Hi, my name is Alexandria Szwarc, and I’m so excited to be with you at Style Spotters! I am a DIY home improvement blogger at DIO Home Improvements (the DIO stands for “doing it ourselves”). Being featured in Better Homes and Gardens was a dream I never thought would become a reality!
How it happened. In January, I received an email from a Better Homes and Gardens remodeling editor asking me if I would be interested in having my kitchen makeover featured in the May issue. I had to re-read the email a few times before it hit home and I determined this was real!
After exchanging a few emails, a photo shoot date was set for two weeks later. The night before the shoot, two BHG photographers arrived at my home to do a walk through and unload their equipment for the following day. As one can imagine, I didn’t get much sleep that night with too many thoughts running through my mind.
The following morning a stylist arrived at my home. After helping to unload her car full of props, she got to work on setting the kitchen up while I got ready. A short while later, the photographers arrived and started setting up their equipment.
The day was a whirlwind to say the least! Everyone made the shoot so much fun and put me at ease since I much prefer to be behind the camera! A few hours after arriving, they had their shots and my interview was over. I sat down still not believing that in a few months my kitchen would be in the biggest home magazine there is!
A couple of weeks after the shoot, I received an email of the photo proof that would be used in the May issue. It was so hard not to share that with everyone! In April I received a package with my copies of the issue. I was beyond excited! I couldn’t wait for it to hit the stores for my family and friends to see it!
A little more about my kitchen. When I looked at my house before buying it, I cringed at the kitchen and both bathrooms, but I knew these rooms had potential. Growing up in a house that was 100 years old and full of character, one of the things I missed most about my current house was the charm that’s lacking in newer homes.
The first project I did in my kitchen was the wall opposite the door to my yard. I added interest to this area by attaching craftsman-style wainscot and making a new air return vent cover. When asked how I came up with the idea for the door on my refrigerator surround, I explained the air return vent cover I made. I loved the Union Jack sheet metal that I used in that project and thought it would look great above the refrigerator. I was also on a very tight budget and wanted to use what I already had in the house!
Another project I did in the kitchen before redoing the cabinets was building a plumber’s pipe bench. I have been obsessed with all things plumber’s pipe for about six years now.
I’ve often been asked how I came up with the idea of redoing my cabinets. The house I grew up in had 12-foot ceilings, my previous home had 10-foot ceilings, and my current home has 7.5-foot ceilings. I felt claustrophobic when I first moved in here. I wanted to make the kitchen feel taller. I was able to accomplish that by adding height to the cabinets. It worked because now I feel short in the kitchen!
I wanted to add the refrigerator surround because I felt it would make the kitchen look more custom and expensive than it actually is. After the cabinets were finished, I painted my refrigerator and range hood with appliance paint. Yes, you can paint your appliances! I also had some leftover fabric that I used to make a faux roman shade and matching roller shade for my kitchen window. You can see more of the cost breakdown and how-tos of my kitchen makeover here.
Being a part of the Better Homes and Gardens experience has been a dream come true and so much fun. You are invited over to DIO Home Improvements at any time to follow along with my projects or talk about your own projects. I love seeing readers’ before and after photos!