Kitchen remodels can get crazy in terms of cost, especially here in California where labor is expensive. Given the relatively low budget for the renovation, I had to reuse as much of the existing kitchen as possible. That meant keeping the cabinets, the simple, spacious refrigerator, and the adequately placed recessed lighting. Gone were the tiled countertops, old gas range, dishwasher, hood vent, and crusty sink.
The one splurge we did make was on the countertops, the most visible part of the kitchen. Because concrete pavers and floors were put into the indoor and outdoor living areas on the ground floor, I added this concrete element on the main floor to provide continuity in material choice. Concrete countertops are not cheap at $120/sq ft all-in, but they're substantial and beautiful with their surface imperfections. These are 2" thick and were poured in place.
To open up and modernize the kitchen, the upper cabinets were completely removed and replaced with open shelving. In a vacation house, only basic dishes and kitchenware are needed, so we weren't concerned about the diminished storage space. The shelves also help bring more light into the space; surprisingly for all the skylights in this house, the kitchen was one of the darker rooms. One thing I really appreciate: it's awesome not having to open every cupboard to find a drinking glass!
More details on the kitchen design to come...