Renovation Diaries

This Boho Kitchen Got Its Chic New Look for Less than $30,000 — Here’s How Every Dollar Was Spent

published Dec 21, 2021
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Jill Livick kitchen
Credit: Rusty Williams

When Jill Livick moved into the home her partner, Melvin Jewett, had purchased in 2019, the two knew they’d have a big kitchen renovation ahead of them. They also knew just how much they wanted to spend. They wanted to do the whole thing for less than $30,000. On the list of things that needed attention? The floors, windows, lighting, appliances, counters, and, oh yes, the cabinets. They managed to stick to the budget — mostly because they vetoed one very big idea right from the start.

The two had originally hoped to expand the kitchen by bumping out an exterior wall, but after getting a shocking price estimate (more than $80,000!), they decided against it. They kept the 320-square-foot kitchen footprint the same, but you’d never recognize it from the dated yellow canteen it once was. 

Credit: Photo: Rusty Williams, Design: Kitchn

At the beginning of the project, Jill and Melvin agreed they would do as much of the work as they could on their own. Jill, Melvin, and Melvin’s dad were able to install the flooring, cabinets, counters, backsplash tile, and appliances. They also had some handy friends who helped with the tiling and electrical work. 

Credit: Photo: Rusty Williams, Design: Kitchn

Jill and Melvin decided early on which items in the kitchen were worth spending more money on. Because they were getting all new cabinets and a kitchen island, they knew a huge chunk of their budget would be spent there. They saved by using The Home Depot’s design services and decided against painting the cabinets a custom color. 

They were, however, willing to spend on the backsplash tiles because the show-stopping emerald green subway tile would be the focal point of the whole space. Jill thought she’d have to spend a pretty penny to get that saturated look, but she was able to find tile she loved for less than $8 per square foot. (Research, it turns out, pays off!)

Credit: Photo: Rusty Williams, Design: Kitchn

Quartz counters were expensive, but when that shipment was delayed the couple ended up pivoting and putting cheaper butcher block counters along one side of the kitchen. This allowed them to continue with their renovation, without pause, and save money on the countertops. The look ended up being just what Jill and Melvin wanted. “The butcher block creates a pretty contrast against the green tile,” Jill says. “Plus, we ended up using some of the wood for the floating shelves.”  

Credit: Rusty Williams

If the couple were to do it all over again, they’d save a bit more on labor by doing the demolition themselves. Still, by the end of the project, they had spent just a little more than $27,000 on the full renovation. They were actually under budget!

Let’s see just how they did it! 

Credit: Design: Kitchn

Jill’s Kitchen Renovation Budget



Tile & Counters


  • Structural engineer: $500
  • Demolition: $3,188


Total Budget: $27,337

See Jill’s Full Reno Diary