Follow Along in This Step-By-Step Splurge vs Save Kitchen Renovation

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Like what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Design: Reena Sotropa · Photography: Phil Croizer

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Reena Sotropa has created a fresh and clean traditional kitchen that only looks like a million bucks. This kitchen perfectly exemplifies when to splurge on a high-end finish you just can’t live without and when to save so you don’t break the bank. In today’s tour, Reena shares her splurge vs save tips so you can create the kitchen of your dreams! Follow along below to see how it all came together.

From the Designer… When these clients first reached out to us they had a cute builder-grade kitchen with basic finishes in a neutral black and white colour scheme. The space was not badly laid out, dated and crying out for a renovation like most of our kitchen renovation projects, yet our client was dissatisfied with the overall look and feel of the space. This client was unique in that she had an appreciation for finer and more subtle design details that are often overlooked and underappreciated. She was looking for our help to add layers, depth and visual texture to transform her existing space into the kitchen of her dreams. Luckily, the overall layout of the space was working well for her, which allowed us to focus the bulk of their budget on upgraded finishes, fixtures and appliances, rather than spending money relocating plumbing and electrical.

SAVE · If the overall layout of your kitchen is working well and you can keep your appliances, plumbing and electrical in their existing locations it’s always going to help your overall budget.

SPLURGE · We always suggest fixtures or hardware items that “move” as smart places to upgrade – for example a kitchen faucet or drawer slides. These items with moving parts take extra wear and tear, so investing in items you aren’t just looking at, but are actually using is always wise.

In general, the perimeter base cabinets were working well for our client so with the except of one base cabinet; we preserved the bases, drawer boxes, and interiors and upgraded the hinges, drawer slides, doors, and drawer fronts which we had lacquered in Benjamin Moore’s classic White Dove. Taking inspiration from the existing walnut pantry door we proposed the idea of introducing walnut for the center island and the interior of the glass feature cabinets to balance the warmth and texture of natural wood within the space. We also chose to swap out the existing pre-fab stainless steel hood fan with an integrated model which we had clad by our millworker in preparation for a lovely plaster finish which adds another texture without overwhelming the elevation.

SAVE · If your budget is extremely tight, choose cabinet doors over drawers wherever it is practical. While they don’t offer the same ease of use and function, the labour to fabricate a drawer is always going to be higher than that of a cabinet box with doors. If there are areas where adjustable shelving can take the place of pull-out drawers these are excellent areas to save on your budget.

SPLURGE · Give your kitchen the custom high-end look by choosing to design a surround for an integrated range exhaust insert instead of a prefabricated stainless steel hood fan.

As the design developed, we began to look for ways to introduce unique details and texture into the design. The subtly beautiful and feminine fluting detail on the gable ends of the island and drawer panels of the walnut millwork was the perfect solution. Another subtle yet effective design detail was the addition of the black metal framed doors to the glass front cabinets which serve to draw the eye and highlight our client’s beautiful collection of dish and glassware.

SAVE · If portions of your existing millwork are working well you can preserve your cabinet base, drawer boxes and interiors. You can pick and choose to update only details that are worn and dated like cabinet doors, drawer fronts or decorative hardware. The function of old cabinets can even be improved by adding soft close door hinges or full extension drawer slides.

SPLURGE · The introduction of a custom display cabinet with unique details and materials will create a strong focal point and add visual interest; transforming even the most basic kitchen into something special.

To round out the finish and colour story for the design we elected to replace the existing dark granite countertops with a beautiful gray quartzite with soft and organic veining. Pulling on the warm grey tones of the natural stone we selected an elongated subway tile which provides a visually quiet backsplash surface from the countertop to the ceiling.

SAVE · You backsplash is a great place to save by choosing a more economic tile option as the wear on any vertical surface is much less than a horizontal surface

SPLURGE · One of the hardest wearing elements in any kitchen is the counter surface. In addition to providing a huge aesthetic element to the overall design, your counter selection needs to stand up to the rigours of everyday use while cooking, serving and entertaining.

Like what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Design: Reena Sotropa · Photography: Phil Croizer

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