Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Remodeling As A First Time Homebuyer

Buying a home with the intent of renovating usually brings to mind $$$.

Renovations can really add up, especially if you do it all at once, so most people buying a starter house go with the brand new, builder grade home. Don't get me wrong, a clean home with that brand new smell is awesome, but you get very little personality and even fewer unique touches.

I've said many times in previous posts, that you don't have to wait until your old and gray and have millions of dollars to have a beautiful, unique home. You just have to be smart and creative about how you use your money!

Katie Phelon, of Duckworth Designs, is a great friend and a first time homebuyer. She is here with an awesome guest post about affordably renovating a home.

Top Tips From This Post:
  • Talk to local design and kitchen showrooms to see when they redo their displays for great deals on practically brand new cabinets, countertops, and fixtures. 
  • Use fun patterns to get a unique and more expensive look from less expensive flooring and tile materials
  • Search your local home improvement stores for lighting and other fixtures before you go the more expensive route of design showrooms. Home Depot and Lowe's have more stylish options than you think! 
  • Renovate a room at a time if you don't have a large chunk of change to shell out all at once. 
  • Before you completely destroy what you're going to renovate, see if there is anything you can salvage and sell, such as cabinets, sinks, and fixtures. 

Now for the best part... pictures, sources, and details of the actual renovation! 

"My husband and I recently bought a split level home where most of the rooms were small and compartmentalized. The house was in good condition but we didn't love the flow of the home, and how small the kitchen and the front room were. 
We decided that we should remodel our home! 
But being a young couple, money was going to be an issue. It is easy to imagine what you could do with the space with unlimited funds, but that wasn't the case for us, we needed to get creative!

I had been working  for a local home building company where we were redesigning their showroom. The showroom had multiple kitchens for home buyers to come in and pick what they wanted in their home. We were ripping the old kitchens out to make way for their new product, and lets just say I got a screaming deal on some new/old kitchen cabinets. Not to mention, they threw in the quartz countertops for free! 

So we had the cabinets, now we just needed to make them fit! 
First things first, we ripped out the wall dividing the front room from the kitchen.

Then we needed to move the garage door over to make the kitchen bigger...

Then it was time for flooring! We loved the look of wood floor but we didn't love the maintenance involved with a wood floor (or the price) Nor did we want to use a laminate and have to rip it up if and when we had a flood in our kitchen. So we settled with a wood tile. Buuuut, the wood look tiles can be pretty pricey, we shopped around and eventually found a great deal on ceramic wood look tile from Lowes on the cheap! 

Finally it was time to put in our cabinets. We pieced the existing kitchen cabinets together and actually had some left over that we used in our basement storage room. 
Here were the results:

 We were able to find great deals on the pendant lighting and subway tile backsplash by purchasing them from Ikea and Home Depot. These stores have more than just generic, builder grade finishing touches if you're willing to look! 

The moral of the story is, you can get the look that you want for the price that you want as long as you're willing to get creative. We still have a few more touch ups to do but our kitchen in nearly done and we are really happy with the results! I hope this gave you some good ideas. "



  1. I LOVE this!!! Katie you did such a great job!!!

  2. Looks incredible Katie! Thanks for sharing, Lexie!