Refreshing a Kitchen

With the intent to sell within 2 to 3 years, and wanting to enjoy the changes until then, this kitchen recently underwent a facelift. The kitchen cupboards were original to the house, about 30 years old, except they had been stained from red oak to dark, with new handles. Flooring, wall colours and accessories changed over the years, as well.

The dark stain was a huge improvement. However, the staining job was not very well done. Looking ahead to a sale, the concern was that the kitchen would negatively reduce the sale price. Quite a variation in colour was evident, the kick plate was still exposed oak, and many of the edges had chipped and scratched.

The kitchen before this refresh started…

The options for upgrading a kitchen can seem endless. Cabinets, countertops, flooring, walls, backsplash, sinks, faucets, appliances, lights, seating, colours and patterns, and accessories all make up a kitchen package. Functionality is critical and, generally, it’s almost as important that the result is beautiful, given the expense and effort being put into the project.

In this case, the appliances, flooring, and most accessories were staying the same. Based on a cost/benefit ratio with selling in mind, the decision was made to keep and paint the cabinets with new doors and hardware, and keep the backsplash with a new countertop, sink and faucet. Open shelves in the cabinetry became closed cupboards, and a new, smaller microwave shelf was installed. Adding an area of backsplash tile, a new ceiling fan and new stove fan, plus painting the room, were the finishing touches.

It got worse before it got better…

The reality of a kitchen renovation is not fun. It may be a blast to choose new materials, line up the contractors, take the before pictures, and visualize the after (maybe I’m the only one who would find that fun :). But having everything pulled out of the cabinets and spread all over the adjacent rooms, not being able to cook or find anything, and driving to the nearest coffee shop a few times a day, is a test of one’s patience. On these jobs, we hope that everything goes smoothly, trades people don’t cause delays, and the finished product is delivered on schedule.

Alas, this wasn’t to be the case for these cabinets. An expectation of four days turned into two weeks, thanks in part to bad weather and largely due to a change in treatment mid-stream. The kitchen company suggested covering the oak with painted laminate so that the finish would match the new doors. I switched over to painting the cabinets once I saw the laminate installation.

The countertop guys, electrician, plumber and painters were all awesome, and the kitchen looks amazing. Ready to enjoy for another couple of years, and eventually to sell. Total time to complete was 14 days excluding weekends. Total cost $7400 before taxes.

You may have guessed this is my kitchen. I like to use new tradespeople in my home to try out their services with the hope I’ll be able to recommend them to clients. I’m probably pickier than some, given my experience with this stuff. If people impress me with their product and service, I know they’ll be a good referral to my clients.

These are two companies I will definitely recommend:

Gordon Langille and his crew from Langille’s Painting were fast, pleasant and clean. They did a beautiful job of ceiling repairs and painting. 902-499-2025

Everyone at Living Stone was professional, on time, better priced than their competitors, and provided a very smooth installation of the new quartz.

A special mention to Ros Rheaume of Harbour City Imagery who took the lovely images of the “new” kitchen, and the picture of me shown here.





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