Design your own kitchen Remodeling
For most homeowners who don't have a professional connection with a salvage shop, the most budget-friendly angle is to incorporate parts of your old kitchen into your new one. Consider this approach if your current kitchen already has character but simply needs a facelift, says Joe Schneider, owner of J.A.S. Design-Build in Seattle. "Let's assume it's a nice old bungalow kitchen that is just dated and falling apart, " he says. "I might reuse some nice old cabinet doors, an old pastry slab, a piece of butcher block or a bread drawer liner." Other items to consider:
- Cabinet hardware
- Flooring, if it's wood and can be refinished
"Don't reuse cabinets unless they are constructed as independent boxes, " Joe says. “Many old cabinets were literally built on site and have no backs.”
A final note of caution: Joe doesn’t recommend keeping half your kitchen simply to save a few bucks, especially if you're hiring contractors and the pickings are slim for materials. "If you're going to go to the expense of ramping up the project and bringing in a team of people, you might as well get a new kitchen, " he says.
Hitting the Salvage Circuit
If your own kitchen doesn't offer intriguing possibilities for recycling materials, you can still find cool items to incorporate. One money-saving possibility is to browse your local stone supplier's collection of remnants, which are often discounted and can be used as island toppers, butcher blocks or pastry slabs. (Just don't piece them together to try to create a whole countertop.)
In general, however, hunting outside your own house for salvaged treasures isn't a money-saving proposition and it can be a bit of a hassle — but scoring a great find at a salvage shop, an estate sale or an online vintage retailer, such as Etsy.com, will add presence to your kitchen and prevent waste from going into the landfill.
For ideas, check out these kitchens from J.A.S. Design-Build:
In the dining area above, the table is made from an old bowling alley, and the blackboard on the wall was salvaged when a school was torn down. "These old blackboards have ghosting that tells you about their past, " Joe says. "You can still see things that kids wrote on them, and we've seen some from old music rooms that still have the horizontal lines running across. You could hone them if you wanted to, but why spend the money when this is so much more interesting?"