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An affordable face-lift
Rather than tearing out old cabinets or sinks, try refacing them for a new look
Remodeling a kitchen can be affordable according to Hank Sullivan, co-owner of Sullivan & Forbes Building and Remodeling. In this kitchen, remodeled by Sullivan's company, the homeowners saved money by having the cabinets refaced instead of buying all new ones.

Melissa Ivey was looking to make a change in her tired kitchen.

She thought about updating her cabinets and counter tops with new ones, but ended up with a total face-lift for her outdated kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

"I was thinking new cabinets ... I never envisioned it could look like this," she said. "It's a drastic change from before."

The process, called refacing or rehab according to builder Hank Sullivan, saved so much cash that the Iveys added a new master bathroom onto the project.

"Rehab to all-new is probably a quarter of what it would cost to do all new cabinets," said Sullivan, co-owner of Sullivan & Forbes Building and Remodeling in Gainesville. "I don't think people really understand what a transformation can occur in their kitchen by looking to do a rehab, I think that education is probably part of the problem."

To make these cost-efficient changes in your own home, Winde Sullivan, also a partner with Sullivan & Forbes, said it wouldn't hurt most homeowners' wallets.

"For less than $5,000 you could change the fixtures, change the tile, take out cultured marble and put tile in, change the whole kit and caboodle," Winde Sullivan said.

Hank Sullivan agreed and added that a bathroom project could easily be accomplished on a budget.

"Doing the same thing in a bathroom, starting with the cabinets and then go with new counter tops, new flooring, new just about anything and you start with your problem and let that build out until you reach your budget," he said.

Sullivan began the projects at the Iveys' home in late January and the process took less than three months from Ivey's first call to the finished kitchen and bath.

"At first I didn't know who to call so and I got in touch with the Home Builders Association," Ivey said.

Sullivan came to the Iveys' home and worked with the family to create their dream renovation. The vision turned into refacing the cabinets by adding glazed and painted cabinet fronts, can lights in the ceiling, wood floors, new counter tops, a desk area, a new pantry and a tumbled marble tile backsplash.

And the process gave the family a new kitchen - even though it wasn't torn up and started over from scratch.

"(The tile) done by North Georgia Tile, is a custom selection by the customer to go with the style of cabinet," Sullivan said. "There are many different finishes that can be put on cabinets like this ... and there are four different phases in the production of these cabinets."

Sullivan said the rehab process just made an improvement on what was already in place.

"One of the important aspects if you are going to do a rehab or refacing is that the appliances have to stay pretty much the same, either the same size with new appliances and they need to stay in the same location."

The trick, he said, is in the details - new door pulls, finishes on wood or new doors altogether.

"All of these cabinets right here are the original cabinets and what we ended up doing ... is just adding pieces and parts in order to accomplish the new look," he said.

"Now of course the counter tops are new but the cabinets themselves, nothing that has changed on the actual box."