Renovation Diaries

This Modern Kitchen Got Its Sophisticated New Look for $36,000 — Here’s How Every Dollar Was Spent

published Jan 22, 2022
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Afiya Francisco kitchen.
Credit: Ryan Fung

The serene and welcoming black-and-white kitchen in Afiya Francisco’s Toronto home looks like it’s just always effortlessly been that way. The truth is, it actually took a pretty sizable renovation to get to that point.

When Afiya and her husband, Aaron Chown, bought the house in September 2020, the kitchen was siloed from the rest of the space by a wall separating it from a narrow hallway. And while the kitchen was perfectly cozy, it didn’t align with Afiya’s aesthetic, which leans toward neutral colors and natural materials.

Credit: Photo: courtesy of Afiya Francisco

They decided to renovate and, as you can imagine, the costliest item on their line sheet was the removal of that existing wall (which happened to be load-bearing) and adding a supporting beam that rang in at $12,000 Canadian dollars. “It transformed not just the kitchen, but the entire space, so we feel that it was definitely worth it,” Afiya says. 

Credit: Photo: Ryan Fung

That was certainly a lot of cash right out of the gate, but they were able to make room in the budget by avoiding “changing things for the sake of changing them,” Afiya says. Painting the existing cabinets and using the original appliances both went a long way toward keeping the budget from going off the rails. The couple also kept the existing floors (with a bit of sanding and staining), which saved thousands of dollars. Plus, it turns out renovating during a pandemic actually had a silver lining. By taking the time at home to really research items online, Afiya says she made smarter, budget-conscious purchasing choices rather than getting swept up in buying on the spot and in person.

Read more about the couple’s experience with removing a load-bearing wall
This Couple Went for an Open Concept Kitchen — And It Was the Best Decision They Ever Made

Credit: Photo: Ryan Fung

All of those strategies helped the couple save money in the long run, so they could splurge on one of their most favorite things: the custom-built kitchen island where the family of four spends time together and gathers every day for after-school snacks. 

All in all, Afiya and her husband spent $45,300 CAD (which works out to about $36,201 U.S., depending on the exchange rate) on their 245-square-foot kitchen remodel. Let’s take a peek at how it all broke down (in CAD). 

Afiya’s Kitchen Renovation Budget

Credit: Kitchn


  • Open shelving: $500



Tile & Counters

  • Custom-built island: $4,500
  • Tile: $1,000


  • Demo and installation: $10,000


  • Beam: $12,000
  • Electrical: $6,000
  • Flooring, framing, drywall, paint: $9,000
  • Faucet: $1,300
  • Hardware: $1,000

Total Budget: $45,300 CAD (Roughly $36,201 US)

See Afiya’s Full Reno Diary