Renovation Diaries

This Stylish Kitchen Was Rebuilt from the Studs for $28,000 — Here’s How Every Dollar Was Spent

published Feb 19, 2022
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Tamara Martinez kitchen
Credit: Petra Ford

When Tamara and Rick Martinez bought their home in Bakersfield, California, they knew they were in for a long, thorough renovation. The kitchen was dated and barely functional, so they tore everything out and started from scratch. This wasn’t their first renovation project (Rick is a general contractor) so they didn’t start out with a hard budget, but they knew what things should and would cost and decided to break up the projects so they wouldn’t be spending all of their cash at one time. They landed on a total number and set out to redo their entire house for less than $75,000. And then they got to work. Because Rick did a lot of the work himself, they were able to build their dream kitchen for a little less than $30,000, which is still a lot, yes — but not in the grand scheme of gut renovations!

Credit: Courtesy of Tamara Martinez

Because Rick is a construction expert, they were able to save a lot of money just on labor. “My husband did some of the things himself when he had the time,” Tamara says. Rick did the demolition plus the new framing and drywall on his own, saving a big chunk of change. They installed their own cabinets, and he even built the open wood shelving over the stove and the range hood himself!

Credit: Petra Ford

They were also able to save money in a couple of unexpected ways. For example, they replaced their appliances but found a smart way to keep the cost down by selling their not-too-old appliances. Because the vast majority of homeowners were facing delayed shipments due to supply chain issues in 2020, selling kitchen appliances became a hot commodity — mostly because they were already available and ready to go. 

Credit: Petra Ford

The couple ended up spending a little over $27,000 to wreck and rebuild every inch of the 280-square-foot kitchen. And because they took their time and completed the renovation in phases, the costs were spread out. Here is a detailed look at how everything was spent.

Read more about how the couple’s slow and steady kitchen renovation ended up being a sweet successThis Kitchen Renovation Took 6 Years to Complete — And the Homeowners’ Patience Paid Off in a Big Way

Credit: Petra Ford

Tamara’s Renovation Budget


  • Cabinets and hardware: $5,225 ($3,225 spent in phase one and $2,000 spent in phase two)


  • Range, dishwasher, and convection oven: $3,200 
  • Fridge: Came from previous home 

Tile & Counters

  • Wood and quartz island and the original quartz countertop in phase one: $3,300  
  • New island, counter, and backsplash quartz in phase two: $3,000 
  • Backsplash tile: $400 


  • Tamara and Rick did the vast majority of the labor themselves, but paid for help with flooring, electric, and plumbing: $2,400


  • Demolition: Free!
  • Framing and drywall: $4,000 (Rick did the labor himself) 
  • Flooring and carpentry: $2,500 
  • Vent hood cabinet and wood shelves: $400 (Rick made these himself)
  • Pendant lights and can lights: $1,200 
  • Faucet: $227
  • Bar stools: $1,300
  • Floors: The entire downstairs of the house was redone, so this expense was not factored into the kitchen budget. 
  • Paint: $700

Total Budget: $27,852

See Tamara’s Full Reno Diary