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In our kitchen we decided to change out the white Corian countertop to quartz, also in white, but with an interesting color of the quartz material. We redid the backsplash in taupe color glass tiles of different rectangular lengths. Also, replacing the drawer/cabinet pulls gave the kitchen a more modern look. 

Now we are on the master bedroom and master bath phase, which is just finishing. For the master bedroom, once again it was really cosmetic, i.e. repainting, enlarging the baseboards and door trim and getting a darker color carpet. The master bathroom, however, is a different story. 

We took everything out down to the studs and are putting it together anew. While the basic arrangement is the same, we have changed the look by making the shower area larger with the shower glassed in with a flat walk-in opening. We used a modern looking grab bar (for safety) which holds two towel sets (side by side). However, my favorite part is the wall hung toilet, with the tank in the wall, which will make for easy cleaning.

For flooring we are using large scale, light grey textured porcelain tiles. They continue right up the walls and wrap through the shower area, using a 12” band of darker grey smooth porcelain tiles with white textured tiles from the band to the ceiling.

We reduced the size of the former sink/cabinet area so all the above could happen. The new sink will be flush with the quartz patterned top which covers the cherry wood cabinet.  We are also using the new LED lighting strips, recessed above and below an 8-foot mirror, which provide

indirect lighting as well as some down lights. This is also great for keeping the look sleek and having no fixtures or bulbs to clean. New towel colors and presto, the new bathroom will be ready for action.


So as you can see, while we did have some major expenses to change the bathroom, the bedroom was purely cosmetic. 


Luckily, we had another bedroom and bathroom that were used during this process, so we were not really inconvenienced that much. We did have to move everything out of the closets and drawers (as our dresser drawers unit (which serves as a headboard on the other side) had to be repainted. But it presented a wonderful time to go through everything we have and get rid of things that we don’t use or wear--following the tips from my LAST MONTH’S article. Now we can figure out what we need to update our current wardrobes.  


This is a new season, with new beginnings, new colors, and new ideas. Look online or in magazines and get some new ideas and move forward. It is a very uplifting feeling. 

William-Sanoma Outdoor Living

Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason. Even if you follow this basic advice —build in a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary—it's hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to.


But why scale back a project or forgo that Viking range? No, what you need to do is get your dream at a price you can afford. And not by cheaping out, either. With some strategic thinking about design, materials, and timing, you can cut costs without cutting corners. 

1. Increase Efficiency Not Size


If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space–hogging shelves with cabinet–height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Cost to expand kitchen by 200 square feet: $48,000 to $95,000 Cost of super–efficient, custom–designed cabinets: $35,000

SAVED: Up to $60,000


2. Size Up Your Stuff


Before cutting a big hole in the side of your house and rearranging the framing, consider less invasive—and less expensive—ways of capturing light. To brighten up a windowless bath or hallway, 

Price of 4–by5–foot insulated window in a home center: $600 Price at ReStore: $300

SAVED: $300


4. Donate Your Trash


Before you begin a remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. "About 85 percent of a house is reusable," says B.J. Perkins, Habitat's ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. "We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on." You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat's website (see Way to Save #3) to find an affiliate near you.


Cost to trash a suite of bathroom fixtures: $50 to $75 Cost to donate: Nothing, plus you get a tax deduction.

SAVED: Space in the landfill (and a little bit of your soul)

for instance, you can install a "light tube," which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the living space.


Cost to add a double–pane insulated window: $1,500 COST FOR A LIGHT TUBE: $500 SAVED: $1,000


3. Hit the Recycling Center


Do–it–yourselfers can reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Habitat for Humanity operates about 400 ReStores nationwide, which offer salvaged materials at half off home–center prices. One caveat: Many contractors won't work with salvaged items, or homeowner–supplied materials in general, because they don't want to assume the liability if something goes wrong. That said, if you're doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation.


To find a ReStore near you, visit


4 Ways to Save on Your Next Remodel, by James Glave  



The past several years have seen a lot of renovation in personal housing. Whether you are living in an apartment or you own a condo or house, remodeling can be so uplifting. Also, if you have recently become an empty nester due to children leaving for college, children moving out to experience their own next steps, or a son or daughter getting married—these are all good reasons for changing the environment in your home to suit your needs. 


FUSE LIFE STYLED — Weaving Style into our daily living with great Food & Recipe Ideas, Home Decor Pointers, Travel Tips and contemporary suggestions for Health & Wellness.


The FUSE Woman, Full & Complete,


Gail Gabriel

Life Styled Editor

FUSE Fashion Mag, Life Styled Editor, Gail Gabriel

If you are on a budget, as most of us are, this can be done on a phased basis. This is smart for many reasons:


1. Most obvious is cost


2. You are not totally inconvenienced


3. You don’t have as many decisions to make all at once


Planning and research is essential no matter what you do. I am fortunate to have a husband that is an architect, so I rely on a lot of his judgment and decisions; but we are still a team when it comes to decisions. If more than one person is going through this process, it is important that both parties are happy. Compromising is key for the final outcome.


So for us, since we have decided to stay in our house for at least 5-10 more years, we decided to give the house a fresh, updated look. For us that meant new roofing, gutters and downspouts and painting the outside. Then, tackling the inside on a phased basis. 

We walked through each room and discussed what we wanted to change. For all the rooms it meant changing out the door trim and baseboards to a larger size, and fresh paint in each of the rooms. We did have a Tuscan yellow wall in our family room that we decided to paint out and went with a light tan wall with a white ceiling throughout. In the living room we had track lighting and we changed out the fixtures to make them smaller and less obtrusive. We re-sanded and stained the wooden floors, added to the hardwood floors by taking carpet out on heavily trafficked areas—all of which opened up the space.


While we have kept our furniture, it all looks fresher with the small changes that were made. We also took all of the artwork off of the walls, things off of shelves and went through it to see what we wanted to keep and what we wanted to get rid of. We have opted for a cleaner look and have decided to move some of the wall hangings to different areas or change it out over time.

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