Smart Spend: Custom Kitchen Mapping
Budget-savvy Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault pulls off a custom kitchen mapping out where to save and where to splurge
• Photography By Larry Arnal
I’ve always believed that great style doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag. In fact, almost all my projects hinge on the idea that the most important ingredient in any well-designed space is creativity, NOT money!
Having said that, I recently completed my very own dream kitchen makeover that required an equal serving of creativity AND money to complete. My husband and I had planned and saved for years to be able to tackle a complete “no-compromise” overhaul, and contrary to my frugal DIY ways, the kitchen was a MAJOR investment that not only completely changed the overall appearance, but also the function of the space.
Although the majority of the renovation fell into the category of “custom,” it’s important to note that “custom” should not be synonymous with expensive. There were countless ways that we saved during our reno, which allowed us to splurge on a few extra luxuries. It proves that you can absolutely create a customized space with a modest budget…you just need to be a little more CREATIVE with the dollars you have!
Here’s where to save, and where to splurge to create a compromise-free custom kitchen:
DEMO FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Many homeowners plan to save by attempting to do the demo of their old kitchen themselves, but skip swinging the sledgehammer and instead, call your local Habitat for Humanity to schedule a crew to do the deconstruction for you… for FREE! Not only will they remove your existing cabinets and countertop, but they’ll do it with extreme care, and then transport it to a local ReStore where it will be sold to support the amazing work that Habitat does in the community. The added benefit is that you also get a tax receipt for the donation and you save the items from ending up in a landfill. Now, that’s a lot of SAVINGS!
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CABINETRY COLOUR
Cabinetry typically takes up the most visual space in a kitchen, and the colour and finish immediately dictate the room’s overall mood and style. In the case of most custom kitchens, two-toned painted cabinets don’t often come at an added expense, but create a truly unique and customized look. I wanted our kitchen to feel light and bright, but I also wanted to add some personality with colour, so we opted to add a splash of navy on the lowers. The best thing about painted surfaces is that if (and when) you tire of the two-toned look down the road, it’s easy to update them with a fresh coat of paint.
Now, if painting cabinetry sounds like a daunting task, consider a DIY-friendly kit called Cabinet Transformations by Rustoleum—it has everything you need to easily and affordably tackle a cabinet makeover in just a weekend. The kit even contains a seemingly miracle product called “De-glosser,” which micro-etches the surface so you don’t have to sand before painting—and that will save you tons of time along with money.
UPDATE YOUR EXISTING HARDWARE FINISH
Pewter today…bronze tomorrow! Colour trends seem to change so quickly these days, and that includes trends in metal finishes. If your budget is limited, but you’re craving a trendy hardware update, consider buying a can of metal spray paint to update ALL of your existing handles and knobs instead of replacing each one. It may seem like such a small change, but hardware is like the jewelry of the space, and I promise that updating it will make a big overall difference.
A faucet often becomes a focal point accessory in a kitchen, and with your entire reno budget considered, why skimp on spending an additional $100 or so on a less expensive faucet when that small amount of extra money (in the grand scheme of things) can make it a showpiece and elevate the entire look of the space? I ditched our original builder-grade faucet in our old kitchen and upgraded to the Delta Trinsic with Touch2o technology. It’s become one of those small luxuries in the space that even guests take notice of and compliment.
UPGRADE INTERIOR FIXTURES
As much as you want your new kitchen to look amazing, you also want to make sure it functions really well. Planning for custom interior fixtures, like Magic Corners and utensil dividers, will add a bit more to your budget but will make keeping your drawers and cupboards organized so much easier. Also, consider storage solutions for small appliances that you don’t use often and create a dedicated area in your design to stash them away. Having something like a double-deep drawer to stash mixers and blenders or a space-saving pull-out pantry will help cut the clutter from your counter.
The one item at the very top of my kitchen reno wish list was quartz counters. After years of living with scratched and stained laminate, I was excited to invest in a non-porous surface that would stand up to everything from tomato sauce spills to coffee drips. Not only is quartz stain-resistant, but the man-made material is virtually impervious to bacteria, and is incredibly durable against scratches and chips from pots and pans. Quartz is an investment, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one for any kitchen.
A self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. As an expert on CityTV’s Cityline, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “DO IT YOURSELF.” For more information, visit huelala.com @leighannallaire