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Kristan Cunningham is what you might call a budget buff. In fact, as the lead designer on HGTV's hit show Design on a Dime, she thrives on the challenge of creating eye-popping yet affordable makeovers for lucky homeowners. It turns out she also practices what she preaches. When she and her husband, Scott, moved into their Southern California home more than a year ago, they loved the house's quirky charm. The kitchen, however, was another matter. The layout was workable and the space had new stainless-steel appliances, but the heavily shellacked cathedral-arch-style oak cabinets were uninspiring.
Instead of putting in pricey new models, Cunningham decided to work with what was there. She kept the look classic but injected some serious style and brought in the whole job for less than $1,000. All it took was a dose of ingenuity and a bit of elbow grease.