Can This Kitchen Be Renovated on a Budget of $2800?

Can This Kitchen Be Renovated on a Budget of $2800?

Faith Durand
May 13, 2009

Readers, we need your help. Lindsey is about to move into a new home, and she and her husband have $2800 to help correct some of the flaws of their tiny kitchen. Here is the story of her kitchen — the way it is now, and what needs to change. Can you help her? Read on for plenty of photos and details.

The floor plan of the kitchen.

From Lindsey:

The Situation: My husband and I are moving from our tiny post-college apartment to a slightly larger just-married apartment in West Village. Like most New York real estate rental transactions, everything has moved very fast. Unlike most New York real estate rental transactions, I have been offered $2,800 from the landlord to redo the kitchen. We are moving, however, in a few days. So I have a very small space, a very small budget and a very short amount of time to create my dream kitchen. Good thing there are a lot of take-out options in the Village to tide us over!

What I have to work with: $2,800 from the landlord. A cute, small space with an over-sized window, although it is not a rectangular space - the wall with the window is at an angle. We have painted it bright green, and we plan to have everything else be bright white. A stove that will be okay (it is electric, which bothers me, but I don't think I can afford to bring in a working gas line and replace it!). Cabinets along one side that will be okay.

What I absolutely need:
• A new refrigerator and a counter surface. There is a counter space in the built-in cabinets that I can use but it needs to be covered with something akin to granite (but cheaper!), since it is now just wood painted white - a veritable open canvas for spills and drips. I think butcher block might be my best option.

• We will also need a sink and faucet, a cabinet to go over the refrigerator and some open shelves to go above or below the cabinets.

What I would like:
• A dishwasher, if only for storing all my dirty dishes mid-party. Whenever I have people over for dinner, my sink and counter always become overrun with dirty dishes after the first course, which makes serving subsequent courses very challenging.

The only way this will work, is to get a dishwasher under the sink and the only company that makes this (as far as I can tell) is GE. It will cost at least $550, not including the cost of the plumber and electrician to install it and the sink/counter to be bought and installed around it.

• I would also like new cabinets and shelves built above the appliances, ideally with glass cabinet doors to show all of our nice plates, glasses and pots.

• A new floor surface. The current floor is dirty, ugly linoleum. Something bright white and new.

The proposed IKEA setup, which is over the budget.
What's Already Been Done: We move in this Saturday and are trying to move as quickly as possible on this. We have already painted the kitchen and removed some of the cabinets, but that is all we have done so far. We painted it BRIGHT green and want everything else to be white, including the appliances. I have given up on stainless steel, since we can't afford it, but I also think the more white we can fit in, the better the bright green and white look will be.

I have also had a plumber come by for an estimate and a guy who runs one of the IKEA set-up/delivery companies. Both estimates came in way over budget. The estimate for IKEA setup labor alone was $1,341, obviously above our price range.

The Big Challenges (so far): The waste pipe for the sink runs behind the refrigerator and takes up a lot of space. It means we need a very shallow refrigerator. I had a plumber come and give me an estimate for cutting the pipe (so that we could switch the location of the sink and the refrigerator) and installing the new sink with a dishwasher under it. He told me it would cost between $1,500 and $2,000, which we obviously can't afford.

Products: These are the products I have found so far that I like, think are affordable, and think might fit. I am not wedded to any of them though!

Ikea Markland flooring ($43.83. Is this something I could install myself?)
Ikea Akurum cabinets with glass doors ($306 for two)
• The Avanti refrigerator ($419.98, the price is right and the lack-of-depth is right)
• The GE space-saving dishwasher ($549.97)

We will have to hire a plumber, electrician (if we get the dishwasher) and someone to install the cabinets and counter-tops. How do I find the best/most affordable people for the job?

Who I am: Someone who is passionate about cooking and eating. My new kitchen will be the most important part of my new home, but as a 25 year-old renter, it never occurred to me to prepare for a project like this renovation. And now I have no time to execute it...

Readers, can you help Lindsey at all? Do you have any experience with any parts of her renovation?

The budget and situation are different, but this does remind us of this kitchen: Sudie's Pocket-Sized Renovation.

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