Don’t Tell Me You Have a $20,000 Budget & Want a Sub-Zero Refrigerator

Diary of a Designer: Girl PLEASE! Don’t Tell Me You Have a $20,000 Kitchen Budget and Want a Sub-Zero Refrigerator.

Posted by Bridget McMullin on September 13, 2016

The top pet peeve of every designer, contractor, kitchen cabinet supplier, and all other professional service providers in my industry:  People NOT being realistic about their budget!

I’m going to get honest here, kitchens don’t cost $20,000 anymore. Maybe if you go to IKEA and plan a whole DIY kitchen, you might be able to pull it off.  I prove otherwise below, and many other blogs and articles will also bring you back to reality on this notion.  The only people I know who have time to DIY their kitchen remodels seems to be bloggers and reality TV renovators who make it sound like a walk in the park.

Yes, you can add up all the big expenditures (cabinets, flooring, fixtures), but one must also consider the labor as well as the “other” unseen materials (drywall, wires, pipes).  Design fees also come into play with these renovations as the contractors will need the proper documentation to not only build the job, but to bid on it as well.

So this week my Designer Diary is all about kitchen remodeling budgets.  Let’s get real about how much it REALLY costs!

Condo Upgrade

Before & After

Location: Sea Isle City, NJ

Scope: Gut renovation, reconfiguring the space, plumbing, electrical, laundry room/panty upgrade, flooring

Type: Condo

Overall Budget: $70,000- $100,000

Cabinet Budget: $30,000

Premium Counter Top & Backsplash Budget: $13,000

Appliance & Fixture Budget: $15,000

Flooring Budget: $3500

When updating a kitchen, taking into consideration all of the components involved may help you determine a suitable budget for your project.  If you live in or are downsizing to a condo, understand that you will probably pay a premium of 20-30% more for labor (those trips up and down the elevators, limited working hours, and size limitations add up over the course of the project).  Also, reconfiguring your major plumbing fixtures, stove, and updating your electric to meet code, will add to the overall cost of the project.

Single Home Redeux

Before & After

Location: Avalon, NJ

Scope: Renovation without reconfiguration, updating of electric to meet code

Type: Single Family Home

Overall Budget: $50,000- $70,000

Cabinet Budget: $22,000

Premium Counter Top & Backsplash Budget: $13,000

Appliance & Fixture Budget: salvaged existing

Flooring Budget: salvaged existing

Choosing to keep your existing configuration and paying off those appliances a few years in advance can take a pinch out of the renovation cost.  A big chunk of this renovation budget was spent on updating the island with a teak wood bar top and integrated columns.

IKEA (yes, we do IKEA)

Before & After

Location: Ocean City, NJ

Scope: Renovation without reconfiguration of major appliances and plumbing, update electric to meet code.

Type: Duplex

Overall Budget: $40,000- $50,000

Cabinet Budget: $15,000

Premium Counter Top & Backsplash Budget: $4500

Appliance & Fixture Budget: $7000

Flooring Budget: $1500

We can do IKEA kitchens, but in the end we find for a few dollars more our client can often upgrade to better cabinets. When you add up the IKEA cabinets, the labor to assemble them, and the customization pieces needed to create the space, as well as the ordering time (8 hours), and the “going back” time for all the things that IKEA forgot to add in, we figure our client could have less hourly fees and higher quality furnishings from other sources.  We will always advocate for better quality.

Single Home Blow Out

Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Scope: Gut renovation with reconfiguration of entire space.

Type: Single Family Home

Overall Budget: $100,000- $130,000

Cabinet Budget: $40,000

Premium Counter Top & Backsplash Budget: $10,000

Appliance & Fixture Budget: $18,000

Flooring Budget: $5000

Fireplace Budget: $4000

Blowing out your kitchen space and creating a whole new configuration will always increase your budget.  What is not seen in this kitchen image is the 16 feet of kitchen cabinets and the pantry on the opposite wall of the enormous entertaining space.  Higher end appliances, molding details, and updates to the fireplace as a central detail in the room all add to the overall costs of this extensive remodel.  This remodel was part of a massive renovation of a 3500 square foot home from top to bottom including an enclosed 3 season room (seen in the background).  The budget number reflects the kitchen’s overall budget.

Our client was kind enough to review this process for our potential clients. Click here to see our client’s story “Where do We Start?”

As for that Sub-Zero refrigerator in your IKEA kitchen? Choose to spend that money on your cabinets instead. Considering all the labor that goes into the installation of your flooring, cabinets, countertop, and the backsplash, a Sub-Zero is a minimal expense. If you are looking for the integrated refrigerator look, then bite the bullet to spend now or put off that renovation one more year.  We never encourage our client’s to be penny wise and pound foolish. Your patience and planning will pay off in your home investment in the end!

If you are ready to get real and to plan your dream kitchen, the McMullin Design Group can help. Our expert designers are ready to talk kitchens with you. Contact us here or call (856) 673-0290 today!