In addition to flipping the kitchen and dining room, Robert used space from the old kitchen to create a new mudroom/friends' entry. The area includes a full-size freezer in a closet for extra food storage and a nook near the door for hanging keys, coats, and backpacks. The Thompsons cut costs by using the existing ceramic tile in the new mudroom.
Robert calls the new kitchen "the centerpiece of the home." Rich tones and sleek lines pair for a contemporary feel that is warm and friendly. The look relates well to the adjacent family room and living room.
Granite countertops add warmth to the space and a surprising hint of color. In the light, bits of blue show up in the deep brown stone. Overhead, three pendant lights pick up the iridescent blue in the countertops. The Thompsons saved money by keeping three can lights that were already in the room.
They also saved money by using factory cabinets where possible and customizing only a couple of pieces. Another budget-friendly device: Robert and Ashley chose maple with a cherry stain instead of more expensive cherry cabinets. It gives the same look without the big price tag. A few upper cabinets were fitted with ribbed glass that is slightly transparent but doesn't put dishes and glasses on full display.
The glass mosaic tile backsplash was a splurge but well worth it. The material pulls the room's varying elements together--stainless steel hardware, brown cabinetry, and granite with hints of blue. It's a great example of this couple's remodeling savvy. Search for great bargains when you can, but splurge on the things you love. You'll end up with a house that is truly a home.
New windows can improve any view. They instantly upgrade the appearance of your home. Here are a few things to know before you browse.
- If you are replacing the entire window unit, look for stock windows in sizes that fit existing window openings (called rough openings). Windows can be custom-made to fit any opening, but this will increase the cost.
- Window openings can be enlarged easily and inexpensively if the house has siding. Windows in a brick home will require more work and be more costly because existing brick and mortar will have to be matched.
- Insulated windows (double-glazed or storm windows) help reduce outside noise and are more energy efficient. Aluminum windows are durable alternatives to wood windows because they will not rot.
- If your window frames are in good shape, you can cut costs by replacing only the sashes (the movable part of the window).
This article is from the May 2005 issue of Southern Living.