built-in cabinets
Photo: Ryan Kurtz
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After: Lighter, Brighter Kitchen

What really sent the timeline off track—in a fiery crash over a cliff—was my inexplicable compulsion to do every possible thing myself: demo, design, electrical, window installation, framing, finish carpentry, and so on. I seriously considered doing the HVAC myself. And my plan until about Month 11 was to do the rough plumbing, too, but I finally had to let that one go due to time. Honestly, I think the only reason I had contractors paint the exterior was that I'd lined them up before we closed on the house, i.e., before I lost my mind.

Shown: New white 
cabinets, mahogany-stained maple butcher-block counters, and stainless-steel appliances, all installed by the homeowner, help bring a lighter, brighter feel to the space.
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