Friday, March 1, 2013

Kitchen Makeover: Flooring and Appliances

To set the scene for my present-day kitchen makeover saga, we'll go back in time to my first weeks of homeownership. After closing on the house, I immediately addressed the flooring and appliances.

Flooring
The kitchen and dining room had water-damaged beige and blue vinyl flooring, with the rest of the house carpeted with grungy blue wall-to-wall carpet. I wanted it all out of the house before I moved in.
The old flooring was water-damaged and peeling.

Hardwood would have been the ideal replacement, but I could not afford to buy hardwood flooring for the entire house. I also could not install hardwood without renting or buying tools. The solution I chose was a vinyl plank floor that looks like wood. It was inexpensive, I could easily install it myself with just a utility knife, and because it’s a floating floor, future removal would be very easy. I expected this flooring to be a fairly short-term solution, but I’ve been very pleased with it and have seen no need to rush replacement. My only regret is choosing light oak instead of dark walnut.
The new flooring was easy to install.
The cost of flooring for the kitchen was about $175, or about $330 for kitchen + dining room together.

Appliances
The kitchen had a refrigerator, range and dishwasher that were old, mismatched and sort of gross. (The inside of the dishwasher was dirty… how is that even possible?) I wanted to replace all of them.
The old fridge functioned fine but the side-by-side style doesn't work well for someone who often orders pizza. ;)
The old range was stained and scratched.
There was a lot of ash in the old stove. But I'm sure they weren't using it as a crematorium. Well, pretty sure...
Kitchen appliances can be outrageously expensive. (I've seen HGTV shows where people spend six grand on a range. No way I'd do that... unless it included a personal chef to cook all my meals for the next decade!) But they don’t have to be; you just have to be aware of your choices. I saved money by:
  • Not overbuying. I don’t need a fridge big enough for a football team. I definitely don’t need a fancy Viking range when I barely do more than boil water twice a week.
  • Buying black instead of stainless steel. Stainless steel may be what “everyone” wants these days, but I prefer black. It doesn't show fingerprints like stainless. And, well, it's black. :)
  • Buying from the “scratch and dent” merchandise at an appliance outlet. An appliance gets a scratch or dent, and they mark it down significantly. It's still a brand-new appliance, it's just not in a box. (Bonus: No pounds of packaging to deal with or dispose of!) The two I bought were scratched on the side, where no one will even see it. Sweet!
  • Buying a freestanding range instead of a slide-in range, which would have cost more than twice as much. I knew that the back of a freestanding range would show above the counters, but I also knew it would be temporary because I planned to reconfigure the kitchen. For a savings of $800 or more, I could live with the back showing for a while (the kitchen was hideous anyway…).

New fridge is plenty wide enough for pizza boxes. :D

New range is shiny!
Still shiny! This photo was taken today, after 3+ years of (obviously very light) use. Julia Child I am not.
I paid $399 for the range (would have been $650 in a box), $468 for the refrigerator (would have been $699 in a box), and $229 for the dishwasher (in a box). I bought a microwave at Target for $65. Total price to replace all the kitchen appliances was $1,161. (Offset by the $250 I got by selling the old appliances on craigslist.)

The flooring and appliances played a role in making my first overnight at the house a memorable event...

After I closed on the house, I continued to live in my apartment while I prepped the house for move-in. Over a couple of weekends, I cleaned and painted all the walls, pulled up all the old carpet, and got rid of the old appliances. On the third weekend, I planned to install the new flooring. Then very early that Friday morning, a sizable snowstorm began moving in and my employer called a snow day. It appeared I was going to be snowed in for a couple of days, and I did not like the idea of sitting idle in the apartment instead of installing the new flooring, which was sitting in boxes at the house. Very quickly, before the roads became snowy, I packed up a few things and jumped in my car for the 30-mile drive to the house.

The house had water and power (and the boxes of flooring), but not much else -- no furniture, no stove, no refrigerator. I'd gotten rid of the old appliances but not bought new ones yet. No problem, I could sleep on an air mattress and eat cereal and sandwiches for three days. Snow works well as a substitute fridge. :D
Mmm, ice-cold snow-cold milk
Snowed in and with little else to do for the long weekend, I had plenty of time to install flooring throughout the entire house. :)

15 comments:

  1. I like the black appliances - very classy. I'll agree, the walnut might have been nice, but vinyl is definitely good - easy to clean, for one, and easily changeable if you need to (my parent's run a soft furnishings company and occasionally do floors, and it's pretty standard in non-apartment new builds). Excited to see the rest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I've been pleased with the flooring. It's super low-maintenance, and it feels nice to walk on, without the hollow "clickiness" that laminate floors can have. Overall, a good alternative until I can afford real wood.

      Delete
  2. I love the new flooring, it looks great! And what a good idea to spend your snowed in days laying the floors instead oof being bored!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Having just bought my first house, I was excited to start the DIY. I couldn't bear the thought of sitting around the apartment when there was home improvement to be done! :D

      Delete
  3. You did a fantastic job on the flooring! And I agree with you - black appliances are the best. But I can't believe you sold the crematorium! LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! :) Yeah, what was I thinking!? The crematorium would have made a great conversation piece.

      Delete
  4. Ashes in the oven is weird! I think you have done an amazing work with your kitchen so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Self-cleaning ovens produce ashes from the cleaning cycle... but you're supposed to remove the ashes afterwards. :P And this was a LOT of ashes. I can only imagine the amount of grease that must have been in the oven. Ick!

      Delete
  5. Wow, what an improvement, those old appliances were vile! Very dedicated to spend the weekend snowed in to get the flooring done! I salute you. Did the milk freeze?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vile is a good way of describing the appliances. I did not like the idea of using them for my food or dishes. Getting new ones was definitely the way to go. The milk didn't freeze solid, it just got some little slushy, icy bits in it. :)

      Delete
  6. I love the black against the new flooring! It looks so homey and warm -- the black brings out the honey hues in the floor. Walnut probably would have worked, but the lighter color anchors the black in a more cohesive way. I am so excited to see the next installation. COME ON already -- you're killing me with anticipation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I knew I would be using a lot of black throughout the house, so I was concerned that walnut would have made it too dark. I wasn't totally in love with the oak, but now that I've painted the cabinets black, I like the oak more.

      Ha ha! Don't anticipate too much, you might be disappointed. ;) The improvement isn't quite on the scale of an HGTV show.

      Delete
  7. Our apartment has laminate flooring throughout instead of real wood, and I think it's beech or something else quite pale. I like it, especially as I only have to sweep most of the time, and vacuum once in a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The no-maintenance laminates and vinyls are great. Easy to clean! The only disadvantage is that my feet tend to be cold in the winter. This was a novel situation for me as I'd always lived in carpeted apartments, usually with heat coming from the downstairs neighbor.

      Delete
  8. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before. PREMIER Flooring

    ReplyDelete