Kitchen Renovation: Phase One: Planning (part one)

If there’s anything my DH and I will ace in this whole project, it will be the planning. We’re both meticulous when it comes to design and between the two of us we’re a small design firm. Mr. Los Angeles can model in 3D like he’s scratching off a lottery ticket. I can visualize and mock up and can find ANYTHING on the internet. In addition, we both have very similar tastes. Deciding on furniture, paint colors, decor, etc. has been the easiest part of our new home.

The Challenge: How to fit a kitchen, dining area and laundry closet into about 190 square feet, all within the specifications of our HOA and a couple of odd architectural details. And for under $20,000 not including appliances (the condo didn’t come with them so it was our first purchase).

That last part made several contractors laugh in my face. Finding someone who will do the plumbing, electrical and drywall/frame/paint work and not the tile, cabinet installation or countertops has been shockingly difficult. If we can a) do it ourselves and b) want to do it ourselves, why shouldn’t we? It will save us a ton of money which we can put toward our horrific bathroom. That’s a post for another day…

After providing detailed 3D drawings, a list of materials and work scope for electric, plumbing and drywall, I received the following information from various, highly-rated Los Angeles general contractors:

  • No one will want to do that kind of work (wrong).
  • That kitchen can’t be done for under $55,000 (so wrong).
  • Your countertops will be at least $15,000 (apparently he thought I was using marble taken from the Sistine Chapel).
  • Your HOA won’t let you do that (despite showing the “approved” stamp from the HOA).
  • IKEA cabinets are hard to replace (can’t find a white shaker-style cabinet anywhere, right?)
  • IKEA cabinets are cheap (correct!)
  • IKEA cabinets feel cheap (incorrect!)

So we’re still on the hunt for a contractor. We had one we liked a lot but he went into a planned surgery last week and I haven’t heard back from him (really hope he’s ok). Next post will be detailed drawings and our chosen materials.

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