Dan's Kitchen: What it Really Cost - A Budget Breakdown

Renovation Diary

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Name: Dan Bailey
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: East Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Type of building: 2nd Floor Condo in a Greek-Revival Row House

We've been following along with him through the whole renovating process, and yesterday we got out first look at Dan's beautiful finished kitchen. Today, we're taking you behind the scenes for a closer look at an unsexy but still very important aspect of the renovation — the budget.

We'll be comparing the actual budget for the project with Dan's projected budget from before the renovation began. From Dan:

I ended up going over my original budget by a pretty significant margin. Most of the unexpected costs were related to the extra work required to renovate a kitchen in a really old building – everything seems to take a little longer in an old building, which translates into higher labor costs. Going into the renovation, I had no idea that it would take weeks to properly install and level framing for the walls, ceiling, and cabinet boxes, or that the original pine flooring would need extensive repairs before it could be refinished. And, although it may have been wishful thinking, I didn’t realize that the entire kitchen would need to be rewired and a new gas line would need to be run from the cellar.

As the renovation progressed, the scope expanded as well. I knew the old, drafty kitchen window would eventually need to be replaced, but I had originally hoped to put it off until after the rest of the kitchen was done. But once the renovation began, it made sense to replace the window before adding new trim and finishing the kitchen. Buying and installing a new window was a significant added expense, but it was definitely worthwhile.

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Of course, I also spent a little more than I had planned on a few extra things, like a new microwave, soapstone countertops, a vented range hood, and custom, reproduction trim, to give the kitchen exactly the look and functionality that I wanted. And although these extras weren’t necessary, they weren’t that expensive in the grand scheme of things, and they’re certainly nice to have.

Once I began the renovation, I discovered that all of the costs associated with renovating a kitchen add up really quickly. But one benefit of a longer-than-expected renovation was that I was able to pay for the renovation gradually over the course of six months, so it wasn't as much of a shock as it would have been had I written a check for the total cost of the renovation at the start of the project.

Budget Specifics:

LABOR:

    Projected:
    Plumbing, $800
    Electrical, $800
    Carpentry, $1500
    Total: $3,100

    Actual:
    Plumbing – labor + materials including gas line installation and new sink/dishwasher plumbing, $2300
    Electrical – labor + materials including new sub panel installation and rewiring kitchen, $4000
    Carpentry (Gregg Shepherd) – labor including floor repair, drywall, vent installation, window installation, cabinetry installation, custom trim, pantry shelving installation, $6000
    Total: $12,300

    Difference: +$9,200

DESIGN AND PERMITTING:

    Projected:
    Building Permit, $300
    Electrical Permit, $50
    Plumbing Permit, $50
    Total: $400

    Actual: Included in labor fees

    Difference: -$400

APPLIANCES:

    Projected:
    Range, $1800
    Refrigerator, $1400
    Dishwasher, $689
    Range Hood, $500
    Total: $4,389

    Actual:

    Range and Range Hood (Yale Appliance), $1999
    Refrigerator (Yale Appliance), $1999
    Dishwasher (Craigslist), $100
    Microwave (Amazon), $112
    Toaster (Crate and Barrel), $40
    Total: $4,250

    Difference: -$139

FIXTURES:

    Projected:
    Sink, $370
    Faucet, $159
    Total: $529

    Actual:
    Sink (Amazon), $196
    Faucet (Amazon), $120
    Garbage Disposal (Amazon), $78
    Total: $394

    Difference: -$135

CABINETS AND COUNTERTOPS:

    Projected:
    Cabinets, $3000
    Countertops, $1500
    Cabinet Hardware, $365
    Total: $4,865

    Actual:
    Cabinet Boxes (IKEA), $832
    Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts (SemiHandmade), $1732
    Cabinet Hardware (HouseofAntiqueHardware.com), $151
    Corner Carousel (HardwareHut.com), $159
    Soapstone Countertops (Jewett Farms + Co.) – including materials, templating, fabrication, delivery, and installation, $2600
    Total: $5,474

    Difference: +$609

FLOORING:

    Projected:
    Floor refinishing, $500

    Actual:
    Floor Refinishing – labor + materials for 225 square feet (kitchen and dining room), $425

    Difference: -$75

FINISHES:

    Projected:
    Tile, $125
    Paint and Plaster, $360
    Total: $485

    Actual:
    Tile, Thinset, and Grout, $75
    Primer and Paint, $150
    Dining Room Ceiling Medallion, $42
    Total: $267

    Difference: -$218

OTHER BUILDING MATERIALS:

    Projected:
    Miscellaneous Building Materials (lumber, drywall, caulk, screws...), $300

    Actual:
    Miscellaneous Building Materials including lumber, drywall, caulk, exterior vinyl window trim, screws, and nails, $506
    Casement Window, $750
    Total: $1256


    Difference: +$956

DECOR:

    Projected:
    Miscellaneous, $500
    Lighting, $500
    Total: $1000


    Actual:
    Dining Table and Chairs (vintage), $450

    Dining Room Pendant Light Fixture – not including shade (Pottery Barn), $60

    Kitchen Rug (West Elm), $19
    Total: $529

    Difference: -$471

Total Budget (Projected):

    $15,568

Total Budget (Actual):

    $24,895

Difference:

    $9,327

Readers, Check out the full series to see the whole renovation process, step-by-step. And tune in tomorrow for Dan's final thoughts on what he learned during the renovation.

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

(Images and Diary Text: Dan Bailey)

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