I recently sat down with one of my favorite DIY carpenters, Brad Stanford, who by accident fell into the home trade and never looked back. He started out in the corporate world buying and selling small business franchises which expanded into other small business ventures to help out friends. In order to sell them, however, many needed minor updates to move them quicker. He quickly picked up many of the skills from fellow hired carpenters to speed up the process, and keep the costs down. What started out as a time saving, budget crunching business flip soon turned into residential projects over the weekend on his own home. What he didn’t realize was the time and effort each project required, including the budget that would quickly dwindle. In an effort to stretch each dollar he learned fast where to cut and where to splurge. Here are some of his best tips to help you on your nect project.

1) Cabinetry

The kitchn

What I have learned is cabinetry is real expensive and can eat a huge chunk out of your budget instantly. But it is also one of the most dramatic changes to your space. That is why kitchen before and after’s always look so amazing! Look at your options. Can you repurpose the existing cabinets and how can you make the most of them? Like you Amanda, one of my favorite things to do is to add color. Take old oak cabinets and spray them with some serious chile red automobile paint or a manly Navy blue and it looks awesome.

2) Lighting


I learned this trick from you. Wow, you can take just about anything, a piece of junk out of the trash, and if you light it well it looks like a piece of art. Lights make all the difference, and are inexpensive. Now an electrician can cost you $85/hr but well worth it to update your space and add cool detail.

3) Customize off the shelf

Customize off the shelf

This is where being “handy”, comes in handy. Haha. Take off the shelf items from home depot, IKEA, even the junk yard and add your own personal details. I love adding hardware and unusual items to book shelves, cabinets and walls. Combine it with strong paint and good lighting and it kicks ass.

4) Glass


Another trick I learned from you, glass changes everything. It just ups the stakes and makes stuff classier. I use glass all the time in partitions, showers, cabinetry and railings. I love tearing up old cabinets or doors and repurposing them into pantry doors decorative elements in a room anything really. And to save money, grab old mirrors or glass tops from flea markets, junk yards or thrift stores.

5) BAM-Trim

Living room trim

I use what I like to call Big, Ass, Molding. On everything! Molding is a great way to detail anything ordinary and give it some punch. Take regular old pine boards that are 10″ high and make it into baseboard, or trim out a wall to look like a build-in armoire. There are so many great tricks to make things look custom.

At the end of the day there are definitely tricks to saving money. But the trade off is time and elbow grease which is not something everyone has. And my “finds” don’t always work out. I purchased a sheet of glass at a junk yard once and learned that in order to use it as a tabletop it needs to be a certain thickness. It shattered and I ended up having to buy another one and have it cut down, so in that case I saved no money. You won’t have

What are some of your cash saving tips?

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  • Images: The kitchn, abhome, Romancing the home, Pink Wallpaper

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