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Day 22 - Kitchens

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This is a little off topic from the usual low-carb/pro-swimming posts that I usually write here, but I'm actually looking for input.

On Saturday, Jason went to Home Depot where they were advertising a free consultation for kitchen cabinet refacing. When we bought this house, we immediately had 2 renovation projects in mind: 1) redo the half bath off the kitchen, and 2) reface the kitchen cabinets.

Our house was built in the 1930s and the cabinets themselves are sturdy, high-quality wood, custom-fit for the contours of our wee kitchen. Some previous owner even put in nice granite countertops at one point, which are lovely. However, the cabinet doors and drawers are terrible. The faces are painted white, which I'm not a big fan of, though I know it can be done much better than what we have, and they look dingy and cheap.

I'll just put out there right now that my dream kitchen has dark cherry cabinets with stainless steel appliances. However, we won't be in this house for more than a few more years and we're not completely gutting anything in a house that we will be in for less than 10 years.

So the guy shows up yesterday morning from the Home Depot and runs us through the process. We pick out the cabinets - a nice maple - and he gives us the estimate. Which is about 1.75 times more than I was expecting, of course. We can spread the payments out over a couple of years, and really, it wouldn't be too painful. But is it worth it?

After the guy left, Jason stood in the kitchen squinting at the cabinets, mulling over whether we could measure and order the cabinets and do it ourselves. And, yes, we probably could. But not in 2 or 3 days, which is the Home Depot's promise. (And I'm guessing not without at least one of us wanting to file for divorce)

The other option, which might wind up being the way to do it without it costing a fortune or our sanity, is to measure and order the cabinets and drawers direct from the manufacturer, then find someone to install them for us.

I like to cook and I'm in the kitchen a lot. When we were looking at homes last year, I looked askance at places that had a kitchen with an electric stovetop. Living in New England, where gas hook-ups are plentiful, I can be a snob like that. Honestly, a good kitchen would draw me into a prospective place like nothing else.

However, last night, I was prepping some vegetables for roasting, and looked around the kitchen. thinking, this is actually a pretty small room. I really don't think I want to pay the Home Depot price for what is essentially a small room with not that many cabinets.

Here's my question for everyone: how much is a nice kitchen worth?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It is worth what ever you are willing to pay. Keep searching. In my experience the Home Depot contractors don't offer the best price.
    1820 days ago
    I second Inspirational's first suggestion of getting them refinished. Good quality wood is hard to come by at any reasonable price, and as they're solid and fit the room, you're that much ahead to start with.
    1821 days ago
    My Dear Spark Sister,

    I think you should trust your gut feeling for a few good reasons...

    1. You mention that your cabinets are a high quality wood...if you are talking about just the looks being a problem...I would like to suggest your remove all the doors and have them dipped. I live in Upstate New York and around an hour from me is a refinisher who dips doors and then refinishes them. When the doors are removed and the paint removed from them they can be stained a desired color that you like. As for the rest of the cabinets I am sure you can get someone to help your husband bring the boxes down to raw so you can stain them the same color as the door.

    Often the person who dips the door( into this chemical ) can maybe refinish the cabinet boxes for you. I would seek out to get an estimate since you sound like your cabinets are sound. If you were taking down walls or rearranging the cabinets the investment would be necessary.

    2. Another reason is that if you and your husband should decide to, or have to sell, the return would not be as much as you would be investing since as you said your kitchen is still small and believe it or not these young people like white painted cabinets..go figure I myself like wood.

    3. Not to scare you about 4 years ago I decided to renovate my kitchen like you I great oak wood cabinets that were stained very dark around 1973...Spanish was in and so was this dark wood. My kitchen was also small so after 15 years I painted them white for a while it seem brighter and cheerier but like you the kitchen was still small and after a few more years past and the white yellowed I tried to remove the paint as I suggested to you.

    Well in my case I did not have much luck since I found out the company that sold me the oak cabinets put a paint stain on to make them dark that would not come out of the wood to the lightness I desired otherwise after they were dipped I was considering just refinishing them. As time went on I decided to take a wall down and make the investment pay off. Like you I found the cost to high and it wld still be a small kit.

    I shopped all over and finally decided to go to Home Depot and decided upon a Maple Kitchen and paid for an upgrade to real wood in the boxes too. After doing all the work necessary for the wall which was no easy task being a support wall, I waited for the cabinets to come in.

    It was no fun having to pull out the kitchen which affected the dining and living room area too since now it was a open floor plan. I dreamed of how nice it wld look after it was finished and I cld not wait for the mess to go away and the tension between me and my husband grew thicker each day since he loves his creature comforts and is unbearable without them.

    The kitchen arrived a week late, no fun as I mentioned with no kitchen, then came the day 28 large boxes came into my kitchen door. I was thinking thank God I broke through to the small dining area since the boxes filled not only my kitchen and dining area but spilled over to my living room where the appliances wait with the refrigerator. Good Grief what a mess.

    First thing the installer I signed up for did not arrive and they said there was no indication on the order that he was supposed to install the kitchen so they asked me to get someone else. Well I did that not too easily but then they started to unpack and I grew excited that we were finally moving forward.

    Well it only took a few hours to go by when the installer came to me and said, "You told me you ordered wood cabinets these cabinets are all MDF with wood doors, not only that there are a number of things that don't fit and are wrong. He proceeded to check the markings on all the boxes and found no wood cabinets in the mix.

    Well back to the store I went not believing what was happening and hoping this was just an inconvenience. I asked them to take back the cabinets I did not order and give me the ones I did order. Well you would think I was a stranger off the street, someone who has not been dealing with them months on this order when he coolly said, I checked your sales person and you ordered these and your signed off......gasp you can imagine I felt like I was just punched and that paled in comparison to the fiasco at home living in this mess and 28 large boxes confined to the bedroom.

    Well almost more than 2 months later through the Grace of God, much aggravation, writing, calling, interviewing, persistence on my part and taking much abuse the cabinets were taken back. I decided not to buy a kitchen from Home Depot again.

    This story is not to say they are the only offenders out there since the next kitchen I order and paid much more for had an issue also since I had to learn the hard way that companies and vendors out there know we cannot make them do anything without much time and aggravation and much money to take them to court.

    The only good think I have to say about a big company is that you can rattle their cage and they do not want a bad rep and I got someone to tell the truth while everyone else was lying. I made them think that my friend was a witness to the truth also (and she was not even paying attention to my order) but they did not know this and were concerned I would be able to sue and win. In truth I could not afford the time, money or aggravation it would have cost me. I thank God he gave me the strength to persevere but it was a living hell at home. Is a kitchen worth all that I think not.

    There is much more to this story but for now I think this is enough and I hope I have given you another perspective.

    By the way there are companies out there who sell you door, cabinets without a middleman and you can hire someone you trust to put them in and listen to you instead of the big company.

    There is a wonderful man here who refaces kitchens too but I think you love wood. Do you know what kind of wood is under your paint?. Why not pick a spot inside the cabinets where no one wild notice and explore your options.

    my email is if I can be of any help to you to prevent unnecessary suffering on your part I wld be glad to share anything I know. I don't have the false notion that people listen to all I say or expect them to do any of it but if you get one thing out of this I will be happy. I have spent many year being a Realtor, Broker, Property Manager, Business Administrator and love people but I still cannot fathom why people have to operate in such a poor manner.

    Good Luck my spark yourself sometimes we are too attached to unimportant things and if I told you the rest of the story past the Home Depot story to my new kitchen then a massive fire just a few months after rennovating kit and bath, out of my house for 3 years grief with Ins Co not willing to pay for new kitchen and now Builder walking off job because I asked him to finish the work he was supposed to do before I pay him per the contract so the lesson goes on and I am still out of my home. Keep me in your prayers.

    May God Bless you and Keep you safe from any harmful episodes and give you peace and joy in your kitchen no matter what you decide to do.

    Yvonne emoticon emoticon emoticon

    1821 days ago
    I think a good kitchen is worth a lot. However, before I would sign a contract with home depot I would check with another source. Most lumber stores could give you an idea if home depot's price is appropriate. I have often found that an independent store could give me a better price, particularly if you bring the home depot's estimate with you.
    1821 days ago
    Recoup value for a decent kitchen remodel is 70-75% on average:


    To most people the more valuable consideration than straight-up ROI (Return On Investment) is the quicker turnover of your property when you go to sell it. Even if you're not flipping the property and carrying 2 mortgages, the longer a property sits on the market the more likely it is to have to have its asking price adjusted downward.

    The real issue is just how handy you both are. Do you have the proper tools? Do you have the experience? These are not going to be IKEA projects, and if you screw it up you'll pay more in the long-run than if you just went the Home Depot route.

    On the other hand, if you have some construction experience and already own levels and ladders and basic wood-working tools you can save a ton of money, though the time investment will be considerable and your kitchen will be a wreck throughout the process.
    1821 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/22/2013 11:58:03 AM
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