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Before and After: A Bright and Airy Kitchen with an Eye on the Details

published Sep 26, 2019
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Credit: Cynthia Harper

When home design blogger Cynthia Harper and her husband bought their home in 2012, they focused on the design features they already loved: the simple mantle and their new front door (which was an all-important element considering their first home’s entrance was through the back). They knew they wanted to renovate the kitchen, which was “clean and well-maintained” but stuck in the ’90s, but they’d have to save up first.

It took Cynthia three years to put away $5,000 to dedicate to the renovation—a modest, but workable sum for a kitchen update. So they got to work with the resources they already had. They decided to keep the room’s existing footprint, so there were no added costs in moving plumbing or rewiring. Then they got to DIY-ing.

Credit: Cynthia Harper

Cynthia continued with this clean look by adding counter-to-ceiling subway tiles in white with the help of her husband and father-in-law. Even though everyone told her to stop tiling at the cabinets, Cynthia stayed true to her original vision. And she’s glad she did: “It makes such a stylish impact and reflects the natural light, making the kitchen feel even brighter, which is wonderful since it’s the heart of our home.”

While Cynthia was able to save money by enlisting her family’s DIY help, there were a few design choices she wasn’t willing to compromise on: her farmhouse sink, quartz countertops, and new wood floors. They even hired professionals for the install. “Good planning and taking the time to research products and materials will enable you to find the best deals without sacrificing the style you really want,” she says.

Credit: Cynthia Harper

For Cynthia, working with her family’s DIY skills and modest budget was a rewarding challenge, however, her only regret is not being able to remodel sooner. Cynthia later learned that if the time is right for a remodeling project, or you have an emergency repair, a good option is a fixed-rate personal loan to cover project costs within your ideal timeframe. Lenders like Discover, for example, offer personal loans up to $35,000 with no collateral needed to secure the loan. You choose the amount you need as well as the repayment term that best fits your budget. If your application is approved, funds can be sent as early as the next business day after acceptance, so you can start on your plans right away.

The transformation possibilities are endless. Take Cynthia’s word for it: “Since the renovation, I find that I get more enjoyment from cooking, baking, and socializing in the kitchen because my surroundings bring me joy.  It’s a place I actually want to spend time in!”