We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Here’s the post where I tell you the secret to remodeling your kitchen for cheap. Like $10 000 cheap. Ready? Still waiting? Excited yet? Ok. The secret is to know as many people as possible who can do useful things such as framing, drywalling, electrical work, plumbing, and the installation of various items. In the slightly mangled words of the Beatles, you need to get by with a little help from your friends. It also helps if you’re willing to make concessions, like sacrificing new floors in order to get a granite counter-top.

To refresh your memory (in case you forgot between here and my appliances of destiny post), this is our kitchen on our closing day:

And here it is again on our official move in day, which was about 2 weeks after our closing date:

As it turns out, you don’t really need any help from your friends in order to demolish things. The problem lies more in the reconstruction of said things.

You know the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day? Apparently this applies to kitchens as well. From the first tile ripped off the wall to the final drop of DAP (Scott’s favourite pastime), our kitchen reno took 14 weeks, which apparently is just enough time to develop a hatred of all fast food and microwave dinners. Luckily, several capable people were around to help us with the many next steps, the first of which was extending our bulkhead on the right side of the kitchen in order to balance out its larger, left handed counterpart (we had to keep the bulkheads due to structural reasons). Here is a gratuitous picture of my brother and his friend in mid-framing:

Work that up do (quote stolen from can I have yo number? –¬† not home decor related, but a worthwhile watch). Total cost? Some booze.

Next came plumbing (to turn off the water while we waited for our cabinets to arrive) and electrical (to move outlets in order to accommodate the more efficient layout we decided on). Both tasks were completed by my brothers’ friends for around $400. Finally, the kitchen needed some serious drywalling. Here’s where my drywalling expert of a brother came in handy.

Definitely worth the $80 gift certificate we “paid” him (thanks brother). Finally, in a continuation on the family ties theme, my parents gave up several nights to painting our kitchen in Scott’s beloved CIL Contemporary White. This is what a $510 investment looks like as a kitchen:

Maybe not so kitchen-y. But kitchen ready, which is almost as good. And for those of your who are keeping track, the tally for our kitchen reno so far is:

  • fridge/stove/dishwasher bundle – $1212 (after a 10% discount for using a Lowe’s card, $150 refund for a stove shipping error, and $150 cash from the sale of our old appliances)
  • plumbing, drywalling, and electrical work¬† – $510
  • TOTAL – $1722

Want to see where the rest of that money went? Me too. Just kidding. Anyhow, stay tuned for my riveting discussion on Ikea vs. custom cabinetry, the pros and cons of ordering faucets off of eBay, and my adventures in affordable lighting…