Tag Archives: kitchen remodeling

Is a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Right for You?

cosmetic kitchen remodel

This article was featured in All Things Real Estate Magazine, a great resource for Portland homeowners, buyers, sellers, and anyone interested in real estate. Ready to learn all about cosmetic kitchen remodels? Head over to the digital issue of All Things Real Estate or keep reading:

cosmetic kitchen remodel

If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen, deciding between a cosmetic remodel and a full remodel is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make because it will inform all your future kitchen decisions.

A cosmetic kitchen remodel can be a great way to give your kitchen a fresh look and feel. When it’s done right, you get beautiful results with less time and money than a full kitchen remodel.

In this post, we’ll go over the timeline for a typical cosmetic kitchen remodel, how to get the most bang for your buck, and common pitfalls to avoid.

How Does a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Work?

The timeline for a cosmetic kitchen remodel is 3-6 weeks. Compare that to 10-12 for a full remodel!

A cosmetic remodel might include:

  • Replacing the countertops
  • Changing out plumbing fixtures
  • Painting or re-facing cabinets
  • Installing a new backsplash
  • Adding decorative lighting

It typically does not include:

  • Replacing cabinets
  • Making structural changes
  • Major flooring or electrical work

Think of it like a makeover for your kitchen. If you have a good layout that just needs a few updates, a cosmetic kitchen remodel can work wonders!


5 Cost Saving Tips for a Cosmetic Remodel

My advice is to make decisions about where to splurge based on what’s important to you. Consider these 5 tips for keeping costs down:

  1. Reuse appliances and fixtures if possible. These are fairly easy to replace down the road.
  2. Keep a spreadsheet of all your costs to find areas where you can cut. Anything you can do yourself, such as painting or demolition, will save money.
  3. For a great deal on countertops, look for remnant. Typically, these come in smaller pieces, so even if you can’t do the whole kitchen, consider doing the island or a portion of the kitchen you want to accentuate.
  4. If you currently have stained or damaged wood, you can usually sand it down and refinish it instead of replacing it.
  5. Choose an inexpensive tile like ceramic subway and lay it in an interesting pattern such as a herringbone, vertically stacked, or a third offset (instead of the typical 50% offset).

Cosmetic Remodel Pitfalls to Avoid

The goal of a cosmetic kitchen remodel is a timely and cost-effective kitchen makeover with beautiful results. Getting a good return on investment takes planning. Here’s my advice:

1. Choose Materials Well in Advance

Select and order materials prior to starting your remodel to ensure availability and avoid delays or be forced to choose something in stock. Delays, even on a small remodel, could snowball and affect other trades and run your schedule off the tracks.

2. Match Cabinet Finish and Door Style

If you are adding cabinetry, make sure you get the best possible finish and door style match or it will look “added on.” If you’re adding an entire new island or buffet piece this can be a completely different finish and style to add interest.

3. Hire a Professional Painter for Existing Cabinetry

It’s more expensive, but cabinetry is the workhorse of a kitchen and, if not done properly, the paint can crack, chip, and peel right away.

Tip: If you want existing oak cabinets painted white, your painter will need to add a fill primer coat to eliminate the grain pattern. This can be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. Another option for oak is to stain or paint it a dark charcoal or chocolate, which adds a fresh modern vibe.

Is a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Your Best Option?

cabinet vignette portland kitchenNow you know how a cosmetic kitchen remodel works, how to keep costs low, and how to keep your project running smoothly. But is it right for your kitchen?

The answer depends on how well your current kitchen is meeting your family’s needs. Your kitchen may be a little old and outdated, but is it still fairly functional? Is the layout working for you? Are you happy with the basic structure? If you answered yes, yes, and yes, a cosmetic kitchen remodel may be perfect for you!

If your kitchen has major structural flaws, is too small, or needs a significant amount of remodeling work, you may be better off with a full remodel. At the end of the day, it’s up to you!

If you have questions about cosmetic remodeling, I’d love to help. Get in touch!

Mosaik Design Named Remodeler of the Year!

mosaik design kitchen remodel

mosaik design remodeler of the yearAt Mosaik Design & Remodeling, we take every project seriously and love delivering great results for homeowners in the Portland area.

That’s why I am very honored to be named the 2015 Remodeler of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland (HBA).

About The Home Builders Association

The HBA is a great organization. Every year, they present this award to someone in the remodeling industry who exemplifies professionalism and leadership, and who consistently delivers beautiful, high-quality work in the Portland area.

Interview with Oregon Lifestyle & Home Magazine

I was also excited to be interviewed by Oregon Lifestyle & Home Magazine after winning the award! We talked about remodeling trends for 2016, which remodeling projects are the most common, and what it truly means to have a “home.”

Oregon Lifestyle & Home Magazine wrote a great story about the interview on their website.

You can read the full interview here:

oregon lifestyle home magazine cover

5 Kitchen Upgrades with the Most Bang for Your Buck

kitchen upgrades measuring cabinets roi

kitchen upgrades best roi

“Show me the kitchen!”

Ever burst into an open house and shouted this?

OK, you were probably a bit more restrained, but most of us feel this way.

After all, kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms to home buyers. If a house looks great but has an outdated kitchen, buyers won’t bite.

So if you’re thinking of selling your home sometime in the next few years, a minor kitchen remodel is one of your best investments. According to This Old House, “A kitchen ‘face-lift’ — painting, refinishing surfaces, and upgrading appliances — will return more than a full redesign.” This is especially true here on the West Coast.

West Coast Kitchen Remodeling ROI

Last year, minor kitchen remodels in Oregon, Washington, and California had an ROI of 104%! That’s right, they more than paid for themselves. West Coast kitchen remodels that cost $21,554 had a resale value of $22,336 on average. That’s much higher than the national average of an 83% ROI. (A major kitchen remodel of $120,000 on the West Coast fetched an ROI of about 79%, or $94,400, in 2014.)

kitchen upgrades measuring cabinets roi

In general, spend 5-10% but no more than 20% of your home’s value on a kitchen remodel. Focus on kitchen upgrades that are energy-efficient, reasonably priced, and low-maintenance. For the best ROI, resist luxury options. I’ll tell you what your best bets are below.

Kitchen Upgrades with the Best ROI

Here are the 5 kitchen upgrades that will give you the best ROI:

Appliances: Home buyers can’t get enough of stainless steel appliances. So if you have an old white refrigerator and dishwasher, it’s time to swap them out! Your refrigerator doesn’t need all the trimmings, like an in-door ice and water dispenser, which can be problematic anyway. Stainless steel is excellent to highlight in your house listing and thankfully there are  many options out there you will like that fits your price point.

stainless steel kitchen upgrades

Source: Houzz

One complaint people sometimes have about stainless steel refrigerators is that they show fingerprints easily, so if this is a sticking point, look for the brushed stainless or “print free” options. Manufacturers also make magnetic stainless steel if you like to post things on your fridge.

Countertops: Natural stone and solid quartz countertops sell! You don’t need the priciest one, either. Almost any solid stone or quartz countertop will be a vast improvement over peeling laminate. Pick a classic neutral that will appeal to a wide range of design sensibilities. Costs range widely, but you may pay $40 to $75 per square foot, depending on thickness. Granite tiles are a cheaper option, but preparing food on a surface with so many seams can be frustrating.

granite countertops kitchen upgrades roi

Source: Houzz

Cabinets: If your cabinets are sturdy but look outdated, consider cabinet refacing. Upgrade to wood cabinet doors and leave the boxes be. Or for the most affordable fix, simply paint the cabinets a bright, fresh white.  If you have oak cabinetry, I recommend a dark grey or black instead of white which shows all of the grain patterning.  You can pay to fill the grain, but it is more costly. Don’t be tempted to splurge on fancy, quirky drawer pulls. You don’t want to waste money and possibly turn off someone who doesn’t share your style. Again, go with something classic.

Cabinets make up a big chunk of the total cost for kitchen upgrades, sometimes one-third of your total budget. It really depends on how big your kitchen is. Replacing cabinets in a 10×12 kitchen will be much cheaper than one twice that size. If budget is your top concern, use standard cabinets instead of custom.

cream kitchen cabinets kitchen upgrades ROI

Source: Houzz

Flooring: Hardwood floors are ideal. People are consistently wowed by them! They make your kitchen look bigger, and plus, they’re easy to clean. If your kitchen already has hardwood floors but they’re dinged up, have them sanded and refinished. It costs less than you’d think. If you have vinyl flooring, replace it with hardwood if you can afford it. Tile is another top choice for flooring. Laminate, vinyl, and linoleum are among the least popular kitchen floor choices.

open kitchen upgrades wood floor

Source: Houzz

Walls: Open floor plans have been highly desirable for years now. If your kitchen is shut off from your living space, consider having a wall knocked down or replaced with a waist-high partition. Of course, you or your remodeler will need to talk to an engineer and electrician. They can tell you if it’s a load-bearing wall and reroute outlets.

Knocking down a wall can also help bring more light into your space and create a breezy, expansive vibe — two things home buyers love. Even a small space benefits from a nice and open look.


If you’re putting your house on the market soon, a minor kitchen remodel can really boost your home’s value. We at Mosaik Design & Remodeling can help you prioritize, recommend updates, select a modern color palette, and more. Give us a call today to talk about the best kitchen upgrades for your home!

Top photo: Dru Bloomfield


Kitchen Upgrades for the Best ROI

Real talk: Kitchen remodeling can be expensive. Understandably, homeowners want to strategically choose what to upgrade in order to maximize function, aesthetics, and resale value. I recently wrote a guest post about 5 kitchen remodeling tips that have the best ROI on a home improvement blog. I think you’ll find the whole post valuable, but here’s a sneak peek.

1. Give Your Floor a Lift

vinyl flooring kitchen remodeling ROI

Image: Pinterest

Vinyl flooring saw a boom in the ‘50s and subsequent decades. If your kitchen hasn’t been updated since then, you may very well have old vinyl flooring that is peeling or has simply seen better days. Because homebuyers look for features that are modern yet low-maintenance, upgrading your flooring is an excellent investment. Select inexpensive choices like vinyl flooring from Itec or go one step up with luxury vinyl tile (LVT) that is actually grouted. With LVT and other vinyl flooring, you might not even need to rip up your existing floor.

2. Choose New Hardware Wisely

kitchen hardware cabinets roi

Image: Pinterest

New cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can quickly and inexpensively update your kitchen. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Intricate, complicated designs will attract more dust than a simple round knob, and a high-gloss finish will show fingerprints. Instead, opt for oil-rubbed bronze, which will hide dirt thanks to its rich color and copper undertones. Another wise choice is a brushed metal satin finish in stainless steel or nickel, depending on whether you prefer chrome or beige, respectively. These finishes all look modern and will for quite some time.

For all five kitchen remodeling tips with the best ROI, read the full post.

What do you want to replace in your kitchen? Tell me in the comments.

Spice up your space… with color!

Kitch 2Have you ever noticed how color can affect your mood? According to Leslie Harrington, Executive Director of the Color Association of the United States, which forecasts color trends, “We react on multiple levels of association with colors — there are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors.”

Is your bleak indoor landscape crying out for some pizzazz?

Even the slightest splash of color can infuse your space with a new level of energy.  Here are a few inspiring suggestions to spark your imagination…

  1. Paint one or more walls
  2. Paint cabinetry
  3. Add interest with color and texture in flooring choices
  4. Select furniture that brings the right mix of solids, patterns and color to the room
  5. Add colorful appliances
  6. Throw in splashes of color with accents like pillows, throws, rugs, curtains, vases and art
  7. Add hardware (like jewelry for your cabinets) to add splashes of color and whimsical accents
  8. Choose unique colors and/or textures for kitchen and bathroom countertops
  9. Use lighting fixtures to add color and shape to brighten up a room

Coming up with a color scheme that fits your personality and your space is the first step. Then, calling in the assistance of a professional designer  can really help move things along.