Hands-On Approach Pays Off in Kitchen

See how one man renovated his own kitchen, from start to finish.

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This homeowner and handyman discovered this kitchen’s beautiful wooden floors underneath the layer of linoleum.

After 10 years of dealing with the hustle and bustle of corporate life, Bob Barnett ditched the suit and tie in pursuit of his one true passion: architecture. His first project was redesigning his 1930s Colonial-style home. Barnett did nearly all of the design, demolition and construction. It took him close to two years to complete his kitchen, but he saved a bunch of money. The entire renovation cost only $13,000.

The original kitchen was small, very enclosed and hadn't been remodeled since the 1970s. A wall was torn out, providing two entryways into the kitchen from the front of the house. Between the two entryways sits the exposed brick wall, the focal point of the kitchen. It gives the room architectural interest and adds to the home's antique charm. The island in the center serves as a prep area and a gathering spot. The homeowner was very lucky when he found a butcher-block top for the island at a garage sale for just $40.

The homeowner saved a lot of money by doing all the wiring and plumbing on his own. Not an easy task. "I’ve got four diplomas," he explains, "but my rough electrical inspection that I passed for the kitchen is one of my proudest pieces of papers."

To get these beautiful hardwood floors the homeowner had to use a lot of elbow grease. It took him 2 1/2 weeks to scrape off the old linoleum to get to the hardwood floors underneath. Some sanding and a fresh coat of dark stain were all the original floors needed.

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