Thomas J. Story
By Peter O. Whiteley
Shortly after moving into our hillside 1,400-square-foot 1950s tract home, my wife, Beth, and I decided to remodel. The 12- by 13-foot kitchen was largely walled off from the adjacent dining room, which enjoyed a view of the San Francisco Bay.
Our goals were to open the spaces to each other and to reorganize and upgrade the kitchen as a warm and elegant entertaining area. We wanted to do all of this without adding space.
Slide show: Images from this kitchen remodel
The process of remodeling took about nine months, but we were physically without a kitchen for less than three.
We took our time planning the remodel and choosing the materials, finishes, and appliances -- sometimes changing our selections several times. After getting a construction estimate from a builder, we decided to save money by having me act as the general contractor.
It might have been less work with a professional contractor or architect to oversee the project -- we ended up having to locate and hire 17 different tradespeople -- but the extra effort paid off. We saved more than $30,000 and ended up with a kitchen that surpassed our dreams. This is our story of fine tuning and sweat equity.
Next: Peter's month-by-month remodel diary