The Birchcrest house had a lot going for it before I ever touched it. It was just a bit tired, and worn. This is a perfect example of how to make a tight budget go a long way with a little creativity. I fondly refer to this kitchen as my "cut and paste" kitchen simply because I really had little choice but to work with what I had and reconfigure it just enough to make it truly functional and more aesthetically pleasing.  

By moving a fridge into what was a pantry, and removing an awkwardly angled cabinet which housed an old electric cooktop, I was able to open up the entire space. I kept all the cabinet boxes but painted them inside and out. I had new doors made with hidden hidden hinges and added a few glass door fronts to brighten the small space. By keeping the existing granite tops, I was able to put the money saved into some lovely oversized glass subway tiles.

In the before photos, you'll notice the original hardwood floors are standard, red oak strip flooring with an old yellowing polyurethane finish. I really wanted a different look, something unexpected, and darker to ground the space. I had a sample of some vintage reclaimed white oak that I had used in another project. I handed it to my floor man, Cesar, and asked him to see what he could do. I also asked him to work another small miracle. All three bedrooms were blanketed in bad carpet that needed to be removed. I didn't have money in my budget to install new hardwoods, so I asked Cesar if he would be willing to try sanding and refinishing the plywood subfloor underneath the carpet. Look carefully at the photo showing the office transitioning to the master bedroom. The floors have a wonderful soft smoky look and it's almost impossible to see the transition from the hardwoods to the plywood in the bedroom!  I am so delighted with the results and I so appreciate all the talented people who help to execute my crazy big ideas. 

* A great money saving tip... make frequent stops into your local Habitat "hand me up" store. I found the plantation shutters shown on the windows of the master bedroom there for $60 a set. If I had these custom made they would have been $600 a set! These stores are great resources for cool finds. It's fun when you find something that works, and you can feel good knowing you're repurposing items that would otherwise be put in the landfill.