A couple completely remodeled their living room and kitchen all by themselves – while balancing busy full-time jobs and looking after their three children during the lockdown.
Brady and Kassie Berkhof, both 35, from Duluth, Minnesota, worked hard on their DIY project but only had evenings and weekends, which meant it took longer than they would have liked.
The couple, who are parents of Madeline, 10, Hudson, 7, and Ayla, 5, made almost the whole world themselves, saving them thousands of pounds.
But the DIY project comes at a price, as the family was forced to eat microwave meals on the floor for months while remodeling the rooms.
The couple bought their two-level home for $ 215,000 in 2011 and, after the lockdown, decided to change the look of their living room and kitchen, believing the rooms were boring and dated.
Kassie did the design while her partner Brady, who works as a journeyman plumber, completed the installation and construction.
They started the project in November 2020 and removed the floating wall separating the two rooms, as well as the kitchen floor and peninsula to create an open living space.
Brady and Kassie installed new white kitchen cabinets and quartz countertops from Home Depot and new taps from Delta.
They also installed new lights and a Ferguson chandelier, a new back wall, and a brand new sink.
The family also added a fireplace and renewed the ceiling.
The family of five lived at home during the renovation and lived on microwave meals for weeks – even sitting on the floor while doing the dishes in the laundry room and eating.
“We had to set up a temporary kitchen that was made up of a microwave, air fryer, Instapot, toaster and cook out of it,” Kassie told Jam Press.
“We also had to wash dishes in the laundry room.
“We lived at home during the renovation and had no furniture upstairs for several months, which meant picnics were on the floor for most of the days.
“Brady and I both have full-time jobs, so we had to work on the renovations in the evenings and on weekends, so it took us longer.”
Brady and Kassie also bought new equipment and redecorated the space, bringing the total cost to $ 40,000 (£ 28,300).
The entire renovation took six months to complete.
“We love the result,” added Kassie, a hospital business analyst.
“We tend to go for minimalist, functional designs that aren’t too trendy, and I think we managed to do just that.
“I can imagine that we will enjoy our new premises in the years to come.
“The best part of the renovation was working together to bring our vision to life.
“We trust each other and have similar tastes when developing design ideas, so working together is fun.
“We really enjoy the entire process, from the early stages of design to installation and finishing touches.
“It is very rewarding to see the end result of all the hard work.
“However, we had delays and some damage in receiving many of the materials, which was frustrating.
“It postponed the completion of the project.”
In a few pieces of advice to others looking to renovate their home, Kassie added, “Always allow a small margin in your budget for unexpected expenses.
“At the beginning of the design, try to visualize the flow of the room, where you will keep things and what makes the most sense, where equipment should be placed, how cabinet doors open, etc.
“Measure and measure again. This is very important when designing and ordering materials.
“Shop around, check multiple places for prices and products.
“Bring samples of material into your home, different lighting can really change the colors and look.
“Invest your money in materials that are more durable, like cabinets.
“Fittings and lights can always be changed later if your budget is tight now.”
Breakdown of costs
- Kitchen cabinets $ 10,000 (£ 7,000)
- Countertops / back wall $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)
- Flooring $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)
- Devices $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)
- Sink / faucets / lights $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)
- Fireplace $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)
- Furniture / beams / decor $ 5,000 (£ 3,500)