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April 1, 2015
Imported materials, online auctions, upcycling, and other canny solutions prevent costs from spiraling out of control at these contemporary renovations.
Oslo hallway with blue-painted laundry room door

A pair of designers in Oslo looked high and low for cost-effective materials to remake their cramped late-19th-century apartment into a modern family home. The couple built their 12-foot-long Norwegian spruce bench from wood milled on their family farm outside the city. 

Courtesy of 
Hans Petter
Originally appeared in Neoclassical Meets Modern in This Nordic Gem
1 / 10
Oslo kitchen with Ikea cabinets under marble countertops

For the kitchen, the couple imported plywood from Poland, where it is cheaper, and installed affordable Ikea cabinets. 

Courtesy of 
Hans Petter
Originally appeared in Neoclassical Meets Modern in This Nordic Gem
2 / 10
Modern kitchen with Douglas-fir island and cabinets

Dawn Casale and Dave Crofton's Brooklyn brownstone bears a budget-conscious patina of surplus and salvaged materials. Their kitchen island and counters were fashioned from remilled Douglas fir beams. The drawers are from Ikea. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Brownstone Baked to Perfection
3 / 10
brooklyn townhouse interior renovation

A fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Paper White paint helped Casale and Crofton modernize and brighten the interior, without demolishing the brownstone's exposed brick walls. 

Originally appeared in 7 Light Fixtures We Love
4 / 10
Facade Andersen windows bungalow Austin Texas remodel renovation Merzbau Design Collective

Architect J.C. Schmeil added over 1,000-square-feet to a tiny 1935 Austin bungalow on a tight budget by utilizing plenty of salvaged materials, such as reclaimed travertine pavers for the patio. 

Courtesy of 
Whit Preston
Originally appeared in Family-Sized Addition for Renovated Austin Bungalow
5 / 10
Dining library J.C. Scmeil Merzbau Design Collective Austin Texas family home renovation remodel budget

Schmeil also installed energy-efficient Andersen 100 Series composite low-E windows to reduce his clients' long-range expenses. 

Courtesy of 
Patrick Wong
Originally appeared in Family-Sized Addition for Renovated Austin Bungalow
6 / 10
Beachwood Canyon renovation

Indie film director Jon Watts controlled cost while renovating his tiny Los Angeles apartment by installing a stained knotty-pine ceiling—“a very cost-effective solution,” he says. 

Courtesy of 
Carla Richmond Coffing
Originally appeared in A Tiny House Remodel in a Bohemian L.A. Canyon
7 / 10
Beachwood Canyon bedroom renovation

Watts turned to online auctions to enliven his space without breaking the bank. Above his custom bed hangs a vintage Evelyn Ackerman textile found on eBay. 

Courtesy of 
Carla Richmond Coffing
Originally appeared in A Tiny House Remodel in a Bohemian L.A. Canyon
8 / 10

Budget renovations often require residents to pick their battles. Cecilia Tham and Yoel Karaso preserved original features of their 19th-century Barcelona apartment, such as the mosaic tile floor, in order to incorporate more modern elements. The result is a stunning patchwork of old and new. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Renovating Old and New in Barcelona
9 / 10
Freestanding bathtub and sink unit

Tham and Karaso's bathroom is defined by the apartment's grandest update: an angular freestanding tub composed of plywood. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Renovating Old and New in Barcelona
10 / 10
Oslo hallway with blue-painted laundry room door

A pair of designers in Oslo looked high and low for cost-effective materials to remake their cramped late-19th-century apartment into a modern family home. The couple built their 12-foot-long Norwegian spruce bench from wood milled on their family farm outside the city. 

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