Blog: DIY Kitchen Reno Success



The Picket Fence Theory – Kitchen Renovation Finished!

OMG WTF LMFAO! I cant believe it but we’ve finished the kitchen renovation in Ettalong Beach! Total days on the job – 12 days, spread over 2 months due to the inconvenience of “normal” work.

Being a primary property of residence we wanted a nice kitchen that would help to increase the value of the property. We took out the existing kitchen and installed a new flatpack kitchen with new appliances. Tiled a new splashback with subway tiles. We had new floorboards laid, changed the shape & layout of the kitchen by moving a nib wall (not structural) and took the benchtops back to a standard 600mm.

So we are extremely happy with the results! Moving the wall and taking the benchtops back worked perfectly. It has opened up the kitchen and created a more spacious area, enough room to swing a cat in. The neighbours cat, not ours. See for yourself -

Things that went well:

·         Flat pack kitchens – using the 3D software from Bunnings (IKEA has a similar system). By far this was the most helpful thing for us having not installed a new kitchen before. It gives you a good understanding for how things will look and the ability to move things around (in the virtual world anything is possible).  As well, all the cabinetry/doors/hinges etc went together perfectly. The product is solid and well made and I didn’t get paid to say that!

·         Layout change – Moving the nib wall. Once we knew this was not structural it was just a case of ripping off the existing gyprock then moving the stud wall and re plastering.

·         Subway Tiles see pics below – These turned out absolutely amazing! I’m a big fan of this brick style of tiling.

·         Flooring – This new flooring went straight over the existing tiles. I think it has contributed to the stunning look of the kitchen.

·         Old kitchen – was taken out with care and sold on Ebay for $500 (plus we didn’t have to take it to the tip!)

Things that didn’t go so well:

·         Benchtops – Who would have thought it would take 3 x weeks to make 3 x straight cuts? We ordered 3 sections to create a U shape and gave all the measurements. I realised why it took them soo long when we had to shave 10mm off one of the sections and it took us 3hrs to match it up again without any gaps! Its very precise work!

·         Timing Tradies – Trying to plan and organise tradies to arrive when we needed them. We sometimes lost a day or 2 because we couldn’t progress until the trade work had been completed.

·         Budget Blowout – what can I say that hasn’t already been said a million times. We expected around $6k or $7k but ended up more like $11,000. Although in all fairness if you search online for a guide on what amount you should pay for a kitchen reno you’ll find generally its 5-10% of the property’s value. Therefore in our case that would have been $16,500-$33,000.

In Summary

A DIY kitchen, is possible! We took our time planning the layout and preparing as best we could. I took extra special care to make sure every new kitchen section was 100% level! By far the most important tool we used though was the 3D kitchen planner. As well I was impressed with the quality of the flat pack kitchen. Solid and well made. It all went together perfectly!

The inevitable budget blowout! This was the first “new” kitchen renovation we’ve attempted, so it was always going to be a learning curve. You forget that a kitchen consists of many parts – the shell, doors, hinges, handles, end sections, benchtops, sinks, cupboard sliders… its never ending! I’m still confident we saved a lot of money doing it ourselves. As I pointed out the general guide to a kitchen renovation for our property would have been up around the 30K mark, so I think 11K is money well spent!

Also important to note, this is a PPOR so we spent more than one might do if it were just a rental property.

“The Picket Fence” theory - Dad came up with a theory that I think relates perfectly to what we’ve done here: “the picket fence” theory.  This came from one of our properties where we added a picket fence to a very ordinary house and it almost doubled the value (confirmed by the bank valuation). In any renovation you need to add one or two elements that give it the wow factor! In our case I think the Subway tiles and flooring combine to create a professional and interesting looking kitchen!

Overall we’re extremely happy with the results. Costings  below:

The rundown of costs:

Kitchen $4500

Benchtop $1000

Flooring $1000

Appliances $1500

Tiles $200

Moving wall & materials $600

Paint $200

Plumber $800

Sparkie $1000

Total - $10,800

Until next time...

Do you have more than $200k in your super fund? You could use your super to buy property - Find out how

A professional photographer and now avid renovator, Duane has made fast work of starting small. His first purchases were nicknamed ‘El Cheapo’ and ‘El Dumpo’, but he’s moved on to bigger projects as he and his father/investment partner explore joint venture and development projects. From his home base in Sydney’s Maroubra, he splits his time between eyeing photos and property deals.

You can also read our profile of Duane here.

Top Suburbs : penrith , mt gravatt , goulburn , south brisbane , wallsend

go back
Other Blogs
  • Emily says on 13/02/2013 01:32:30 PM

    I wish I had gone with a flat pack kitchen. I went with Freedom and regret it, they are rubbish. From the off set it was a disaster, the designer drew up plans the the builder refused to build to 8 months later no kitchen and a huge outlay.

  • dave H says on 02/03/2013 03:23:42 PM

    Great job, im A tradie and would'nt expect for you to pay less than $22,000 for that Reno if done by a builder! thanks for sharing

  • Tim George says on 28/10/2014 06:14:12 PM

    omg! Great job by you. It is amazing to such an beautiful renovation just in 12 Days and the cost effectivenes counts too. [edited]

View 3 more comment(s)

Get help with your investment property

Do you need help finding the right loan for your investment?

When investing in property, it is important to make sure that you not only have the lowest available rate that you can get, but also have the correct loan features for your needs.

Just fill in a few details below and we'll then arrange for a local Aussie Mortgage Broker to contact you and work out what features or types of loans are right for your needs. We'll even help with the paperwork. Plus an appointment is free.

How soon would you like a mortgage?
What is your Annual Household Income i $
Do you currently own any Investment Properties?
Do you own your own residence?
How much equity do you have in all your current properties?
First Name
Last Name
Where do you live?
What number can we reach you on?
E-mail address
We value your privacy and treat all your information seriously - you can check out our privacy policy here