7 In DIY projects

basement reno update #10: smitten with the kitchen

The kitchen. So this was really one of the biggest changes to the layout of the basement. We decided to turn what had been a grotty laundry room/storage area into a kitchen, and move the laundry out into a shared area at the bottom of the basement stairs. This made the most sense as it left the large bedroom and living room area, put the laundry into a shared space, and turned dead space into usable space. Here’s what we were starting with:

You’ve already seen how we demo’d, insulated, framed, dry-walled, and laid the flooring, so I won’t get into any of those details again. We get to go straight into the fun designing stuff!

The area wasn’t going to be huge, so we had to be very practical and efficient when designing the new layout. We used the handy-dandy IKEA kitchen planner tool which you can use in-store or at home. You plug in the dimensions of your kitchen, get your room layout, and then drag and drop various IKEA pieces into your virtual room. We went through several different designs before settling on one. Because it is a small and narrow space, we needed to make sure there would be enough room to walk through comfortably, but also maximize every square inch. Luckily, we had been given the appliances (fridge and stove) and the double sink from some family members who had recently moved house. Hello, happy day! When choosing cabinetry, we found out that the shelf-style is far cheaper than drawer-style. We decided to put in one snazzy drawer unit and then did shelving in the rest. We also chose the most basic of the IKEA cabinet finishes. Sure it’s not fancy, but it’s white, clean-lined, and easy to maintain. If you’re on a budget, IKEA is really the place to go for a kitchen reno. Even the hardware for the cabinets was ridiculously cheap (a pack of 6 handles for less than $10).

Since we didn’t have any wiggle-room in the budget, we really couldn’t afford a backsplash of any kind. On one of my Benjamin Moore visits, I was browsing the returned paint section (where the cans were not quite properly mixed for the desired colour and are at least 50% off the original price) and found a great lime green colour. Since the plan was to do a pop of a bright colour in the kitchen to give it a bit of life, I immediately jumped on this great green deal. Even though saving $15-$20 on paint doesn’t seem huge, we were watching every single penny.. so this felt like quite a victory! We painted a few select walls in the kitchen as well as our DIY hood range (made out of MDF).

For the countertop, we looked at various laminate options (no granite or marble here, we were on a budget!). However, I just couldn’t find any laminate in the lower end price range that didn’t scream “I’m ugly!”. Okay, maybe I was being a bit picky, but I couldn’t help it.  Then on one of our dozen trips back to IKEA, I came across their wood countertops (the “Lagan” style, specifically) which even gave the cheap-o laminate we were looking at a run for its money. It was so inexpensive and I was totally digging it. When Dan said he really liked it too, we were sold.

Oh, and see that snazzy brass faucet? We snagged that at IKEA for a mere $30 (from over $150!!!). Sure it doesn’t really match the silver sink, but I couldn’t have cared less — what a deal!

To keep it looking airy and also to save on cost, we decided to go with just lower cabinets and put some open shelving instead of upper cabinets.

In the area where the electrical panel lives, it made sense to close it off and use the space as a pantry. We knew it wouldn’t be a particularly pretty area (even if we put a box over the panel), and we also figured that it is always nice to have some out of sight storage in the kitchen for things like brooms, buckets, and dry goods. A few pieces of pre-cut shelving from the Home Depot (super cheap!) and voila – a pantry!

We went from this:

…to this…

…to this (don’t worry – we got those wires out of the way afterwards)!

You can see here how the doors close the pantry off from the rest of the kitchen:

Oh, and want to know about the budget for the cabinets, countertops, faucet, paint, lighting, cabinet hardware and the rest of the little details?  Since we put it all together ourselves (except for some minor plumbing work), the total cost was a mere $1190. Pretty great, huh? A small cost for a huge transformation.

And now for all the official “after” pictures. We couldn’t have been happier the way this kitchen turned out. Looking at it now, I almost can’t believe what we started with. A part of me wanted to move down to the basement of the house once it was done!

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  • Izzy

    WOW Gemma! It looks AMAZING! You’re so wonderfully motivated… and tasteful too! ;)

  • farrar brodhead

    Amazing, what a phenomenal transformation, well done both of you! And agreed with Kate, I will be calling when, one day, we buy and reno! I’m wondering how I could incorporate more of that green into my life too…! Talk soon…

    • thanks guys! We were pretty happy about the outcome. It was definitely worth all of the late nights and weekends!

      gem xo

  • nadinethornhill

    Gemma, I am SO impressed with your basement kitchen. Can I move in? I’m sure I can convince The MoMs. :)

    • Wouldn’t that be fun? We could have nightly slumber parties :)

      gem xo

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