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Before & After Photos, Kitchen

Before & After Photos: A Must-See Kitchen Remodel

By on May 20, 2016
Before & After Photos: A Must-See Kitchen Remodel

Don Huey and his wife, Rene, moved into their new home in Apple Valley, California in August 2014. As they settled into their new place, the Huey’s quickly realized that the kitchen had to go. It was dated and rough on the eyes.

Don and Rene knew that they had a project on their hands, but were willing to put in the time, money and effort it was going to take to turn this room into the kitchen of their dreams. See below for an inspiring before and after story from homeowners just like yourself.

Do Your Homework

The Huey’s knew their new home was a fixer upper when they bought it. Don and Rene were moving on from a short sale a year prior and wanted an inexpensive way to re-enter home ownership. They had been looking for months and felt this home really spoke to them, so they were willing to put in a little extra work.

The Huey’s spent about six weeks looking at websites and getting ideas for how to drag their 1980’s style kitchen into this century. Don shared some great insights about how they got their design inspiration, “Many of ours ideas came from touring new model homes around our area and looking at displays at the local hardware stores.”

When you’re touring beautiful, new homes and looking at what’s trending in kitchen designs, it can quickly make you forget about your budget. Don said one of their biggest challenges was keeping their grandiose ideas in line with what was practical to implement in the space and their style of home. In the end, the Huey’s decided to stay within reason on a majority of the remodel, but did splurge on a few items that they said they couldn’t live without.

Getting To Work

Once they had a plan, Don and Rene sought out the proper assistance they knew they needed to get the job done right. They hired a local contractor, Walter Stimax, who they trusted to do the work. Not only was he a talented contractor, but he had been a builder on an episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, so they figured he could work fast! Walter did work fast and his crew was very professional. This is a good lesson. Before locking in a pro, it’s important to map out your project details and determine what skills you want in a contractor.

Kitchen Remodel Costs

The inspiration for their kitchen remodel was a return to natural surfaces with real wood grains and natural looking stone counters. Don and Rene chose alder cabinets and didn’t do anything to the wood, other than put on a clear varnish. The counters they selected are leather finished granite and have a very natural look as well. 

Lessons Learned

While Don and Rene are happy with the way things turned out, they do have a few nuggets of advice they’d like to share with you. Don said it would have been helpful to know the state of the antiquated wiring in the 25-year-old home, before tackling the project, “Who knew that they only required a 100 amp electrical box back then?”

The Huey’s came up with a couple of additional tips for any homeowner facing a kitchen remodel.

  • Clear an area in the garage or nearby room to serve as a pantry and temporary kitchen.
  • Move nice things well away from the construction zone.
  • Be flexible because the plans WILL change! (They inadvertently slowed the construction process by not being able to agree on a backsplash tile.)

Don and Rene ended up spending about $25,000 when it was all said and done. If you’re looking to cut costs, they suggest going with a cheaper appliance package and less expensive countertops. Downgrading these items would have saved them roughly $5,000.


Some home projects are DIY friendly and others are simply not. If you have a big home project that you want done right the first time, it’s best to hire a pro. If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen, we hope this story provided you with some tips and guidelines you can use for your next home improvement project.

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