Frugal Kitchen Remodel


My husband has been working hard on remodeling the kitchen for the last couple of weeks. He’s been pecking away at if for over a year now, but the warm weather has made it possible to do a lot more. We changed the lower cabinet color about a year ago, bought laminate and supplies (approx. $200) to redo the countertops in kitchen and main bathroom last winter, and found the sink and the tile ($15) for the backsplash area at the Habitat ReStore.

We waited so long to redo the laminate in the kitchen because of how much toxic vapor comes off the adhesive used to secure it. Not only is the vapor from the glue toxic, it is also very flammable–explosive! We bought enough material to do the main bathroom counter as a practice run and were fortunate that it was a small room that we could exhaust with a floor fan set up to window height.

IMG_7850We ended up having to buy new plywood (approx. $100) for the kitchen counters because the laminate already on the counter (circa 1959) was tearing up the plywood as it was removed. (He used a clothes iron to heat the old laminate before removing it. It worked fine on the bathroom counter, but the kitchen counter was more difficult.) Since he had new wood to work with, he decided to laminate them in sections in the garage with all the doors open. This worked very well. He laminated the sides of the counter first and then the top.

This picture shows the new color of the backsplash area, the new counter in place, and the old and new color of the lower cabinets. I guess you would call the color scheme Danish Modern. although we are neither.

This picture shows the new color of the backsplash area, the new counter in place, and the old (blue) and new (red) color of the lower cabinets. The upper cabinets have yet to be repainted. I guess you would call the color scheme Danish Modern, although we are neither.

Then my husband had to remove the old backsplash tile and the wall board behind it, replacing it with new wallboard and sealing the seams with tape and joint compound. He didn’t use blue board (Our local coop was out of it on weekend he was doing the work!) because a friend of his recommended sealing the wallboard around behind the sink with thin set and wood hardener. (Go figure.) Then he put two of the three sections of newly laminated counter in place.






Our next move was to buy paint for the backsplash area, upper cabinets, and the wall next to the ceiling, both hallways, and the west kitchen wall. (We have a 1959 open-plan ranch home, so wall paint colors have to work together, and multiple rooms will often be different shades of the same color.) My husband painted the backsplash area once before installing the last section of counter. This area needs another coat before the backsplash tile is installed. We bought the best quality paint we could afford at a cost of about $150. (This is especially important in paint used for cabinets because they get so much daily wear and tear.)

IMG_7831Why didn’t we wait to put all the counter in at once? I neededIMG_7834 a sink! We don’t have a dishwasher, and not having a sink was getting to be a real trial. This sink is made of some kind of plastic material and is very easy on all the vintage dishware we use daily(another good reason NOT to have a dishwasher), This particular sink was such a good find! For $42 we scored a bigger, deeper sink than I had before, and it came with the faucet. The faucet pulls out and produces spray at the push of a button (Pretty fancy 😉 ).

I’ll be sure to post pictures of the kitchen totally finished. Hopefully before the end of the summer! Begonia


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2 Responses to Frugal Kitchen Remodel

  1. DeeAnn says:

    I love your kitchen. I was so inspired and excited about your sink. 🙂 My kitchen is similar to yours. I need a different kitchen sink. My home is a 1940’s cottage bungalow. I am going through these same issues. Your post was so inspiring and such a relief to read that there is hope. 🙂 Thank you. I definitely want to see final pictures. Thank you again. I am trying to remodel my home frugally too and keep her beautiful bones intact. It is challenging but still fun.

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