We talked to one of our team members about their recent experience putting in a new kitchen. Keep reading for some top tips and big ‘watch outs’ when it comes to a kitchen reno.
We bought our two-bedroom terrace house at the perfect time last year. We followed the adage of ‘bite off more than you can chew, and chew hard’ but it was worth it. It’s beautifully liveable and ripe for improvements.
When it comes to adding value, you can’t look past the kitchen and bathroom – and these two rooms were crying out for help. 30 years of basic rental replacements had taken its toll here, with chips in white bathroom paint revealing a confronting yellow-green not seen since the early 70s. So, the bathroom was the first to get a makeover and was relatively painless to execute.
The kitchen was in a slightly more appealing state. Basic white with an old tiled splashback, it had plenty of potential to become a key living and dining feature in what was a beautifully sunny space. Plus, it looked easy enough to renovate based on what we had seen on The Block.
What we didn’t know was that a little effort would soon turn into a great learning experience when it comes to the two things that underpin all value adding around the home: time and money. We also learnt that there’s a fine balance between making efficient decisions and rushing external suppliers this close to Christmas. You can see where this is going.
Here’s what I’ve learnt:
We chose a popular kitchen supplier after seeing them on TV and hearing about them from others. We did our research and realised that thanks to a partnership with a major retailer, we were able to save 25% when combining our appliance purchases with the purchase of the kitchen. This sounded great and to be honest, it was worth it, however, it did mean that every single decision – from the finishes, to the drawer size, to the layout, to the appliance type, model number, and individual purchase – was up to us to make with the company. This was surprisingly fun but soon became a second full-time job.
When it comes to cabinetry and stone, there’s a fine line between underspending and overspending. We ended up opting for a matte effect laminate over a more expensive two-pack solution, despite the latter being very popular in high-end renovations. Overcapitalisation remains a big concern for us and given that the cost of the kitchen was already adding up, we drew the line here. We ended up spending more on stone because the difference in finishes were so extreme, we felt it was worth splurging here.
While the kitchen and appliances could be wrapped up into a promotional discount and interest-free plan to suit our needs, there were some unexpected surprises along the way.
First, was the cost of the delivery – payable before installation.
Second, was the actual installation of the cabinetry, which was payable on the day of installation.
The third was the electrician’s costs, who quoted his scope of work on the day of installation which left us no time to put the right amount of money aside. This amounted to about half the cost of the actual custom cabinetry and it was payable in cash. Ouch.
Pushing for an installation before Christmas wasn’t our finest decision.
Depending on who you choose to design and install your kitchen, your process will vary. Ours has taken the best part of two months due to the festive break and the pandemic. Luckily, we don’t have kids to feed so it’s been a bit easier, but we couldn’t imagine being almost kitchen-less with a growing family! Take into account public holidays, delays in deliveries, and even potential defects that might need replacing.