Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ikea Kitchen

Today i'm back to share some exciting kitchen updates. I debated for a long time if I wanted to buy Ikea kitchen cabinets vs. RTA  cabinets. I currently have RTA cabinets in my kitchen and love them. I bought them from a local company and they did the installation. I only tiled the backsplash.  I've heard negative reviews from some friends that RTA cabinets in color were bad quality and the paint color comes off. I, however have white cabinets and have not had an issue with paint chipping. However, I was upgraded to their higher end cabinets by accident. The person that put in my initial quote, gave me their most expensive cabinet but I paid for the cheapest cabinets. I just got really lucky.

I ended up with Ikea cabinets instead of RTA cabinets for the rental because the budget calls for it and most importantly, ikea's 25 year warranty on their cabinets. I know Ikea is not known for long lasting quality but their warranty sounded good. Plus, all their cabinets uses the same frame, just different fronts. I figured if our renters don't take care of cabinets then I can reface them every few years. I ended buying Ikeas Haggeby white cabinets which were their most affordable option. Each front cost under $10 to replace which sounded too good to be true. We have 17 fronts so it would cost us under $170 to replace/reface.

We spent $1500 on the cabinets originally but was able to return some unused items and got back $350.  Of course I used ikea coupons and bought ikea gift cards which helped knock out 20%. If you sign up for ikeas movers coupon they give you $25 off $250. Retail me not has Ikea gift cards for 10% off. So total out of pocket for us was under $1000 for all the cabinets and a sink.  It includes a small island (30x51) and 13 feet long row of cabinets.

I got a killer deal on the quartz countertop by shopping on offer up. I found a gentlemen who fabricates quartz for a living. He was selling a remnant piece of quartz he kept from a customer. The remnant piece just happens to fit my island almost perfectly. I was initially quoted close to $2000 for the countertops from a local company. I really wanted quartz so I looked around and got lucky. Our island has seating on three sides. It can seat up to four people comfortably. 

Total for our kitchen including cabinets, sink, and quartz was right under $2000 which I think is an amazing deal. I ordered some black 5 inch handles from amazon. I bought 20 handles for $100 with three extra handles left. I just love the white and black color contrast of the cabinets and handles. 

Today, I was busy all day installing the handles and started tiling. I bought some simple white subway tiles since it looks great with this kitchen and price was right. I'm hoping by tomorrow afternoon I will be done with tiling. Its a small space so it shouldn't take me long. 

I can't wait to finish tiling, add toe kicks to the bottom, and thick crown molding on the top of the cabinets.  Stay tuned for updates. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

New addition

Today I'm back to share my latest project. I've been missing lately because of this side addition. We are adding a one bedroom, one full bathroom, living room, dining room, and full kitchen with direct single car garage access and private entrance. Its pretty much another unit but attached to our home.  Getting the plans drawn was a long and tiring process that involved going back and forth to the city multiple times but I finally got it done.

After plans were approved I started the grueling process of looking for contractors. All of the bids came in too high for me so I decided to be my own general contractor. I don't recommend anyone being their own contractor because it feels like a full time job in its own to coordinate everything but so far so good even with some hiccups.

So far we have gotten pass breaking ground, rough plumbing for bathroom and sink, pouring foundation, and framing is complete.

Below is the picture of the side of our home prior to start of the project.

The concrete contractor had to break up a block wall, relocate the pool equipment, and redo gas lines. 

Our back yard was a disaster for the longest time. Thank goodness it was outside and didn't bother us too much inside except for the noise. 

After foundation was poured everything looked so much cleaner.

After foundation, I had to hire a separate demolition contractor to remove the stucco on my wall. Stucco took two days to remove. 

Framing went up fairly quickly. Took under two weeks from start to finish even with some hiccups along the way. 

Here it is today with framing all complete. Just waiting on inspection to pass and we can start on the roofing. I have the electrician coming out on Wednesday to start while we wait for the framing inspection to pass. Hopefully it won't take too long.

The total square footage of our addition will be 490.  Cost so far for foundation and framing including all the supplies is $22K. My budget for completing the whole project is 40K. Right now, I'm right under $35K with all the other estimates in place. All the general contractors quoted me at least $50K to start and that doesn't include all the issues that we came across with gas lines and the pool equipment. I'm so excited to finally have this rental unit coming along. I will try my best to share details of everything as I go along.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kitchen Reveal

Happy Easter everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Today I want to share my kitchen makeover. When we first bought our home it came with a small dark and old kitchen.

Here are some pictures from the MLS. 

Behind the kitchen was an unpermitted bedroom right in the middle of the home. 

Fast forward many months. We had a contractor remove the unpermitted bedroom and the walls that were holding up our second floor. 

Slowly, as we started to remove all the dark cabinets and walls, things were starting to open up and look brighter.

This was the other angle after we laid new laminate flooring. 

Finally kitchen cabinets came in. 

Shortly after, quartz countertops went in. 

It took about a month for me to install all the backsplash. 

After the backsplash, the open shelves were being painted.

Finally, appliances were installed and finishing touches were added.

Total cost for a brand new kitchen 11x15 ft with 6ft x 52 inch quartz island, soft close white traditional style cabinets, carrera marble hexagon backsplash, appliances, knobs, and open shelves came out to be under $10,500. I'll do a cost breakdown in my next blog post. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Half bath tour

Our bathrooms are finally almost done with all the finishing touches. All the major pieces were already in place but the finishing touches are what makes a bathroom. I'm still missing some picture frames above the toilet but that can wait.

Our down stairs bathroom is so tiny. It literally can barely fit a small 30 inch vanity and toilet. There use to be an unpermitted shower on the side of the bathroom but we demolished it and converted it into a walk in pantry. More on our pantry on the next post.

Of course here are the before, during, and afters.

This is the dark bathroom when we first bought the house. The shower was behind the door. 

Heres an in progress picture. We gutted the whole room down the studs. Re did the plumbing, tiled, and drywall. 

Heres the after:

I got rid of all dark colors in my bathroom. Everything is light and bright to make the space feel bigger. 

The floors were tiled by me. We used a light gray wood look tile I found at a local tile shop. I spent roughly $100 for enough tile to tile two small bathrooms and a walk in pantry. 

Binh got his touchless flush toilet. I finally patched up the hole for the plumbing and repainted the wall to cover up the patching. 

We got our handyman to install new lighting and patch up previous can lights inside the bathroom. Now we have a nice shiny and bright light with a clear glass globe. 

Everything took so long to put together because I was ordering the towel bar and toilet holder. All items were ordered on amazon. I wanted a specific look in chrome finishes. The towel bar had to be cut down to fit our small bathroom.

I choose to frost our bathroom window to keep it simple and bright. I made a quick faux roman shade to add some interest to the window. 

Heres a closer detailed shot of our vanity. It has chrome knobs with clear handles. 

We ended up spending $4K on both bathrooms due to some unexpected mold and plumbing issues. 

I can't wait to finish up the upstairs bathroom and share about our new tub.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Saving money at Home Depot

Today I wanted to share how I save at least 20% at Home Depot. I go to Home Depot so much that I feel that employees there know me as the small asian lady with two kids. I go there that much and every time ask so many questions. It helps that they have the orange Nascar double carts to keep my kids occupied.

The first step to saving 10% off at Home Depot is to apply for a movers coupon from UPS. If you apply for a change of address and pay $1 online they will send you a 10% off Lowes coupon. Its via email so you don't even have to get out of the house. I've had great luck with using it by showing the coupon to a Home Depot cashier. I've been using the same Lowe's coupon for about two months. UPS will also send you a movers packet that includes a physical paper coupon for Lowes. I've only came across one new Home Depot cashier that wanted an actual paper coupon.

The next step to getting another 10% off is by using For those new to raise, its a website that sells discounted gift cards. Home Depot gift cards are usually at the 6-11% discount. I have it set on notifications if theres a gift card thats within the discounted range I will get notified. The only con is the Home Depot gift card can only be used for in store purchase. Online only purchases will not work. Here's my referral link for raise. My referral code is knguyen139

On top of getting the 20% off, I use Its like You shop online and get a small percentage back. I believe Topcashback gives purchases 1-2% cash back. Here's my topcashback referral link. If you have any type of credit card, use it to get another 1-2% cash back. I get 1% cash back on all Discover purchases. So long story short, I get at least 22% off at Home Depot. The only con about saving money is you have to plan out your savings. It takes time to get the raise gift card in the mail.

Saving 20% doesn't seem like much at first but if you are doing renovations, it adds up fast. For instance, Binh wanted the touchless Kohler toilet. They cost $218 each and we purchased three for a total of $650+. Overall, I know I've saved at least $300 just at Home Depot.

Aside from talking about ways to save money I wanted to share Binh's new toilet. Binh's favorite pastime is hiding in the toilet with his phone, laptop and chargers so a comfortable toilet is very high on his priority list. I let him pick out whatever toilet he wanted. He picked Kohlers highline touchless toilet. It's elongated, comfort height, white, and has touchless flushing. At $220 a pop they weren't cheap but thanks to gift cards and coupons I've been able to have some deep savings. In addition, there are rebates up to $100 on toilets. I submitted a rebate but have yet to confirm the amount.

We completely remodeled the first floor half bath. There was an unpermitted shower but we removed it and reverted it back to the original layout. The unpermitted shower was behind the door. We demo everything and took down all the dark tiles.

We had to redo the drywall, plumbing, and flooring. 

And here it is today. Its not quite complete because I still have to install the backsplash, caulk, dress up the window, add a mirror, and add decorations to the wall. 

I invested in a nicer faucet. I love the shiny chrome and details of this Ultra faucet. I'll provide more details on where I got it from on the final reveal. It goes really well with the white vanity and carrera marble top. The color scheme is exactly the same as the upstairs kids bathroom but this bathroom looks so much better in photos because it has a window. 

Once again heres the before and after.