Renovation 101 / By Serena Solomon / July 11, 2017
Kitchen Renovation Costs: Westchester Edition
Map out your kitchen remodel costs and be one step closer to your dream Westchester kitchen
There’s no doubt that Westchester is a picturesque place to live—the luxury of space and peace with the bustle of New York City a quick trip away. Some recent buyers and established homeowners alike feel it would be even more idyllic if they had their dream kitchen, whether it’s customizing a new home or fulfilling a long-desired wish to upgrade. The first step is often the stumbling block: determining a budget.
The national average for a basic kitchen renovation is $20,000. For the tri-state area (don’t forget that includes that expensive town of NYC), the average kitchen renovation costs for a major overhaul hits $64,000 or $320 a square foot, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Let’s break that budget down into bite-sized pieces to help you get closer to your dream cooking and entertaining space:
This is an important line item in your budget, especially if your vision involves a layout change. That could involve moving load-bearing walls and gas lines. The NKBA estimates design fees eat up about four percent of a kitchen remodel cost. Sweeten designer Maryana, who has done work in Westchester, said it’s more realistic to put away 15 percent of your budget for design if you’re in the mood for a major layout change.
If you’re giving your kitchen more of a makeover than an overhaul, it’s possible to work closely with an experienced general contractor on the design and forgo a designer. Statistics from the NKBA show that the majority of homeowners relied on a general contractor and only 22 percent used a designer. Chuck, a Sweeten contractor who works in Westchester, has found that many clients in the county take a hands-on approach to design and often don’t use a designer or architect. However, an architect’s services will be needed if plumbing or gas lines are moving, there are structural changes, or if a landmark property is being renovated.
Building permits are handled by the building department of each individual town within Westchester County. “Individual” is the key word here because methods of calculations can change dramatically.
In Rye, the most of the expensive area in upstate New York—the median price for a home is $1,380,000—it’s no surprise that building permits are calculated based on the cost of a renovation. For every $1,000 in your kitchen remodel budget, that’s an additional $17 for your building permits. That average $64,000 kitchen overhaul will cost at least $1,088 in permits. If plumbing and electrical permits are required, that’s an additional $200 a pop (for a less extensive renovation, these permits may not be necessary).
In the township of Peekskill, building permit costs are at the end of a minor mathematical equation. Multiply the square footage of your project by $150. Then, multiply that figure by 0.10. For a 200-square-foot kitchen, that’s $3,000. So take a moment to look at how the building department of your township calculates permits.
At Village Appliances in Westchester, a low-end appliance package (fridge, oven, dishwasher and microwave), can go for under $5,000. However, Joe Gagliardo, the owner of Village Appliances, doesn’t sell too many of those. The majority of customers either go for a package in the $5,000 to $8,000 range or in the mid-price range of $18,000 to $22,000, which will get you brands such as General Electric and Electrolux. The high-end price spectrum will deliver brands such as Viking and Miele. At Bilotta Kitchens, clients often buy in the $12,000 to $15,000 range for an appliance package, according to senior designer and CKD Randy O’Kane. This will get you brands such as Thermador, Sub-Zero, and Wolf. There’s always room to mix and match, but brands do offer a discount or throw in items like blenders, toasters and hoods for free if you go with the same brand for your appliances, Randy said. “It is the heart and soul of a kitchen,” she said. “Cabinets are great, but it is all about cooking.”
Installation can cost between $500 and $1,000, and that price will depend on how much work your contractor has already done. If water lines have not been run or outlets are not in the necessary areas, that could push up installation costs, Joe said. For those after custom range hoods, then plan for the $2,000 and $8,000 range.
Cabinets and hardware (think handles and knobs) are a big-ticket item on every kitchen remodel cost budget. They typically take up 30 percent of costs, according to NKBA. In a basic kitchen renovation, that’s $6,000. For a major overhaul worth $60,000, cabinets cost almost $20,000. What typically makes a big difference in cabinet cost is whether you want custom, pre-fabricated or a mix of both. Something pre-fabricated from IKEA or Home Depot will cost around $130 a linear foot. Custom jobs can shoot up to $2,000 a linear square foot. However, with that higher price, there is more freedom in deciding your kitchen layout. You can also get a better warranty with custom cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets generally are about 50 percent cheaper than full custom.
Or do what Sweeten founder and CEO Jean Brownhill did in her own kitchen renovation: the recycled customized option. “I scoured Renovation Angel’s website and purchased a used-but-high-end kitchen for about $10,000, which is what I could have spent on cabinets alone,” she said. “A complete kitchen included appliances and cabinetry.” Jean then customized the cabinets to fit her space, which often meant filler panels were wider on one side than the other, or building a soffit was necessary. “It was like working on a jigsaw puzzle in order to make the kitchen look like it fit in the space,” she said. “But I was okay with these kinds of imperfections in exchange for essentially getting a premium kitchen on an Ikea type of budget.”
At Westchester Kitchen and Bath, quartz is overwhelmingly the most popular countertop, according to showroom manager and designer Donna Magnotta. “It’s heat-, stain-, scratch-, and bacteria-resistant,” she said, “and it’s maintenance-free.” Natural stones, like marble, need routine staining and sealing. Quartz starts around $85 per linear foot and is on the mid to high-end of the price scale, which includes the cost of fabricating and installing. Laminate starts at $20 a linear foot, but is rarely purchased, Donna said. Granite is next up the ladder at about $35 a linear foot. On the high end, natural stones start at about $120 a linear foot.
Kitchen lighting isn’t a big budget line item. It takes up on four percent of total costs on average. The end price, of course, will always be determined by your tastes. In a $20,000 kitchen, that’s only $800. For a major remodel in the $60,000 range, lighting costs look closer to $2,400.
On an average remodel, plumbing costs are about the same at $800. If there is a layout change to your Westchester kitchen, then that will likely add to your plumbing costs, which also includes gas lines. And the more you alter the basic layout of your space, the more your kitchen remodel cost will increase for materials, labor, permitting, and inspections.
On the lower end, Westchester’s Suburban Floors has a vinyl Karndean-Knight Tile that is $3.50 a square foot that is “still very durable and stylish,” said Emily Carpentieri, the store’s owner. The price per square foot does not include installation. On the higher end is cork or wide-plank wood flooring. These go for $8.25 to $15 a square foot. But vinyl floors in the $5 to $7 range is Suburban Floors’ biggest seller. “These would blow your mind how real they looked,” said Emily.
Labor and installation
Construction labor can change depending upon your Westchester zip code. The costs are less expensive the further you are from NYC. For Peekskill, labor costs are 22 percent higher than the national average, according to Fixr.com. Dobbs Ferry comes in at 40 percent higher and Croton-on-Hudson at 27 percent higher than the national average. The kitchen renovation cost in Rye could have a labor budget 55 percent above the national average. To compare, the labor cost for a kitchen renovation on the Upper East Side is 77 percent higher than the national average.
Don’t forget installation for appliances, cabinetry, plumbing, and electrical. These typically take about 17 percent of a budget, which is about $3,500 for an average kitchen. And as mentioned above, factor in $500 to $1,000 for appliance installation.
At the end of the day, renovations are like fingerprints—no two are alike. That includes their budgets. Here’s how one Sweeten renovator in Westchester allocated their $56,620 renovation budget:
Daydreaming about your new kitchen? Download a copy of our renovation checklist to guide you from pre-planning to punch list.
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