Garden Apartment Kitchen

The garden apartment kitchen is giving me an ucler. Or maybe a migraine.

Probably both.

Here are the facts:

  1. The sink needs to be super narrow. 
    Like less than 16×20″ narrow. Which pretty much leaves me with tiny bar sink options.
  2. I dislike laminate counters.
  3. I love deep sinks.
  4. I need to rent this place ASAP.
    School starts in 1 month and students are looking for places NOW. The list needs to start getting shorter, not longer.

Things are narrowed down to the following 4

basement kitchen option 1
Option 1 = Most money, most time but prettiest

  • 18×24″ tile counters (inspired by DIY Diva)
  • Deep 13″W x 16″L x 10″ sink
  • More expensive raised panel upper cabinets to match raised panel base cabinet
  • The tile is going to be prettier than laminate but do I have the TIME to do it? So many projects are incomplete.

basement kitchen option 2

Option 2 = Quickest but not cheapest

  • Standard beige laminate counter
  • Standard top-mount 12″ x 12″ x 7″ bar sink
  • More expensive raised panel upper cabinets to match raised panel base cabinet
  • Laminate & a drop-in sink are going to be the fastest and easiest to install and I AM working against the clock.


basement kitchen option 3

Option 3 = Time-intensive but pretty counter, mis-matched cabinets

  • 18×24″ tile counters (inspired by DIY Diva)
  • Deep 13″W x 16″L x 10″ sink
  • Less expensive upper cabinets that would mismatch the raised panel base cabinet I already own
  • The tile is going to be prettier than laminate but do I have the TIME to do it? So many projects are incomplete.


basement kitchen option 4

Option 4 = Cheapest & quickest installation but mismatched cabinets

  • Standard laminate counter
  • Standard top-mount 12″ x 12″ x 7″ bar sink
  • Less expensive upper cabinets that would mismatch the raised panel base cabinet I already own.
  • Laminate & a drop-in sink are going to be the fastest and easiest to install. Plus I am working against the clock.

What would you pick?

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19 Responses to Garden Apartment Kitchen

  1. Anne says:

    So Wade being in the construction biz always asks homeowners these questions:

    1) How much will you be able to rent the place for?

    2) What kind of people do you hope to attract? In this case I think you have marrowed it to students

    3) How easy will it be to change down the line?

    That being said, since this is your first time renting the place, and being a landlord, put in the deep sink with cheap cabinets. Way easier to add hardward or spruce up cabinets vs. buying and changing sinks. Also, since you are hoping to attract students (and really stop and think about 90% of students in the US…messy, busy, broke etc…) don’t spend too much this go around because if you get unlucky and land a nice looking/sounding hellion in disguise you may end up having to do more repair work in a year, at which time you may be able to upgrade. Personally I would go for a combe of options 2 and 4… Nice sink/better cabinets no tile just yet…after a year of rental income you will have more to work with…hope this helps:)

  2. Carrie says:

    I agree with Anne. If you’re looking for students then they are not going to be super picky and they ARE going to be messy and a bit inconsiderate of your space. I say you go for the good sink since you won’t want to replace it, the less expensive cabinets (mis matched cabinets can be fun, and won’t be a turn off to a potential renter, plus easy to replace the door fronts at a later date if it really bugs you). As for the counter, I’m on the fence and wondering if there’s another option. A laminate isn’t so bad, maybe it’s the beige color that is the problem? With tile, I just think that grout will get messy on a countertop.

  3. I agree with the above commenter – go with what is quicker and cheaper. I would personally not spend the money or time on the tile countertops. The great thing about laminate is that it’s easy to clean up and its cheap. For a rental, both these things are a must. For the sink, I think I’d probably go with the deeper sink. Since it’s so small, this will be handy for a renter. I don’t feel strongly about the cabinets either way. I’d probably go with what’s cheaper, even if they are mismatched.

    I had to remind myself when we fixed up our rental house that I wasn’t going to live there. I made it as nice as I could, but I didn’t do everything that I would have done had I lived there.

    Good luck!

  4. Brandi says:

    Option 1 is my favorite, followed by option 2. Frankly, I don’t like the cabinets in the other two. My guess is if you take just a little more time, you won’t be tempted to redo the kitchen again in the future.

  5. Quinn says:

    I would say option 2 but with the nicer sink.

  6. Sounds like I’m going to echo everybody else. I would go with laminate countertops – tile is too easy to break/chip for college student renters! But, for a little extra pizzazz I’d feel good about, I’d go with a darker laminate. But that’s just my own personal hatred of beige coming out. Nothing personal. : )

    If it were me, I’d go with the matchy-matchy cabinets, but depending on how much it’ll save you it might be worth the mis-matched look. If it’s going to bug you as much as it would bug me, just put in the matching ones now so you don’t have to swap them out later.

  7. Sacha says:

    What about option #2 except with the deep 13″W x 16″L x 10″ sink (AKA option #1 except with standard beige laminate counter)? Oh, wait, I just noticed that’s what Anna said above. I guess that’s two votes for none of the options you presented. 🙂

    I mean, option #2 is probably what I would so if I were renting the place to students, but the standard bar sink *is” pretty small for a main sink.

  8. Sacha says:

    Okay, I guess more people commented while I was taking me sweet time. You definitely have more than two votes for that combo. Duh.

    Good luck!

  9. I was like, HEY, that’s my lens cap! And I guess also my counters. Heh.

    So tile…it does take time. Not huge amounts– especially because you have a small space– but enough that if you had 500 other things going on, it could put you over the edge.

    I’m with you on not being a laminate fan, but it *is* a rental. Okay, who am I kidding I tiled the counter in my garage that we live in. But I will say, laminate won’t be the worst thing ever. I also agree on option #2 in that respect.

    I will say though, I am a complete klutz — the joke from MysteryMan is that I can’t be in the kitchen for 5 minutes without there being a huge crash — and all my tile counters have held up. No chips or scratches, and you can’t stain or leave burn marks on them like laminate. So there is that…

  10. Monique says:

    I used to own a kitchen & bath showroom in MA. I know of a source for standard undermount sink (not a 90degree like your options 1 & 3. Available immediately with shipping for under $125. Because I am still in the business I hesitate to list the company in comments. But if you e-mail me I will happily send along the website as they do sell direct.

  11. MEA says:

    I think my issue is the tile is pretty and the laminate choice looks… ugly. There I said it. Is there another color of laminate you could use in your collage? That one is just…. eh next to the tiles.

  12. Bean says:

    Go with nice sink, cheap cabinets and countertop. Totally agree with other commenters. Who knows who you will get with students these days not giving a rat’s ass about other people’s property. You don’t want to put a ton of nice stuff in there first go around — ESPECIALLY if you’re short of funds and time. The important thing is to get the stuff in there and start getting it rented! Stat!

  13. Carlyfaye says:

    I’ve tiled some floors, and I’ve also seen what a pain in the butt it is to replace a cracked tile when a heavy object lands on it. That said, keep to the laminates, etc for rentals. I’ve had some tenants utterly trash the things that I put my blood, sweat, and tears into (literally).

    Tile is cheap and looks great, it’s just a major time suck. There are some decent laminates out there, we have some nice dark stuff in our apt. that cleans up nice. Too bad Corian is so expensive.

  14. Livi says:

    Go w/the cheaest – but do the matching upper cabinet.

    It’s a rental for students, you don’t have the time(!) – be easy on yourself (and wallet) and go cheap.

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