Author Topic: Should I remodel my kitchen?  (Read 11503 times)

KittyWrestler

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Should I remodel my kitchen?
« on: May 22, 2012, 02:38:16 PM »
So Mr. and Mrs KittyWrestler have worked really hard to stay out of the consumer debt, acquiring a ton of investments, bought home in good school district for their kids and still managed to have some 6 figure reserve money set aside in the banks. Recently a sale of an investment brought in extra $25K they didn't anticipate. BTW, they are in their mid 30's.

Now, Mrs KittyWrestler wants to renovate that 20 year old kitchen. Appliances are falling apart, dishwasher is shaking the entire floor when it runs. Fridge is sucking up energy and making loud noise.. The most disgusting part is the counter-top. It's the 6x6 white bathroom tiles with grout that Mrs.KittyWrestler tried to clean everyday and still lost battle to the coffee grinds, juice stain here and there..

The project will cost over $10K to buy new appliances and put down granite. Mrs Kittywrestler wants to for once in the life spend some money to get the kitchen back in order. After all, the family spends 80% time gathering in kitchen and Mrs. Kittywrestler cooks  meal every day.

Should Mrs. KittyWrestler remodel the kitchen before paying off the mortgage? What would you do in this situation?

grantmeaname

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 03:21:31 PM »
It sounds like remodeling is important to Mrs. Wrestler, and paying down the mortgages is important to Mr. Wrestler. But what if you could both get what you wanted?

It's a no-brainer that you should DIY all the remodeling if you are trying to do so cheaply. But there are a couple of other ways to trim the budget that you may not have thought of. Find a used building materials store (e.g., HfH's ReStore) and keep an eye on the granite, Corian, and laminate countertops that come in and fit your space needs for something nice that matches your decor. Buy a nice, quiet fridge on craigslist or the used building materials store; the one I was volunteering at even had beautiful electric flat top ranges for dirt cheap prices. Buy inexpensive snap-together laminate or vinyl flooring, or big diagonal tiles (which a handful of the women on this forum swear by =D) and install it yourself. Beautiful kitchen for dirt cheap? What's not to love?

It's very hard to remodel and increase the value of the house faster than you're spending money, but if you DIY and use factory seconds or used materials, you may even have put the kitchen money to greater use building equity than the portion that went straight into the mortgage!

jpo

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 03:34:46 PM »
Do it, I believe in another post you said you were going to be living in that house for some ~18+ years? If you have the means, make it how you like it.

KittyWrestler

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 03:43:54 PM »
Do it, I believe in another post you said you were going to be living in that house for some ~18+ years? If you have the means, make it how you like it.

LOL yeah, I am staying put here not moving anywhere. Heck, I may even die in this house..
I have never spent a dime on the places I ever lived in. I am so tempted to finally do it for me, and my family...

AJ

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 05:27:48 PM »
My advice comes with the giant caveat that you can do whatever you want with your own money.

That being said, if it were me, I would DIY some nice laminate countertops and get some new-to-you appliances off Craigslist. You can re-do a kitchen and make it look nice and presentable (and sanitary) without making it a DREAM kitchen. IMO, laminate is more practical anyway because it doesn't require the high levels of care and is 1/10th the cost.

Then, after the mortgage is paid (or whatever your own personal milestones are) save up and reno your dream kitchen. Kitchens become outdated after 20 years anyway, so if you do live there forever this won't be the only remodel you do (depending on your age, I guess). Keep that in mind. It s easy to say "oh, its just this one time, so let's go all out", but that isn't realistic. Even if you could live with outdated styling, your appliances will need to be replaced eventually.

kolorado

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 05:57:40 PM »
I vote for fixing the kitchen but doing it for less. Barely used appliances and cabinets can be found on CL or on Facebook swap groups for a fraction of new. I would nix the granite countertops. It's a trendy, "look I'm rich" item that doesn't do anything other countertops can't do but costs a whole lot more. I think the majority are installed when someone wants to sell their house because they look high end and give the impression that everything in the house will be high end. You don't intend to recoup any money from the installation and are just planning on the change for your own use so function is supreme. There is also maintenance involved with stone products: sealing, immediate wiping of all spills-even water-, specialized cleaning products,etc. It could turn out to be a huge pain and it will show age just like any other countertop. Just read some message boards about people who've actually installed and lived with them. Be sure that the product you pick fits your needs, not the wants.
I've lived in two houses in my adult life. The old place we just moved from had an ancient gas stove, aging dishwasher, warped and hideous counters, leaking glue and beyond horrible layout. We never put any real money into it because there was no way to fix the layout without structural changes to walls/windows/doors. If that wasn't an issue I would have spent the $5K or so to get it a pleasure to work in(nothing fancy, just functional and easier to maintain). Our rental here has a 9X9 foot U shaped kitchen from the 80's. The  cabinets are in poor condition but the layout makes up for the sad cabinets. I finally have a kitchen that I can easily work in and maintain. We've been here a month and have already had 4 dinner parties. That's more than we had all last year at our old house.
If you/SO truly love to cook and use it as a means to save money or enrich your life then I think it's worth fixing it now. I'd personally rather have a workable kitchen than a couple of nice vacations. That's about the same cost and you'll get daily pleasure from a good kitchen.

Bethany J

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 08:34:13 PM »
I might be the only one, but I think you should go for it! The fact that I am planning a kitchen remodel myself may have something to do with it ;) Our house is paid off, but before we paid if off this year, we re-did our 25 year old bathroom. It had wall to wall carpet if that gives you any idea what it was like. Spent around $15K for new tile, granite, vanity, shower, etc and we love it. It was worth the money and recouping the money on resale has nothing to do with it. The feeling you get looking at something you love and enjoying it everyday has a value. Why must everything be used, do it yourself, lesser grade, etc?

bogart

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 09:03:46 PM »
We remodeled the entire front half of our house, comparatively little of it DIY (relative to, well, everything else), including the kitchen, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Our house is so much more pleasant to live in (and I say this as someone who is not the least bit house proud and very focused on functionality).  I put a ton of effort into thinking how the kitchen would work ... we expanded it a lot (basically combined a galley kitchen and a former dining room into a single large kitchen), and I put a lot of thought into how to keep the best features of the galley (all work items close by) while also getting the benefits of space.  I love it.

We did finish our kitchen counter (and island, which is really a bar as it's built into the wall between kitchen and living room) ourselves, with big ceramic tiles and the tiniest grout lines we could squeeze in between them.  I love it.  You can put anything (hot) down anywhere and not worry about damage.  It's been a few years, but if memory serves, it ran us $2/square foot.

smedleyb

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 10:43:11 PM »
If by remodel you mean new counter tops and appliances, I say go for it -- just avoid black granite.  Ours always looks dirty!

trammatic

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 07:27:17 AM »
I'd also say to avoid the current style fads...the ReStore idea is a good one.  Figure out what you *want* in a new kitchen and then do that for the most reasonable way possible.

KittyWrestler

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 08:50:01 AM »
Thank you guys!!!! I am re-thinking the granite option obviously.. Yeah, I still carpet in all of my baths including the half guest bath. Totally gross!! I may just save the money from the kitchen project and tile the bath floors ourselves.

One commenter is right. People do granite to sell the house. After flipping two houses with that approach, it does work. People saw granite in kitchen and just went dancing. "honey I wanna buy this house. It has GRANITE!!".

This time, we are doing it for us.. do I really need it? Not really, it's the thick grout I hate.. and the thin cracked up bathroom tile on my countertop that I hate so much..

So many thx to all of you who chip in the ideas.. I am going to see if I can get the kitchen done with .. say 6K and buy some tiles and have my hubby to tile the bathroom floors!

arebelspy

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 08:57:16 AM »
Cool, sounds awesome KW.

Make sure you get us some before and after pictures!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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AJ

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 10:25:45 AM »
It had wall to wall carpet if that gives you any idea what it was like.

Yeah, I still carpet in all of my baths including the half guest bath. Totally gross!!

Carpet in bathrooms?!?!? That sounds so...off-putting...

KittyWrestler

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2012, 10:47:50 AM »
It had wall to wall carpet if that gives you any idea what it was like.

Yeah, I still carpet in all of my baths including the half guest bath. Totally gross!!

Carpet in bathrooms?!?!? That sounds so...off-putting...

It's awful.. I can't put words into it.. but at least the toilet still works so I can't complain.. See, this is the side effort of being frugal. Every penny spent on ourselves is a struggle. We put off, put off, put off.. same time, stash millions and set aside.. Saving/investing become a mad game and now I am having a hard time to spend!

gooki

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 03:00:42 AM »
It had wall to wall carpet if that gives you any idea what it was like.

Yeah, I still carpet in all of my baths including the half guest bath. Totally gross!!

Carpet in bathrooms?!?!? That sounds so...off-putting...

It's awful.. I can't put words into it.. but at least the toilet still works so I can't complain.. See, this is the side effort of being frugal. Every penny spent on ourselves is a struggle. We put off, put off, put off.. same time, stash millions and set aside.. Saving/investing become a mad game and now I am having a hard time to spend!

Sounds like our place when we first bought it. I've no regrets renovating our bathroom and kitchen. But we did it on the cheap for a couple of reasons.

- We weren't planning to stay in this house a long time
- The house and neighbourhood doesn't warrant spending a lot on the property, as buyers demanding granite bench tops wouldn't be buying in this area.
- We still had a mortgage

So if your reno is going to add equal capital value, and you have the money, and you've weighed up the opportunity cost, I say go for it.

Sunflower

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 03:24:12 PM »
Because so much of this discussion has revolved around counter tops, you might find this interesting: http://www.thekitchn.com/categories/countertops

MooreBonds

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2012, 06:28:59 PM »
Some suggestions from someone who recently remodeled the kitchen in his 50 year old house (which hadn't been previously updated in probably 30 years):

Appliances - while I love Craigslist for great deals, when it comes to appliances, I feel better having that brand-new condition and the warranty. My solution? Sears Outlet (as well as other scratch-n-dent places). You can get brand new appliances with a warranty for anywhere from 20% to 70% off! I scored my dual-fuel range from Sears Outlet over their Labor Day sale 1 1/2 years ago for $750. Brand-new price? $2,200. It was the closet-out model, and had been purchased/returned (but clearly not used). They have tons of deals on everything....and like I said, check out the internet for local scratch-n-dent places that buy them by the truckload at low prices. Some have bigger flaws than others, but you can find some great deals for never used appliances.

There are also some great deals online for everything from exhaust hoods to handle pulls - I found my hood for just $600, from some place in NY. Sleek contemporary design with black curved glass. And when it comes to handle pulls, you'd be surprised how cheaply you can find those nice looking pulls that run $5 each even at places like Lowe's!

Countertops - I found my granite from a local place that buys imperfect full slabs that get damaged in shipment as well as remnant slabs. As a result, you don't have the full square footage available....but I wanted a 2-tone look anyway (island with one color, wall countertops another color). This worked perfect with this dealer, who sold me my 3cm granite for about $40/sq ft installed (including sink cutout, half bullnose edge). Also, the mainstream granite places might have some remant pieces available at a lower cost if you wanted to do a 2 color pattern.


strider3700

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2012, 10:42:27 PM »
The energy savings in a new or very close to new energy efficient fridge is usually worth it over buying a good 5+ year old fridge.   They have really come along ways in the last few years.  As always do your homework and work out the math.  Energy efficiency of a fridge has almost no effect on the final price with some of the most expensive being some of the worst electricity hogs.

darkelenchus

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2012, 06:40:13 AM »
Sears Outlet (as well as other scratch-n-dent places). You can get brand new appliances with a warranty for anywhere from 20% to 70% off!

Seconded. Sears Outlet is a great place for deals. We got an Energystar refrigerator (25% better than federal standard) from a Sears Outlet last year. It was brand new, with a barely visible, tiny scratch at the bottom. We paid $350. It was going for $800 new.

mm1970

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2012, 07:45:19 AM »
I add my vote to "doing it for less".  Our appliances are mostly Sears, and we looked up reviews on Consumer Reports before buying them.  Fridge and dishwasher are Kenmore and stove is Hotpoint.  They are good, basic appliances, and probably about $2k total for the three.  Bought new. 

We are also in the market for new washer/dryer - ours are old and not working very well (the washer really doesn't clean very well anymore).  I'm not interested in front loaders.  So my method has been to check out Consumer Reports again and every time I see a sale price, write it down.  I figure in 6 months, I'll figure out what the real best price is, and if I don't like it, check out Craigslist.

My husband built our cabinets (most of them).  If you are only changing the counter, then that shouldn't be too hard/expensive.  We opted against granite (didn't seem like it would "fit" in our house), and instead, he tiled with a very nice tile (we did spend about $1k on tile for the counter and backsplash).

Man, don't get me started about carpet in the bathrooms.  I just could NOT get past that when we were house hunting. 

MooreBonds

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2012, 01:00:09 PM »
Two other lessons to avoid learning the hard way:

It might be a surprise to some people, but not all ovens and ranges are wired/fueled the same as they used to be. If you're looking for a gas model (range and/or oven), make sure you have gas available in an easily accessible place to connect to if you don't have an existing gas rough-in. And if electric, make sure it's also available (and a large enough circuit), and prepare for possibly running a new circuit/wiring to your oven/range location.

Also, if possible, verify how much space you have for your appliances before shopping around. That dishwasher that's a great buy will be worthless if it's just 1/4" too tall or wide to fit in the opening. Same on an oven or range.

And once you have the data on the dimensions you can work with (or you're wiling to adjust your layout to fit your new appliances), if at all possible always buy your appliances and take delivery before doing your work, so you can verify the exact size and location of them before doing your rough-ins. Manufacturer installation guides may not completely illustrate every single flange or part sticking out that you thought of checking, and which may create a conflict with something that you didn't expect.

HeidiO

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2012, 04:06:53 PM »
I've bought nearly new appliances off craigslist.  My buying point is 1-2 years old, 50% of retail.  I have bought a dryer, fridge, and a dishwasher and never had issues.

AJ

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Re: Should I remodel my kitchen?
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 01:39:47 PM »
The energy savings in a new or very close to new energy efficient fridge is usually worth it over buying a good 5+ year old fridge.   They have really come along ways in the last few years.  As always do your homework and work out the math.  Energy efficiency of a fridge has almost no effect on the final price with some of the most expensive being some of the worst electricity hogs.

OTOH, the new Energy Star rating will be 25% better starting in 2014. We are trying to get by on our dorm-sized fridge until 2015/6, then hope to get a newer used fridge at that time.