How to upgrade fairly new kitchen?

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I have a fairly new tract house that I'd upgrade the kitchen on and I need tips on the best things to do so it looks less generic cookie-cutter and helps resale down the road.
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I'd like to upgrade the counters. They are tile, but not a high grade of tile. Don't know if it's worth tearing out the tile counters and replacing them with granite slab or granite tiles. Maybe just replacing the plain tile backsplashes with something more interesting? I definitely want to replace the existing sink and faucet with better quality replacements and replace the vinyl floor with either hardwood or tile to match the rest of the house. Can the current sink be removed without major damage to the counters?
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d163/rexpix/Kitchen/62722d7a.jpg Is there anything that can be done with the cabinets to give a more upscale look other than tearing them out and replacing them? Restaining or painting or adding door handles? I'm replacing the dishwasher because I don't like the performance. Stainless steel seems to be the current fad, but then I'd need to get a new range, microwave hood and refrigerator to match and the current appliances are still pretty new.
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I would myself change the counter for granite and maybe leave the backsplash if you like it, if money is not an option, I'd put a different tile backsplash, something a bit warmer. Hardwood is very nice in a kitchen, and not as hard on the legs as tiles. The cupboards are nice and I think will blend in nice with granit but if you really want something new without changing them, there are companies ( like surface doctors) that will give your cupboard a new look by ressurfacing them and it will look more professional than just paint. I don't put much weight into the latest fad for appliances, white is always clean and classy. Stainless steel cost more, difficult to clean the finger marks and the fad WILL fade quicker than the appliances and you'll be left with aged looking appliances. just my 2 cents.

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Who did that tile job? All those tiny slivers of tile near the edges of the sink, stove and counter end? That looks like crap. I'd rip it out just for that. But realistically how soon are you selling, how much time/money do you want to spend now and what difference do you hope it'll make at resale time?
You might be able to enlarge that sink opening a bit and/or use a top-mounted sink instead of undercounter. But otherwise you'd have to remove tiles. Tough to make things match up exactly though, tiles and grout change colors enough over time to be noticeable, perhaps less-so on white tile though. You could certainly put a new counter those existing cabinets. But I've never seen one of those 'refinishing jobs' that didn't look worse than what was there before. A different counter color (darker) would probably clash with the white appliances.
But from the complaints you've made it sounds like nothing in there is what you want. They may all be relatively new and in nice shape you just don't like the look of them. So it more or less sounds like you want to rip the whole thing out. If you rip out the counter you've got to rip out that backsplash, and vice-versa. If you're changing the floor it's sometimes better to pull the cabinets. Which since you hate the sink won't be an issue for the plumbing that'll have to get disconnected to do the work. And if you pull down that backsplash you'll probably want to drop the wall cabinets to ease refinishing the wall. Basically, gut the kitchen.
So ask yourself, how much will it really help? It's not an ugly kitchen now, just not your taste. Depending on how the other houses in your market are selling it may or may not make financial sense to change it. But if you're going to be there for 5 years and you do truly hate the look then you've got work to do.
-Bill Kearney
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Yep.
Concerning resale, the question is how far down the road you'll plan to sell. What you have *now* is the look that pleases a wide range of tastes. The 'ordinariness' of it (yes, it looks like a bazillion other kitchens) can be fixed up a lot by your own decor and accessories. Except for that problem with the tile installation (which doesn't jump out at me quite as much), it's a nice, basic look. Frankly I think it's a pretty nice tract house kitchen.
If you change out for hardwood floors and granite countertops, you might find that 5 or 10 years down the road what you pick, partly thinking what the market likes right now, will be considered dated. Especially the hardwood floors. So you might as well just go by your tastes unless you'll sell fairly soon. In which case if it were me I really wouldn't do much. So, if sell soon, don't change, if not sell soon, go for your heart's desires.
But just taking the changes you propose, though, why not get some estimates for 1. granite countertops (prices aren't as bad as they used to be; will probaby endure style-wise) 2. Some kind of interesting small-tile mosaic backsplash 3. New sink (then countertop will be cut around exactly what you want) 4. Tile floor 5. Replace dishwasher, SS interior, white exterior
Add these up and decide.
Regarding #4 - I have a prejudice, IMNSHO wood kitchen floors are impractical, it's a style thing now, I don't like the wood wood wood look of wood cabinetry dominating + a wood floor, and tile will stand up and endure in fashion. And frankly I think what's there now looks nice, stands up to kitchen use, and is at least as easy on the feet as hardwood. Consider keeping.
Regarding #5 - I agree that SS appliances will become outdated and isn't as practical as nice, clean, white appliances.
Banty
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replacing
upscale
painting
new
It looks like a generic kitchen nothing wrong with that. One thing I see it needs, there is no color people are afraid to put colors on the walls not just the kitchen the whole house. The white tone wall syndrome was started buy realtors " White goes with everything" Start putting some color on the walls you will be amazed and it a fairly cheap upgrade. Now looking at the counter tops they are the plain white tiles. There is nothing like the look of Granite the colors of mother nature can't be beat. and the stuff is pretty indestructible. I would guess you get away with two slabs if you did the backsplash. You would defiantly want a undermount sink. The floor I would Tile the floor you have wood cabinets you might be over killing the wood look. You also can lay tile right on the vinyl. I see allot of wood floors in kitchens I firm believer wood floor in a are asking for trouble. Now the appliances are about as boring as it gets, but there new so live with them now but design for the future. You might try going to open houses, model homes and get some ideas I know it's not easy. What ever you put in you will get back ( we all hope that) plus your there every day so make as nice as possible enjoy it. It's a nice looking kitchen so with some upgrades it going to be a real focal point, and most people congregate in the kitchen. Kitchen is the number one thing when selling a house.
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So what would be a rough guess of what to expect for quotes in materials and labor to tear out the tile counters and backsplashes and replace them with a common variety of granite slab counters plus glass or stone tile backsplash?
I've seen undermount 9 inch deep sinks I would use with the new counters available in stock at Home Depot for around $300 or so. I plan to spend $500-$700 on a replacement dishwasher.

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and
a
backsplash?
I did our kitchen. It's about 3 times the size of yours. We used 4 slabs ( had enough for a 4' desk 4' wet bar) the granite we used was about $25 sq. ft. That was one of the more expensive ones. There were some slabs about $7 sq.ft. so the price varies. Our friends have a kitchen little bigger than yours there total cost installed was about $4000. They did find a close out on some granite. I spent about $15000 on the granite installed. I did the tear out and put the new 1/2" plywood tops down they wanted $1200 for that. The best thing is do some drawings and get some real quotes. the biggest problem is finding what you like. I also tiled the floor Kitchen, Dinette , family room, Bathroom, laundry,. About 800 to 900 sq ft tile 18X18 $3 sq ft. that's another big price range. I also did about 600 sq ft of wood flooring I found some really nice stuff for $3.50 sq ft. Now hear is some real good advice, Stay away from the big box stores, Most people that contract a job threw them or special order something get a big lesson in life. I have found the small shops prices are good they have to be to compete. But above all their services is worth it. One thing you can count on the big box stores for, is a deferent answer each time you go in.
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and
a
backsplash?
Usually around $10k and upward. Decide what you *really* want not just that you dislike the current setup because it's boring.

In-stock at the Home Depot is not necessarily your best deal. Both in terms of price and quaility of materials. Check some higher-end plumbing suppliers and then shop around online. I saved over $1k buying my Hansgrohe bathroom fixtures online. Retail for one piece was $475, HD had it for $389, online I found it for $250.
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Well, the very least I want is a new better-quality 9' deep undermount sink or flush-with-the-counter tiled-in sink, new faucets and a better backsplash, but a new kitchen sink and new backsplash seems to require damaging the tile counters, which means new counters would be needed. If I need all new counters, then I might as well get granite slab instead of more tile again. In the master bath, I need to replace the top mount oval sinks in the tile dual-vanity with undermount sinks, so I guess that requires ripping out the tile there too because undermount sinks can't use the two existing sink openings. I am already sure I'm getting a new dishwasher and new tile flooring replacing the old tile and carpeting in the entry with all tile instead and using more of that same new tile to replace all the linoleum in the house (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry). Also new carpeting and paint throughout the house. I am budgeting much less than $20K for the entire interior of a 1000 sq ft home.
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"Rex"> wrote

Wow. You gonna install a diving board too? ;-)
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So you sell houses with shallow kitchen sinks along with all those mirrors and gleaming white and stainless steel? (... and brass knobs).
Wow.
Banty
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Ah - you're making fun of the foot-mark vs. inch-mark typo.
OK, one mark for 'Don'
Cheers, Banty
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Don

<sigh> The small mirrors are laid down on the top of the wall cabinets, to reflect the hidden lamps upward. The mirrors are not visible while standing on the floor. Again, I never mentioned anything at all about stainless. Brass hardware is an upgrade in most areas as tract homes either do routed finger pulls or the cheap white plastic knobs. Price brass knobs the next time you're at the borg. When you increase the depth of the sink you also reduce the space in the cabinet below the sink which can cause clearance problems for disposals, instant hots, filters, OR's and slideout trashcans as well as cleaning products storage.
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OK, lessee here, your post:
________________________ This room appears small and cluttered. Lose the tile on the counters and backspash, install a white solid surface (SS) on the counter and a 4" SS backsplash, maybe a tile mural behind the range. Paint the walls white. Lay some mirrors on the top of the wall cabines and add some tubelights (mood light and ambience). Put some uncomplicated silk plants on top of the wall cabinets. No crown molding, it will increase the cluttered look. Yank the cabinet doors and install glass inserted ones, add brass knobs on all doors and drawers. Install a ceiling fan/light combo. Using lighter colors and less lines the room will more spacious and airy. The cabinets themselves are dark and therefore make the room seem small but cabinets are expensive to replace. Point: make the entire room seem less cluttered and in a small room less is more.
________________________
I'm assuming "SS" is "stainless steel". So enlighten me - what is "SS"? And, unless you're talking about a nearly-black brass, brass-colored knobs, well, I just don't see it with the rest of your desription (although I do understand about upgrading what's there - personally, I'm springing for some craftsman-style hammered almost-black copper pulls to contrast with natural maple). I'd go with brushed nickel with your description.
I admit I misunderstood about the mirrors. And I also admit I was to a large extent funning you. Exaggerating my response for humor. Should have semaphored that with smileys, I guess. Some readers need that.
The look you describe is extremely modern and clean. I can understand its appeal. And I understand that someone with a really good eye and flair can use all that to set off a pallete of colors with accessories. If you love it, go for it. But it's a really *cold* look that doesn't have wide appeal. Especially with those white walls. (I'd set off your solid white surfaces with cool blue or green, but that's me.) But the discussion was on resale from a guy asking about that. Needs something more conventional than what you describe for wide appeal. And that's my opinion.
Cheers, Banty (oh, and I try not to shop at the Borg. If my time were taken up with the garden club and browsing through Kuntry Kurtains catalogs, mebbe I'd have to shop at the Borg since they have more hours. But it's not.)
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"Banty"> wrote

SS = solid surface
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Hmmm. Seems an acronym lending itself to quite a lot of confusion. So from now on, I'll spell out both "stainless steel" and "solid surface".
Cheers, Banty
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Don

Are you saying that sentence is confusing? Please tell me what a white solid surface (SS) counter is?
So from now

Well, for people that attempted to learn how to read in the public schools, maybe a picture would be better.
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sink
See if the manufacturer of the sink that's in there currently makes a deeper one that follows the same opening. And also make sure the under-counter plumbing is setup to accomodate a deeper sink. It may require more plumbing than you might be expecting so check this FIRST. A deeper model sink with a new faucet might be a VERY easy swap.

Changing the backsplash will pretty much mean dealing with changing the counter as well. But a deeper sink might not.

the
You've answered your own question there. You're right, over/under generally require totally different opening setups. I suppose in a few rare cases it might be possible to pull a topmount sink and have an opening suitable for switching to undermount, provided you could find one that really matched the opening. But that'd be very unlikely if it's a tiled surface. It might be possible to lay new tiles to make it work but matching everything (color/depth/grout) would be rather tricky.

and
the
1000
All this for THAT tiny of a house? Seems like it's very unlikely to pay back itself back. Putting expensive kitchens into tiny houses rarely works unless local market conditions are VERY favorable toward it. Like someplace that has cottages and severe restrictions on new construction.
More often than not you'd end up sinking a lot of money into a tiny house that's "one of many" in the neighborhood and thus can't sell for 'enough' to justify the added expense. Or, as happens a LOT here near DC, someone buys a tiny place and just rips it down entirely to build a whole new structure, again wasting the money.
You have to really dislike something a lot to want to waste money destroying an otherwise perfectly usable space. Not to be insulting, but it's just a tiny house with a boring kitchen, ask yourself seriously how much you want to sink into it, dollar-wise. The only time I'd bother dunking a lot of money into that sort of situation would be a long term retirement home. If it's something transitional I'd just live with it's boring nature and save the money towards buying something larger. Paint the walls, lay some new floor tile and hang some curtains. You'll save THOUSANDS.
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I might sell in 5 years or more if I need to relocate for some reason, but not very soon, so I want the upgrades for my own personal enjoyment for now. The upgrades should also make the house stand out against others if there is a lot of otherwise similar homes on the market at the resale time. I don't have any compelling reason to get something bigger than this "tiny house" right now. In fact, I was considering moving from here to a high rise condo that was actually smaller, but I may stay and upgrade this place instead since the neighborhood is fantastic and I have condo-like experience without sharing walls with neighbors. Paying for a gardner and health club membership is much cheaper than $500 a month HOA fees at the new high-rise condo building with free fitness center and no yard.
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I found what looks like a great way to get a better look at lower cost than demploshing and ripping out the tile and installing granite slab.
Has anyone seen Granite Transformations? http://www.granitetransformations.com/install.html They say it can be simply placed on top of your old counters and backsplashes.
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