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Renovations are never easy, and we're always on the hunt for stories of New Yorkers who manage to spruce up their homes while keeping their bank accounts and sanity intact. Over at Brownstoner, one intrepid Brooklynite has been chronicling the overhaul of a Bed-Stuy brownstone, an undertaking that the blog describes as a "budget renovation financed with a 203K loan," a federal program that finances home improvements with energy saving upgrades.
It seems like the project, which has had its twists and turns, is hitting the home stretch, after the owner bought the house about a year ago. The kitchen was recently completed, and it doesn't look half bad. Below, a few tips we gleaned from the kitchen reno:
Shop around for countertops: Prices for stone countertops vary greatly, so do your research to find one that fits your style and budget. While the renovator of this kitchen had initially fallen hard for a piece of quartzite, it cost way too much, so they selected a beautiful, if slightly flawed (it had many minor imperfections), slab of marble instead.
Hire a pro to install the countertops: The renovator used the countertop’s Brooklyn-based fabricator to do the installation, and the whole process took about an hour. What’s more, at the end of the installation, the fabricators applied a professional-grade sealant to keep the marble stain-free (which apparently has already come in handy).
Splurge selectively: If you’re keeping to a budget, decide in advance what items you deem worthy of spending on and where you might be able to cut corners, then shop around for the best deals possible. Here, our renovator went cheap on the kitchen cabinets (they’re IKEA) and spent a bit more on the appliances. That said, the Fisher Paykel dishwasher and refrigerator are floor models found on eBay for 60 percent off their retail prices and the NXR stove is from Costco.