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Monday, April 05, 2010

Home Work

Now a post about "home work" ... no, not the boring kind that they give you in school, but real work to be done around the home! =) Over the weekend, Jojo and I met with some contractors to discuss our plans to renovate our kitchen. FYI, our kitchen is still in pretty good condition and there are no major problems that need to be addressed. The changes we want to do are purely cosmetic since our kitchen could stand to be updated. Before the contractors came, we discussed that we wanted the cabinets to be either re-surfaced or re-faced, the white tile countertops be changed to something more practical, attractive and durable, the walls repainted, and the flooring to be changed (it is now a bright white and we want a more mellow color). We didn't really have a budget in mind since we weren't really sure how much the renovation would cost but we figured something in between $8-10K was fair.

I had contacted several contractors so we could get different opinions and suggestions. Also, I thought that having a couple of bids would help us get a fair price. Last Saturday we had two contractors come visit. At 11 AM, Maru (an interesting man from Jordan) stopped by and at 2 PM, Alexio (a creative Italian) was here. Both of them agreed right off the bat that our kitchen was in good shape. They both said they have been to homes where the kitchen floors were damaged, cabinets were warped and countertops were scratched or burned. Ours was still well maintained and still looked good. The goals then was to modernize the look of the kitchen.

Both contractor's agreed that refacing the cabinets (rather than ordering brand new ones) would work. This means either re-painting or re-varnishing the existing wood and just changing the hinges and hardware. For the countertops, they both suggested granite or Caesar stone with 6-inch backsplashes. They also recommended re-painting the walls and removing the existing border I have on the walls. Lastly, the floor could be replaced with a stone/slate type material. No major changes. Also, both contractors said it would take 1-2 weeks to complete.

Here's the clincher: THE PRICE. Maru quoted $8,900 for the cabinets and countertops, $1,000 for painting and removing the border, and an additional $5,000 for a new floor. Alexio was not much different. He quoted $10,000 for cabinets and countertops, $800 for painting, and $5-6,000 for the floor. This does not include our buying a new sink which would be around $200-300 and a new light fixture which would be another $200-300. Also, they had suggested getting a new dishwasher (our existing one came with the house and does not match our newer appliances). A new dishwasher would run us another $400-500. We were also warned that costs could still go up depending on what comes up during construction. So all in all we are looking at spending AT LEAST $16-18,000! Whoa! We were told that materials cost only 15-20% and the bulk of the bill is really the labor. And as we all know, labor is not cheap in America!

We were a bit taken aback. Maru and Alexio both said their companies could help us with a financing plan. That means we can pay in installments but with interest. No way! My dad was a firm believer in never paying for anything this way. He has taught us that it is never a good idea to spend money you don't have yet. And that we should just get/buy what we want/need when we can afford to pay for it. So, for now, we have to postpone our plans to renovate. We can still live with our kitchen for another year or two. Who knows, by then maybe Jojo and I will pick up some construction skills and can do some of the work ourselves!?

3 comments:

mom said...

I think your kitchen is very pretty and functional the way it is. But if you really want to upgrade it I also agree with you that it is best to save for it and make the move only when you have the means. Cheer up! A little patience and wise spending will always bear good results.

leslie ty said...

i love your kitchen Jo...I don't think you need to renovate it just yet =)

Auntie Lillian said...

I agree with the two comments - your kitchen looks fine and very functional. Its the labor cost that is too high here in the States - you would think it would be lower since there is not much construction going on. I have heard people say you almost have to give a 50% allowance for overruns. Just like you - we wish we are talented with our hands. I did paint my kitchen baseboard - if that counts for anything.( Haha)