The True Cost of Kitchen Remodeling

The first thing people want to get their arms around with any remodeling project is “what is this going to cost?” For better or worse, you need to understand the cost in order to start to budget for what it is you really want. I often talk to people who are just starting to get information and unless they have a friend or relative willing to share the numbers, they are often surprised when they hear the news. In the over 20 years I have owned a remodeling company, I have even had a couple of clients end the initial meeting abruptly because they couldn’t believe what I was saying. These nice folks even offered me some advice to seek therapy- because I was clearly not of sound mind! Not to worry, 2 out of the 3 times this happened, I received a call back to start some design work on the project because I was honest from the beginning. I am going to give you the rough breakdown and help shed some light on the cost, just keep in mind that we are talking local numbers in blue chip communities and the only way to get to the exact cost of your Kitchen Renovation is to prepare a budget based on your home and selections.

Cost of remodeling a kitchen 2

Every year Remodeling Magazine publishes a cost vs. value report. The most disappointing thing as a remodeler is that the figures come from a survey of realtors… and I have argued more than once with the editorial staff that hearing what something cost is not as accurate as knowing what something cost; so take this report with a couple of grains of salt. Namely the average cost of a major kitchen remodel in eastern Massachusetts is just north of $55k according to the magazine and that number is understated by adding the average cost of a kitchen in Framingham with the average cost of a kitchen in Back Bay. Also, it is based on what people say their project cost, and many people are not always ready to divulge that if they feel they have “indulged”. The table below shows why there can be a large swing in pricing, between $55k and $180k. Of course these are representative of average ranges, and there are kitchen remodels that surely exceed $180k if you are so inclined. This table indicates that there are things you do not have control of (or really should address while the walls are open), such as the age or dis-repair of the existing conditions, and things you have all the control of such as the $3,000 refrigerator or the $15,000 refrigerator. Also of note, more expensive appliances often require additional installation time and expertise. A 48 inch built-in refrigerator takes about 6 hours to install and requires two staff because of the weight, while a slide-in refrigerator takes about a half hour to install. The last caveat of the chart is this: Our budget spreadsheet has about 120 lines in it to ensure we consider every detail and the chart used below only has 9 lines. If you want a predictable outcome and the kitchen of your dreams without a nightmare construction phase, you will be glad to have a thorough budget together before you embark on your next home renovation.  If you live in the area, and are planning a kitchen remodel, please feel free to contact us!  Happy Remodeling!Cost of remodeling a kitchen.xlsx

When is a home a good candidate for whole house remodeling?

Our beautiful New England towns have some great architecture, and because our housing stock is older than other areas of the country, many require remodeling, a home addition or maybe just a new kitchen or renovated bath. However, some homes we work on have suffered “differed maintenance issues” throughout and may be better contenders for whole home remodeling.





A couple of factors that make this undertaking worth the capital investment:

1.  Is this a diamond in the rough investment? Compared to newer homes in the area, what will be your total expense… keep in mind that when you are involved in the home renovation process, you have better quality control over the work, and can dictate the proper budget for quality finishes rather than settle for builder grade choices.

2. Older homes often offer better, nostalgic architectural details in lieu of the neo-classic lines used to save money today.

3. When you moved in years ago, maybe you thought about waiting for the right time to move on. Now, perhaps you love the home (aside from some of the “ticks”), and the location and/or neighborhood are working perfectly for your family.

Whole home renovations are always a bit different from one another and don’t always involve every room; however, the typical project usually involves adding some more space, as well as kitchen and bathrooms receiving full gut renovation. With that type of capital investment, the entire electrical and heating and cooling systems; as well as the insulation, windows, exterior cladding and roof should all get an update.

In a recent project in the Poets neighborhood in Wellesley, we brought a beautiful 1930s/40s Foursquare colonial (a mix of two styles based on the square stance and the colonial roof-line) back to her glory. The interior received a major upgrade adding on space to expand the kitchen, while adding a master bath. The owners had the plan to renovate when they purchased the home and had already invested in a new very efficient boiler and front stairs. The neighbors were delighted when the brown aluminum siding was removed, and commented that the bare sheathing boards were a welcome improvement even before the pre-stained shingles even adorned the sides.


Trim: An essential detail

Days are still warm but the nights grow steadily colder, bringing to mind the winter to come and the need to prepare our homes for severe weather. Many homes in this area carry strong references to New England’s architectural history, from the simple cottage style of Capes and saltboxes built by early settlers to the elaborate Georgian-inspired structures that began to appear in the early 18th century. Homes built in the Cape style are typically trimmed with simplicity, reflecting the colonists’ need for shelter that could be constructed quickly and expanded easily as families grew. Later dwellings mirror the region’s growing wealth and preoccupation with status, and have trim details that reflect an interest in English fashions and architecture.

Architectural Detail of Exterior Trim

Architectural Detail of Exterior Trim

Regardless of the style of your home, trim is an important detail, and can be the first area of your home to show signs of wear and susceptibility to our harsh climate. Ornamental lintels over doors and windows, fascias that cover rafters and support gutters, soffits that join roof surfaces and walls, and frames that surround windows not only complete the appearance of a home, they also seal out moisture and wind. Traditionally wood has been used for this trim, but new composites offer easier maintenance and can reduce the effort and expense of upkeep. Here at the Wiese Company we often use PVC trim when and where the budget allows starting with the areas most susceptible to water damage. The beauty of this material is that it doesn’t rot like wood but can be painted and looks just like wood trim once painted. Two products we use, from manufacturers Fyphon and Azek, feature a cellular construction that is strong and similar in density to the white pine often used for trim. These materials resist rot, damp and insects, are easily cut and installed, have excellent insulating properties and are available in a wide variety of styles to complement the architecture of your home. Trim is more than a decorative accent; for New England homes, it is an essential component of a building’s insulation. The next time you look at your cracking soffits and sagging wood window frames, consider upgrading to composite trim materials. With soaring oil prices and predictions of a harsh winter to come, ensuring your trim is tight and weatherproof is a solid investment in your home’s value.