Ixnay on Carpet in the Kitchen

Ixnay on Carpet in the Kitchen

Every now and then we find carpet in a kitchen.

Dale Kitchen Carpet

I suppose there are fewer plates broken when they are dropped on the floor. Plus, your toes stay warmer in winter.

Dale Kitchen & Nook Before

But it is easier to clean spaghetti sauce off of tile…

Dale Kitchen & Nook

Transformed Kitchen

Transformed Kitchen

Love a good Before/After transformation…





Nancy Drew is a Verb

Craig and I thoroughly enjoy remodeling homes for resale. The properties we choose are loaded with potential especially if they have been neglected. It is tempting to pull out all the stops and transform each home into a dream house. Budget? Pshaw!

HGTV Dream Home 2009

Thankfully, we have a system in place to keep from overdoing it. Before we purchase a property to remodel, we have already decided 1) what rooms to rehab and 2) the extent of the rehab.

Rooms to Rehab:

The process of deciding whether or not to remodel a specific room depends largely its current condition. We ask questions like:

Are there wood floors under that carpet?

Will paint alone be enough?

Are the kitchen cabinets salvageable?

Is that a load bearing wall?

Extent of Rehab

The extent to which we rehab a home depends largely on its neighborhood. We always plan to be the nicest house in our price range but not excessively so. The MLS has a wealth of information about real estate neighborhoods. So we put on our sleuthing hats and scope out River Heights.

We investigate similar homes that have sold recently as well as homes currently on the market in the neighborhood. Pictures on the MLS listings offer information such as:

What type of countertops are in the kitchens of this neighborhood?

Are the shower walls tile or a plastic surround?


Does it have a garage?

That's our daughter #2!

After we “Nancy Drew” the remodel project, we practice self-control. A kitchen can still be beautiful without granite counters. It allows us to keep the price of certain homes within reach of more families.

Sleuth and budget. Works every time.

Linked to:
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage


Small Budget Kitchen

In fairytales you can create a dream kitchen with an unlimited budget.  In real life the wicked step-mother’s name is Budget.  Actually, my rehab budget is more like Jiminy Cricket in Pinnochio…  always there to whisper words of wisdom into my wooden ear.

We had a very small budget to update this kitchen.

Believe it or not, the cabinet frames were in decent shape.

Does anyone need an encyclopedia set?

Frank, from Frank’s Installation Services,  built new cabinet doors/drawers.  We painted them and updated the hardware.

The appliances needed to be updated to ones that worked.  To save money, we removed the built-in ovens and added cabinet space.  Actually, Frank did.  Thank you, Frank!

The box on the floor holds some of the food left in the cabinets.

The white appliances blended well with the painted cabinets which helped the kitchen look a little larger.

The budget for this neighborhood only allowed for laminate counters, but at least they were fresh and new.   Jiminy Cricket also dictated the choice of new vinyl floors.  Here’s the Before/After again…

To Granite or not to Granite

Kitchen countertops.  There is a dizzying array of choices:  soapstone, concrete, laminate, wood, stainless steel, engineered stone, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Even with budget restraints, most people can usually find something to make them happy.

This makes me happy..

Compliments of House Beautiful

Remodeling a kitchen for a client is completely different process than remodeling a kitchen in a home that we sell for a profit.  With a client, it’s all about helping them find their countertop bliss.  However, when we intend to put a house on the market, we stick with a system.  Systems make life easier.

When we remodel homes for resale, we keep the choice simple: granite or laminate.  There are a three main deciding factors in our decision making process:

  1. Surrounding neighborhood
  2. Price of home
  3. Important design element

Here is how we made the countertop decision for a townhome we remodeled…

Kitchen was dated and needed TLC.

Wall separating the kitchen from the entry was begging to be torn down.

Decision criteria:

  1. The townhome was in a great neighborhood. The association had a well maintained pool and the grounds around the complex were also in very good condition. The complex itself was in a prosperous area of town, close to the freeway, and within 10 minutes of both Downtowns.
  2. Extensive updates to the property would not increase its overall value. The monetary value of a property is generally decided by mortgage company appraisers.  In the 6 months prior to the start of the project, a few similar townhomes had sold.  Most of those homes were a bit dated in their look but generally in good shape.  After our rehab, our townhome would be in excellent shape even without granite counters.
  3. The kitchen was the centerpiece of the home. The kitchen was the first thing you saw as you entered the townhome, and it was the most memorable part of the home.

We decided that having granite on the island would have a strong visual impact as soon as you entered the home.  The area of granite was small, so the cost was reduced.  Having laminate in the rest of the kitchen was not as noticeable and helped us offer the townhome at a lower price.


I prefer to put granite in a home if it makes sense.  I love the idea of being able to take a sheet of cookies fresh out of the oven and lay that baby down on a surface that won’t leave a burn mark.

Not that I’ve burned my counter like that.