Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?

September 23rd, 2007 § 4 Comments

Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?
More conversations on “Do’s and Dont’s” for “Small Space Kitchen Design” over at the Kitchen Exchange Blog. In it, a homeowner, Mads (her blogging name), asks for a critique of her small 9′ x 9′ 1/2″ kitchen she designed 100% by herself. Peggy Deras, CKD, gives some great insight on what went right and wrong in this remodel. Having been contacted by the homeowner myself for a critique, we exchanged a few emails back and forth as well. You can view my critique over there at Kitchen Exchange.

This is actually a lovely story of an American living in Italy. (Jealous)! Her tales of construction calls to mind another charming tale of an American living in Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, with a not so charming experience remodeling the Italian way.

The house is in Genova about 2-3 hours from Florence. I discovered that Mads spent 5700 Euros for her remodel and another 3,000 Euros in labor. That’s $12,263 US Dollars. But wait, before you buy your plain ticket, this wasn’t exactly an easy remodel either. For those here in America who cry at having to wait 6-8 weeks for their remodel to be completed, you could be in for something much longer in Italy! It was a self-professed nightmare of an experience. For more info visit Post Reconstruction: A Tale of Life in Italy. Two walls were knocked down and rebuilt to expand the space (in Italy walls are still built with brick and limestone so it took almost 6 weeks for them to dry!!!). Mama Mia! She also had many problems with the workers who laid the mosaic tiles and floors but they did such a bad job she refused to pay them for that. You can see in some photos how bad the mosaic was put up.

But the good news is that Mads saved money through the ingenious sourcing of her tiles, fixtures and cabinets. A huge savings came about in that she did most of the work herself, including installing her cabinets and her hood. Bravo, woman! You are brave. What I want to know, where was “Dear Husband in all of this?” Did he help? Or was it easier to keep him out of the task?

She explains,

I was able to keep the costs low by doing the following

The mosaics are swimming pool tiles
Cost 225 euro for 16 square meters ($317 US dollars)

The floor tiles are from a company that deals with commercial clients, but I sweet talked them into an order by going directly to their factory. The color was so particular that I couldn’t get any graniglia to match so I decided to have the counter tops tiled with the structured version of the floor tiles which were honed. I also ended up ordering 90% of the tiles for the rest of the house form them as well. I’m very happy with their product (

Interesting little fact. Italians don’t like tile on their counter tops. Who knew? Mad continues to relate her tedious experience of finding someone to tile her counter tops. I thought I was viewing a gorgeous teak stained wood top! You fooled me, that is actually tiles on your counter top!

Now for you and I having your counter tops tiled is a normal thing. In Italy its like asking someone to ride their bicycle to the moon. I searched for six month during the reconstruction for someone to do this. I realized that I would have to do it myself. By the time I had decided to do the counters myself, all the drama of the tiles played out and then with some modification I would need of cabinets to make the washer hide behind a cabinet door and so on, I decided that no one would ever understand what I was talking about, so I’d have to do it myself. I went online and got all the info I needed and went to work.

In the end, I assembled and put up the upper cabinets. Modified most of the lower cabinets in one way or another to get them to fit with the washer, connected all the water and gas lines. Very dangerous trial and error process! I put up the hood and had the fun job of connecting the big flexible chrome tube thing that took me an absurdly long time.

I got an electrical sawing machine and cut the wood (with all those angles!) for the counter tops. I had a tiler come and put the tiles on the counters and do the part over the walls in Mosaics as out contractor was incompetent. The tiler also came back to do the bathroom. Anyway, at the end of the day, everything is a bit crooked, but no one really notices but me!

Mosaics 225 euro
Floor and counter tiles 750 euro
fridge 700 euro
washer 450 euro
dishwasher 450 euro
sink 250 euro
stove 700 euro
hood + option 750 euro
bar stools 200 euro (total)
Tap 130 euro (On Sale!)
Cabinets 1100 euro
Total 5700!

Check out the photo link for more photos of Mads remodeling.
She says:

If you do check out the photo album, I and other bloggers are taking input on the dining room which I don’t like at all!

Mads, great story! Thanks for posting. I’ll be right over to house sit while you are in France! Ahh, how nice.
Laurie ;-)

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§ 4 Responses to Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?

  • MAds says:

    What I want to know, where was “Dear Husband in all of this?” Did he help? Or was it easier to keep him out of the task?Funny story…About 1 year after we had gotten married my mother in law stopped by (unannounced). At the time I was modifying a tv stand with my handy electrical saw (do you see a trend here?) and my husband was in the kitchen cooking. My mother in law let herself in and walked into the scene. She just looked at us both in shock, handed my husband the keys and said “I can’t come here anymore. This isnt right!”She then walked out the door and never came over unannounced again.True story.And the point is, my husband is the cook. That as dirty as his hands get.PS I also fix his motorcycle when there are problems. Thank God for that semester of auto mechanics class in High School!

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  • Laurie Burke, Kitchen Designer says:


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  • Peggy Deras, CKD, CID says:

    Only the BEST husbands are cooks Laurie.I have one too.Peggy

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  • Laurie Burke, Kitchen Designer says:

    So true!

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