Sticking to a budget
Dublin accountants carefully watch the expenses and still get a refreshing new look.
Kate and Jason Giha of Dublin chose to avoid knocking out walls by working within the original kitchen's footprint.
Sticking to a budget is a common challenge in home renovation. Just ask accountants Kate and Jason Giha. After living in their Dublin home for nine years, the couple was eager to update their basic, all-white kitchen and rework the space for their growing family of four. However, they nearly gave up their plans when the initial project estimate was high. “We were surprised how far and how fast things can add up,” says Kate. The Gihas continued to rework their plans with Dave Fox Remodeling and ended up with a smartly designed kitchen that meets their needs without overspending.
To start, the couple decided to ditch preliminary ideas about knocking out walls and rearranging appliances. “Once you start moving those around, you start incurring costs that domino,” advises Courtney Burnett, interior design manager with Dave Fox, as she explains the related gas, water and electrical expenses. Instead, the Gihas thoughtfully narrowed down their priorities: Update the kitchen’s appearance, rework the island’s congestion and eliminate counter clutter.
Cabinet choice played a key role in addressing the couple’s priorities. Tired of all white, they selected new chocolate brown cabinets in a mid-range line by Kemper. Burnett said the couple wanted dark cabinets but were concerned about going too dark after their all-white kitchen. Her solution: Use good lighting and choose lighter finishes for the island cabinetry, perimeter countertops and backsplash.
“Any time you bring in a deep tone in a room, I like to see contrasts,” she says.
The new cabinets also helped to eliminate counter clutter. An appliance garage was added near the stove, and semi-custom pantry cabinets were installed in one area for better use of the angled wall space. The Gihas contained cabinet costs on this typically big-budget expense by minimizing custom inserts. Instead, they took Burnett’s advice to selectively splurge, then let everything else complement those higher-end items. The couple then indulged in a premium finish (maple-glazed amaretto cream) for the island cabinetry and more expensive backsplash materials.
Stone arranged in a brick pattern was selected for the backsplash, and Burnett designed a complementary border of mosaic tiles and bronze trim pieces by Crossville. Behind the cooktop, she added a decorative element by turning the mosaic pattern vertically to mimic the height of the cabinets and draw attention to the hood accent.
The previous island and dining area created traffic problems, so Burnett integrated the two by extending the island’s coffee-brown granite counter to create a lower, circular granite table. The lighting defines the two spaces with three whimsical pendant lamps, by Elk, to distinguish the island and a more subtle drum lamp, created by Uttermost, to ground the dining area.
A desk counter wraps around the kitchen corner and adds to the functionality of the kitchen space. Other selections include stainless steel appliances by KitchenAid, a beverage/wine center by Danby, an under-mount stainless steel sink by Artisan, perimeter quartz counters by Ceasarstone in a color called Jerusalem Sand, a pull-down faucet by Delta and cabinet hardware by Amerock.
Today, the Gihas are enjoying big payoffs from their kitchen investments. It’s the hub of family activity with their two preschool-aged children playing at the table while Kate works at her desk. At mealtime, the new space serves as a comfortable gathering place for intimate family dinners or larger get-togethers with friends.
Teresa Woodard is a freelance writer.