Budget Breakdown: A SoCal Couple Revamp Their Fixer-Upper For $63K

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By Lucy Wang
Not afraid to get their hands dirty, a creative couple on a budget transformed their Mission Viejo bungalow into a chic abode for their growing family.

By the time lifestyle blogger Janelle Burnett and her husband George were ready to remodel their 2,000-square-foot bungalow in Mission Viejo, California, she was already two months pregnant.

$28,749
Labor
$3,119
Tiles
$6,750
Kitchen Cabinets
$2,100
Lighting & Ceiling Fans
$6,100
Countertops
$6,000
Electrical
$10,182
Furniture & Appliances


Grand Total: $63,000

Undaunted, she rolled up her sleeves and—with lots of help from Google and YouTube—dove headfirst into a gut renovation that finished just in time for the couple to welcome their daughter, Sienna.

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Before: Despite the dark color palette and dated elements, the couple immediately saw the potential of the home. 

Before: Despite the dark color palette and dated elements, the couple immediately saw the potential of the home. 

Despite not having any previous experience, the couple transformed their home on a budget of just $63,000. From the entrance foyer and living room to the four bedrooms, the dynamic duo breathed new character into the dated home that was refreshed with modern and boho influences.

Before: High on the priority list was scraping off the popcorn ceiling and replacing the baseboards and crown moulding in the entrance foyer and sitting room.

Before: High on the priority list was scraping off the popcorn ceiling and replacing the baseboards and crown moulding in the entrance foyer and sitting room.

New paint and furnishings have transformed the remodeled sitting room of the Burnett Bungalow. A jute rug adds an earthy touch to the boho-inspired space.

New paint and furnishings have transformed the remodeled sitting room of the Burnett Bungalow. A jute rug adds an earthy touch to the boho-inspired space.

The fireplace in the sitting room was squared off and covered with stacked travertine.

The fireplace in the sitting room was squared off and covered with stacked travertine.

"We were really tight on cash, so we did a lot of the renovations on our own," says Janelle, who created the Burnett Bungalow Instagram to document her home’s ever-evolving interior design. "Our house is a labor of love, and we have poured our hearts into it and are so proud of what we have accomplished."

Before: Despite its fairly spacious footprint, the original kitchen felt small due to the dark wood paneling and floors, and to the wall that divided the space from the dining room.

Before: Despite its fairly spacious footprint, the original kitchen felt small due to the dark wood paneling and floors, and to the wall that divided the space from the dining room.

Before: The couple wanted to preserve the layout of the kitchen but replace the dark wood with brighter materials.

Before: The couple wanted to preserve the layout of the kitchen but replace the dark wood with brighter materials.

The kitchen morphed into a bright, airy space. An island hood replaced the cabinets over the stove, while pendant lights take the place of the cabinets that had been atop the bar area. All cabinets were replaced, and new Blue Pearl granite countertops were installed.

The kitchen morphed into a bright, airy space. An island hood replaced the cabinets over the stove, while pendant lights take the place of the cabinets that had been atop the bar area. All cabinets were replaced, and new Blue Pearl granite countertops were installed.

"My favorite room in the house is the kitchen for two reasons," notes Janelle. "One, we are a family that loves to eat and host and when we do so everyone gravitates towards the kitchen. Second, we did the most work on the kitchen, and it is a huge labor of love. Let’s be real though—I also just love to eat!" 

The renovation created a lighter, more open atmosphere with views extending from the dining room through the kitchen and to the living space in the rear. To break up the rooms, the couple replaced the wood kitchen floors with staggered tile from Arizona Tile.

The renovation created a lighter, more open atmosphere with views extending from the dining room through the kitchen and to the living space in the rear. To break up the rooms, the couple replaced the wood kitchen floors with staggered tile from Arizona Tile.

Having lived in their bungalow for nearly three years now, Janelle and George have grown their family to include Sienna (2 years old), Carson (4 months old) and their fur babies Lola and Marilyn.

Before: A look at the former living room, located on the other side of the kitchen.

Before: A look at the former living room, located on the other side of the kitchen.

In addition to contemporary furnishings, the updated living room includes newly painted ceilings (swish coffee) along with new baseboards and crown moulding. The couple's black lab, Lola, can be seen on the sectional, which was purchased from Living Spaces.

In addition to contemporary furnishings, the updated living room includes newly painted ceilings (swish coffee) along with new baseboards and crown moulding. The couple's black lab, Lola, can be seen on the sectional, which was purchased from Living Spaces.

Most of the furnishings were purchased from Living Spaces, while the couple turned to Lamps Plus for the pendant lights and ceiling fans, and Home Goods for small accessories.

A wall originally separated the dining room from the kitchen.

A wall originally separated the dining room from the kitchen.

The dining table and chairs were swapped out for more contemporary furnishings. To keep costs low, Janelle shopped at big box stores; the light fixture is from Costco and the chairs are from Target.

The dining table and chairs were swapped out for more contemporary furnishings. To keep costs low, Janelle shopped at big box stores; the light fixture is from Costco and the chairs are from Target.

"I painted these bookcases white to brighten up the space, but then nothing else matched them," says Janelle. "So naturally, everything else in the room had to go so that the bookcases could work. So pretty much this room was built around white paint."

"I painted these bookcases white to brighten up the space, but then nothing else matched them," says Janelle. "So naturally, everything else in the room had to go so that the bookcases could work. So pretty much this room was built around white paint."

Janelle turned the divider wall next to the dining table into a focal point with a peel-and-stick wallpaper from Target's Opalhouse collection. Various knickknacks, many of which were thrifted, are put on display.

Janelle turned the divider wall next to the dining table into a focal point with a peel-and-stick wallpaper from Target's Opalhouse collection. Various knickknacks, many of which were thrifted, are put on display.

"My style is evolving, as am I, and each room is a reflection of myself in some way," notes Janelle. "I love to add texture and patterns to every space…and mixing old family heirlooms in with new pieces because I feel like those treasures bring character to a home."

Before: the master bedroom also featured a popcorn ceiling and a dark palette.

Before: the master bedroom also featured a popcorn ceiling and a dark palette.

The popcorn ceiling was replaced, textured, and painted while new base boards and crown moulding were put in. New paint, windows, and carpet modernize the room.

The popcorn ceiling was replaced, textured, and painted while new base boards and crown moulding were put in. New paint, windows, and carpet modernize the room.

Janelle and her four-month-old son, Carter, relax in the nursery. All the wood paneling was removed, the walls and ceilings were repainted, and new carpet was put in.

Janelle and her four-month-old son, Carter, relax in the nursery. All the wood paneling was removed, the walls and ceilings were repainted, and new carpet was put in.

Sienna's room has a clear elephant motif throughout.

Sienna's room has a clear elephant motif throughout.

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