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Luxury Kitchens for Less

Kitchen experts give tips on how to save on your kitchen design.

No room defines a home’s personality better than the kitchen.  Unfortunately, no room renovation can bust your budget faster than the kitchen.

I’ve seen it all. Last year I toured a Clive Christian kitchen that cost about $1 million. Most people are lucky if they can afford a $1 million house, let alone a kitchen. It’s easy to create luxurious kitchens when you have a big budget.

I’m more impressed with kitchen designers who create stunning spaces on a shoe-string budget. This includes Debi Pyne of Falls Church. Pyne loves working magic with tight budgets. That’s probably because she’s been through it herself. Debbie transformed her own kitchen from a run-down 1950s ranch disaster into a sleek arts and crafts beauty.

She used stock cabinets in contrasting colors to create a custom look.

Pyne said hiring a professional designer saves considerable time and money.

“Working with a design build firm who is skilled in space planning and knowledgeable about kitchen products and construction can keep costs down, as they can develop the plan and design to suit the budget,” said Pyne. “Good design often costs less than bad design.”

When it comes to materials, Pyne recommends being creative with design elements — like the backsplash.

“The backsplash is a great place to make a statement without breaking the bank. The secret is to use reasonably inexpensive tile for the majority of the project then splurge on a small amount of a more expensive tile as an accent — perhaps over the range,” said Pyne. “Back painted glass for the backsplash is a great alternative to tile in contemporary kitchens.”

Cut countertop costs by sticking with the basics, Pyne said: “Since stone countertops are pretty much a given these days, keep costs down by using a standard square edge instead of a contoured edge — which can cost $6 per linear foot and more.”

She added: “Also, always ask the countertop fabricator if they have any stone slabs that are overstocks that they’re offering at a discounted price. For very small projects, look at the fabricators remnant section.”

The most expensive cost in a kitchen remodel is cabinetry. But according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, refacing instead of replacing saves you almost half the cost. 

You can also paint dated cabinets. Christine Meyers, of French Flair and Faux,  said it usually takes her a week to refinish a small to medium kitchen and costs start around $3,400. 

With refacing, old doors and drawer fronts are replaced with new doors and drawer fronts. A matching veneer is bonded to casework.

Be careful: Some refacing jobs cost almost as much as new cabinets. You rack up most of your savings by reducing labor and construction costs associated with removing and installing new cabinetry. 

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