Michele March and her family had endured almond-colored cabinets and counters for years after a planned makeover was derailed by more pressing home improvements. Their vision included warm, rich wood cabinets and dark countertops. Their reality was a budget of about $12,000. So they handled most of the work themselves. "We spent a lot of sleepless nights," says March, who adds that her favorite parts are the under-counter lighting and the charging drawer in the laundry area for everyone's electronics. March says sons Chris, 14, and Ryan, 12, are really enjoying the new kitchen. "Ryan cooks, and Chris eats." Total: $10,975, which includes $1,645 for the laundry room makeover. -- SYLVIA E. KING-COHEN
AFTER. Michele March estimates that her family saved about $20,000 by doing the renovation work themselves. (A licensed electrician checked the work after it was done.)
Installed by the homeowners. From KA Marble & Granite, Holbrook.
CABINET HANDLES and HARDWARE, $134 (for 32). Includes template ($10) for drilling accuracy, from The Home Depot.
DISPOSAL OF OLD CABINETS, $82. Through Smithtown Recycle Center, Smithtown.
ELECTRICAL OUTLET COVERS, $45 (for seven). These are Amerelle brushed brass, from The Home Depot.
FRIGIDAIRE GALLERY MICROWAVE, $230. The plan was to keep their old microwave, “but we cracked the glass on the door during construction,” March says. From P.C. Richard & Son.
PAINT, $94 (three cans). Includes Behr’s Satin Brown, Teepee and White, from The Home Depot, Commack; applied by the homeowners. (April 2012)
LAUNDRY ROOM CABINETRY and GRANITE COUNTER, $1,600.
From KA Marble & Granite, Holbrook.
LAUNDRY AREA DOORS, TRIM and KNOBS, $175. From The Home Depot.
HANDLES $40 (for 10). From The Home Depot.
OUTLET COVER, $5. From The Home Depot. (April 2012)
TILE FLOOR, existing. This was the only thing in the kitchen that they really liked. Unfortunately, the previous owners only took the tile to the cabinets instead of all the way to the walls. “My husband even called the company in Italy hoping to find replacements,” March says. “They had discontinued it. So we had to be really careful during demolition.” (April 2012)
PULLOUT GARBAGE CAN, included in cabinetry price. (April 2012)
It includes subway-style tiles, a row of accent tiles and pencil tile under the window. The couple compromised on the backsplash, using a mix of what she liked and what he liked, including accent and pencil tiles. “It ended up looking really nice,” Michele March said. From The Home Depot.
FRIGIDAIRE DISHWASHER, $412. From P.C. Richard & Son, Commack. (April 2012)
FAUCET and SINK, $350.
Sink ($100) from KA Marble & Granite; Hansgrohe Allegro E faucet ($250) from Costco, Commack.
GRANITE COUNTERTOP, $2,000. Includes laundry area as well. From KA Marble & Granite and Hindustan Granites Inc, Hauppauge.
CURTAINS, $77. From Bed Bath & Beyond, East Northport.
PENDANT LIGHTS, $90 (for three). These were chosen by Ryan. From Lowe’s Home Improvement, Bay Shore. (April 2012)
FLAT-SCREEN TV, existing.
SHIP’S BELL, $30. “I really ring it,” March says of the gift from her husband. It is once for breakfast, twice for lunch and three times for dinner. From a marine consignment shop in Islip. (April 2012)