DIY Kitchen Remodel Details {and Cost Breakdown}

DIY Farmhouse kitchen

You know what’s almost as exciting as having a revamped kitchen? Reading all the comments that you guys left on the Kitchen Reveal post! A big thank you for all your sweet comments – they really are the highlight of this blogging adventure.

So after leaving you hanging for a week since that reveal post – I bet you just could hardly think of anything else, huh? – I’m finally putting down in writing all the little details you might be interested in, including the final tally of what this little redo cost us.

And I have to say that when we did the math, even we were surprised at the total. Warning: this is a long post – I guess I can go on about details…

Dark stained Ikea wood counters

Of course we’ve got to start with the butcher block counters. They are the cornerstone of the whole redo – and the thing that pushed it a year later than we planned when Ikea was out of stock. (This post talks about that and lists all the little projects we tackled in the first stages of this redo)

Before I talk about the Ikea counters, I should address why we wanted wood counters, since a lot of people ask us. I can boil it down to these reasons:

  • I love the look and warmth of them – and I think Brian does, too, but I don’t want to speak totally for him.
  • They are relatively inexpensive – about the same as laminate on the cost scale, but infinitely better looking and I love that it’s something real.
  • It’s in the realm of our limited DIY skills.
  • They are timeless. Unlike the nasty harvest-y gold tile we removed.
  • They don’t have grout. I hate grout. I don’t know how anyone who bakes a lot (think flour all over the counters) gets all that grout clean. It’s smooth all the way for me.

What about the upkeep? We get the most questions about this, I think. Brian and I are planning a how-to post for the counters (though we didn’t document all the steps – ugh), but we chose to finish them with a water-based polyurethane coating. No, it’s not food-grade, but we don’t eat off the counters, cut on the counters, and very rarely even set food on them, so it’s not an issue for us. The bigger issue for us is the monthly, bi-monthly, or even yearly reapplying of other types of finishes. We’re honest with ourselves and we just wouldn’t do it consistently and didn’t want another thing to be worried about. We like that the poly coating (coupled with the clear caulking around the sink and edges) makes them fairly water-tight.

And we have lived with wood counters before – we installed them in our last house when we remodeled that kitchen and lived with it for three years without doing anything other than wiping them down as way of upkeep. By then there was a little wear in the finish next to the sink so before we put it up for sale I sanded the area lightly and added a few more layers of finish. Good as new. You can’t do that with a burned laminate counter and while you can chip out a tile and replace it (if you saved an original one), it’s trickier. So let’s add that to the list of reasons I like wood.

However, this was our first experience with Ikea’s oak butcher block counters (link to the exact type we purchased). In our former kitchen we used pine a friend helped us sandwich together, since there was no Ikea in Oregon at that time. In our current house, we installed a beech Langan wood counter in our bathroom and were planning the same counter for the kitchen. But Ikea has trouble keeping them in stock at our Portland store and after waiting a year (we’re two hours away, so can’t just run up there), we went with the more expensive Numerar counters. They come in three wood options, but they only had oak in stock. (Update: When I went to link to them, I see that Ikea is not even offering the Langan in wood anymore – wow, wonder if that’s permanent?)

We did not like working with the oak. It is heavy (really, really, heavy) so it’s hard to manuver and position and generally do what you have to do when trying to fit counters. And it was pretty hard cutting them. Brian bought a special saw which helped, but they were a bear.
Cost:
*Butcher block counters = $630 (2 8-ft + 2 6-ft pieces)
*Conditioner, stain, finish & supplies = $43 (there’s another post coming about what we used – and what we learned)
*Circular saw blade for oak = $35
Total cost for counters = $708

single sink and farmhouse faucet

Ahhh, this is quickly turning into my favorite part of the redo – the big single sink. Of course I wanted a big white farmhouse sink. I love, love, love the look of white sinks against wood. Sigh. But I lived with a white sink for three years and when you cook and garden and preserve things – a lot – it’s just hard to keep white sinks looking good. Or clean, for that matter. With stainless, a wipe-down will suffice and it looks good again. So – hello stainless sink.

Surprise, surprise, I LOVE everything about it – it makes the kitchen work so much better, I can’t believe it! Lots of dishes stack easily, huge pots fit, and there’s tons of room to wash vegetables. But the piece de resistance? The custom rack in the bottom. Best $30 spent. Ever. Have one or two dishes to dry? They set on the rack. Washing potatoes? No need to cause puddles on the counter, just set them on the rack. Nothing touches the wet bottom, so it works for so many things. I also bought the fancier drain and basket – and it’s deep with a little bail handle to empty when you need to which makes it probably the easiest basket I’ve ever used.

I bought the sink online from Mr. Direct (Amazon link to our sink, though I think you have to go to Mr. Direct site to buy). It was stinking cheap and I was afraid that you’d get what you pay for. The reviews were 50-50 (typical, huh?) of people loving it or hating it. Here’s the deal – there’s nothing else out there even close in price, so I took a chance. And, in fact, the first sink we received was bent on one corner and had two major scratches in the sink. But they were SUPER friendly and easy to work with and I simply gave the first sink to the UPS man when he delivered the new sink. Easy. And that sink was perfect. It’s heavy duty steel and seems like a much more expensive sink. I’d order again from them in a heartbeat.

Since I couldn’t get a farmhouse sink, I settled for a farmhouse faucet. This, again, was a surprise found online through Amazon. It’s a Pegasus Lyndhurst faucet (the exact model is not available anymore, but here is a link to the the updated model that looks just the same) and I kinda thought that was a lesser quality brand, but this baby is far and above anything we’ve ever owned before (which, admittedly, is not saying a whole lot). The faucet itself is heavy, and made with brass fittings. We tell everyone to try out the sprayer – it probably weighs a pound, I kid you not. No plastic sprayer here – this thing is made to last.
Cost:
*Sink, rack, & drain basket = $133
*Faucet = $111
Total = $244

butlers-pantry-before-after

I love this area now. I call it the butler’s pantry, which is a little joke but pretty much describes what we use it for and that it’s not in the working part of the kitchen. It also has only 18″ counters. We think some previous owner had cut out the rectangle to fit a huge microwave (anyone remember those?) and it definitely took away the charm of the area.

Brian used a jigsaw to cut scrolls in the ends and the straight part to the other side. He was not happy with the results at first, but it was nothing that a little fill, sand, and paint couldn’t hide. Good thing we’re not perfectionists around here. I think it turned out great- much better than any other alternative.
Cost = $10 (for molding pieces to cover the openings in the bottom cabinets, which you can see in the before picture here)

old jenn air stove-after

Some of our friends wondered why we kept the old stove. Well, it works. It’s a quality Jenn-Air stove and it goes with our other appliances. It did have a weird, ugly back on it that easily screwed off (see the before shot here), which made it look like a stand-alone range when it’s actually a slide-in. The range had been added to the kitchen later – I think it’s a 90s model – so the counters didn’t go to the edge. And, yes, food and water would routinely make it’s way down the gaps.

It’s now a full-fledged slide-in range sitting on top of the counter. Can I get a high-five? SO nice. I read online that Bar Keeper’s Friend worked on older, heat-stained stainless stove tops, so I spent an hour cleaning all the nooks and crannies. And it works! I also found I was using the wrong burner pans, so I ordered the correct pans online and, voila! It’s like we do have a new stove.
Cost = $22

shelf above microwave

The other major change in this redo was adding beadboard panelling to cover the backsplash up to the cabinets, which we’ve added in our bathrooms and laundry room as well. I think it helps bring a house together when materials are repeated throughout. So when we converted the garage to living space we used a french door, beadboard, 6 panel doors, and ceramic doorknobs. Then we made sure to repeat these elements in our remodeling projects so that the whole house blends – and looks older than it is, which was our goal all along.

When we retrofitted the cabinet over the stove to fit the microwave, we were left with a smaller cabinet that the doors didn’t fit anymore. I was fine using it as a shelf, but seeing the electrical outlet we added and the cord was not fine. Brian made this false back out of leftover beadboard and screen molding that we can simply set in place. In order to be able to remove it (it’s a pretty tight fit), he added the little  screw-in hook to pull it out. Yeah, he’s a keeper.
Cost = $115 (beadboard panels, moldings to edge it, wood fill, etc.)

wrong-color-cabinet-doors

Ah, painting the cabinets. Not my favorite part, since I had to do it twice, though the end product is nice. My one tip? Make sure the store really did mix up your color right. This set us back a couple of weeks and probably added a couple of gray hairs for me.

But I do have to say – foam rollers all the way! They really do make the paint job much smoother than brushes alone. I cut in the corners with a brush and then rolled all the flat edges and all the bases. Foam rocks!

Cost = $47 paint and supplies (one gallon of paint covered in two coats, though I was using part of an old can before opening a new can…which led to the problem with colors)

Favorite Kitchen Things

Here are a few other things I’m loving in the revamped kitchen:

  • I’ve organized oils and such next to the stove with a thrift store tray for awhile, but only recently added the little bowls for kosher salt and coarse ground pepper. Let me just say, oh my goodness – such a small thing makes cooking that much easier! I never knew – no more shaking trying to get the seasonings out or having the container fog up with steam. Try it and see what I mean.
  • The awkward space next to the cabinet with the bread box under it has always stumped me. I thought about adding a shelf, but it was just a thought.  This is what you see from the front door, though, so I wanted it to look less kitchen-y. I’ve had this tiered cake stand for years and years but never thought to use it here until now. And it fills the space nicely, looks great from the door and is actually useful for holding our fruits and vegetables. No more bowls taking up room on the counter – awesome!
  • I used one yard of black and cream ticking to make a new sink skirt (cost = $8). Some people wonder about a sink skirt since we do still have the original doors which I did contemplate putting the doors back on. But I find it easy to grab the compost bucket or throw something in the trash without having to open a door. Plus they’re easily washable. So a skirt it is – and that it looks so great is just an added bonus!
  • The lids on our dry goods storage jars (old restaurant pickle jars, by the way) have always been green, but they clashed with the sugar container green when I put them together on the butler’s pantry area. Since I had added the chalkboard tags a while ago, I repainted the lids black to coordinate. Nice, huh? Little things often work to bring things together.

One last thing I didn’t get a photo of is our electrical outlets. Brian replaced all the old off-white outlets with white before we added the new white covers. Goodness! Such a small thing (cost = about $10 in material and a couple hours work) for such a huge payoff. We haven’t always taken the time to do this (our bathrooms, a-hem), and it’s a thing that really finishes off a remodel well.

So, ready for the grand total? $1,165.00 (I’m adding $1 for the pendant shade I revamped, in case you take the time to add it up!)

Can you believe we have such an awesome kitchen for less than $1,200? Woot! And the double blessing is God’s provision – we paid with cash we saved up from extra jobs we took on in the past couple of years, so no debt either. Double woot!!

Whew, if you’ve stuck with me this long – thank you – tell me, what is your favorite part of our redone kitchen? Anything you can use for your own kitchens?

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Comments

  1.  says

    It is simply lovely! I’ve never seen the wood counter tops and I do love them. I like that they will never go out of style. Enjoy your lovely new kitchen!

    •  Jami says

      Mr. Direct sells the rack to fit the bottom of the sink. They also sell a cutting board that sits on the sink which I may get at a later date, but the rack was a must-have!

  2.  Martha Ellen says

    Jamie, your kitchen remodel is awesome! You and your husband did a beautiful job–it was done so inexpensively! Congratulations. Wood counter tops are lovely-my sister and her husband make them for their cottage.

  3.  Sue Nelson says

    Love, love, love your kitchen! You did an amazing job! We have considered wood counters for our kitchen. What did you do about seams? Did they cut easily and what type of saw did you use? What color stain did you use? Would love to know more about the products you used to finish them. Thank you for sharing.

    •  says

      Thank you, Sue! Brian’s working on a video to explain it more – we basically just butted the seams together with a bead of caulking (buried down – you can’t see it) which is working fine.

      I wouldn’t recommend the stain to anyone – it’s my one regret. I’ve always used Special Walnut (or reg. walnut) oil-based Minwax stain under water based polyurethane (both our bath room sink tops and our dining room – love them all), but this time I read the instructions on one of the cans and it said to use only water based stain, so I did. Wishing I hadn’t – it’s awful and goes on like paint instead of stain. You could barely see that it was wood! I had to sand and water down the stain and restain sections…ugh.

      I would only recommend the oil based with the water poly on top – it’s been fine for years on the other things and more important, beautiful, letting the grain of the wood show through some. The poly isn’t ‘food safe’ but it’s cheap and easy and we don’t eat or prepare food on the counters – only on cutting boards. Look for more info in the video!

      •  Jenna says

        Hello,
        I am getting maple butcher block counter tops installed in my kitchen today and I’m vacillating between stain vs. mineral oil. I see from this post you suggest “Special Walnut (or reg. walnut) oil-based Minwax stain under water based polyurethane”. Is this something you still prefer? Would love to get your opinion on this.

        •  says

          Well, Jenna, each person has to decide what works for their family, but I do prefer stain and poly sealer because it’s something I don’t have to think about upkeeping like mineral oil or other treatments. It isn’t ‘food safe’ as I mention, but I use cutting boards for everything, so it isn’t an issue for us. I hope you enjoy them!

  4.  Sarah says

    Hi! We are working on doing almost the exact same project in our kitchen right now. We are running into an issue with our breakfast bar though, because it’s a narrow strip as opposed to the standard size you get from ikea. What type of wood did you use for that upper part? Do you stain it the same way as the rest?

    Thanks!

    •  says

      Oh, sorry, Sarah – that breakfast bar was already wood, we just sanded it and refinished it to match the counters. What we would’ve done if it hadn’t been wood: buy a piece of butcher block and cut it to size. :)

  5.  Nancy says

    I love it all but especially the countertops but 2nd would be the backsplash! I also love how you accessorize. You have my kind of taste!! Nancy :D

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