Eclectic Homes

Stylish New Kitchen, Shoestring Budget: See the Procedure Begin to Finish

After Jason and Jess Deslongchamps discovered their sprawling Seattle-area rambler, they knew their pursuit for an affordable house for themselves and their two small boys was over. There was just one quite glaring complication: The house had no kitchen only a small area where the kitchen sat.

The set allotted $13,000 to fix the situation. That is pretty modest for a kitchen. (Cabinets alone often cost that much or more) But Jason and Jess wrapped their sleeves up and forged ahead, armed with self love, creativity and a strong work ethic — they did not move 1 cent within their improbably modest budget.

Before Photo

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

The house they loved was possessed by the bank and had sat vacant for more than a couple of years. The one thing that remained of what had been a small kitchen was that lone counter you see to the left of Jason. Everything else that had made up the kitchen had been stolen or stripped.

What this house lacked kitchen, but it made up for in bedrooms. It had five, and one of those was on the opposite side of the toilet wall.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

Not with an architect-friendly budget did not faze both. Paper and pen would happily suffice. They quickly understood that tearing the wall down between the bedroom and the kitchen would forfeit a bedroom that they did not need in return for a much broader kitchen complete with a walk-in cabinet. (Always consult with an engineer or architect before ripping walls down, to determine whether they are load bearing.)

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Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

The reality of remodeling is that things usually get really messy before they get better. But that surplus bedroom was well on its way to becoming a part and parcel of a brand new, enlarged kitchen.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

A major part of the achievement of the project was that the openness of Jason and Jess’ families to pitch in. Both parents — even Jason’s grandma — worked tirelessly with them during evenings and days , even on weekends. Jason would get home from work around 6 p.m., don his trousers and tool belt, and also return to business.

The couple’s two small boys were welcome whenever security allowed; the budding kitchen often doubled as a building play yard!

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

A spacious family was starting to take shape. The fifth bedroom was nothing but a memory, and also the walk in cabinet was framed and nearly ready for its door.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

But what about appliances? How were those costly necessities going to match in the budget? 1 word: Craigslist.

Jess pored within the appliance listings every day and eventually scored a stainless steel countertop for $50, a gas range for $450 and a refrigerator for $0. (I wasn’t aware of this “free” section on Craigslist before Jess pointed it out to me. Check it out — there are some really fabulous finds there.)

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

The catch: The appliances were priced so well since they were really dirty. No problem — a day or so of heavy scouring, and they had been as good as new.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

Jason and his dad (and often Jess’ dad) worked each day — often late into the night — and nonstop on the weekends to make the kitchen move-in ready. Together they completed the job in 34 days. It was an unforgettable labour of love.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

Although the cabinets were going to take the biggest dent out of their funding, Jess was reluctant to skimp on them. So she postponed the kitchen’s hardwood floor and picked creamy white painted cabinets that were perfect for the bright, airy feeling she pictured.

She purchased the cabinets out of a highly recommended supplier in the hardscrabble industrial district south of Seattle’s downtown. Though she was able to obtain the units for less than $5,000, she paid a cost in terms of time and frustration. Orders were entered wrongly, there were overcharges and delays, and the wrong cabinets were delivered initially.

In another cost-saving step, she purchased the countertops from the same supplier. (The more you buy, the larger the discount you can usually negotiate.) Jess chosen a not-so-popular color of engineered quartz to shave costs farther, and ended up paying less than $2,000 to the stone when all was said and done.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

Just when it seemed time to relax and celebrate their brand new kitchen, tragedy struck in the shape of a 2-year-old with permanent markers and a highly inflated notion of his artistic ability. You could have heard Jess’ shrieks from the next county.

The Deslongchampses required to take out the damage without wrecking the end. After much painstaking trial and error, Jason and his brother discovered that toothpaste and rubbing alcohol did the trick. They squeezed toothpaste on the ink marks, so let it sit for an hour or two, then carefully worked together with rubbing alcohol before the toothpaste and the permanent marker had completely disappeared.

Subsequently there were drinks all around and one kid up for adoption. (Just kidding.)

Though the hardwood floor and subway tile backsplash might need to await a second stage, the kitchen remains a thing of beauty. Jess was able to secure her heart’s desire — the farmhouse sink by settling for a still-gorgeous but discontinued version. And the faucet? A deal edition of a costly layout, bought on Amazon.

Becky Dietrich, Interior Designer

Jess has wine with Mom here to celebrate a dream come true, a budget maintained and a kitchen that is the hospitable heart of a house that will stay within this family for decades.

More: How to Remodel Your Kitchen

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