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My Mini Kitchen Reno on a budget!

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

A few years ago my mother went on vacation to Paris and ended up meeting a wonderful man who would soon become her husband. She didn't hesitate to pick up everything and move to Paris soon after her wedding. When she asked me if I wanted to move into her condo I didn't hesitate to move right on in. Especially since living in Cambridge, MA can mean living in a creepy old teeny ass apartment with slanted floors and a wonky floor for a 1-1/2 bedroom apartment for around $3000 a month. (Yes, I said 1 and a HALF bedrooms, that was not an exaggeration, this is was exactly what my last place was like).

Izzy and I were so hype about our move. The condo is over 1200 feet with big ass windows, wood floors and ridiculously high ceilings. I mean the place is awesome except it was in desperate need of a makeover. The place was converted from a candy factory back in 2006 and my mom was one of the first residential occupants in the building. When she moved in all the appliances were new and up to date but after 13 years and no updates some things were in pretty bad shape, including the kitchen and for a cook like myself updates were necessary.

I thought I was a contractor

At the beginning of the pandemic my sister Tia, son and I decide we were going to give the entire place a much needed makeover. We painted, got rid of all the old furniture my mom left behind and started from scratch. I'll be sure to post the other rooms later. When it came to the kitchen I knew I wanted to add a backsplash because it never had one. There was just paint on the wall and since I watch an insane amount of HGTV, The DIY Channel and YouTube University, I was pretty convinced that I was a certified contractor. I gleefully ran to my local Home Depot and picked out tile peel and stick sheets and rented a wet tile saw and decided that I was going to do the backsplash in the kitchen. Things were going great when I applied the first 2 sheets and I was getting a little too confident in my "skills". When I got to the the third tile section and realized I had no clue what to do when it came to the electrical sockets. After my sister Tia and I spent about an hour doing some really bad addition and subtraction, I said "F this shit" and stopped. I was so pissed because it literally looked like a kid did it and I hated the tile that I picked out. So I headed back to Home Depot and picked out new tile and decided to remove the tile I just "partially installed, but you can't just remove the tile, but I didn't know that at the time. I tried everything including a blow dryer, soapy water, a scrapper and nothing worked. So ended up with a patchy mess in my kitchen.

Just listen to how ridiculous we sound!

In the meantime, I still had the same old white appliances that were beat to hell in appearance. The door on the oven would come clean off if it wasn't opened with care. The inside of the dish washer was rusted and unusable. The microwave which never used was horrible and the inside of the fridge was literally falling apart. So all of those pretty ass food pictures you see me post on my blog and on social media look amazing were being made in the middle of a disastrous kitchen.

Don't believe me? Just look at the video below

A few months ago I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I desperately needed a new kitchen and appliances but refused to spend a gajillion dollars on them. So I created a budget and decided to get what I could. I spent a few weeks researching appliances and I scheduled a free in home consultation with Best Buy and they sent someone over. Unfortunately for me my place is electric so we decided to ditch my old ugly freestanding white range and opted for a new sleek slide in range with a built in air fryer, which I was super excited about because my old air fryer was super bulky and ugly. I also decided to get a new dishwasher. Honestly I was the most excited the dishwasher because that meant that clean up after my content shooting days would go much smoother. I made the choice to completely ditch the microwave and replace it with a stainless steel under cabinet hood to give the kitchen a more "chef's kitchen" look. Lastly I decided to update the refrigerator. I desperately wanted one with French doors but unfortunately I couldn't find one that fit.

Then there was the unsightly backsplash issue. I finally removed the old backsplash and was left with tons of rips and tears in the wall so I patched them up and sanded the spots smooth. Then I decided to try to install the new tile but quickly realized I was over my head again when I nearly sliced of my finger trying to cut the new thick marble hex tiles. So I went to Thumbtack. com and found someone to install it the next day for only $300.

I took about 3 weeks for everything to arrive and get installed and I am so happy with the outcome. There are still a few changes that I want to make in the future but for now this works!

Here's a breakdown on my appliances

I opted for a Samsung Fingerprint Resistant Convection Range with Built in Air Fryer and I LOVE IT. I'll be sure to do a thorough review for it soon. In the meantime, here are some of the features:

  • Rapid Boil Setting

  • The air fryer Setting

  • The convection settings

  • Dehydrate Setting

  • Fingerprint Resistant

  • Spacious Cooktop

  • It's pretty spacious and quiet and honestly anything was an upgrade from the last one. I love that it has a 3rd rack for all of my serving spoons, tops and spatulas.

I decided to get an under cabinet range hood instead of a microwave. It really created a more open and spacious vibe as well. I got the 30 in. W Convertible Under Cabinet Range Hood with Charcoal Filter in Stainless Steel.


Look at the disastrous kitchen. This was right after the installed my new appliances but I was still waiting for the backsplash to be installed. I had just removed the previous sticker tiles and was in the middle patching up the day wall.

I snapped this picture while the backsplash was being installed. I was so excited to finally see things start to come together and look like a "grown up kitchen."

Here's the final look!

We still needed to change out the electrical sockets but It was looking pretty good.

There is still more work to do but it's such an improvement.

Since I decide to switch out the backsplash and appliances and not do a full renovation I was able to save a lot of money. If I were to update the cabinets and countertops I would have spent sooooo much money.

Here's a breakdown on what I spent:

  • $300 on the backsplash

  • $200 on the tile

  • $1379 the original price $1590 but I got it on sale and discounted since I got a dishwasher.

  • $784 for the dishwasher

  • $850 for the fridge

  • $189 for the hood

My biggest recommendation for anyone looking to update appliances is to take advantage of free in home consultations. Swiching out appliances can be stressful because of the measurements and fittings. You don't want to purchase something that won't fit or connect to the proper lines. I used Best Buy but I know that places like Home Depot and Lowes do free in home constructions too. I also saved on installations by using Best Buy's Total Tech package.