When 38 year old Matt Brown and his wife wanted to make improvements to their home in Collegeville, Pennsylvania to add maximum resale value before listing their 1978 ranch style home, they bet their entire budget on the kitchen.
“If you want as much as 1.5 times the return on your investment when selling a house, kitchens and bathrooms are the only two rooms within the house that can make this sort of return, and much more.”
The kitchen was outdated and small, not exactly what you would call an eyesore, but not something that would put them excessive from a buyer’ perspective. The floor was 8 year old laminate that looked like a plastic picture of hardwood (which is what laminate is, it just mustn’t look like a picture). The cabinets were aged white and the appliances 10 years old although the refrigerator was new. The counter top was 20 year old Formica and there have been just a few bubbles of damage from when something very popular was placed on the countertop and the Formica could not withstand the heat. “Many individuals thought our kitchen was cute but we felt some buyers, especially people who liked to cook, can be turned off by the small spaces and lack of and island.
With a $15,000 budget, they decided to pour all of it into the kitchen. On one side of the kitchen was an extended hallway or “mudroom” which contained the front door of the house. Because the kitchen sat on the back side of the house, they decided to interrupt through the wall to almost double the dimensions of the kitchen. Yes, the mudroom hallway was not even half the dimensions, but no one used the mudroom to walk to the back of the house and for the most part it was wasted space. Of course, the wall that separated the mudroom from the kitchen was not load bearing and was easily knocked down in one day of demolition.
In the new space the Brown’s decided to create more work space adding 7 more feet of countertop and a kitchen island (without plumbing). To tie the room together the prevailing Formica countertop was torn up and replaced with countertop to match the brand new countertop in the brand new space and on the island. “We used Formica again which may be very much improved within the last 5 years. There are all sorts of colors and textures and a few Formica resembles stone like granite, and does an excellent job fooling people.” Because we would have liked a brand new range and dishwasher, we just did not have the budget for concrete or real granite.
Again, the budget limited the selection of flooring to laminate, but we found some very nice selections to choose from manufactured by Mohawk, they were so nice we had a tough time choosing. Ultimately we choose a darker wood look with heavy grains. The floor was snap together and took less time to install than the demolition took.
We didn’t have the space for an exhaust hood in our new design, however, we felt it was very important to vent the cooking fumes outside so we chose a downdraft system with the fan housed underneath the cooking top, and we were able to vent directly outside though a duct that was only 4 feet long.
Since we had maxed out our budget we had nothing left for backsplash so we simply painted the backsplash a consistent beige above each of our countertops, making sure we used a semi-gloss paint so spills can be easy to wipe off and clean up. The house goes up available on the market tomorrow and with this complete refacing of the kitchen, we expect to get very close to our listing price.