How to save money remodeling your kitchen

When Heidi and Michael Smith bought their home in Lake Forest, Ill., two and a half years ago, they knew the English Tudor home, built in 1928, was in desperate need of updating.

“The kitchen was terrible,” Heidi Smith said. “The configuration was small, there was no counter space, and it was not family friendly or functional.”

When they first moved in, the Smiths, and their now 6-year-old triplets—Kate, Belle and Michael—frequently ate meals sitting on the floor. “It was so pathetic,” Heidi Smith said.

Fast forward 18 months and it’s a whole different story. The Smiths entered This Old House’s Dream Kitchen contest and won. Their prize: a complete kitchen make-over valued at $200,000. Work crews spent three months in their house, knocking down walls, putting in new cabinets and installing new appliances.

“They replaced everything, including the kitchen sink, which is the focal point of our new kitchen,” Heidi Smith said.

“The window the kitchen sink is under is at the center of the room, so we wanted it to make a statement,” Heidi Smith said. “After thumbing through a bunch of catalogs, we came upon this large, single-basin, apron front farm sink by Kohler that was just perfect.”

The Smiths opted for the new, Kohler Vinnata pull-down spray kitchen faucet, available in polished nickel, the same finish as the rest of the hardware in the room. Heidi Smith said its high arch spout and traditional design lines complement the architecture and classic appeal of her home.

She also likes that the sprayer is attached to the faucet, and reaches all around the sink. “And since the handle is on the side of the faucet, you can turn the water on and off with your wrist, and not get your dirty hands on the handles,” she said.

Keith Kometer, marketing director for faucets at Kohler, said: “In the kitchen, we need both beauty and brains from the same product. So in the last 10 years, Kohler has really gone back to the drawing board and rethought the kitchen faucet. We looked carefully at the activity that occurs in the kitchen sink, and we talked with Kohler showrooms and consumers to survey what they expect from a kitchen faucet. The strongest trend in kitchen faucets is increased function.”

“I cook a lot of big meals and like having the ability to clean pots and pans easily,” Heidi Smith said.

And since time is money, pull-down faucets bring an added benefit to a consumer’s wallet—they are easy to install on new and existing sinks. The installation ring can be spun and finger-tightened to the point where the final compression can be easily completed with a Phillips head screwdriver. And connecting the supply lines is easy—a quick-connect feature allows the installer to literally snap on to flexible hoses 3 feet below the faucet, well away from the sink itself. That means less time spent on a plumbers dime or less time for a do-it-yourselfer installing the faucet themselves.

“We didn’t have to do any of the work ourselves,” Heidi Smith said. “But I’m confident we could have handled the installation for this faucet if we had to.”

For more information about kitchen faucets from Kohler Co., call (800) 4-KOHLER or visit

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