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Dan Evons cozied up his kitchen by installing beadboard on the walls, alongside the refrigerator and at the cabinet's end. Inexpensive spindles and arched openings give shelves some personality. To update the floor, Dan replaced layers of ancient linoleum with a checkerboard of inexpensive asphalt tiles. "Visitors always want to know if it's original," he says.
Relying on his carpentry skills and imagination, homeowner Dan Evons transformed a dull kitchen into a sunny haven and still managed to have funds left over to rejuvenate the rest of his 1927 abode in suburban Detroit. "For awhile, I lived upstate in a resort area where all the houses had this wonderful cottage look," Dan, a remodeling contractor, says. "When I moved back to the suburbs and bought a home, my goal was to create a similar ambience without spending a ton of money." New cabinet doors, beadboard paneling and decorative molding were just the start of the makeover. Over the course of about six months, Dan also swapped out the old countertops for durable maple, tiled a stunning backsplash and found a vintage stove. A palette of soft, buttery yellow and white—colors repeated in other rooms—ties all of the elements together and keeps the space looking cheery and fresh. "My friends love this kitchen," Dan says proudly. "And, now, so do I."
Lost and Found
"I stumbled across the stove in a shop where they were using it as a display," Dan says. "I made an offer and they agreed to sell." A specialist gave the appliance a once over and deemed it in top-notch condition, too. Highlighted with a stylish hood and marble tile backsplash, Dan's treasure makes a captivating focal point.
To show off his pottery collection, Dan fitted some upper cabinets with glass doors. The festive blue interior—a nod to his favorite blue-and-white pieces—ensures his collection gets plenty of attention. "I used white furniture-grade lacquer to really make my cabinets and trim gleam," says Dan.
Go high on style, low on cost with some of these affordable ideas:
1. Sew pretty curtains to dress up a hohum window. For a custom look, build a wood valance—or sew a fabric version—to match.
2. Search consignment shops and antiques markets for decorative accessories that complement your theme in color and style. Recycled creamers, vases and sugar bowls can become fanciful containers for brushes, soaps and sponges.
3. Construct a skinny shelf to take advantage of a nook beneath cabinets. Such lean-cuisine roosts make ideal homes for everyday supplies like spices. For added charm, transfer spices into fetching, tag-sale-found canisters.
4. Turn a range hood into a showcase with a display shelf for favorite plates or platters. To add even more architectural character, screw or glue drapery finials onto wood supports. A salvaged antique tile—anchored in a sea of inexpensive field tile—makes a fabulous backsplash.
Brighten your galley using one or more of these wallet-friendly suggestions:
- Create light by painting cabinetry and trim white. Choose a glossy paint to reflect sun.
- Opt for a pale floor. Light-colored tiles or linoleum will keep even tight spaces feeling open and airy.
- Choose sheer shades or plain curtains for windows.
- Install glass doors on cabinets. See-through doors (and glass shelves) inject a bit of sparkle.