring and waiting—it’s typically a stock item from Home Depot or Lumber Liquidators.
Replace your cabinet hardware with matte-black pulls and knobs for a more industrial vibe or brushed brass for a traditional feel.
Drop a white cast iron sink, like a Kohler Mayfield 25” Drop-in, into your new butcher block top. While you don’t need to match hardware finishes, make sure the finish you select for your new faucet (with a pull-down head for easy cleaning) works with your updated hardware. I personally love mixing brass and black in a kitchen, so if you can’t decide what your style is, do both!
Lastly, get a light fixture that you love. Daunting as it may seem, changing out surface-mounted light fixtures is really straightforward and can make a big impact. There are many great, inexpensive options out there. I always advise clients to set their budget at a number that if, in a year from now, they are over it, they don’t feel guilty about a replacement. This is your opportunity to get wild, fun, and funky!
For your standard 10’x10’ kitchen, you can get all of the above materials for around $1400. So stop staring at your olive-green Formica countertops, and start doing some home improvement!