Highs & Lowes

Budgets are a big deal.  One hundred dollars is a big deal to me.  I know some folks would probably mock my idea of cheap…I literally am the gal in frugal.  But the budget is a big deal.  Breaking the budget can make you feel like a failure (or is that just me?) and keeping under a certain dollar amount makes us feel like the king of the world…or the mermaid on the front of a ship with salt water in our hair…or riding high on a mountain top with a horse between our legs and a sack of saved money thrown over our shoulder.  Excuse my analogies…I may be watching too many Disney movies :)

So when Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine decided to sponsor a Kitchen Makeover project and provide seven hundred smackers to us, I whipped out my inner Honey Boo Boo with a “The dollah makes me hollah!”  Seriously it does.  And that seriously helped out our small kitchen budget.    

As you can remember, when I introduced our Operation Heart of the Home initiative, I told you our main objectives….(here they are just in case Labor Day weekend has your brain in a tizzy!)…

  • Mission: To affordably alter our kitchen to make it more our style and increase the functionality while still fitting our lifestyle.
  • Timeline: Late 2012 and early 2013 during several phases so we don’t lose the ability to actually use our kitchen.
  • Budget: under $3000 – preferably closer to $2000

And we want to keep the expensive stuff – like the cabinets (although we are painting those white), the appliances (except for our stovetop), the countertops and the floor.  That helps.  Because anyone that has done a kitchen makeover before would laugh at our meager budget listed at $2K.  But with the help of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Mag, we have a few extra bones to throw at this kitchen to bring it up to speed.  Because I am excrutiatingly honest (much to the dismay of my mother), I wanted to be up front about the freebies we got for this kitchen and how we spent that moolah.  So here we go.

Our biggest purchases were for the vent hood and faucets.  Like I said in a previous post, our stove top is seperate from our wall oven and is a down-draft ventilation system.  I grew up with a down-draft stove in my parents house and never really thought about how it makes so much more sense to have an overhead vent hood.  I mean…steam goes up.  duh.  In our first house, we had installed a overhead vent hood and it was just peachy (although we often wished we would have ducted it to the outside instead of leaving it non-ducted especially when we were cooking large batches of bacon).  So when we talked about the functionality of this kitchen, we knew that the stove top would probably need to be replaced eventually (I want gas and the current glass stovetop is stained and chipped and one burner doesn’t work).  So if we replace the stovetop, we will probably need a vent hood…of the overhead variety.  

While we were at Lowe’s, we spotted this Broan range hood.  It met our basic necessities of a hood and we decided that being under $200 was a big perk.  Afterall, we are building around it to make it look like a fancier, more expensive range hood.  And it’s ducted…so all that stinky burned-ground-beef air will have a place to go.   

We have two sinks in the kitchen…one is a normal double basin sink, the other more of a vegetable sink in the island.  We devoted a big portion of the $700 to replacing the faucets.  For one, the installation of the faucets were faulty…they leaked around the base where it connected with the granite…so we constantly had a little puddle on the countertops.  The other thing that bothered us is that they were gold.  We are going for mixed finishes in this kitchen (our knobs are iron – black with silver undertones and the appliances are stainless) but throwing gold in the mix just wasn’t our cup of blinged out tea. 

So we decided to splurge on two new faucets…the Pfister Wheaton would be for our main sink (we have a solution for our extra holes in the countertop) and the Moen Wetherly is for the small sink (we won’t be installing the sprayer). 

I talked extensively about our cabinets already.  What I didn’t talk about yet is that we are making it a lot easier on ourselves when it comes to priming.  That’s right…we decided to spend a little bit extra and just spray prime everything.  Our go-to spray paint is Zinssers Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.  It’s my personal favorite.  And it’s oil-based so it sticks to pretty much everything….including the slickest wood.  We bought 15 cans to do all 50+ doors and the cabinet frames.

While we were painting, we decided that it would be necessary to paint the trim too.  The previous owners decided their jam was trim painted a creamy tan hue.  Obviously their jam is not my jam because I dig the bright bright white trim.  So since the floors and countertops were already protected…we prepped and sprayed the trim using Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer in one.  It took two gallons to do the entire kitchen including the crown, kick boards, the doors, window frames and the moldings around the bigger entry way.  More on that later.

And then there was a little bit left over for miscellaneous stuff.  We had to grab some paper to protect the floor, some tack cloths, some metal ducting and a few other things for the hood vent, and some masks and sandpaper.  All a bunch of little things that added up plus our taxes that pushed us over the $700 limit.   

In the end, I feel really really good about our purchases.  It’s hard to stretch $700 into a full makeover but I really believe that making a few bigger purchases and using the leftover change on the small neccessities is the best way to make it work for us.  Sometimes you can have a gift card to a store and feel like you didn’t get your moneys worth…but in this case, not only did we get two items that will help change the entire look of the kitchen (faucets and paint!) but we also increased the functionality of it (hood!). 

Yup.  Mountain top moment. 

So that leads me to this next question…how do you guys spend for a makeover?  Are you like me with a few big purchases and then fill in the rest of the budget with the little stuff?  Or perhaps you feel like paint and caulk cover a multitude of previous-owner-sins? 

p.s.  Special wet kisses of the romantic variety go to Lowe’s Creative Ideas.  I couldn’t do this kitchen makeover without their help…so thanks thanks thanks.  Check them out on Facebook and Pinterest!



  1. Jody V says

    I can’t believe you sanded those by hand!! You need an electrical sander for your fingertips and your sanity!! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  2. says

    I think you did great with the budget you had at Lowes. Overall, I can’t wait to see how the kitchen turns out. Particularly the white trim! Yay for white trim :) :) And the cabinets at that. I bet that will be a massive transformation. Happy sanding, priming and painting!

  3. says

    We just installed the Pfister faucet in our kitchen this last month. I’m really loving how big it is for filling pots and cleaning. However, it really is one of the biggest faucets in the display. I didn’t realize this at the time while picking it out because if your store is like my store, you literally stand and stare at a wall of faucets not being able to touch them since they are so high up. If I would of noticed that the two faucets around this one were smaller, I think that I would of gone for them since our kitchen is small. However, for the brand and the look, I really do like it! I just think it might look a little better in your kitchen since it’s mucho bigger then our little thing. Looking forward to seeing the update! You are sooooo brave to paint your kitchen white. It’s been on my wish list to do forevah and I just can’t commit. Yikes!

    • says

      haha…yeah – it’s huge right?! That’s why we picked it…I think our kitchen photographs smaller than it actually is (maybe because the weird layout) but the Pfister is perfect scale for us :)
      xo – kb

  4. says

    Thank goodness for Lowes! I love their Creative Ideas magazine, and I recently just downloaded the App on my iPad. I have gotten so much inspiration from them. I’m so glad they are helping with your kitchen update, and I cannot wait to see how everything turns out. How are the cabinets coming? When we painted ours it felt like it took months, and my hands were so sore, but it was so worth it in the end!

  5. Sarah says

    Just an fyi–you can see your contact phone # (Jeremy’s?) in the photo of the Moen faucet! You might want to Photoshop that out…

  6. says

    Yay for saving money! I’m a total cheapskate so I 100% understand and appreciate your mermaid analogy : ) I’m a bargain shopper/hoarder so I pick up little things here and there and just put it all together when I can. Right now I’m waiting to save some money to buy paint for my kiddos’ bedroom. Then it’s game on!

  7. Nelle says

    Love the purchases!! I can’t wait to see the finished product!! :) when we bought out house 2 years ago, our kitchen was an absolute dive, we had nothing to work with, the shape and everything was a big mess! we had to re do the entire thing and get new appliances, so we were ol cheapos and got an Ikea kitchen and did it all our selves, we found some counter tops in the ikea as is section (score!) but bought cheaper appliances. We splurged on our floor tiling and have since replaced our faucet, I dont think you need to spend loads on a budget to makeover a space, it’s about prioritizing your money into diff sections, just like you guys have! I wouldn’t change a hung with my kitchen and I can’t wait to see yours!!! :) and btw good for you doing all this while pregnant!!!! serious DYIer!!! :)

  8. says

    You gotta have the spray!! It’s awsome…messy…but unreal for rinsing veg, dishes, filling your water glass just because. Kitchen reno’s are so stressful/time consuming/costly but I can’t wait to see it. Happy painting ;)

  9. Tara says

    I feel ya on the creamy tan trim. The previous homeowners did a horrible job painting it too, drip marks everywhere. I’m slowly going room by room and sanding, priming, caulking, and painting the trim a glossy white.
    Good luck finishing your kitchen, I’m sure it will be beautiful (like the rest of your home!)

  10. says

    What a wonderful blessing! Can’t wait to see your makeover. I love the color of the cabinets already, but I know white will really brighten & lighten it up- I’m sure it’s looking fabulous, dahling! :)

  11. says

    I totally am like you when it comes to spending for a makeover. I want to be able to get all those little nitty gritty things with it too. However, the last makeover we did on our living room seems that it was all big things. New carpet, new trim, new walls (they were paneled and we went to drywall) and we kept all the other stuff (furniture & accessories). But it was just one room so it wasn’t bad. Are you planning to use your paint sprayer on the cabinets? I bet that will be a major back and hand saver if you do.

    • says

      We used a sprayer on a test cabinet (but haven’t done all the kitchen cabinets yet). It looked so good and seems to have held up really well. I also didn’t sand much or use primer–was was a test afterall :)

  12. says

    Wow! I think it is so awesome that Lowe’s sent a gift card your way! I love Lowe’s

    I think it’s even double awesome that getting that gift card let you afford all of the spray primer. Being able to spray will make this so much easier on you! Fantastic!

  13. Chrissie says

    Katie…I’m dying to see your cabinets & trim painted white! I bet that just makes the kitchen. I can’t believe you’re taking this on while preggo…but actually your a gal after my own heart. We moved into our new house, painted & un-packed in one day…the very next day I had our second boy. He turns one today!! I am so excited to see how life goes for you with two boys. For me it’s been quite the adventure. I love watching them be best buds…already at one and three. You’re going to love having two boys!!!

  14. says

    Oh, I can not wait to see!!! We will also be painting our cabinets in the near future. Your Honey Boo Boo comment made me laugh… that show is a train wreck!

  15. says

    Can’t wait to see it all complete!

    If “I” had $700 for a kitchen makeover I’d probably finally build that kitchen island the kitchen is just screaming for.

  16. says

    I’m so excited to see the play-by-play on the cabinets. I have oak cabinets in my kitchen which I had previously stained and now I want them painted white and would love to hear more about how yours go. Do I strip the finish off by sanding down, can I just spray paint right over? So excited and this is getting me seriously motivated.

    • says

      We decided that since we we had no idea what kind of finish the cabinets had on them, we went to the extreme. We decided that the best way would be to sand, clean, degloss, and then prime with oil based paint (spray paint). That’s as far as we got right now. Next is the painting step – we are planning on using the Benjamin Moore Advance paint since it is formulated for stuff like this.
      xo – kb

  17. Brenda says

    I’m curious about why you picked two different faucets. Is there any particular reason you didn’t go for matching ones? I see that the old ones didn’t match, either.

    • says

      Well, the one for the big sink is really big. Bigger than the faucet for the mini sink. We figured that the bigger faucet would be awesome for a larger sink but it would dwarf the little one and make everything look unbalanced. So instead of buying matching ones, we bought ones in the same finish that were both similar in style (more traditional but with clean lines that don’t look like a vibrator).
      xo – kb

  18. Deb D. says

    Looking good! I’m anxiously watching how you all tackle the cabinets as I’m in the process of figuring out how to reconfigure our natural maple cabinets and then paint them, too. Fortunately, we don’t have as many doors as you do!!

    On another note, do you mind sharing where you got the floor runner? I need something to protect our wood floors in our kitchen around the sink/dishwasher area, too and really like yours!

  19. says

    looking forward to seeing your reveal! Really interested to see how spraying all of that will go down – I want to update a ceiling fan of all things, but its a rental and we can’t take the whole thing down so I’m a bit nervous about it. Will wait to see how things go with you first! ;)

  20. Heather says

    Your hilarious! Especially the honey boo boo child part…. Love your blog and can’t wait to see the final kitchen reveal!!!

  21. Brittany says

    Once we pay off our house we are going to redo our kitchen. I am so excited for it! We’re going to be doing new countertops, finally get a dishwasher!!!, paint, a new sink and faucet, and repaint our cabinets. Our budget is going to be tiny but I’m excited.

  22. Katie says

    White Kitchen… ahhhhhh. That excites me more than Brad Pitt!
    On another note, would you ever consider doing a post on your overall cheap ways? Likehow you save money for Will, renos, etc… how you save on gas, groceries.. as a fellow cheapskate posts like that thrill me!

  23. Kristen says

    Can’t wait to see the white cabinets!

    When i redid my kitchen i replaced my sink. While at lowes trying to decide on a faucet, an employee offered his help becuase he was a former merchandise buyer for lowes. He told me that in his experience the faucet brands that started with a P were more problematic than other brands. Just a coincidence in the brand name but he had many complaints about these brands.

    Just wanted to let you know!

    • says

      Yeah…we heard that too. We called my brother (who is a master plumber) to see if he had any recommendations…he said that looking at reviews online can be a big help because people who have problems with a product are more likely to complain than the folks who don’t have any issues with it. That way, you can tell what to expect or look for. He also said that it definitely would help to have him look at the installation…each brand has different tweaks that make the faucet work better…so using a pro is never a bad idea.
      xo – kb

  24. JP Romer says

    Is there a reason why you are using spray cans of the primer for the cabinets rather than using the Graco Paint Sprayer for the primer?

    • says

      Because we are lazy and the cleanup for the sprayer with oil based paint is three times harder than for water based. Sometimes our avoiding of frustration is worth the extra money :)
      xo kb

      • JP Romer says

        Thanks for the information. I have just purchased the Graco Sprayer and am planning on using it on an outdoor project.

  25. Emma says

    Yay Lowe’s! So happy to hear they’ve offered you some lettuce (my fave euphemism for money) and I know you’ll do right by them with a lovey kitchen makeover. I’m also a big Honey Boo Boo fan. She is the cutest little girl ever and I totally Red-neck-i-nize that.

  26. Suzanne says

    You only spent $75. On your spray paint.

    not $80.
    Just a quick FYI.
    Can’t wait to see the white cabinets!

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