Vintage Austin Kitchen Makeover: The One That Got Away

Want to See a Vintage Kitchen Makeover?

So did we.

This vintage kitchen is from a house built in the late 1950s in the Wooten area of Austin, Texas. We tried unsuccessfully to buy it, dashing our fantasies of remodeling this dated house.

It’s the one that got away. And yes, we’re still talking about it.

And, apparently, sharing it with you.

The Costs of Updating a Small Kitchen in Austin

This house is small, like about 1,100 square feet of small, with only one bathroom and three tiny bedrooms. And, of course, the kitchen is small, too.

If you are considering buying one of these little old homes in the Austin area (or already own one), you may be struggling with how to gauge what it will cost to fix it up.

One of the blessings of such a small home is that virtually everything that you might want to do will cost less simply because there is less of it. Even if you upgrade to nicer-quality finishes, you can still get it done on a budget.

Your Kitchen Makeover Budget

Your kitchen makeover budget might include:

  • New counters
  • Cabinet paint and painting supplies
  • Cabinet hardware
  • New flooring
  • New appliances
  • Wall paint
  • New light fixtures and outlets
  • A sink and faucet
  • Backsplash tile

For now, most of that list is a lot more than we can cover in a single post, so we’ll try to link in articles as we find them (and write them).

For today, let’s just talk about the counters, and about painting the cabinets.

The Cost of New Granite Counters

The worn-out laminate counters in a small kitchen like this in Austin can almost always be replaced with lovely granite countertops for less than $1200. That price point will get you Uba Tuba granite (dark green/black with medium-size flecks of color), or Santa Cecilia granite (cream with flecks of gold and brown, with speckles of garnet).

These two inexpensive granites are favorites of our customers because they both look more expensive than they are, and they are chameleons that go with almost any decorating scheme. For another $150 or so (depending on the square footage of the counters), the counters could be upgraded to Black Pearl granite, a material that wins hands-down for updating a home across a lot of different styles: it can go super-traditional with white subway tile, or super-modern with glass tile and glossy, flat-front cabinets.

Black Pearl is our go-to favorite.

If $1200 still sounds like a lot to you take note: we’ve had several small ktichens jobs come through recently that were each under $1000! WOOT!

If the kitchen has an island (or you’re going to add one), you can almost always find a really pretty granite remnant from the back of our shop that will fit and can help bring down the overall cost of your new granite counters.

A small island (36-inches x 42-inches) almost always comes in under $350 if it is made from one of our remnants.

Painting Old Kitchen Cabinets

The cabinets in this particular kitchen were solid wood, and were in good condition despite being covered in grease from years and years of cooking. If you really want to save money on refinishing your old cabinets, you can paint them yourself.

kitchen-cabinet-paintingThe DIY bloggers behind Young House Love have written several great cabinet painting tutorials. Once you’ve read that one (the basics), you may find their latest series on kitchen cabinet painting to be a fascinating read.

If you DIY your kitchen cabinet painting, you can get it done for under $200, even if you use good paint (like Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo, or their newest cabinet paint, Benjamin Moore Advance).

If we had managed to buy the house in the photo above, we would have painted the cabinets a classic white-almost-ivory, for a clean and timeless look, using Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White Satin Impervo (oil).

The Cost of Replacement Kitchen Hardware

You can frequently find cabinet hardware on ebay for cheap cheap cheap. Just make sure to read the reviews before you buy. We bought all of the hardware for this kitchen makeover for under $150, and it had a LOT of cabinets.

In the big box stores, you can find knobs for as cheap as $1 to $2 each (even ones that feel good in your hand), and handles for as little as $2 to $4.  If you really want to save on hardware costs, stick to the knobs and skip the pulls.

Your Own Austin Vintage Kitchen Makeover

If you actually read this far: congratulations! If we put in granite kitchen counters (25 or more square feet, which is about one 10-foot long counter) in your Austin home, mention this article and we’ll thrown in an 18-gauge, stainless steel undermount  sink for free (a $100 value).

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