Sunday, December 01, 2013

Kitchen Budget Reconciled


I read a lot of old home blogs and quite a few vintage sewing blogs.  Both kinds of blogs like to tally up the costs of their projects.  And I'll say it now:  I think people lie shamelessly about how much they spent on their projects.  I think people hide costs, and massage their numbers so that it looks like they spent almost nothing.

I think this sets up totally unrealistic expectations about what projects actually cost. I think it's a kind of false modesty or bragging, and it makes me crazy.

So, for my own records, as much as anything else, here's what Robb and I spent on our recent kitchen restoration.

First, we spent about a month of our time.  I spent two weeks of vacation, scraping and painting cabinets and woodwork.  And then when I went back to work, Robb kept going, and my work was mostly limited to the weekends.

We spent money in four major areas, removing the old paint, re-painting, adding the new lighting, and replacing damaged hardware.

Paint Removal --  $135.05

This  included sanding disks and replacement parts for our palm sander, chemical stripper, scrapers and scraper blades, and vacuum cleaner bags.

We already owned the infrared paint stripper, and we borrowed a pair of heat guns from our friends Lassen and Brian.  We already owned respirators.

Re-Painting  --  $243.00

This included primer, as well as actual paint.  We used two colors of primer, and three colors of paint.  This also included roller covers and roller tray liners.   And tape.  We used a lot of expensive masking tape.  (There's a difference.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.)

Since I'm a professional painter, I already had paint brushes, roller handles, protective gloves, and drop-cloths.  We already had spackle as well as a variety of putty knives.  Robb and I have our own ladders, and Robb built a very stable platform out of scrap lumber, so that we could balance when he worked on the ceiling.

Lighting  --  $37.75

Robb installed an LED strip under our cabinets.  I was surprised by how inexpensive this was.

Hardware  --  $76.98

We replaced some (but not all) of the hinges on our cabinet doors.  They were in rough shape.  We bought new screws for the hinges.  Ours were not re-usable.  We bought new locks and sash lifts for our windows.  The locks were broken, and Robb figured that our sash lifts might as well match the metal of the new locks.

We did not buy a lot of tools, but truthfully the project didn't require much more than standard hand tools.  The only non-standard tool was the heat stripper which we paid for when we stripped all the siding on our house, a few years back.

The Grand Total  --  $492.78

Since we were restoring, and not renovating, we did not have to buy all new counter tops, or  install a new floor.  Most of what we put into this project was our time and effort.  We treated this like a job, worked regular hours, and took lunch and breaks on a schedule.  It was hard work, physically.  And I'm really proud of what we accomplished.  (I suppose I should tally up our hours, and figure out what a painting company might have charged us for this work.  I know that I couldn't have afforded to pay for the kind of work that Robb and I did.)

At some point, we'll have to replace the taps on our kitchen faucet.  The vintage flooring -- alas -- will not last forever.  And I'm going to have to sew some curtains.  But, for now, we're calling the project finished.


Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Had this been OUR project, we, who have no expertise for paint removal or restoration whatsoever, would have hired it out. Besides the fact that it's probably close to impossible to find someone (a team?) who really cares about 'getting it right", as you an Robb do, I can only imagine the thousands and thousands of dollars this project would have cost. Not to mention the delays, excuses and general flakiness of your typical contractor. I've said it before, you guys are awesome!! You must be SO proud!

Anonymous said...

When we first started Letterboxing our trail name was DIY Warriors, and though our trail name has changed our love of DIY has not. We have saved a fortune over the years. We even gutted a bathroom to the studs and rebuilt it ourselves, with a little help from my Dad, a retired Plumber, but all he handled was the new rough ins. There is nothing better than finishing a project and being able to say "we did that" flaws and all.
Don't Panic!

Becky said...

Well done! Seeing it in person -- well, just amazing.. you can see the love and care put into every inch of the space. And I, too, am all for HONEST budgets. B~

K said...

It's refreshing to hear a good dose of reality. I think when people think of DIY we automatically think of cost savings. I agree, there's no way you could have hired it out for that price. You also couldn't have guaranteed that the work would have been well done or that the products used would have been high quality. I will say that if we wanted to hire you out here we wouldn't be able to afford you! We'd have to swap services. :)

HMC said...

I enjoyed reading this post, because I would agree. I don't like to post how much we spend because I feel like it's, personally, a private issue and what people choose to hire out vs. do themselves is their own decision. And also remember that many of the DIY projects you see look all great in photos… but that hides a lot of workmanship and lack of quality, etc. Congrats on all the hard work you have invested in saving an old home. It's a love-hate relationship and sometimes feels like a money pit!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I'm not asking everyone to divulge expenses.

But I'd like to see more honesty among the bloggers who habitually do post their costs.


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