Even if your carpentry skills peaked in eighth-grade woodshop, reclaimed lumber and a bit of sweat can stand you in good stead when it comes to outdoor furniture. Whitlock created a ruggedly beautiful bench (below) from scratch. He bought a chunk of trestle lumber at a local salvage yard and lag-bolted four Ikea Sultan stainless steel bed legs to its base. “It took me two hours, including lumberyard drive time,” he says. “I spent $70 total.” ikea.com
Double-glazed windows are typically composed of two layers of glass with a layer of air in between. You might spend more on them upfront ($200–$1,500 each), but the extra insulation can save loads on your heating bill and more than recoup your investment over time. weathershield.com
Whitlock’s window frames are accented with Benjamin Moore’s Electric Orange ($6.50 per pint). “People go on vacation and take photos of all these vibrant houses and then they go home and paint their house brown,” Whitlock says. “Don’t be afraid of color.” A hint: When going Day-Glo bright, look for shades with barely there black undertones to mute their intensity. benjaminmoore.com
Not only do these colorful bottles make for humble accent pieces, they're also a reminder of the house's past: Whitlock discovered them while building the home, which stands on what was once a Chinese apothecary.
Here's another instance of a bit of bright color (on the countertops) giving an appealing accent to what is an otherwise pretty sedate palette. And if affordability is the name of the game, often a splash of color is more achievable than a spendy material.