Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Redoing without a Big Remodeling

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Redoing without a Big Remodeling

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union home and garden editor

If you want fresh ingredients in your kitchen's decor but can't afford a total overhaul, don't throw in the dish towel. Changing just one feature offers the same satisfaction as discovering a fantastic new recipe.

Ginger Wallace and Phyllis Johnson, design consultants for several Jacksonville custom home builders, offered these suggestions.

Touch of tile: Whether its ceramic, granite or stone, tile adds color and texture to the kitchen. Sure, you can redo an entire floor or replace countertops, but don't dismiss the visual impact of less expensive projects. Make a chair rail from 4-by-4 tiles on the wall around the breakfast nook. For a more informal look, try unevenly sized, earth-toned river rock. Such a border will look good near the ceiling, where wallpaper borders are usually installed.

If you do want to retile the floor or countertops on a budget, learn the three M's: mixing, matching and medallions. Tile prices start at $2.50 and go up. Up means $4, $20, $35 or $50 or more depending on size, material and craftsmanship involved. Installation ranges from $3 to $20 per square foot. So if you fall in love with an expensive tile, consider using it as an accent (medallion) between less expensive coordinating tiles.

Like paint, tiles can serve as raw material for a mural. Remembering the three M's, replace a stove backsplash with an eye-catching design that's easier to clean than that plain old paint that's on the wall above the stove now. Or, make a rug you never have to vacuum. Install a mosaic as a focal point in the middle of the kitchen, or define the dining area by placing the tile design under the table.

Cabinet panache: Cabinets take up a lot of visual space in the kitchen. If the wood is dark, lighten things up a bit with paint, stain or varnish. Faux-finishing techniques such as rag-rolling or sponge-painting create texture as well as color.

To make cabinets look like custom, built-in furniture, install crown molding along the top. Home-improvement centers sell strips of molding that come already mitered so you don't have to make angled cuts. …

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