Google+ House Revivals: Bungalow Kitchen Budget Makeover

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bungalow Kitchen Budget Makeover

It's been a while since I've "made over" a bad MLS kitchen, so I thought I'd share some concepts for a Seattle neighborhood bungalow in the MLS listings.

A classic Queen Anne shingled bungalow, the house sits in a historic neighborhood that is seeing some gentrification.

The house has lovely bones, with really exceptional details, like leaded glass windows, bay windows, and architectural columns.  The home is elegant, without feeling stuffy.

The sellers had begun a kitchen renovation.  While I don't know exactly what the sellers had planned, it appears they wanted a more open concept space :)

When designed well, open concept spaces can work in these older homes. The key is to respect the original architecture of the home to create a timeless design.

In my "Bad MLS Kitchen Makeover" series, I look for the best budget solution, so sellers can get a functional, beautiful kitchen on the market, for the best return on their investment.  In keeping with the "budget" theme, we are assuming these are DIY projects (if you're not a DIYer, but your buddies are, a cooler of beer and some steaks on the grill might entice them to offer up their skills -- like an old-fashioned barn raising).

The first thing I do with these virtual makeovers, is estimate the room's dimensions by using information I already know, like approximate door widths, appliance dimensions, counter heights, and so on.  Then, if the floor has a pattern, it is often a simple matter of doing a little math.  Next, I do a very quick "back of an envelope" sketch of the existing floor plan, and another quick sketch showing a budget solution.  (I may deviate from the initial solution just a little, as I work into the design.)

{At this point, I would normally insert photos of the floorplan
sketches, but my camera is on the fritz again -- it keeps draining the
batteries really fast -- just zaps them -- to the point that I 
can't get them to recharge.  One new battery gets me about 
twenty pictures, then it's dead forever.  Any ideas?}

I also look for clues about the space in other real estate photos, such as these exterior photos.

These photos help explain the mystery door at the back of the kitchen.  It would appear that it leads to a half flight of stairs to a second back door.  It is also likely that the stairs turn at a landing and continue to the basement.  The deck is accessed from the kitchen via the pantry.

My first advice is to replace part of the kitchen wall that was previously removed.  Since this is a budget remodel, we will not move appliances, plumbing, or major electrical. This kitchen was originally designed as an eat-in kitchen, and feels a little cavernous without a table.

The "island" that the sellers are using looks out of place in this kitchen because the scale is wrong.  This kitchen has plenty of room for a large island or a farm table.

This dining room looks as if the furniture was arranged for how people pass through the  room, rather than how the room is used.

The dining room has some peculiar space planning, including two tables -- one of which is a farm table.  By simply moving the table into the kitchen, you can create a space that feels homey and inviting.  Painting the base of the table a distressed white helps tie it into the room, and makes it feel intentional.

The floor must be addressed, as it is partly ripped up.  There are some really good affordable laminates available today, as well as some very good resilient plank flooring.  If the transition between the dining room and the kitchen is done well, no one will be the wiser. (The dining room floor will be a little trickier to patch well.  Hopefully, there is flooring in a closet somewhere that can be pulled up and fingered into the dining room floor!)

 Now, are you ready to see the first installment 
of the kitchen makeover?

Here is a reminder of how it looks now.

I recommend boxing in the fridge, as well as shrinking the opening to the pantry by about a foot.  Right now the fridge is just sort of floating.  It looks like an afterthought.  By simply bringing out that wall next to it, and boxing it in, you can create an intentional design that looks like it has always been there.  Also, reversing the swing on the refrigerator door is simple and free, and will add tremendous function to the space.

This kitchen had no upper cabinets and it just wasn't working.  I understand the trend right now is to remove upper cabinets, but most people want their uppers.  Not floating shelves.  Upper cabinets.  With doors.  Certainly, there are times when shelves are the best option, but most of us have odds and ends we end up tucking into our cabinets.  It's not always pretty. Most of us need some cabinets with doors. The first two shelves in an upper cabinet are at eye level, and comfortable to reach -- a back saver when you're unloading the dishwasher.

  • This renovation, while definitely a "budget" design, will still involve some outlay of cash for materials.  
  • It will require framing and drywall and trim supplies for the two walls that need work -- about 7 linear feet of wall needs to be added.
  • I would recommend butcher block counters from IKEA -- they are the most affordable countertop option.  
  • Additionally, three upper cabinets will need to be  purchased, as well as one blind corner base cabinet.  
  • Although not necessary if the wallet is terribly thin, a really nice option for lighting is to add track lighting.  Track lighting supports pendants and directional lighting, and can be installed using existing wiring.
  • The kitchen and pantry together will need about three hundred square feet of flooring.
  • The project will need about eight sheets of bead board paneling.
  • Again, though not completely necessary, a chandelier over the table really works in this space. Check clearance racks at big box stores and lighting supply stores.  I found my dining room chandelier on clearance for $39!
  • Inexpensive curtains can be found at discount stores or thrift stores.  Pretty sheets can also be shortened and used.
  • A range hood is needed.
The total outlay can be kept around $2000, with careful shopping and some hard work, but the finished project will look like you spent $20,000!  Here is the before and after again:

This is Part One of this Queen Anne Bungalow Kitchen Makeover. Please watch for the next installment, showing the rest of the kitchen,  in a few days.  If you don't already follow House Revivals blog, be sure to hit "follow", in my side bar, so you are sure not to miss Part Two!

Edit:  Part Two has been posted!  See it here.

flower in vase painting-Elizabeth Lee
apple painting-Michael Anthony
chandelier-CSN lighting


  1. Oh it looks 100 % better! Small changes but what a difference. Well done!

  2. how fun - love the exterior siding on this one too!

  3. You might want to track down these owners and show them your plan! What a wonderful, character-filled space! I love it. Had to do a double-take to make sure it was the same space!

  4. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!


  5. i like your ideas
    a whole heck of a lot better
    than those awful photos!

    thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


  6. alot of hard work, a bit of cash, and some ingenuity made for a great redo!

  7. Some great ideas - and looks better with the changes. I read a story years ago about a house and its alterations - sometimes it just leaves a person to wonder what were they thinking? Like the door on a wall of a 2-story house but no deck to step out onto. That was in the story I read. Wish I could remember where I saw it. Probably have it stuffed somewhere in a cabinet with doors or box in a closet! Traveling with Liz on Time Travel Thursday. Jenn

  8. You have some terrific ideas. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas at Potpourri Friday!

  9. The kitchen looks so much better and I love all of the touches! The chandy and the table, the builtins around the fridge! And how pretty the curtains look over the sink! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  10. What a fun job you have, Amanda! You get to breath new life into old homes... :)

    xoxo laurie

  11. What a fun concept! I really like your mock up. I'm thinking of pulling my kitchen table more into the middle of my kitchen right now... Hmmm...

  12. Your suggestions would be an amazing transformation of that space. Thanks for linking up to the 1st Project of the Year Party!

  13. This is a fantastic series. I have a brand new home and upgraded the kitchen as much as I could afford. Now, I need to make subtle changes to make it into a country kitchen. I am going to change the drawer pulls to cups. I loved your ideas about adding feet and corbels from another of your virtual kitchen make-over. Thank you for the fabulous ideas!!

  14. Love it - it is going to be gorgeous. Can I fly you in to help me get my house ready to sell! Although my kitchen is OK - we followed so many of these ideas and ended up with a great kitchen for so much less. Mainly because we were respectful of the house and its architecture. Featuring on tickled pink tomorrow!

  15. This is a terrific make-over! For investment purposes, kitchen is one of the most renovated areas in the house. This is where most foot traffic occurs, an area where people in the house are mostly gathered. It will add an attractive appeal for those who want to rent a house.

  16. good that kitchen..great nice to meet you. Just came across you blog while hopping around. I'm now following and going back to look around some more....please come by and visit too!


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