Cheapskate Hall of Fame III
Clever TOH readers use their DIY skills, negotiating tactics, and creative recycling techniques to get the job done
And we love you for it! These clever TOH readers used their DIY skills, negotiating tactics, and creative recycling techniques to realize their visions in every room they renovated . Here are 8 great ideas that you can take into your next project.
How to do it: Suspend a chandelier in the laundry room for a bit of sophistication in an unexpected place. White Capiz pendant with cord kit.
Estimated cost: similar to shown, $80; World Market
Who> Daren Rogers
Where> Montclair, NJ
What> "I found a cheap way to dress up ceiling timbers. I ripped down a hung ceiling when we remodeled, only to find it had been covering up a stained, sagging plaster-and-lath ceiling. So I ripped that down, too, and exposed the Douglas fir collar ties that help hold up the roof. They were dirty but structurally sound, and didn't need replacing. I boxed them out in oak plywood and stained them to match the refinished floors, and now the room feels airy and spacious."
Who> Tony Stambrouskas Jr.
Where> East Hartford, CT
What> "I made my own rain barrels. I like collecting rainwater for my yard but flinched at the cost of the barrels sold at the garden store. So I picked up two cleaned-out 55-gallon plastic drums from an auto detailing shop for free. I drilled holes through each one and connected them by adding a short length of hose, then installed a hose bib at the bottom of one barrel to provide an outlet for the water I collect. I also placed an old gutter and downspout with diverter into one barrel to channel away overflow. The only things I had to buy were hoses, two plastic hose ends, and waterproof epoxy. Now, with 100-plus gallons of water on standby, my garden won't die of thirst."
Who> Jose Geraldo
Where> Jersey City, NJ
What> "I got a countertop installer to give me a trade discount. I wanted to add a granite topper to a medium-size eating bar but didn't want to pay full price. So I went to a local installer and looked at granite samples for jobs they were working on. One of them fit my color scheme, and I asked if they'd be willing to order additional material for me and pass on their volume discount. They agreed—and I got the countertop I wanted for a whole lot less."
Who> Brenda Bourdeau
Where> Dover-Foxcroft, ME
What> "I made custom-shaped shingles for siding. When I remodeled my lakeside cottage, I wanted to clad it with shingles of different shapes to give it some style. Instead of buying them preshaped, I created three different profiles myself using a jig and various cutting tools. First, I cut cedar shingles to be 4 inches wide. Then I created scalloped-edged and fish-scale shingles with the help of a drill press and hole cutter, and made shingles with pointed, tapered edges using a compound miter saw. It was a lot of work, but worth my time because it saved me so much."
Who> Frank Carroll
Where> West Wildwood, NJ
What> "I made a concrete floor look like tile. My basement's floor is concrete, and I wanted to liven it up a bit—but it's too damp for carpeting, and tile is so expensive. Instead, I taped off 12-inch squares and painted them in a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. Aside from the taping, it wasn't very labor-intensive, and it came out great. Everyone who visits compliments me on my excellent 'tiling job.'"
Who> Don Hampton
Where> Middletown, RI
What> "I used PVC pipes to hang drapes. A local drapery shop wanted $225 for two wood drapery rods that were 2 inches in diameter and 9 feet long. I'd never pay that price! Instead, I picked up two lengths of 1⅞-inch-diameter PVC pipe, used four wood end plugs as finials, and sanded and painted them both. They cost only $10 and look just like the real thing."
Who> Lisa Nelsen-Woods
Where> Columbus, OH
What> "I used tough paint as a backsplash. For a long time, my husband and I were at odds about what material to use for our kitchen backsplash. We decided to make a quick fix while we weighed the options because the builder's paint job was terrible—the paint would come off with a light swipe of a damp sponge! I primed the wall with stain-blocking primer, then coated it with black chalkboard paint. Lo and behold, we found our long-term solution. It's easy to clean, durable, cheaper than tile, and much easier to change if we get tired of it!"