Renovation Diaries

This $50,000 Kitchen Remodel Features a Mix of High-End and Affordable Finds

published Mar 19, 2022
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Stephanie Wong in her kitchen.
Credit: Petra Ford

The warm and welcoming, 150-square-foot kitchen in the Los Angeles home of Stephanie Wong and her partner, Daniel Watson, didn’t come at a bargain. They were planning on a complete tear-out of the dated kitchen and wanted to open up the space, using the nearby laundry room. Meaning, they’d have to incur some significant costs just to prep the blank canvas. But thoughtful choices on where to splurge and where to save resulted in a dream kitchen that they couldn’t be happier with. 

Stephanie and Daniel did a great job of identifying which elements meant the most to them — such as gorgeous, semi-custom cabinets and a sleek Bertazzoni range — and where they could maximize appeal with less cost (a perfectly fine, big-box store fridge and inexpensive floor tile). 

Credit: Stephanie Wong

Knowing what mattered most even led to a mid-game swap when they saw their first stove pick, a standard-issue from a big brand. It had to go. In its place went the more stylish Italian pick.

If they’d kept the first one, “I would have looked at that sad stove and been like, ‘Oh, we could have done something cooler,’” Stephanie says, reflecting on the switch. “I ate the cost, and I’m so much happier that I decided to splurge a little bit on certain things.”

Credit: Petra Ford

The elegant cabinets were a fixture in the plan from the start, ever since Stephanie saw the gorgeous cabinetry from Fire on the Mesa at the Instagram-famous Joshua Tree House. She worked with the brand to use custom door fronts on stock boxes to bring them within reach of their budget, then finished them with understated, brass matte pulls from Linear Standard.

Read more about how the couple decided to lose the nearby laundry room to open up the kitchen: This Couple Put Their Washer and Dryer in Their Kitchen — And It Was the Best Decision They Ever Made

Credit: Petra Ford

Balancing the bigger-ticket purchases were the Saltillo tiles that they loved and happened to also be budget-friendly. Another way they kept the cost down? They realized that the layout didn’t allow for an otherwise expensive kitchen island.

Credit: Petra Ford

One thing is for certain: There’s no buyer’s remorse, Stephanie says.  “I had a budget in mind, and I did go over it,” she admits. “But looking back, I don’t regret it.” Here’s a breakdown of every dollar spent:

Stephanie’s Renovation Budget



Tile & Counters


  • Contractor: $16,000


Total Budget: $50,246

See Stephanie’s Full Reno Diary