Jasmine Roth is back for Season 2 of HGTV’s “Help! I Wrecked My House,” and she has tons of tips on DIY projects and projects that should be left to the professionals.
In the episode “Help! My Reno Has No Plan,” Roth meets with Matt and Sarah, parents of three from Garden Grove, CA, who are in way over their heads. They’ve been doing their own home renovation, but after demolishing half of their house, they’ve realized they don’t know how to rebuild. Now it’s up to Roth to create a beautiful kitchen and living room on a slim $75,000 budget.
Find out how Roth creates a stylish space with limited funds, and get plenty of tips on what to do—and avoid—with your own DIY home renovation.
Never knock down a wall without checking what’s inside
This family had wanted to create a fun spot for their dog in the entryway, so before consulting Roth, Sarah had knocked a hole in one wall. Roth points out how dangerous this can be without assessing what could be behind it (there could be pipes or electrical), although Sarah was lucky enough to not hit anything important.
While putting a hole in the wall wasn’t the smartest move, Roth doesn’t want Sarah to give up on their DIY effort.
“I want you guys to feel you can work on your house still,” she says.
So Roth moves forward with the project and helps build a spot for their dog, but also encourages Sarah to help with a more beginner-friendly project: picking out the paint colors for a colorblocking project in that area.
Sarah picks out some greens and a yellow, then gets to painting.
“These colors totally bring me so much joy and happiness,” she explains. “I can start seeing the space kind of come to life.”
Add a window between rooms
Sarah and Matt have an odd kitchen/living room layout. The kitchen is on one level while the living room is around the corner and down a few steps, making it feel more separated than this family would like. Before Roth joins the project, Sarah and Matt had made a hole in the wall between the kitchen and the sunken living room, trying to open up the space.
Roth approves of the concept, but knows this opening might not be quite the solution this family is looking for. So she adds an industrial-style window that can open and close, creating a stylish feature that can block living room noise when needed.
“You guys had the idea to leave the opening,” Roth says. “I love the idea because you guys can be here doing dishes, can still see the kids, and I think the way you had it, it kind of would’ve been connected but not like it is now.”
Now, the rooms feel cohesive, but the space isn’t so open that they need to be careful about noise levels.
Make a prefab island feel custom
Roth installs prefab cabinets in this home (since she can’t afford to go custom), but she still wants the space to feel unique. So she decides to focus on the island.
“I’m trying to figure out clever ways to customize this island within our budget, and one of the ways that I’m going to do that is to order all the cabinetry the same except for this one little end cap,” Roth says.
She has a custom shelving unit added to the edge, which not only provides extra storage, but also adds convenient spots for the family’s many reusable water bottles. It just goes to show that even a prefab kitchen can look custom with a clever built-in.
Add a brass toe kick
To make this kitchen look extra special, Roth decides to add a brass toe kick to the island. She buys a bundle of raw brass strips for just $200 and sands one long piece until it has a distressed look.
“Being able to do something special with this toe kick is an opportunity to make this island stand out,” Roth says of the project.
She then uses glue to attach the brass to the bottom of the island, explaining that this project doesn’t even require screws or nails. Roth’s toe kick ends up looking great, proving this could be a great project for a DIYer.
You don’t have to move an off-center fireplace
If there’s one thing Sarah hates about this house, it’s the fireplace.
When she first shows Roth the living room, she complains about how weird the off-center fireplace looks. She wants to center it, and while Roth doesn’t have the budget to actually move this fireplace, she has an idea to improve this feature.
“We’re going to add shelves, we’re going to add a box to the mantel, and we’re going to add a bench,” Roth says. “And all of those things playing together, with the fireplace, is going to make this whole room feel really symmetrical.”
Roth spends $1,275 on the custom shelving and bench, and just $300 on the new fireplace tile. When the work is done, the off-center fireplace doesn’t look so odd. With the bench and shelving, it looks like this fire feature was always meant to be this way.
The bottom line: You don’t need to invest a lot of money to move an oddly placed fireplace. Sometimes, you just need to change what’s around it.