When it comes to DIY home projects, inexpensive does not have to equal inconsequential. For less than $100, you can create custom light fixtures, build accent walls, update your floors, or design one-of-a-kind decor. Budget home projects can make a big difference, as proven by this bunch of crafty bloggers.View Slideshow
As these examples show, a successful addition blends so seamlessly with the original structure, it seems to have always been there.
The 364-square-foot addition to this California home is more than a nice, new kitchen. It represents a commitment by homeowners Pam Schutz and Clark Dikeman to building and living green. Clerestory windows and glass telescoping sliding doors open the house to light and breezes, and operable transoms on all windows provide excellent cross-ventilation and natural cooling. Solar panels on the roof generate more electricity than Pam and Clark use, so they sell the excess to the utility company and bank credits for cloudy months.
White cabinets with flat frames and recessed panels offer a happy medium between contemporary and traditional style, providing the look that Pam and Clark wanted--retro but not kitsch. Pam chose a cabinetmaker who uses plywood boxes with no formaldehyde. The red linoleum floor has a vintage look (linoleum was invented 150 years ago) but is considered a green building material because it's made from natural and renewable materials--linseed oil from the flax plant, wood or cork powder, resins, and ground limestone. A white Parsons table makes a sleek and simple foil for metal 1930s-style chairs.
This 1950s Wedgewood range came with the house; instead of tossing it, Pam and Clark made it the focal point of the new kitchen. For the backsplash, Pam chose eight colors of ceramic tile and asked the contractor to install them in a random pattern, making sure that two tiles of the same color never touched. Manufactured quartz countertops--made from quartz and polymer resins--resist stains, scratches, and heat, and are easier to care for than marble or granite.
Space-saving amenities include a pull-out cutting board hidden behind a false drawer front.
Pull-out shelves turn hard-to-reach corner space into functional storage. Planning ahead for aging in place, Pam chose handles rather than knobs for the cabinetry. Handles are easy to grip.
The couple wanted a guest room but didn't have the budget, time, or space to add one, so they improvised. A wall bed tucked behind cabinet doors in the kitchen folds out when needed. The breakfast table and chairs are light enough to move easily out of the way when guests come. The bed also addresses the couple's plans for aging in place by providing space for an overnight caregiver.
The clerestory windows are fitted with energy-efficient custom dual-glazed low-E glass. To find recycled wood for the ceiling, Pam searched online and found old-growth Douglas fir in the form of discarded bleachers from a local high school.
Sensitive additions and remodeling of this 1907 eclectic Colonial Revival house harmonize so well with the original structure that people often can't tell what's old or new. That's just what Tom and Julie Foster of Norcross, Georgia, hoped for. The new mother-in-law suite and garage at the rear are barely noticeable from the front of the house, which was left intact and provided the cue for changes to the back of the house.
The garage and mother-in-law suite and a breezeway connecting them to the main house were built during phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 removed a deck, enclosed the screened porch, reconfigured interior space, and restored symmetry to this portion of the house with a second story, a new porch, and twin staircases. Repeating the roofline, dormer, and arched window from the front of the house maintained historical style.
The apartment over the garage includes an open living-dining area and kitchenette. A bump-out with three windows adds a sense of space without adding square footage.
Like the living-dining area, the 16x12-foot bedroom is carpeted for warmth and comfort. Deep baseboards and wide window frames link the addition architecturally to the original house.
Natural light from multiple directions brightens the bath, which is outfitted with a petite claw-foot tub. Another bump-out provides a shelf for toiletries and expands the sense of space.
The original kitchen cabinets had been moved to the back porch during a previous owner's remodeling. The Fosters reclaimed them and installed them in the new, enlarged kitchen. Vintage light fixtures found in the basement were reused to keep the period feeling of the house. The hardwood floors, which had been covered with vinyl, were restored to their former beauty.
A new covered patio and three-room addition on the back of this 1955 ranch house in Scottsdale, Arizona, gave its architect owners Jennifer and Aaron Smithey a new outdoor living room, office, laundry room, and den--and greatly enhanced the looks, comfort, and function of their home. The addition harmonizes with the original structure's ranch style but updates it with contemporary sensibility. The patio roof is supported by a 30-foot-long steel I-beam that stretches beyond the roof to rest on white-painted steel columns. The effect is almost Asian in appearance and makes the columns seem more a part of the yard than of the house. Low-voltage adjustable lighting and speakers extend the use and function of the patio. The sloping roof covers the new den and office.
The addition provided a good opportunity to remodel the outdated galley kitchen. Cabinetry from IKEA mixes solid and sandblasted-glass doors for a custom look at a fraction of the price. The U-shape layout maximizes storage with lazy Susans in the lower corner cabinets and 45-degree upper cabinets. Although the room is at the center of the house, it's now well-lit with the addition of a tubular skylight, six halogen downlights, and five low-voltage pendants. The old cabinetry and sink moved out to the new laundry/utility room.
Two sets of French doors connect the den to the covered patio and expand the sense of space with light and views. In good weather, the couple opens the doors to take advantage of the breeze. The built-in 8-foot-tall closed cabinets behind the sofa keep CDs, DVDs, and the children's toys and games out of sight.
Jennifer is principal for In Tandem Architecture, PLLC, and Aaron owns Aaron Smithey Architectural Imaging, so they needed plenty of counter and storage space in their shared office. The new room includes 22 linear feet of deep countertops to accommodate large architectural drawings. Cabinetry above the counters and file drawers on casters provide flexible, convenient storage. The concrete floor was stained with a locally made, soy-based concrete stain and sealer called Soy Sauce. In addition to a tubular skylight that funnels daylight into the room, the office boasts a large corner window overlooking the patio and generous French doors with clear glass panes.
New paint, a new roof, and new landscape considerably enhanced curb appeal. The low-pitched roof over the addition adds variety and interest to the roofline without detracting from the long, low lines and proportions of vintage ranch architecture.
That's the family motto for Carol and Roger Pandel of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania. And their new kitchen addition was designed with entertaining in mind. Building over the old concrete patio at the back of the house gave the Pandels space for a large eat-in kitchen with a peaked ceiling and ceramic tiled floor. Custom windows and skylights flood the addition with light and brighten the adjacent family room. Low-voltage electric radiant heat keeps the tiled floors warm in winter. New cabinetry and energy-efficient appliances wrap two walls, leaving floor space free for a large island that provides work space and room for casual dining.
Fake beams, brown paneling, and an overwhelming wall-to-wall brick fireplace and hearth made the family room dark and gloomy. A single beam for a mantel did nothing to help proportions or scale.
From the outside, the kitchen addition, perpendicular to the main house, blends seamlessly with the original structure.