Like many young homeowners, Lynne and Brad Wilde had a number of good reasons for wanting to tear out their old kitchen and start over. The work area was cramped, the space dark and uninviting and the appliances were barely working. "The oven switched from bake to broil all by itself and scorched dinner —usually when we had company," Lynne says. But the Temple, Texas, couple had at least one good reason why they couldn't consider a major kitchen renovation. "With all our other financial obligations," Lynne explains, "a new kitchen had to be put on hold for a few more years." So they put off the total remodel and family room addition they had blueprints for. Instead, they brightened the existing kitchen and made it work better with what they call an interim face-lift - freshly painted cabinets as well as new counters, flooring and appliances. Each change was tied into their future plans to add more cabinets, an island and a family room. The Wildes' "new" kitchen cost just $6,153 (a major remodel typically costs close to $20,000). "Going this route bought us time and made the entire house more cheerful and livable without getting us deeply into debt," Lynne says.