I bought my condo in 2005 and installed new flooring, light fixtures and painted it in its entirety. The kitchen was a thorn in my side and that breakfast bar and ugly countertop had to go.
I love to cook and entertain and my kitchen was not a useable space well not for me anyway. More than two people cooking in the kitchen was painfully cramped and with sons (two grown men) it wasn't working. After years of complaining about it, I started to save money towards a small kitchen reno. I wanted a dream kitchen but had a budget of $5,000 so decided on a kitchen facelift. I had all of these ideas but knew I had to restrain myself. I needed help. I started talking to friends and family about my plans to renovate my kitchen and what I heard were warnings: "It will take longer than you think it will," "It will cost thousands more than you think it will," "There's no such thing as a contractor who comes in at the price of the estimate," and so on.
Regardless, after 8 years of putting it off, I was determined to find someone who could help me with my small reno. I started phoning around people I knew and people they knew, but the attitude from most contractors was the job was too small, wasn't worth their time, by the time we get our equipment up there, well you get where I am going with this. I was getting a little down with the whole idea of renovating and thought I would take my money and go to Paris, until a friend of mine told me about her small kitchen reno. She told me to start looking at IKEA kitchen cabinets and so I went online and found this contractor in my area who used to install kitchen cabinets for IKEA. I had to start somewhere, so I called him and told him that I was looking at a small kitchen reno, but I desperately needed help and I was on a tight budget. Within 15 minutes Chris was standing in my kitchen and the first thing he did was look at the unfinished crown molding and said.."That is the first thing that I will be doing, finishing that crown". Right then, I knew this guy was honest and that I could trust him. The next day, he and a subcontractor came over and we discussed my ideas and started to design a plan.
In case you're starting to think this is going to turn into a "design disaster" story, guess again. We did it. Chris kept me on budget and worked hard to get the best deals on materials, granite countertop and labour.
So what Chris did was, finish off the crown molding from the hallway and all around the kitchen and dining room. He rippped out the breakfast bar (he was concerned about the dust so he made sure that I had minimal gyproc dust by taping the whole area with plastic sheet). The natural light that comes into the kitchen after taking away the breakfast bar is amazing! He then reinforced the counter for the new granite countertop which he extended 14 inches all around. New sink and faucet and a new light fixture. I was out of a sink and water for a total of three hours. That in itself was quite a feat! New glass backsplash (That was a last minute decision on my part, so I paid $200. for the tiles at Home Depot. He installed a stainless steel backsplash behind the stove to complement the stove and hood range. Chris also installed beadboard all around the new countertop and finished it off by framing the beadbord. He also built a small cabinet at the end of the counter for pretty things and installed two massive pantries where the existing closets were and finished the front of the shelves off with white molding. I love love my pantries.
In case you're wondering why I didn't do the cabinets, well, remember I only had 5000$ so in the fall, Chris will be replacing the upper cabinets with open shelving and new doors for the bottom cabinets. Check out Phase 2 in the Fall.You don't need to spend a fortune on renos, especially if you find someone like Chris who will work with you , come up with ideas and keep you on budget.
I am a very happy client!