Renovate! Kitchens

February 1, 2012


Christian Cook




Q. We live in a turn-of-the-century farm house and are hoping to improve the very dated kitchen. I know that the kitchen is the heart of our home and a major factor in its equity. I have heard of kitchens costing as little as a couple thousand dollars and that the high side is unlimited. How do I know where my job lands? How much should I try myself?


A. Kitchen remodeling. Wow! That is a big one. For many years I did nothing but design and build kitchen projects. You are right. The kitchen is the soul of the house and disrupting it should not be taken lightly. My family spends a ton of time in our kitchen. From breakfast to homework it’s in use from dawn until dark. All of our parties end up there and it’s the first place people want to see when they are getting a tour.


Let’s start with the different types of projects. First, you can simply do the big surfaces. They are wall paint, flooring and counters. These items tend to run in the $1000 – $3000 range each depending on the size of your kitchen and the quality of materials you choose. For example, if a custom laminate counter is $1000, Corian would be around $2000 and Granite might be $3000. These items can be done as separate projects or in unison with any other.


The item that generally requires an entire overhaul of the room is replacing the cabinetry. Moving the cabinets generally forces you to do all of the big three surfaces so you might as well consider relocating appliance locations, changing the shape of things, opening up that wall to create a great room, etc. etc. As for pricing, kitchen remodeling data strange voodoo. According to Remodeler Magazine the national average for kitchen remodeling is $85,000. I’ve remodeled hundreds of kitchens and I have personally never done one that expensive. That number must factor in the crazy high remodels that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In our area, we are remodeling kitchens for between $10,000 – $30,000.


In a world full of “You can do it, we can help” do-it-yourself advertising, kitchen remodeling is one project that should not be taken on without a general contractor. Every factor of building a home exists in the kitchen. There is framing, plumbing, electrical, heating, drywall, flooring, trim, etc. Many of these categories have both specialized labor and special order materials. All of them need to be coordinated into a very small window of time. This level of coordination does require some experience. No matter how patient a homeowner is, after about 2 weeks everyone is ready to have their kitchen back. We actually plan and order material for one to two months prior to construction.


Although daunting, kitchen remodeling is also probably the most rewarding remodeling you can do. People just love a new kitchen and as you said “It’s the soul of the house”.


Christian Cook is the owner of Cottage Renovators. If you have a question about home improvements, please feel free to drop him an email: 


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