bron cabinets and cookrange in the kitchen
Photographs: Ted Morrison
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Fresh Paint, Better Performance:
Around $40,000

Waste not, want not is a philosophy that can pay off big-time in a kitchen remodel. It certainly did in Steve and Caroline Thompson's 1980s Spanish-style house in Montecito, California. "When we bought the house, my first thought was 'Well, we’ll just ditch the kitchen cabinets,'" says Steve. "They were an awful, outdated-looking oak." Still, the boxes were sound, the doors were solid wood, and the couple realized that by reconfiguring and painting the existing units, they could create the look and layout they wanted at a savings of $30,000.

Another way they saved was by hiring a stained-glass artist to define single-pane windows with lead tape instead of buying new divided-light units.
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