A Craigs List Kitchen Remodel

How to use Craigs List *and some patience* 
to Get Your New Kitchen!

Hi! I’m Stephanie from Binkies and Briefcases and I’m waaay beyond excited to have our kitchen featured here today! Remodelaholic is one of the very first blogs I started following and has been such an inspiration to me! We live in an old split-level house that was built in 1965, so we need LOTS of inspiration. My husband and I live on one income, have two little ones and another on the way, so we try to do all of our remodels on a tight budget. That’s why we turned to Craigslist and ReStore when it was time to overhaul our kitchen.
So here it is, a story about how patience and hard work can get you what you want… i.e this-

Last week marked exactly 2 years since we began our Craigslist Kitchen adventure.

There is still a little bit of work to be done, but I thought it would be fun to look back and see how far we’ve come.

This was our kitchen before. I really don’t have any kind words about it. The old disintegrating cabinets used to leave my dishes full of sawdust, the shelves were sagging and not secure, so I couldn’t use half the cabinets anyway, there was a giant burn mark on the laminate counter, fake bricks, the floor wasn’t level….I could go on, but I won’t. I just tried to focus on the fact that one of the reasons we bought this house was because of the large rooms with a lot of potential.

We got an $8,000 tax refund that year, so I decided that was going to be my budget for the remodel. For everything. New cabinets, new counters, new appliances, new floors, etc. For this room AND the attached dining room.

The dining room before. Yeah, it was bad, y’all.

Even though $8,000 is a lot of money, that is a very,very,very tiny budget for remodeling an entire kitchen and dining room. So said the people at Lowes, anyway, when they quoted me $12,000 just for cabinets. There was no way that I was pouring the typical 25-30 grand into this kitchen. We would never be able to recoup an investment like that in our area. Plus, we were doing a cash-only refund and I don’t have that much extra cash lying around. I was NOT putting our young family into that kind of debt for granite counter tops.

Of course, I am entirely too stubborn and impatient to live with a kitchen looking that that for very long. (I know I keep saying “I,” Eddie actually did most of the work, but he was great about letting me make most of the decisions since the kitchen is mostly my space. He did veto the tile, though. More on that later.)

The whole thing needed to be gutted. Don’t worry, we reused the cabinets and counters for storage in our garage and basement.

I made a list of what I wanted in my dream kitchen. It looked like this:

-nice cabinets
-solid surface counters
-stainless appliances
-a new floor (preferably tile)
-a new back splash (preferably tile)
-an island
-a new pantry door
-pretty molding

Ok, so the floors and the backsplash are not tile, but I can totally live with that. I still got everything on my list. Want to see?

Here we are 2 years later, after a lot of thrifting, recycling, sweat, and less than $8,000:

Yay! The cabinets are solid cherry wood and the counters are Silestone. They even have some cool custom features, like a pull-out spice rack and sheet pan dividers.

(hint for later: There’s something a little off about the doors on both of these cabinets)

Plus they included the same pantry cabinet, decorative stove hood, appliance garage, and lazy susan corner cabinets that really jacked up the price of my cabinet quote from Lowes!

We still have a short to-do list in this area that includes crown molding for both the walls and the cabinets, shoe molding, and touch-up paint in a few areas. I’d also like to refinish the hand-me down table and get different chairs, but that is not very high on my priority list at the moment.

Cost break down:
Cabinets, Counters, Sink & Faucet: Craigslist, came as a set for $2,000
Uhaul rental-1day: $100
Hardware: $150
Labor to hang cabinets &; install counters and sink, and relocate dishwasher: $1,600
New floor: Home Depot, Allure Vinyl $800
Paint: $50 (Valspar Green Tea Leaf and Brandied Pear)
Lightfixtures: $50 (Lowes & Craigslist)
Island: $315, made from an old dresser we found at our local reuse center
Beadboard, wainscoting, and floor boards: $500
New window treatments: JC Penny $150
Stove: Free!! Craigslist (I bought it for $75, then sold our old one for $80)
Accessories: $0 Tempt-Tations line from QVC, all gifted. My family knows I collect them.
Table and Chairs: $0 hand-me-downs from my dad
Dining Room Shelves: Ana White’s ledges- $40
Sewing Table: $50 Goodwill re-do
Dining Room Bench (not pictured): JC Penny on sale w/promo code: $120
Refigerator: hhgregg: $1,300

Total: $7,225

The remaining $775 left on my $8,000 budget will go toward the moldings and maybe a pot rack or a larger scale light fixture above the island.

We have even had an architect in the house who estimated that the value of the kitchen remodel was about $30,000. We realize that we will not get that kind of a resale value in our area, but it still feels pretty sweet to hear!

My tips for budget kitchen remodels (not that you asked):

1. Check Craigslist every day and your re-use center every week. So many people tell me how lucky we were to find this set, which of course is true, but I didn’t just find it the first day I looked on Craigslist. It took months of research. Since we did our remodel, I’ve even found a gorgeous set of antique white painted walnut cabinets at the reuse center. That stung a little, because I would have bought those over mine in a heart beat, but they were also priced more than twice what I paid, so that took a little of the sting out. Be proactive. If you want something specific, like stainless appliances, check the appliance section of your local Craigslist multiple times a day. You better believe that stove was only listed for a few hours before I had an appointment with the sellers to go pick it up!

2. Find what you like and make it work in your space or know what you want and make it to work in your space. (Those are different.) Obviously, these cabinets and counters were not built for our kitchen, so there are some quirks. We had to relocate our frig and our dishwasher, three of the doors on the cabinets open the opposite way of how they should (No one has ever noticed this. Can you find them?), there is one faintly noticeable seam in the corner of the counter top, and the built in desk doesn’t go all the way to the wall. Those were all minor prices to pay for a savings of about $25,000. I also knew I wanted an island, but our space was too narrow for one made from traditional cabinetry, so I searched (again, for months) and eventually found an old cruddy dresser with prefect bones to transform into a great island.

3. Patience and flexibility. This was the hardest part for me. Sometimes I get frustrated because it’s been 2 years for crying out loud and this space still isn’t finished, or because I have a great idea but we can’t afford it at the moment. The best deals are collected over time and eventually God will provide, even if it’s not on my time frame. (which would have been immediately, please) For instance, it was over a year in between installing the cabinets and counters and finding an amazing deal on a stove. Yes, it was frustrating using an old, ugly stove that constantly lost heat because the oven door was wonky, but eventually I got a beautiful new-to-me one for free. I also had to be flexible because I wanted a tile floor like nobody’s business. I’ve owned three houses and never had real tile in my kitchen. I was saving tons of money in other areas, so I felt justified splurging on tile, but it would have meant that we had to replace the entire subfloor, which would have been a HUGE undertaking, not to mention added expense. Plus, it would have been an over-improvement for the neighborhood. Vinyl it was. I pouted for a while over the vinyl because I knew whatever we did in the kitchen would also go in both bathrooms and the foyer, but now I actually like the fact that the vinyl is easier to clean and better for the kids. Sometimes you can learn to love, or at least like, the compromises.

This project was contributed by one of our fabulous readers! We love to share your projects with this great blogging community. So, if you have projects from kitchen renovation ideas to small bathroom remodels, overhauled and repurposed furniture, spray paint updates you name it please send it in! Thanks for reading Remodelaholic!

If you liked this post we hope that you will check out theses past kitchen renovation features!


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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. I have never seen anyone convert a dresser into a Island. I love this idea its so different. I have passed this on to my sister ;). She was looking for something different like this and its just her style. Good job on staying within budget.

  2. I love this!! You did an amazing job with the budget you had. Way to go with the dresser as an island! I love the color of the paint and I have that same table. LOL My chairs are slightly different (back spindles are straight) but same shape.