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A DIY kitchen makeover: from beige to beautiful

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

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