Sixty days! That’s how long it took to renovate our kitchen. The end results are fantastic but getting there was rough. Now that we’re wrapped it’s time for out NYC kitchen renovation reveal!
We set out to update the kitchen, make it look better and improve usability. We wanted to stay within a tight budget given the size of the space and limited footprint of the room and we wanted to keep our existing cabinets. I’d say overall we met our goals with some notable ups & downs.
Appliances: We had looked at all kinds of appliances. High-end: Wolf, Sub-Zero. European: Bosch, Miele. Reliable: GE, Frigidaire. We ultimately went with a Reliable/European combo with a high-end twist. For our range, microwave and dishwasher we chose GE Cafe appliances (reliable with a high-end twist) and for the refrigerator we chose the Liebherr. I love, love, love the range. The output is incredible. With only a handful of uses under my belt I’ve set a paper towel on fire and melted our tea kettle. I will definitely need to learn to harness the power of my new range. The new dishwasher is so quiet you don’t even know it’s on. All of our appliances were purchased at Gringer & Sons in the East Village. I know this doesn’t qualify as an appliance but we also installed a Franke sink that we ordered on Amazon.
Tile: After many visits to Home Depot to pick out tile we wound up at Complete Tile on West 15th Street. We had purposely avoided the fancy tile stores because we didn’t want to overpay. Unfortunately, Home Depot’s tile department was such a disaster it was near impossible to pick complementary backsplash, flooring and countertop. Going to Complete Tile was the opposite experience. We went over there on a Saturday afternoon and in about 15 minutes had everything designed and ordered. From a cost perspective Complete Tile was comparable to the megastores with the exception of the countertop which I’ll talk about in the downs. Aesthetically, I’m a huge fan of our materials, the floor especially. We walk around barefoot a lot and the texture of the tile is like a mini-foot massage.
Under Cabinet Lights: These are life changing in so many ways! MC found a modular lighting system called Adorne by Legrande. It’s a very cool system that allows you to add USB ports, charging stations and even music. When I first saw the lights up they bothered me a little bit because I thought they stood out too much. Now, they blend in visually so I don’t even notice.
Contractors: We got quotes from 4 different contractors. One came in at $25,000 – hard pass, the rest were in the $10-15,000 range. We wound up selecting the lowest cost provider for the renovation, who happened to be a contractor we’d work with in the past. I think one of the universal truths of renovation work in NYC is that selecting and working with a contractor adds a level of stress and angst that should not be. These guys were very nice but very careless. They got the job done, but here’s what they did wrong…they scratched the base of a lamp in the living room, scratched our wood floor, used our chef’s knives as screwdrivers, installed the pantry door and our under cabinet lights incorrectly, nicked our brand new countertop and somehow managed to put a ding in our dining table. Working with this team was a huge disappointment and the source of a lot of tension throughout the 8 weeks. Oh, and by the way, at the onset they said the job should take 2 weeks! Ha!
Oops Moments: I’m pretty sure throughout this process we let our excitement and/or disappointment guide our decision making. When we found all of our tile we were so excited to be able to move forward with our purchase that we didn’t ask the right questions about our countertop. All I wanted was a white countertop. We found one, we moved forward and didn’t ask about scratches or cost. The countertop looks amazing but it scratches so easily. The scratches come out but we have to operate around the countertop so carefully otherwise we’ll be constantly cleaning. We also didn’t ask about price. There was definitely sticker shock when we got the final bill on our white quartz composite countertop. We were so caught up in the moment at Complete Tile we lost all rationality and didn’t probe on cost and cleanup. Our other oops was with the appliances. We wound up ordering the wrong dishwasher and approving the order without realizing that we were moving forward with a different model.
All in all we’re thrilled with the results but I’ll say this: renovations are not easy and they take a lot of fortitude and resolve and money. Now on to the next project! Check out kitchen before pictures here!