Complete Kitchen Renovation on a Tiny Budget

10 Days

Here is our lake cabin kitchen, which is almost 40 years old. The cabin sustained water damage throughout, which prompted the renovation. One thing led to another....
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
We started this project by removing all the old musty carpet throughout. Then we completely gutted the kitchen area, being careful to save all the cabinetry, because we planned to reuse/repurpose all that was possible for the new cabinets.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Then we painted and added laminant flooring. I had to do a lot of patch work on the rough walls. We opted to just try and fill in the cracks because we were going for the industrial farmhouse look. We also replaced all of the outlets and rewired to accomodate the lighting for the shelves and pendant lights over the island.

The ceiling of the entire cabin was styrofoam tiles, that are not available anymore. This was a tricky task because the original overhead light was a diasaster and we wanted to add the pendant lights over the was several hours of very gently removing and rearranging those tiles so we wouldn't have to replace the entire ceiling.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Now for the countertops. We opted for concrete countertops because the price was right. We had never done this before, so we did our research online and made a few mistakes but in the end it worked out...Above you can see the mold we built with 2x4's for support on the bottom, melamine boards 1.5 inches deep to make the mold on the top and plastic at the bottom(which is actually the top). The white square in the middle is the opening for the stove top. As we filled the mold with concrete, we addded some wire and rebar for support. Unfortunately, when we tried to move this particular portion(after it completely dried), it cracked and had to be repaired once installed, which wasn't that big of a deal. It did add some additional time.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
The countertops weren't that hard, but it was pretty physically demanding. We opted to do them outside because of the concrete sink. I looked into purchasing a farmhouse sink, but that would have taken up almost half of the overall reno budget - so we made one.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Here is the island, all of these sections had to be sanded then I added a feather light concrete layer (very thin), to fill in any holes, then I sanded again.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Here's a look at the sink (from the bottom).
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
And the sink from the top. We used a PVC pipe in the correct size as the drain cover hole and one in a smaller size for the facet opening.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Because the sink had curved corners, I couldn't use a trowel to add the feather light layer, but had to use my hands. Then I had to sand by hand.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
While the concrete was curring, about 48 hours but because we were working on this on weekends only, it had a full week to dry. Because of the weight of the countertops and sink, we had to build the cabinets with enough support to handle them. Here you can see our base, using 2x4's.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
The fo.llowing weekend, I added hypoxy over all the concrete surfaces. It dries fast, like 20 mins so I was able to do three coats
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
In this picture, you can see everything starting to come together. We added the industrial shelving, which is budget friendly and easy to install. We ended up spending around $100 for the wood and the galvanized steel pipes. We found the two pendant lamps at Lowe's discounted because one had been a display unit (total cost $50 for the pair). We added the corrugated steel to the outside of the bar, where the white surface of the cabinets aren't practical because of shoe marks. I replaced all the appliances with second hand versions in white. We have a thriving online garage sale in our local facebook community.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
Here is the area we had to path because it cracked when we moved it - I don't think anyone could tell it was patched. Then it was time for the subway tiles and the one item we purchase brand new, the range hood. I like that it ties in the corrugated steel from the island. We ordered it off of Amazon for $170. The subway tiles were around $60 for the tile, grout and adhesive. We had the tile cutter from the bathroom sink project.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
The longest process of the project was then trying to customize the old cabinets and drawers into the new design. This was a hairpulling/teeth grinding exercise in patience ! My husband persevered and finished, then I got to painting the white and spray painted the original knobs a darker color to coincide with the galvanized pipe from the shelves. I had several antique pulls for the drawers that add a nice touch. I was admant that I did not want the microwave on my beautiful new countertops or shelves, so we build a shelf between the drawers to accomodate. It is a little low but I love that it is out of the way.
complete kitchen renovation on a tiny budget
The finished dream kitchen!
Flawless Chaos

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Linda Moon
    on Jun 23, 2017

    The concrete counter tops look brown not gray (color of concrete). Did you paint/stain them?

  • Anita
    on Jun 24, 2017

    I love what you did, but where is the refrigerator?

    • Sheri Vaden
      on Mar 18, 2018

      Look at the “picture, you can see everything starting to come together” and you’ll see it far right

  • Eroque022810
    on Jul 5, 2017

    What did you do to the outside to keep it from flooding again?

    • Flawless Chaos
      on Jul 17, 2017

      The problem wasn't an actual flood coming from was a broken water heater. So we replaced the water heater and fixed the damage.

Join the conversation

2 of 90 comments
Your comment...