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How I saved $30,000+ on my kitchen renovation

The Family Handyman Logo By Sally Jones of The Family Handyman | Slide 1 of 9: The answer is 'a lot.' According to Remodeling, in our area of New York City a major upscale kitchen renovation is estimated to cost an eye-popping $155,000; in St. Louis the same grade kitchen remodel is $135,000; in Houston it's $125,000. Costs vary depending on the size of kitchen, scope of work, and region of the country, and especially on the fixtures and materials you choose.Remodeling breaks out projects into three grades: minor, major-midrange, and major-upscale. And that's important, because if you're planning to replace everything; change the footprint; move plumbing, gas, or electric; or take down walls — all of which we did — that's a major project. And if you want fully integrated panel-ready appliances, solid shaker doors, and stone countertops — as we did — that's considered upscale. Had we had been able to keep the footprint, reface the cabinets, install laminate countertops, and retain some of the original appliances — a minor remodel — the cost would have been more like $28,000 in our area. A midrange remodel, with semi-custom cabinets, new countertops and appliances, and an island would be about $81,000. Most homeowners are able to land somewhere between minor and midrange. According to Houzz, the national average spend is about $42,000. But we'd bought a real fixer-upper, fully knowing we'd need to open up this 1946 home's dark, cramped galley kitchen.The good news? Where most upscale renovations in New York City require an architect, engineer, and special permits, ours didn't. And where Remodeling bases estimates on a 200-sq.-ft. kitchen, ours being in a metro urban city is much smaller at 140 sq. ft. I promised my better half that we could get a major upscale remodel at a close to midrange price, and we set our budget at $95,000. But because this wasn't my first rodeo (I've renovated every home I've owned), I put on my kitchen planner hat and set myself a personal goal to find at least $30,000 in savings. I did it — and you can too.

How I saved $30,000+ on my kitchen renovation

The answer is 'a lot.' According to Remodeling, in our area of New York City a major upscale kitchen renovation is estimated to cost an eye-popping $155,000; in St. Louis the same grade kitchen remodel is $135,000; in Houston it's $125,000. Costs vary depending on the size of kitchen, scope of work, and region of the country, and especially on the fixtures and materials you choose.

Remodeling breaks out projects into three grades: minor, major-midrange, and major-upscale. And that's important, because if you're planning to replace everything; change the footprint; move plumbing, gas, or electric; or take down walls — all of which we did — that's a major project. And if you want fully integrated panel-ready appliances, solid shaker doors, and stone countertops — as we did — that's considered upscale. Had we had been able to keep the footprint, reface the cabinets, install laminate countertops, and retain some of the original appliances — a minor remodel — the cost would have been more like $28,000 in our area. A midrange remodel, with semi-custom cabinets, new countertops and appliances, and an island would be about $81,000. Most homeowners are able to land somewhere between minor and midrange. According to Houzz, the national average spend is about $42,000. But we'd bought a real fixer-upper, fully knowing we'd need to open up this 1946 home's dark, cramped galley kitchen.

The good news? Where most upscale renovations in New York City require an architect, engineer, and special permits, ours didn't. And where Remodeling bases estimates on a 200-sq.-ft. kitchen, ours being in a metro urban city is much smaller at 140 sq. ft. I promised my better half that we could get a major upscale remodel at a close to midrange price, and we set our budget at $95,000. But because this wasn't my first rodeo (I've renovated every home I've owned), I put on my kitchen planner hat and set myself a personal goal to find at least $30,000 in savings. I did it — and you can too. Click or swipe through to see how.

© Sally Jones
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