Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to renovate on a budget

Or, how to buy stuff when you're poor. Just kidding, we're not poor. But we are thrifty. Some might call us cheap. :) We're just trying to live within our means and that means only buying what we can actually pay for with cash, not credit. And what that means for our reno is a LOT of clipping coupons and searching for discounts. Here are a few examples:

In my dream bathroom, I really wanted this sink from Pottery Barn. It's solid hardwood with a carerra marble countertop. Swoon. But it's price tag is over, are you ready for this, $1,500. CRAZY!!!!! I could feed the 5000 for that much. For half that much, actually! And as my mom would say, "You're just paying for the label!". So instead, we're going with this one, from Cabinets to go.

The Cabinets to go version is still solid hardwood and even has a marble sink. And the price tag, at $399, is much more do-able.

Also in the new bathroom, I lusted over this mirror from Pottery Barn.

Hey, it's on sale! FOR $179!!! That's awful. Do you know how many chai tea lattes that is? Shoot.

Fortunately, I stalk the clearance racks at Target like a hungry lioness on the prowl, and one day, a full YEAR ago, I found this little beauty:

And I bought it, even though I didn't have a bathroom to put it in, because it was a fantastic deal and I loved the classic style. Can you see the price tag? Here, let me show you with a super craptastic blurry picture:

Yes, that says $20.98. Holy cow! I love Target :)

This next example is going in our future hallway: the one that will run from the front of the house to the back. Right now there's a lovely "ivy" themed light fixture. It's actually not horrible, but it's not my style at all. So I've been searching for a more period appropriate fixture, like this one from

Classic schoolhouse fixture, great lines, simple,'s $135. Sad face. However, Lowe's has a fantastic copy:

for $39.98. I mean seriously, can you really tell a difference between those 2?? I can, and it's about $100 smackers in my pocket :)

Okay, last but not least, we bought a kitchen island from Ikea last year, but the stools we already owned were too tall to sit at it comfortably, so we've had our eyes open for an affordable option. Our dream stools are from Crate and Barrel:

At $139 each, they were going to set us back a bit, but we were prepared to save for them because, let's face it, Target doesn't sell these bad boys :( But then, fate (in the form of the Goodwill) struck. If you know me, you know that I live for thrift stores. I probably go to a thrift store at least every other day. Goodwill, Habitat Restore, American Council for the Blind, and my personal favorite: Karm- I love 'em all :) Yesterday, I was in a local Goodwill when I saw, not 1, not 2, but 4 of these EXACT stools. I couldn't believe my eyes. I think I peed my pants a little. But I didn't snatch them up quite yet, because I wasn't sure of our measurements and there's nothing worse than buying something you didn't need and can't take back and then finding out it doesn't fit. So, I went home and measured and guess what?! They fit perfectly!

So, this morning, I was literally at the door when they opened and picked up 2 of these perfect stools. Check 'em out:

Ahhh!! I love them!! Okay, ready for the best part? The total, for both stools, was....


I KNOW. They were $15 a piece, plus I had a 25% off coupon, bringing my total to $25 and some change. Unbelievable.

In conclusion, (which, btw, I've always found to be the best way to end an essay. Eat it, former english teachers!) the only thing the Pottery Barn catalog is good for is ideas. After that, Target + Goodwill * internet = money in your pocket :)

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