With the average kitchen renovation conservatively estimated at between $10,000 to $15,000, you can appreciate the challenge of gutting and replacing this old-timer on a budget of roughly $5000. But that’s the reality of TV renovating for my slot on The Living Room – time and money are always stretched to the limit. The kitchen was just one feature of an entire $30,000 cosmetic transformation (inside and out) of a three-bedroom house in Sydney’s outer suburbs. Without a doubt, the remodelled kitchen/dining area was a major selling point and pivotal to the massive $60,000 profit the owner pocketed when the house sold a couple of months later. It’s a lesson in how to extract the absolute maximum from a meagre budget. This is how I approached the reno.
First up, I completely gutted the kitchen, including ripping up the old lino, and disconnecting and removing all the old appliances. Underneath the lino were stunning cypress pine floorboards that came up gleaming with a sand and polish.
New kitchen cabinets, custom-made to fit your layout, can cost a fortune and take weeks to make up. My alternative was to buy a flat-pack kitchen from GraysOnline for $1500 and have a carpenter assemble and install it over two days. It provided the opportunity to rejig the layout, adding a pantry for storage and removing the breakfast bar to provide a more open-plan space and better connection with the adjoining dining area. New stainless steel appliances and a tiled splashback completed the upgrade.
There was abundant natural light, thanks to both a skylight (that got a scrub it hadn’t seen in decades) and windows everywhere. It was the artificial light that needed a well overdue revamp. I removed the daggy old light fitting and added downlights across the entire kitchen/dining area. Now those high-gloss floorboards were positively shimmering.
There was a bit of patching and touching up to do, including cornices where the remnants of a corner cabinet were ripped out, and new skirting boards. All the woodwork got a coat of high-gloss white.
A major challenge was the 1970s timber wall panelling in the dining area. Ripping it out could uncover a can of worms. I had neither the time nor money to address it, so the simple solution was to simply paint over it in the same neutral tones as the rest of the house. It was a cheap and highly effective way to deal with a potentially expensive problem. Kitchen transformation complete!