NUMMER HOUSE: Planning a kitchen remodel when you have no idea what you're doing

"The truth about remodeling is that it always costs more than you think it will." -Bob Vila

Okay, so Bob Vila never actually said this, but it seems true enough. Regardless, I've used this as a constant mantra in my head as I begin the first real steps of the remodel: planning. It's in this stage where expectations can grow out of control and unrealistic projects can suddenly seem so doable. I've been very careful in these early planning stages as to not fall into the same trap that many other DIY-ers have before me. I've promised myself I would not to take on projects beyond my ability or fall in love with a design element that I cannot afford to recreate.

That being said, this is also the time where creativity comes into play. And not just for fixtures and finishes, but for spotting solutions to small issues before they become big problems. I'm hoping that my creativity, the projects I've taken on until this point and all the copious research I've done (i.e. hungover HGTV marathons) will converge into a finished kitchen with few issues finished on time within the budget allotted.

Yes, I am laughing aloud as I type this. And yes, I know issues are bound to pop up. Things NEVER go as planned. Still. I'm trying my best to stay positive against overwhelming odds that I'll really fuck something up. So I'm the first one that will say "I told you so" to myself when it all hits the fan. Either way, I'm moving ahead.

For clarity's sake, my kitchen budget does not include flooring, lighting, a new sink/faucet or appliances. Flooring will come later, appliances and sink will be reused and lighting was purchased before I closed on the house (long story). It also does not include a movable prep table or island even though I really want one. It's not a necessity, so I'll get to it later when I can afford to. So this is what my budget includes:

  • Demo: removing all old fixtures, hardware, cabinets etc.
  • Countertops.
  • New cabinet drawers and drawer fronts.
  • New cabinet doors for cabinets that are staying.
  • New range hood.
  • Tile and all tiling supplies for counter-to-ceiling installation on 1 1/2 walls.
  • Paint
  • Hardware
  • Open shelving

So let's break down this project. 


  • Remove old upper cabinets along main wall of kitchen. Est. cost? FREE. I removed them myself after considering the cost of paying a professional. You can see the before and after in this post.
  • Countertop removal: Est cost? $200.00. This is the standard going rate for the guys who are putting new counters in to take the old one out and haul it away. In the end, I could probably do this on my own with a few friends, but something tells me it will be worth it to just spend the dough and let the pros handle it.


  • I have an 11' run, and two shorter runs, one 12" wide and the other 24" wide. No weird cuts or anything. I'm still looking into the material I plan on using and what supplier/installer I'll use. Est. cost? $700.00-$1000.00.


  • The drawers in this kitchen are royally screwed. I've looked at a few companies online, and it look likes I'll be working with Horizon Cabinet Door Co. They have competitive prices, free shipping, a reasonable turnaround time (2-3 weeks) and easy to understand ordering instructions. Est. cost? $200.00.


  • For my kitchen remodel, I've decided to keep the existing layout of the kitchen as well as all the existing base cabinets and uppers surrounding the refrigerator. Unfortunately, the doors are constructed in a manner that makes them unsuitable for rehab. So I've opted to just add new cabinet doors and paint everything to match. I also need one replacement upper cabinet (to mount the range hood to), which will run me about $80.00 (already purchased). Right now, my shopping cart with Horizon Cabinet is hovering around $380.00 for the doors, but I've got a few more tweaks to make. Est cost? $475.00.


  • Already purchased. I hope to be able to connect it to the electrical supply myself and skip having an electrician come in. For now, I'm not budgeting any extra.

Yep, it's a range hood. Exciting, I know.

Total? $45.00


This is the biggest, most complicated project I plan on tackling in this remodel. This blog post is the first time I've actually considered what it'll really cost me. So let's look at all the ingredients...

  • Durock board (goes over walls to prepare for tile). 10 sheets @$9.47 each = approx. $100.00
  • Tiles: 80 sq. feet @ $1.84 per sq. foot  = approx. $150.00
  • Tile adhesive to cover 80+ sq. feet = approx. $40.00
  • Floats, trowels, tile cutter and other tools: approx. $100.00
  • Grout = approx $15.00 

It's white subway tile. Again with the excitement.

Est. cost? $405.00.


  • 2 gallons for ceiling & walls: $60.00 + 1 gallon for cabinets: $30.00 + 1 gallon primer: $20.00.

The cabinet color, Behr's Nobility Blue. Not boring at all! 

Est. cost? $110.00. 


  • Cabinet hinges: approx $80.00 + Cabinet pulls: $50.00 + Mounting supplies: $20.00 = Est. cost? $150.00.


  • I plan to replace the upper cabinets I removed with three 12" deep 10' long bracketed shelves. I'll use stained and sealed (by me) "common boards" that literally come exactly as I need them. These will run me $36.00. The brackets are another story. I'm just going to estimate $100.00 since I haven't sourced any I like yet.
Check out to see this awesome kitchen makeover

Check out to see this awesome kitchen makeover

This is the look I'm going for with the shelving.

Est. cost? $136.00.


Whoa. That is a shitload of cash! Thankfully, I'll be taking my time and working on things in stages so I won't have to take on all these costs immediately. There may also be some projects that get pushed to the back burner if I can't swing it.

The first and foremost priority are countertops. I can't tile until I put in new counters and I can't put up shelving until I tile. So everything's kind of on hold until I can make the counters happen. Hopefully, I can swing this within the next six weeks. Meanwhile, I'll begin stripping the rest of the wallpaper and painting the walls and ceiling as early as this weekend. I know it will all happen in due time. While I wait, I'll do my best to reign in my impatience.

Yeah. We'll see how that goes.