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Finally: Before & After; "Small" Budget c. 1826 City Row Home

11 years ago

Many of you will have seen the pictures of the progress along the way, and I wanted to thank everyone for their much needed assistance. I began this remodel just over one month ago, hoping to stick to a $6K budget. I came close, but over, at $8.5K, but I also added a lot more than I had planned.

Here's my house in Philadelphia. Like the title says, it's old, which always presents some problems, combined with the fact that it's a registered historic property. That doesn't really affect what you do inside, but you have to keep them in character to keep the value up.


And I just redid the bathroom (a much more expensive and lengthy remodel but well worth the hassle (very few showers for 3.5 weeks)), so with this I am finished (for now). As you can see, a major difference (and $26.5K).












Now, back to the kitchen. Here was the before:















And here's the after, starting with pictures of the adjoining dining room (or what could be used as a living room (I use my second floor for the living room and the third floor for the bedrooms)):










And the kitchen itself:


































From outside:




So, what did I use:

Cabinets: I kept my old Aristokraft boxes and painted them with MAB Lux Low Lustre paint matched to the new wall unit color (Aristokraft's "antique" paint on maple). The wall unit is Aristokraft Landen maple with antique paint. It only comes in this overlay, which I had to get in order to replace the doors on my existing cabinetry (which was inexpensive, by the way, at $900 for 14 door/drawer fronts pre-finished ready to mount). The wall unit cabinets with the pantry pullouts, dovetail/plywood construction, soft-close hinges, crown moulding and trim were $3.3K. You have to get really close to notice that the paint that I had matched doesn't fully match, but it's extremely close. The MAB Lux Low Lustre was the only finish that seemed right.

Granite: the same as I had before: 3 cm polished black absolute with a backsplash (I didn't want the backsplash, but I didn't want to rip it out and risk damage to the slab).

Backsplash tile: 4" x 4" honed calacatta gold, which I was able to get on clearance from a local wholesaler. You have to buy through a distributor, but the wholesaler advertises on its website ( That was $700 for 45 square feet, but I have two boxes left over--I had to buy it all.

Wall unit counter: It was supposed to be polished black absolute with a matching bullnose backsplash, but I couldn't find a slab that was as dark black as what I have; everything seemed charcoal. So I found a remnant of calacatta gold that was polished and had two scratches in it, and I asked them if they could hone it and get the scratches out. When they said yes, and gave it to me for the same price they were going to charge me for the black absolute plus $95 to hone it ($825 in total), it was a no brainer because it would match the backsplash.

Microwave/Hood: I ditched the LG breadbox style microwave I had in favor of a more minimalist, pro-style hood. I got the Nutone that's about $400 at HD, which is the same as the Broan that's the same style. Stealing ideas from this forum, I went with the small footprint Whirlpool microwave, and hid it in one of my pantry cabinets. So far so good.

Range: I ditched my Frigidaire professional range because I wanted an electric oven, and I hated the control panel on the back (plus I didn't think the buttons worked that well, or that the oven was very reliable temperature-wise). I sold it to my neighbor for $500, and bought a flawless floor model Dacor duel fuel range DR30D for $2.9K (installed) after the $300 rebate and with a free 3-year extended warranty (both part of Dacor's promotion right now). So far, so good. Part of the benefit to this is that the burners are positioned further from the sides, which is important because I have to have my refrigerator where it is.

Hardware: I ended up (after some assistance here) going with Restoration Hardware Asbury pulls (3") in oil rubbed bronze (they were $6 a piece, normally much more). RH's oil rubbed bronze is more realistic looking and matches my Baldwin hardware throughout the downstairs (almost a dark brown, near black). I used Martha Stewart knobs from Lowes, which were on clearance for $1.50 a piece.

Under cabinet lighting: I didn't have any before, and now I do. There are six halogen lights: 2 for the wall unit with their own switch, and 4 on the other side with their own switch. Plus I have the two 50-watt halogens with the hood.

Recessed lighting: replaced my 80's can lights with LED lights. They are awesome, and I would highly recommend them ($40 a piece).

Wall Paint: went from Benjamin Moore Webster Green to Benjamin Moore Aura Bath/Spa (a mildew/mold-resistant, scrubbable, matte finish paint for bathrooms and kitchens) in Mt. Saint Anne (the same color I used in my bathroom). I wanted something to compliment the dining room, which is Pratt & Lambert Wythe House Gray (really a slate blue) in their Velvet finish with Benjamin Moore antique white trim and a pale blue ceiling paint.

Ceiling Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura Bath/Spa in White Dove

Trim Paint: the same paint I used to match the new cabinets: MAB Lux Low Lustre color-matched. (I didn't mention this above, but my contractor replaced all of the window/door/baseboard trim while he was here, too.)

Rugs: Safavieh Cambridge collection--handknotted wool rugs with a mustard color and a blue color that perfectly (and I mean perfectly) matches the Mt. Saint Anne. I only stumbled across these because I was looking for a 6' or 7' runner, which is hard to find. I bought the runner on Amazon and the round rug on Overstock. Total price $200.

I think that's it. Enjoy and thank you again for your help. I'm happy to answer any questions.

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