For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before + after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your inbox do all the hard work—for now.
“In one word? Parisian,” says Rebekah Poppen. That’s how the founder of Do Well Creative wants her 1926-built Minneapolis home to ultimately look and feel: open, bright, and a blend of traditional and modern.
Yet there was nothing French about her kitchen when Rebekah and her husband, Jonah (along with rescue dog Meeko and cat Chunky), moved in last year. “You know the classic golden oak cabinets that were big in the ’90s and early 2000s? We had those cabinets and a green-brown laminate countertop,” says Rebekah.
Unsurprisingly, giving their kitchen a mini makeover was top priority. The only catch? They were on a strict budget of just $1,000, so the upgrades would need to be done DIY-style.
Make Your Floor Plan Work for You
“Our biggest obstacle was the layout,” says Rebekah. “But we couldn’t change it because we didn’t have the funds for a five-figure, HGTV-style kitchen reno.” Instead, she opened up the kitchen by rearranging cabinets. She removed one, moved another, and painted everything that made the cut in Behr’s Palais White and Laurel Garland.
Do It Yourself—With the Help of YouTube
Other than a little help from her mother, the Poppens tackled everything themselves. “I worked on projects with my parents growing up and am confident with power tools,” says Rebekah. “Jonah is very eager to learn and watched a ton of YouTube videos so he could undertake projects that I didn’t feel comfortable with, like cutting the sink hole in the new butcher block countertop.” (If you’re not up for the DIY, hire a pro to make the precise cut for you.)
With the layout sorted, the pair installed modern black hardware from IKEA, as well as the stainless steel sink for that hole, which Rebekah found for free on Facebook Marketplace. Then there was the awkward bump-out. She and her mom covered it in brick and a layer of mortar schmear to transform it from eyesore to design statement.
Pegboard shelves and a globe light fixture help the space look custom. “Before, I dreaded looking at everything I wanted to change,” says Rebekah, “but I love being in the kitchen now.”
Scour Facebook Marketplace for Crazy-Good Deals
With just a $1,000 budget, Rebekah made it her priority to find inexpensive materials. “It was like a part-time job searching for good deals on Facebook Marketplace,” she admits, but it was worth it. She walked away with the sink, as well as thin chimney brick for $75 and 70 square feet of marble tiles—a $600 value—for just $20. Hello, new backsplash.
Rebekah’s parting words of wisdom: “Be patient—I’m not, but my husband is!—measure twice, and don’t be afraid to learn something.”
Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.