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A truly custom kitchen on a budget of course

Updated on February 28, 2012
before | Source
the venthood
the venthood | Source
the mosaic
the mosaic | Source
tile and painted outlet cover
tile and painted outlet cover | Source
finished product 2
finished product 2 | Source

custom kitchen on a budget

Building a custom kitchen for a not quite custom price is challenging but not impossible. When we built our home four years ago we took it from the drywall finish out. We painted, tiled floors, tiled showers, installed hardwood, trim etc. Partly because we wanted certain finished products and we couldn't afford them. But mostly because we love doing it. Originally we knew we wanted granite counter tops in the kitchen so we opted for semi custom cabinets from Lowe's. I hate standing on my head to get things out of the base cabinets so we opted for large drawers in the bottom cabinets instead. Having visited Mexico and loved the limestone tile floors we knew that is the floor we wanted. But we couldn't find it in ourselves to dish out the $3000 plus they wanted for a simple wooden vent hood. Over the several years following moving into our home we would visit Lowe's and go through the process of getting a vent hood matching our cabinets. Every time we got to the bottom line price we would look at one another and say "We just can't do that" Until finally I found a custom guy who would do it for less than half of that price. Of course when we finally got money and motivation that guy was too busy to return a phone call. Good grief!! Googling wooden vent hoods one night I ran across a website that had a really nice oak unfinished decorative hood for less than $1000. I can do a lot of cool painting and staining for $2000 difference. Two years prior in anticipation of one day my husband would come in and say "let's do the back splash project" I had decided on a design and bought the tile to do that project. All of those materials were in a closet just waiting for their chance to shine. The magic words were spoken, out came the tile, the vent hood was painted, the super duper exhaust fan was ordered and we went to work. I happened to be walking through Hobby Lobby during this time looking for something entirely different when the monogram stepping stones caught my eye. I bought the "P" for less than $20 and took it home to see how it looked in my back splash design. My husband loved it and after tweaking everything he started installing the tile. The design called for 3 x 6 tumbled marble Noce' tiles in a subway pattern. The large mosaic had to be centered to be the most appealing within the arch of the hood above the stainless steel range. I made a paper mock up of it to be sure and when we got to the bottom of the mosaic he worked on it instead of the regular tile which we came back later and filled in around the mosaic. The strides they have made with grout and tile are amazing. There is now sanded caulk that matches the sanded grout which we installed with a grout bag instead of the usual method of smearing it in and wiping it all down. There is lot less mess with this new method. The tumbled marble is so porous and we didn't want to fill in the fossil "holes" etc believing that takes away from the look. After rinsing them down several times to eliminate grit and loose grout, we put on a sealer so that grease and dust could easily be washed and not leave stains on the tile. The tile, the lighting, the hood, the mosaic all adds such a dimension to the whole kitchen it is unbelievable. The finished product is even better than we imagined and one of the best parts is that the whole project cost us less than half of the original price of the hood alone.


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