Kitchen Remodel On A Strict Budget: It Can Be Done!

When Richard and I moved into our townhome last May, we knew that the first job to be tackled would have to be the kitchen.  I can live with a dingy, outdated master bath or overgrown patio for a while.  But I cannot live without a fully-functioning kitchen.

The townhome itself was built in 1968, a year during a time period that my mother fondly refers to as “the era that taste forgot.”  Despite that, the townhome is very solidly-constructed and has good flow.  But it also had all the original appliances, cabinets, flooring, paint — you name it, it was original to the house.  And it was awful.

We knew this going in, which is part of the reason we bought the townhome in the first place.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the home, structurally-speaking.  But prospective buyers were simply unable to get past all of the cosmetic flaws and grime, which had added up to a very low asking price for the area.  Being handy and being totally able to see past the broken cabinets and stained carpets (for example, the previous owner had chewed tobacco and didn’t use a spitter; translation: he spat his tobacco juice DIRECTLY ONTO the carpet, which stained both the carpet and the carpet pad and is probably the nastiest thing I’ve ever encountered), we jumped on it.

Because we were so eager to get started on the kitchen remodel, we completely forgot to take pictures of it in its “before” state.  However, thanks to the magic of‘s photo galleries, I was able to dig up some pictures of a similar kitchen in a townhome down the street from us.  Take a gander:


Note the linoleum. Our was a greenish color, and when we started peeling it back to remove it, we actually found another layer of flowery linoleum beneath. I guess not everything was original.

Also note the cabinets. While this kitchen’s cabinets appear to be in decent condition, ours were hanging limply from their hinges and were broken and busted in places.

Lastly, please note the countertops. Again, these are in much better condition than ours. The genius who owned our house before had painted over the laminate countertops with some kind of textured paint. Textured. Paint. It was stained and scratched and gummy and impossible to clean and altogether totally disgusting.

Our appliances were also original, except for the refrigerator. The stove/oven no longer worked at all, nor did the dishwasher. The fridge was only a year old, but was coated inside and out with some kind of mysterious, viscous tar-like substance.  And the owner elected to take his ancient washer and dryer with him, thank God.


This is the breakfast area off the kitchen. Note the lovely color on the walls. Our kitchen was white; no color whatsoever. But the white walls had been stained yellow by years of cooking and grime and God only knows what else.

There was also no light fixture in the breakfast area.  There was a ceiling fan.  I mean, I know that Texans love their ceiling fans, but in a kitchen?  What the hell?

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention the colonies of roaches that began emerging from the cabinets and nether regions of the appliances once we started the demo work.  Boric acid mixed with cornmeal is your best friend in situations like this.

Pictures of the new kitchen and a short description of the entire process after the jump. Continue reading Kitchen Remodel On A Strict Budget: It Can Be Done!