Kitchen Conversion

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Everything costs more in California, so doing a gut kitchen remodel for less than $50,000 is more of a challenge than you might think. Kent Eberle, CR, CKBR, owner of Eberle Remodeling, had a few advantages when he designed this kitchen. First, the homeowners wanted to keep the recently installed laminate flooring.

December 01, 2005

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New looks in lighting

Everything costs more in California, so doing a gut kitchen remodel for less than $50,000 is more of a challenge than you might think. Kent Eberle, CR, CKBR, owner of Eberle Remodeling, had a few advantages when he designed this kitchen.

First, the homeowners wanted to keep the recently installed laminate flooring. They also wanted to stick to the existing footprint.

An arch ceiling-mounted range hood and cobalt pendant lighting provide architectural detail and visual pop over the peninsula, where cabinets once hung.  After photography by Izzy Schwartz Photography

"They were fairly savvy; they had pictures and good ideas," says Eberle. The all-white kitchen had never been remodeled. Updating the look (and tying it into the floor and the maple hutch and dining set) was their primary goal. They also wanted to make it feel more spacious.

Eberle accomplished the latter objective through demolition, getting rid of the dropped ceiling, removing the hanging cabinets separating the kitchen and nook, and taking out part of a wall.

A fresh appearance called for new materials and more color: stainless-steel appliances with black trim, black granite tile counters and a full slate backsplash with a patterned gray, white and black border fit the bill.

Using granite tiles for the counter instead of granite slab is just one of the ways Eberle managed project costs.

"We try to accommodate our clients' needs," he explains. "Usually I tell people not to scrimp on the cabinets, but countertops and floors can be more easily changed at a later date. We can still achieve the look and color they want."

He applied the same philosophy to creating a connection between the kitchen and family room. Making a pass-through did the job and only entailed adding a 4 × 12 header. Removing the whole wall would have required time and expense.

Eberle doesn't let clients buy their own products to keep costs down, except for appliances and plumbing fixtures. More often, though, his company purchases the appliances and fixtures, then adds 10 percent to the cost for installation. It's hard to apply a big markup to products that consumers can easily buy for less, but they understand the idea of having a professional integrate their installation with the rest of the remodel.

"We don't want to find out they have different installation requirements or pieces are missing," Eberle explains. "If we can't install it and have to pay the plumber to come back, then he's going to charge us for the service call. Most people seem to agree with that."

 

Remodeler: Eberle Remodeling, Sacramento, Calif.
Project location: Carmichael, Calif.
Age of home: Built in 1967
Scope of project: Update of 215-square-foot kitchen and eating nook


Products List

Cooktop: GE Monogram. Faucets: Grohe, Ladylux. Microwave: GE. Oven: GE Profile. Refrigerator: Amana. Range hood: GE Monogram. Sink: Blanco.


New looks in lighting

Many local homes built in the 1960s and 1970s sport dropped ceilings and fluorescent light boxes, says Kent Eberle.

"Getting rid of that was a big deal," he adds. His company's kitchen lighting plans often include recessed cans around the perimeter with small, low-voltage, halogen "hockey pucks" under the upper wall cabinets for accent lighting. For this project, he also used them on the maple wood window bridge.

Per the requirements of Title 24, which regulates California energy-efficient building standards, Eberle needed to install one fluorescent fixture in the kitchen. (The standards became stricter as of October 2005.) He placed it over the top of the window bridge, where it would provide light but be hidden from view.

In Eberle's opinion, the spiral-shaped fluorescent bulbs used in most recessed can lights aren't attractive. As a result, he has begun using recessed fixtures with a lens inside to conceal the bulb.

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