Tenant Kitchen Revamp

Tenant Kitchen Revamp

First off, apologies for the delayed post! We’ve been taking a minor break from the blog to catch our breath now that we’ve wrapped up the critical parts of the renovation. We also have been preparing for our trip to Finland (heading out today!) so I’ve slipped a bit on the blog writing front. Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

Even though it may sound like the boy who cried wolf given how exhausted we’ve sounded in past posts, this week’s post recaps what is officially the longest project of the renovation. It might not seem like much, but this tenant kitchen overhaul was quite the feat.

Before we show off the finished product, let’s take a look back at where we started. As you can see, this kitchen was dark and rather unseemly. With this being a long term, unloved rental, everything about the space was low end and frankly, pretty gross. The laminate countertops were a mess, the large clunky shelf system/island was very diy, and the floors consisted of neverending layers of old, cheap vinyl.

Initially, we toyed around with how far we wanted to go with the renovation and tried to think of what all we could keep and make work. Ultimately, we decided we couldn’t bear taking this place to market with the kitchen as is. We felt that as a renter, a bright and clean new kitchen would be a major selling point and would help boost the rent and attract higher quality renters.

Now economically I’m not sure where we fall out in terms of the return on investment but I think we feel pretty good about where we ended up and the tenants that we have. So let’s walk you through the design and renovation process.

To start, it was all about the demo

It was actually one of the very first things Owen and I did the week we bought the house. We did end up being able to salvage the cabinets and island countertop for the basement. They added some much needed storage for all our tools and provided a large work surface to set up our chop saw. Very exciting to have an actual shop!

Okay, back to the kitchen reno. Next up, we tackled the floors. This is where the real work began. I swear, floors in this house have been our nemesis. Word of advice to everyone out there - if you’re thinking of redoing your floors, really weigh the options in terms of the cost of your time versus hiring it out. That being said, the install of the new floor was fast and easy. It was the demo of the old floors that took some serious commitment. 

Time to work the floors

The existing kitchen floors sat nearly an inch and a half about the adjacent living and bedroom floors. Over the past 100 years, no one ever removed the existing, old floors when they decided to put new ones in. They just piled it right on top. As we pulled up each layer, we encountered 2 layers of vinyl tile, a layer of plywood sub floor, 2 more layers of vinyl, another subfloor, and then a layer of old laminate glued to the original wood floors. As icing on the cake, the old wood floors were gauged and uneven and there was a soaked-through wet spot from where the previous renters dogs used to pee. Lovely.

In between demo of the floor and installing the new tiles, we painted every surface of the room a bright white to freshen it up. It took what felt like forever because of the number of doors and windows we had to paint and cut in around. It 100% needed it though.

After about 3 days of ripping out floors and nails, we sanded and prepped the old wood floors to even out the floor level. We put down a layer of underlayment then got to work on setting the pattern.

To save money, we went with what is maybe the cheapest flooring you could buy - 1' x 1' vinyl floor tiles at just $0.70/sf. We  felt this was a good opportunity to get a bit creative and came up with this basket-weave idea. You can see here some of the inspiration images we found as well as the different pattern options we developed.

Pattern Option 1

Pattern Option 1

Pattern Option 2

Pattern Option 2

Pattern Option 3

Pattern Option 3

Setting the pattern

After taking a poll among some friends, we settled on Pattern Option 3. To set the pattern in the space, we marked the center of the room, offset a 45 degree angle, and snapped a chalk line. From there it was super easy to start laying down the tiles. We did a “dry lay” to just confirm the pattern first. After that, we started troweling on the adhesive and sticking them down. We’d love to hear your all’s thoughts on the finished product in the comments below. Love the pattern? Think it’s too bold for a rental?


Finishing touches

After the floors were done, Owen and I installed the cabinets and new dishwasher. We then hired out the countertop installation, plumbing hook up, and electrical work. To wrap things up, Owen tiled the backsplash with simple white subway tile and charcoal-colored grout. And just like that, the tenant kitchen revamp was complete!

Budget Breakdown

Here’s how the budget for materials broke down on this project:

• Vinyl Tile  – $225

• Floor Underlayment – $140

• Floor Adhesive and Sealant – $25

 • Paint  – $75

• Cabinets – $1,300

• Hardware – $35

 • Countertops (including install) – $600

• Dishwasher – $400

• Subway Tile – $35

• Sink – $200

• Faucet – $150

• New Lighting – $135

TOTAL: $3,320


All in all, this overhaul was a lot of work. What does everyone think? Was it worth the nearly 5 month off-and-on work schedule it took us to get here? We’d love to hear from you!

Total Backyard Overhaul: Part 1

Total Backyard Overhaul: Part 1

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The Modern, Vintage Bathroom