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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Budget Kitchen Renovation: Bling

Frugality and Bling? A contradiction in terms? No, I don't think so. In fact, bling can be the frugal person's best friend. As in clothing, so in kitchens. Every mother tells her daughter: "Just make sure the shoes and bag are OK. The rest will be upgraded (or downgraded) by those two items."

Thanks Mom, for your good advice, though I don't always follow it.
Having a kitchen where everything is of high quality is very expensive. But you can pick and choose. So a killer stove (like Duchesse's AGA!) can be a centerpiece. A neat farm sink: ditto. And--though some may disagree--a sculptural hood also has a bling factor. Following is my bling.

Stove Hood. A former colleague, who was weird in many, many ways, asked, when she heard I was planning to re-do my kitchen, if I would be willing to give her my stove hood. I had never paid much attention to it, since it came with the house. I took a look and it hit me: one element of bling. It's a Thermador with infrared heat lamps! It also provides good ventilation: my kitchen never is filled with greasy dust, as in previous kitchens. Cost: free with house.

Sink. I wanted a farm sink (aka apron sink). These are expensive and difficult to install (hence expensive labor). I discovered the IKEA Domsjo sink, which at the time was $300.00. I called and discovered that shipping would be $200.00! Then, I learned that one of Frugal Son's pals had to go to Houston to get a visa. I offered to pay his gas if he bought my sink. SUCCESS! Ikea, by the way, deserves my love because the sink is constructed so that it can be laid atop any countertop, thereby eliminating the costly cut-out and installation. My contractor was impressed. Cost: $360.00, including gas for a Civic Hybrid.

Giant old cupboard. One good idea is to sub a neat piece of furniture for overpriced cabinets. We already had this. We bought it from a woman who owned the fanciest clothing and furniture stores. It remains the most expensive thing we have ever bought in the furniture category. It has been in our possession for about 20 years. Following the cost-per-wear theory of clothing purchases, I have to say that the cost-per-year is very low. Original Cost: Too embarrassed to mention!

We have 3 bling items, more than the basic requirement of one. Do you agree with my bling idea for kitchens? And, what is your kitchen bling?


hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I like the way you think! Gas for
I love Aga's too....but my friend got one and it was a staggering chunk of change!
My kitchen bling...Shaw porcelain country sink and granite countertops...everything else low cost done by us...if you need to see check out the proof on my early blog posts!

Funny about Money said...

Mine: Mexican tile countertops. Because it's not associated with any current style, it's timeless; tho' it's a little more work to care for than granite, I like the look.

My friend La Maya gave me a wonderful gas stovetop. The kitchen was wired for electric, but an unused gas line for a rooftop furnace went right over the kitchen, so a plumber was able to tie into it for a reasonable price. How I LOVE cooking with gas!

And it was a spinoff from her bling: when she and La Bethulia moved in to their present house, they brought with them one of those gigantic chef's stoves. Had to remove the stovetop (now mine) and cut out cabinetry to fit it in their kitchen.

simple in France said...

Nice--we aren't owners so we don't get to crazy on the kitchen bling. But I can see the reasoning behind it. Here in France, you often move into a new place and you have nothing in the kitchen but a sink--no cupboards, stove, fridge, counter tops. Just an empty room with a sink. I can definitely imagine that a nice piece of cupboard-like furniture would be great instead of built in (often expensive) cupboards. . .

Northmoon said...

I absolutly agree with the bling theory. For my kitchen, an out of work friend built the cabinets, the counter is formica not granite, the wall oven is second hand. Plain gas cook top and ordinary fridge. Although I was tempted by the bottom freezer style I couldn't justify the extra cost.

However, I splurged on a 1" glass tile backsplash in shades of sand and orange that makes the room as far as I'm concerned. Cost a lot, but it's so worth it for the style factor. I love it.

Shelley said...

Hmmm. If there's any bling in that kitchen it won't be because I bought it. I'll guess that the glass fronted bureau and the stone framed bay window? If those don't qualify I'll have to say it's the bright red paint we just slapped on the two end walls. I'm really enjoying how that, along with the new brown counter top warms the place up!

vilkri said...

When we remodeled our kitchen, we did a bit of research to buy the appliances that deliever the best value within our budget. We only splurged on the range hood which is kind of the center piece of our kitchen. But we were not going to buy a cheaper one and then replace it with a more expensive one in 2 years or something like that.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

We splurged on a glass-top electric stove since we hated cleaning the last stove we had. We also added handles to all the cabinets and drawers.

Duchesse said...

The AGA. Most people only are aware of the looks and do not realize what a marvelous tool it is. We asked how long they lasted and were told, don't know, no one has ever worn one out. You can't say that about a car.

Would do it again and if we move we will buy another.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Hostess--Your kitchen is fantastic and I love that your husband built the cabinets!

@Funny--I would think granite would be more difficult since it shows every spot. Mex tile looks good no matter what. Stove tops are super expensive--more than a whole range. Must write about that anomaly.

@Simple--In Europe, I believe people take their cabinets with them--hence the popularity of frameless cabinets (such as are sold at Ikea).

@northmoon--The backsplash sounds beautiful! One splurge will do it.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--The window and cupboard sound gorgeous. My kitchen is now painted "yellow bisque" and it has made a huge difference.

@vilkri--I love my range hood and it seems you love yours. They DO look great as well as being functional.

@Budgeting--I should have mentioned handles as a source of bling. Thanks!

@Duchesse--So the Aga has a low "cost-per-year" like my cupboard. What color is yours?