Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The image above is like looking at a puppy with a wounded leg; cute, but you feel bad and want to fix it right away. Welcome to the world of kitchen remodels ON A BUDGET.  A few entries ago I mentioned how easy it was to be a DIY designer, thanks to the many companies going out of their way to assist in the renovation process.  I STAND CORRECTED. At that particular point in the process I was quite pleased because, honestly, nothing had happened yet.  And nothing happening is where we have remained for the better part of the last month.  Designing a kitchen on budget with the help of one of these companies has become MY MISSION and I will track progress here, hoping to help anyone facing a similar situation. Maybe after this "process" is complete I'll apply for a job with Consumer Reports, because some of the "customer service" with these companies where, even on a tight budget, people are spending thousands IS SHOCKING.  Like Donald Trumps HAIR KINDA SHOCKING.  I've placed these players in the ring and we shall see who wins in the end; Ikea, Lowes, Home Depot and Ace Hardware/Williams Lumber. Here goes...
QB (Quick Backstory): My clients approached me with a simple question to a somewhat daunting task; can they renovate a kitchen and bathroom on a budget of $20,000.  Because I tend to have a pretty positive attitude (and I've done this countless times), I said OF COURSE.  And then the games began..
THE PLAYERS: My clients started this journey by asking me what I thought about Ikea kitchens.  While I used Ikea for simple kitchens in California eight years ago, I haven't approached since.  Actually, several years ago I challenged a client with a simple task before committing to an Ikea kitchen; purchase a kitchen side piece from Ikea, assemble and use for a few months.  They called me a few hours later and said, among other things, F&^K IKEA! However, I approached my new clients with an open mind and headed down to Ikea myself. Here's what I found:
IKEA: The product actually isn't bad but process can be overwhelming for the untrained. While an Ikea associate will guide you through the choosing process, they will NOT do a paper design/floor plan for you.  If you live in an area close enough to an Ikea (my clients are 43 miles away) you can spend $245 for an ikea associate to come out and measure AND design a kitchen, with the fee deducted from a purchase. PROBLEMS WITH IKEA SO FAR: While the prices are half of that of any other kitchen store, it is not possible to call an Ikea store directly so any questions must be answered in person.  One month into the process my clients have paid $200 for Ikea to come out and measure, we have spent two hours in a store choosing cabinets and finishes and received a separate call and email from an installer with an incredibly high quote to install (Cabinet estimate was $4,000 and install quote was $2,800.00 which doesn't include a delivery fee of $285. RESULTS: STAY TUNED
HOME DEPOT AND LOWES are neck and neck with the services they offer.  I've been fairly impressed with the design process of both.  Book an appointment (I have ZERO luck getting a kitchen design associate to ever answer the phone at either place, so always have to make appointments in person). They will design a kitchen for you for free and hold it in their system for up to a year.  Both charge approximately $100 to have an associate come to your home for measurements, always a good thing to do to be safe. RESULTS: For the same kitchen we designed at Ikea, Lowe's estimate was $14,000.00 for the least expensive cabinets, which I thought was outrageous, and Home Depot was a tad under $9,000.00.
ACE HARDWARE/WILLIAMS LUMBER: This was a similar process to both Home Depot and Lowes but prices came in slightly higher and the product seemed to be a much higher quality. SO,