Preparation & Costs for Remodeling a Kitchen in Boston

Remodeling your kitchen in Boston? Here’s how to prepare for your project, from knocking down walls to budgeting your costs

Kitchen in newly constructed luxury home

Have you ever noticed: when you have friends over or are at home with your family, everyone congregates in the kitchen? That’s because the kitchen is truly the heart of a house. Whether your kitchen is a cooking space in an old Boston Victorian or a condo in East Boston, it can be renovated to work with the way you cook. 

Deciding on a budget is one of your first steps in this journey. In this guide, Sweeten offers a jumping-off point for how much your kitchen renovation will cost. It covers key factors, such as the age of your house, the design you want, and the finishes you want, which all affect your final costs. You’ll also need to meet with a general contractor, who will want to see the space to confirm an accurate budget. 

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection— for free.

Here’s what to expect when remodeling a kitchen in Boston, and how much it may cost.

Plumbing in Boston apartment buildings

One issue that Boston-based Sweeten contractor Taghi sees a lot is that the older, smaller pipe size in some buildings doesn’t match the bigger pipe size of modern fixtures. As a result, “Your water pressure will go down,” said Taghi. Often, this is not apparent until a general contractor gets into the walls. If this happens to you, prepare your budget accordingly. Changing the size of those older pipes in the walls can add a few thousand dollars to a kitchen renovation’s budget, Taghi said.

Old walls in apartments and houses

Because of age, and a lack of building codes and structural engineering in the years before the 1950s, older buildings can have shoddy workmanship. “This is the most problematic issue – the lack of consistency in buildings,” said Sweeten contractor Jeff who is based in Boston.  One potential outcome is walls that are not plumped or straight. Like the pipes, it is not likely to be clear when a general contractor is pricing out a job. Walls like this often have to be rebuilt and can add to the budget (and a few extra days to the timeline).

Switching to an open plan living

A lot of kitchen remodels—apartment or house—in Boston involve pulling down a wall to open the space between kitchen, dining, and living room. Of course, that isn’t how many Boston homes were designed—so it is easier said than done! Frequently, a load-bearing wall has to come down, so the roof or top floor needs to be supported in another way, said Sweeten expert Taghi. Ultimately, it can mean a huge beam needs to be installed across the space to hold everything up.

WAYS TO PREPARE:

Talk to your general contractor about the possible issues that may come up based on the age and history of your home. It’s always a good plan to have a 10%—15% contingency plan of the final budget in case problems arise.

Remodeling in a Boston apartment vs. a Boston house

When outlining your budget, an important factor will be whether you’re in a house or an apartment. Surprisingly, a house renovation often has lower costs than an apartment! Renovating an apartment will mean stricter rules on times and days your general contractor can be at work, which then adds to the timeline, which then adds to the budget.

In an apartment, the demolition phase can also take longer because whatever you’re removing can’t just be carted out the front door and into a dumpster. It needs to go through common hallways, and down service elevators to get outside. The availability of parking for your general contractor and other tradespeople can also add to the time it takes them each day to get started on the job.

WAYS TO PREPARE:

Your contractor should be able to discuss a general timeline with the following milestones so you can feel prepared with the process:

  • a start date range
  • milestones
  • potential variables

Doing a Boston Kitchen Remodel with Mid-Range Finishes

A mid-range kitchen remodel in Boston can start at $40,000. It involves a layout change, with the addition of a kitchen island. However, it’s important that the location of plumbing and electrical stay as-is to keep costs down.

With this budget, you have a lot more creative leeway with semi-custom wood cabinets. You can consider appliance brands, like General Electric, and can include a vented range hood, a built-in microwave, and garbage disposal. You can also play around with some custom lighting.

Doing a Boston Kitchen Remodel with Upscale Finishes

An upscale kitchen remodel in Boston starts at $65,000. This budget level means you can look overseas for creative backsplash tiles, delve into quartz (or even marble countertops), and use custom cabinets. Take note: Fully custom cabinets can take a third to half of your budget.

You can browse designer kitchen stores for an undermount sink and designer faucets, plus a water filtration system. (Tip: with an undermount sink, your countertops cascade into the sink for easy wiping.) Lighting design, including undercabinet lighting, is also within your budget’s reach. Flooring can be tile.

Like the mid-range kitchen, you can play around with the layout by adding a kitchen island. But again, it’s advised that you keep your oven and sink where they are. That way, you can save money on plumbing and electrical, and spend more on those European tiles.

Are you remodeling a kitchen in Boston? Sweeten can uniquely match your renovation project with Boston’s best vetted, insured contractors.

Get Matched With Contractors

Trying to pick between a kitchen peninsula or a kitchen island? Use Sweeten’s guide to help you decide!

Planning on renovating multiple rooms? Read our renovation cost guide for Boston for the whole home, kitchen, bathroom, and the basement.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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