With so many ways to save money on my big project roaming around in my head, I thought I would offer some more of my ideas. I hope that you are don't mind me using my recent experiences as blog fodder, but I think that is what we all generally do.
Yes, my friends, there are even more things to consider when you are remodeling any room of your house. These are a few more of the tricks I use:
1. Consider all of your options. Although you might have a clear vision of what you think that you might want, take the time to see what is out there. Just like with the sink at the Restore, finding a different option was really a turning point of this project. Spend some time when you are 'shopping around' to really see what all that is available. Who knew that there are four different options when choosing a beadboarding method? There is the traditional way, then there is a thinner version of traditional, paneling and then plywood that looks identical to beadboard once installed (this is called plybead). We choose plybead, because visually it is very similiar to traditional beadboard and the application process for an entire wall is much faster. Did I mention the price difference? Traditional is 5 times the price! And that was without our research discount. GI Joe was right about "knowing is half the battle." Once you know what is actually available, you might find something that you like better than the original image in your head.
2. Learn a new skill. This follows closely with the DIY in 101. I had NO idea how to redo chairs. I had never taken one apart, let alone put it back together. I used great care in demanteling the first one, so that I could see how the original builder had put the chair together. Once I saw the way that the fabric was put onto the frame, I then did a little research online to figure out my best option. Instead of using webbing, I have decided to use pressed wood for an actual seat and then put LOTS of padding on it. The chairs sit much lower than our old chairs did, so we were not very comfortable at 2 inches shorter. I am a tall girl, and squatting at the dinner table is not my idea of a good time. Redoing my chairs in a different manner means that I will get the look I want, at a fraction of the cost. Not only is using wood sturdier, it is also much cheaper, because the webbing and clips alone would have cost nearly $100 for six chairs. Half a sheet of the pressed wood cost about $5. Without learning different methods of doing the chairs, I would have never thought to do them in a different way.
3. Creativity is the key. In doing my research for this project, I found a gorgeous green armoire that would have looked ideal in my dining room. It was aged to perfection and had that warm glow of something that had been loved for a long, long time. After a few days I could not get the image of that cabinet out of my head. Slowly I realized that I could get the same effect by using a paint treatment on my own china cabinet. I love my china cabinet, it is an heirloom that I will never part with, but I was not a big fan of the deep, dark finish on it. The cabinet itself is a gorgeous, well-built, all-wood piece that my children will probably fight over when I am gone. Once I realized that I could get the wow-factor from the colors of the gorgeous green armoire on my very own furniture, I was excited! With some paint, glaze and a couple of new handles, my china cabinet will be completely transformed for abou $25. Since I had no room to put yet another piece of furniture in my dining room, and I knew that I was not going to get rid of my beloved cabinet, it was a wonderful compromise. Learning to be flexible and gather some creativity was just another way to keep my budget down.
4. Think outside the counter. Yeah, you thought I was going to say box. This tip might only apply to the kitchen and bathroom, but it is a great one (or so I think). I can completely relate to Natalie Portman's character in Where the Heart Is when she confesses, "I've never lived anywhere that didn't have wheels under it." Other than a couple of houses that we lived in before I can remember, I have spent my whole life living in mobile homes. Some big, some small, this one is just right. I sometimes get offended when people stereotype me as a redneck because I live in a mobile home. I really shouldn't care. Mine is about 15 years old, but was well built and is very sturdy. We bought it from my mom and dad when they decided to move to a real house (that was my mom's one dream in life -- to own a REAL house). They did not want to make any money off of this house, so they offered it to us for pay off. The location is a serene one, which includes an 8 foot waterfall about 100 yards from my front door, a babbling creek ('cause in the south we don't call them brooks), and some of the most sought after real estate in our area. People who generally move to "the Branch" don't leave quickly.
Now, back to the original point. Trailers always have cheap countertops. They use cheap materials to make the most money. I completely understand the concept. I love the look of granite counters, but they are very impractical for trailers. Trailers tend to shift too often, and they can break (but they do not always). I did not want to put hundreds of dollars into something that had the possibility of self-destruction. I also did not want laminate. After being inspired by a show on DIY where they put wood counters in a bathroom, I thought, "If you can use it in a bathroom, you can use it in a kitchen." Since I had used laminate for as long as I could remember, I knew that I would not be sitting any hot pots onto the top, therefore damaging it. And since I always use a cutting board, I knew that cutting the counters would not be a problem either. Want to learn how to do these? Gimme a couple of weeks and I will show you how! The point is to take inspiration and flip it around to see what you can do. My counters will be about $100 when finished, which is half the price of laminate, and even cheaper than tile or natural stone. The bonus? I get to choose the color and texture.
I think I have a few more tricks and tips up my sleeve! I'll be back in a few days to share more of my ideas with ya'll!