BEFORE & AFTER
Smart shopping and sweat equity helped a pair of handy homeowners transform a dated and cramped kitchen while keeping their budget and style intact.
Smart moves result in an onbudget kitchen upgrade.
You could call Myquillyn and Chad Smith nesting experts. They’ve settled into 14 new houses in 23 years, honing their DIY chops with each move. A kitchen remodel, though, was uncharted territory, and the 1987 farmhouse they found in Midland, NC, was due. “We did the remodel in stages,” says Myquillyn (creator of, no surprise, thenester.com). “We paid cash for everything, so we worked slowly.” They started by knocking out most of the wall dividing the cramped kitchen from the dining room and reworking the floor plan to include a big island. That was phase one, and it took several months. Next came a baking station, some tiling work, and eventually a new ceiling treatment. “This was the first kitchen I ever had any say in,” Myquillyn says. “Getting to pick out everything was so exciting that it far outweighed the hassle and little inconveniences.”
BEFOREScraping off the original popcorn ceilings with putty knives created a smooth surface for painted planks of lauan plywood, which Myquillyn and Chad Smith bought and had cut into 12-inch boards at a home store.The Smiths balanced a few splurges (like quartz-surfacing counters and new appliances) with savings on self-assemble IKEA cabinets and basic subway tile. Wood floors were an upgrade to the vinyl, though still a bargain: The wood was salvaged from the walls of an enclosed back porch.