In the Kitchen
Emily Knotts had never thought of herself as the DIY type. Previously, she'd simply whip out her credit card to buy furniture. However, after moving in with her husband, Michael, into his bachelor pad lakehouse, she wanted to fix everything all at once. "I felt like I either had to change my taste or win the lottery," she reckoned.
Kitchen update, $31: The grand total for this kitchen reno includes a $28 gallon of white paint and a $3 tube of wood putty—used to fill holes after the couple removed their upper cabinet doors.
Because Emily and Michael couldn't afford to put down planks or even veneer to replace the carpet, they ripped it out, then covered the plywood subflooring with pale-gray porch paint. The result—a crisp, low-maintenance look that will last until the Knottses spring for hardwood—revealed that Emily had a knack for visualizing improvements. And that Michael, a property developer, enjoyed turning her visions into reality.
Floor, $29.44/gallon: Behr's porch and floor paint in Shaded Hammock spiffed up the plain plywood subflooring. Huck, a yellow Lab, clearly approves. (homedepot.com)
Next, they tackled Emily's desire for a farmhouse table in the dining area. She'd admired a $3,000 Restoration Hardware version so often, the catalog would naturally fall open to the dog-eared page. Her husband yearned to buy it for her, but went one better. Using a free truckload of reclaimed lumber, he built her one.
Cruising countless tag sales in search of seating worthy of Michael’s masterpiece, Emily finally spotted six taxicab-yellow chairs for $25 apiece—seeing beyond the garish color to their genteel silhouettes. Once clad in pale-gray chalk paint, the set gained a matte elegance.
Dining table, $11: Michael only bought screws and glue to construct this table. He found free building plans online at ana-white.com, and scored the lumber from a landowner, just by asking.
Lighting, $7: After Emily unearthed this pendant at the South Carolina consignment store Sweet Repeats, her husband sanded off its black paint and hung the lamp from sisal rope. (sweet-repeats.com)
Shelving, $100: By waiting until the end of the International Collectibles and Antiques Show, Emily landed this vintage baker's rack for much less than its original $300 price. (icashow.com)
Chairs, $150/six: A yard sale supplied this set of chairs; an additional $34.95 (for a quart of Annie Sloan paint in Paris Gray) gave them polish. (anniesloanunfolded.com for stores)