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  • Neyir Urminsky

How I spent under $5,000 US to create my unfitted kitchen

Updated: Sep 20, 2023


Its been 10.5 weeks since we embarked on our kitchen project and I’m back to break down how I spent under $5,000 US to create my unfitted kitchen. I can barely believe it has been under 3 months and honestly I have completely forgotten how it used to look (see pic below) and more importantly how it used to function! My original brief was to undertake designing and executing an unfitted FBMP Ikea ADHD friendly kitchen. Kind of a high bar and I am still working on pulling together my thoughts on the ADHD friendliness of our new space but am eager to share the cost breakdown with you!


Messy kitchen of white cabinets and unfitted wooden cabinets
How it started

Our goal with this refresh was functionality, ease of use for the whole family, safety (no more kids nearly getting burned or squished by the nightmare sink/stove set up) and design. While I always start my designs by determining the needs, function and layout options of a space, I also have a deep desire to marry optimal function with interesting design. This time I wanted to push myself to see how far I could go in good, elevated design while respecting a $5,000 Canadian (CAD) budget. Yup $5,000 Canadian so about 3,800 USD. No suspense here as you know I didn’t manage to keep to the 5K CAD, I’ll break the numbers down below but the final total was $6,349.19 CAD so about $4.810 USD and honestly, I’m not at all mad about it!


Kitchen showing a stainless stove with a blue pot, antique wooden cabinets on either side with marble counters and shelves.  Periwinkle walls and large white globe light
After complete with DIY marble backsplash, shelves with custom coloured limewash

Having said that if anyone chose to replicate our kitchen exactly I figure it would cost at least another $1,200 CAD or so as 3 of the freestanding pieces we already owned; the table we use as an island, the step back dresser we use as a pantry and the glass china cabinet we use mainly for glasses and mugs. I spent some time searching my local FBMP and the costs for those come in respectively at $200, $700 & $300 CAD.


Antique open china cabinet filled with glasses, mugs and serving ware, pastel of horses on wall above and 2 small oil paintings, periwinkle walls.  White modern kitchen cabinets with walnut coloured butcher block counters.
Our glasses & mugs cabinet

The other thing that always needs to be noted with a project like this is the huge difference regionally in prices This is often discussed in terms of trade and labour costs as it differs dramatically from city to city and country to country. For this project we didn’t have any labour costs with the exception of the electrical work to move the stove. I chose not to include that in the calculation both for this reason and also because we would have done the kitchen refresh even if relocating the stove hadn't been possible. Also I realize it isn’t something many people would undertake in a redecorating type project like this and is more part of a renovation scope. Having said that, the electrical would have increased the budget by about 50%.


Antique open china cabinet filled with glasses, mugs and serving ware, pastel of horses on wall above and 2 small oil paintings, periwinkle walls.  White modern kitchen cabinets with walnut coloured butcher block counters, marble backsplash and shelf.  Sink with black faucet.
Love our little corner DIY marble shelf and drinks station

Ok so with all that info aside let's dive into everyone’s favourite topic - money & math!


Our big ticket item was, as you would expect, cabinets which came in at $3,075.89 ;

Ikea kitchen planning 44.84

Ikea cabinets 2211.05

Open antique cabinet 420

Closed antique cabinet 400


Kitchen showing a stainless stove with a blue pot, antique wooden cabinets on either side with marble counters and shelves.  Periwinkle walls and large white globe light
The open cabinet is beautiful & functional

This was also one of our biggest savings as over half our cabinet storage was in the unfitted pieces which cost only $820, or 1,300 if you add in the cost of buying the step back cabinet. In addition to the environmental win I figure we saved about 2,000-3,000 CAD using unfitted, reclaimed pieces. Also if you are planning an IKEA kitchen make sure to pay the nominal fee for kitchen planning, it was sooooo worth it! The kitchen planners that you pay for are more trained and skilled than those you can book an appointment with on the day, for free, as I discovered to my peril.


Our countertops were a huge savings totalling $707.60;

Marble for closed antique cabinet 0 (came with the cabinet)

Ceasarstone for ‘island’ 200


White modern kitchen cabinets with walnut coloured butcher block counters, marble shelves and backsplash, undermount sink with black faucet.  Art hung on periwinkle walls
Love our acacia counters!

We were fortunate to buy our acacia butcherblock on sale but they are still my favourite budget friendly countertop material. I haven’t spent the time to figure out how much we saved by sourcing our caesarstone and marble counters on FBMP and cutting them ourselves and if you have any idea please let me know in the comments!


Limewash treatment $507.04


This cost ended up being higher than I had budgeted due to complications with the custom colour so I actually have left overs of both colours I used to mix my shade which I can use on another project. Still thinking about where that will be...


Vent hood $456.88

Plywood 60


Kitchen showing a stainless stove with a blue pot, antique wooden cabinets on either side with marble counters and shelves.  Periwinkle walls and large white globe light
Our DIY vent hood

Marble backsplash & shelves $391.10

Marble thresholds & behind stove - 318.71

Brackets for shelves - 72.39


I had initially budgeted less for this as I expected to source it on FBMP but I eventually realised that while it was possible, it was going to take much, much longer than the time we had and would be not be dramatically less expensive than buying new.


Sink & faucet $363.98;

Sink - 279

Faucet - 84.98


It is worth noting here that we chose to buy the exact same faucet that we had previously but in a different finish. We had been using the gold version for a few months(now destined for Applecroft) and had loved it. It is solid, well made and installs easily, it feels and looks like a much higher end faucet than its price tag. For the sink we chose a workstation style and absolutely love it! One of the beauties of acacia is being able to under mount a sink which is so much easier to keep clean!


Walnut coloured butcher block counters, marble shelves and backsplash, undermount sink with black faucet.  Art hung on periwinkle walls
Under mount sinks are amazing!

Stain & supplies - $130.67

This includes the stain and sealer for the cabinet to the left of the stove and also the food grade stain and sealer I used on the butcher block.


Plumbing supplies (includes venting supplies for hood) - $288.45

We also purchased a few minor tools that I didn’t include here as they are fairly standard.


Painting supplies (paint, caulk, joint compound) - $264.71

Dishwasher brackets - $30.55

These were brackets to attach the two cabinets on either side of the dishwasher to one another, essentially to bridge the dishwasher gap.


walnut coloured butcher block counters, marble backsplash, light flooding in through 2 window with white gauzy curtains.  Art hung on periwinkle walls, antique marble topped cabinet beside stainless stove
One set of curtains cut in half!

Curtains - $132.32

Rods & rings 65.47

Curtains 66.85


I bought one set of curtains, cut them in half and hemmed them with iron on tape (I was too exhausted at that point to pull out the sewing machine!)


So that is how the $6, 349.19 budget breaks down. I am very pleased by the level of finish we achieved with both that cost and timeline. Are there things that I would have done differently or improved upon? Yes but I am 100% happy with the kitchen we now have, or will be once I finish those few final details - did you notice the missing cabinet door lol? Good spaces are always evolving and adapting after all!


walnut coloured butcher block counters, marble shelves and backsplash, undermount sink with black faucet.  Art hung on periwinkle walls, 2 flowering orchids on window ledge
So much happier working in this space!


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