Scott's DIY Kitchen Renovation on a Budget

Kitchen Tour

Scott renovated his kitchen entirely on his own, figuring it out as he went along. You'd never guess it from spending time in this delightfully bright space, a classic with a modern twist. He's certainly made the most of this funky layout with the use of strategically placed pantries and a keen sense of organization. Scott is also one of the most inventive cake makers I've ever met. This man's got a gift and no friend's birthday is complete without one of his outrageous confections.

I first met Scott while photographing his house for Apartment Therapy. I was charmed by the whole pad, but I felt the crown jewel really was the kitchen. I was glad to be back and to learn more about the heart of Scott's home.

Scott cooks a lot, mostly vegetarian/vegan, with an emphasis on fresh and healthy produce. We mutually gushed over our love of Indian food and Alicia Silverstone's cookbook, The Kind Diet (we are both huge veggie nerds, that goes without saying).

The fact that Scott remodeled his kitchen without much experience (he's a color/pattern designer by day) is remarkable. It doesn't look like a novice job; in fact, it's very polished. Scott used multiple upgrades to put a new spin on his kitchen. He replaced mauve Formica counter tops and walls with zebrawood-patterned countertops and subway-tiled the walls, forgoing paint all together — it's bold but it totally works!

He replaced a sad old vent above the stove with a proper hood, installed cork floors where impractical white linoleum once prevailed, moved the fridge so he could open the door without it jamming into the wall and gutted an entire surface (near the fridge) to install cabinets. The ceiling is lined in white molding as well, just to top off the whole look. Wow!

This kitchen is not only beautiful but very organized. Scott keeps tools that he uses on a regular basis and has gotten rid of the clutter and 'gadgety' kitchen devices. "If you can do the same thing with a knife, then get rid of it" Scott told me. Now that's a kitchen manifesto to keep clutter down if I ever heard one. We all have a lot to learn from this charming DIY space and fantastic cake-maker!

10 Questions for Scott (and His Kitchen)

1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Ina Garten. Ha! I love her. What a life! Actually, trying to find different ways to make vegetable meals delicious without adding butter or cheese to everything (I try to use those very sparingly).

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
I love the KitchenAid mixer. I bake birthday cakes for my friends so it comes in really handy. However, in the fall and winter I love my immersion blender (from a thrift store). There is nothing better than soup during that time in Portland.

3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
It wasn't a meal per se, but I made my friend Jeremy a birthday cake. It was a cross-dresser. I bought a Ken doll and pulled off his legs then built the dress out of many layers of sheet cake. It took hours, but the entire time I kept laughing, so it was completely worth it.

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4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
I think that would be the non-gas stove. I love cooking with gas.

5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Well, I was working with budget constraints, so I think I did great at keeping the costs down low, but I think next time I would go for an undermount sink; I like when you can just wipe things directly into the sink. Also, a single bowl sink. With a dishwasher, there really isn't a need for two basins.

6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
Not out of my pocket, but the fridge would have been. However, for two years for my birthday and Christmas, I had everyone give me Lowe's gift cards. It was in stock so I got an extra 10% off, plus it was on sale, so after gift cards I think I may have spent 200 dollars tops.

7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
I think at this point I am done with the kitchen. Finally!

8. How would you describe your cooking style?
I like following recipes and then adapting as I go along depending on what I have in the house. I love fresh herbs.

9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Keep an eye on what you are cooking! (I am easily distracted so things can burn easily).

10. What are you cooking this week?
Soft boiled eggs, greens, mushroom hash, beans, beans, and more beans!

Featured Resources

• Refrigerator: Frigidaire
• Oven: Frigidaire
• Pots and pans: Cuisinart multi-clad pro stainless steel (I just bought them last year and I am really enjoying them). And I couldn't imagine cooking without my cast iron skillets that all belonged to my grandma that I inherited about 7 years ago.
• Dishes: Crate and Barrel
• Subway tile: Lowe's
• Cork floor: Lumber Liquidators
• Zebrawood counter tops: Formica
• Faucet: Overstock.com
• Paint color: Bedford Gray by Martha Stewart

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Thank you so much for letting us peek into your kitchen, Scott!
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Related: Ryan's Stunning San Francisco Remodel

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)

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