Originally, the entire kitchen was designed with all custom walnut cabinetry [see below]
When the budget numbers came back way too high, we started cutting costs wherever we possibly could without sacrificing too much of the desired style. So we decided to mix white IKEA cabinets with custom walnut cabinets. The base cabinets in the u-shaped part of the kitchen were all standard sizes and easy to swap out. The large tall wall of cabinets around the fridge, the microwave hutch, and the retro sliding laminated doors with floating shelf over the sink were designed custom, therefore not-so-easy to change. Once I drew it up on the computer, Matt and I actually liked the entire look much better. It felt more happy, airy and bright; more like “us.” [see below]
Get a quick glimpse of the process in the video below:
The other spot we saved some money was the vanity cabinet in the master bathroom. It was originally designed as floating custom walnut cabinets with a tall storage tower on the left. We found an inexpensive cabinet with the right dimensions on etsy.com. Luckily, this cabinet already had a white/gray laminate top so we didn’t have to pay for a stone top either. We saved on the cabinet and countertop costs. Although, we did pay our cabinet guys to retrofit the center 3 drawers since they had to be cut to make room for the drain p-trap. We also had them go ahead and put metal soft-close glides on them so they open easier than before. [see below]
New Cabinet Layout:
We chose to hire painters to spray the trim, ceilings, and prime the walls. We saved about $2,500 by painting the walls ourselves. This is an easy thing for homeowners to DIY if they really need to save some money. The only issue with DIY in a large project that involves a contractor is keeping up with the timeline/schedule and taking some control out of the contractor’s hands. It’s trickier to coordinate and can upset people, but we pulled it off. Every weekend I had free time I went and painted. I had paint parties with friends to help me, and Matt & I would take turns when watching the kids. Our focus was to first paint the walls that were over hardwoods since the hardwoods were going to be sanded and finished soon. The next focus was on the bedrooms before carpet was installed, and bathrooms after the tile was finished.
You’ll notice that everything is white… that’s on purpose. I wanted the house to feel light, bright, and full of sunshine, BUT warm. We painted the trim Sherwin Williams Alabaster (a bit creamy) rather than a pure/cooler white. The walls are the same color in satin sheen, and the ceilings are Alabaster as well in flat. Flat helps hide imperfections, bumps, scrapes, humps in the drywall, etc. because the light doesn’t bounce off of it much. Satin is easier to wipe/clean if you smudge it than flat. Touch-up paint is easier on flat than satin because the light can potentially show where the touch-up starts and stops. Usually a painter will re-paint an entire wall where a touch up is needed the higher the sheen is. The white walls are a good base for lots of colorful artwork that will hang, and they carry out the common mid-century style of white found in Palm Springs architecture as well as Scandinavian.
My daughter wanted a rainbow in her room so I had to make that happen quickly over her spring break. I brought her on a weekday right before carpet went in the next day! She loved being a part of it even though her help only lasted about an hour before I had to finish it myself. The rainbow took 3 coats of each color. Green Frog tape is the key for things like this because it makes a cleaner line than blue tape. We used small rollers in separate trays for each color. She has decided to finish the top with a puffy cloud we are making out of white foamcore and sticking up with 3M sticky tape.