Maria's Smart $6100 Kitchen Facelift

Kitchen Renovation Story

We love seeing our readers' freshened-up kitchens! Today's kitchen renovation story comes from Maria in Vancouver, BC. Her kitchen renovation is really inspiring, as it falls in that challenging in-between category — she wanted to do more than just paint her cabinets and hang some artwork (a $200 job), but she didn't have the budget for a full gut renovation of her old and challenging kitchen. So she worked a modest, realistic budget, and this plus some elbow grease got her a serious amount of upgrade!

Read on to see her kitchen before the upgrade, and for all the details of what she did, including a budget breakdown.

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Maria's Kitchen Story

We had been in our house for 2 years and our inefficient kitchen was becoming more and more of a thorn in my side. I love to cook and entertain and my kitchen was not a useable space — and it was just very blah and dingy looking.

My biggest pain point was that the oven had about a 4-inch space on each side between the oven and the counter space — this drove me NUTS!!!

We couldn't afford my dream kitchen renovations, so I did what I called a facelift. We modified the existing upper cabinets to fit in a working range hood, modified the lower cabinets to get rid of the 4-inch gap on either side of the oven, replaced the floor with a vinyl tile, built new cabinets around the fridge, installed a bi-fold door for the pantry, installed a dishwasher, new oven and hood range, new kitchen faucet, new counters, painted the walls and cabinets and my favourite aesthetic piece — the kitchen backsplash. We also purchased an IKEA butcher block island that is perfect for my kids to have meals at and do crafts — it also has shelves to house all my cookbooks.

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Cost of "Facelift" Renovation

Maria and her dad did all the grunt work. "It's very handy," she says, "to have jack of all trades for a father!" (Do note that these costs are in Canadian dollars.)

• Appliances: oven, range hood, dishwasher - $2,200
• Countertops: $1,000
• Floors: $200
• Backsplash: $175
• Paint: $150
• Cabinet hardware: $100
• IKEA cabinets & bifold door: $1,000
• IKEA island: $575
• Electrical: $500
• Faucet: $200

Total: $6,100

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Maria's Renovation Favorites

What was your favorite improvement?
My favourite aesthetic improvement is the backsplash. I installed it all by myself and was swearing as I grouted itty-bitty tiles at 2am in the morning, but I love how they turned out. I chose the hexagon tile because it reminded me of the tile in the first apartment I shared with my husband.

My favourite functional improvement was the electrical upgrade — being able to make toast and coffee at the same time is a very good thing!

Which one gave you the most "bang for your buck?"
Hard to choose, since we did everything so economically. I would have to say splurging on the IKEA butcher block island. I hemmed and hawed over it for a long time as $575 was a lot to spend at the time (especially since I had a perfectly fine kitchen table to use) and it wasn't a necessary piece to make the kitchen function.

But the island provides storage, seating for my kids to eat and do crafts at while I'm preparing a meal, more counter space (especially for baking!) and provides a place to gather while entertaining. I didn't expect to get as much use from it as I have.

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Related: Before & After: 15 Creative Kitchen Renovations

(Image: Maria via The Kitchn's submission form)

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