$0.00 This Blog
Provided free of charge, and as always, ad-free. That doesn't mean i'm above shamelessly plugging myself, though. If you like the blog, please consider hitting one of those "share" buttons below my signature on each post. You can also commission my architectural services for a cost that sits somewhere in the middle of this list.
Architectural Record to The New York Times. It's worth noting that the absurdly low (but not free!) cost reminds us that architecture is exceptionally advanced field that remains beholden to public whim. While the construction of a new home may be the most expensive venture in which a family ever engages, keep in mind that professional design can make an enormous difference in quality of life before trying to save a few extra dollars with a developer-built McMansion. Morefield also makes strong points regarding the ripple effect in architecture -- one project employs a large population, from contractors to lumberyards. Maybe consider that before voting down a new school millage.
$1 A Lightbulb
this 4-pack of standard incandescent bulbs could be yours! Or, i suppose, you could play 20 questions with Mr. Morefield.
Do everyone a favor and buy modern lighting when possible, though. CFLs have come a long way, and even LED is beginning to be appropriate for many household applications.
$5 Mosaic Mirror Tile (50 pc)
This particular example is 3/8th inch, so it would probably be a bit of a hassle to clean in a kitchen environment, but it could be quite beautiful as an accent piece for a semi-enclosed porch near water. Alternately, it could be used for a custom frame if mounted on a sturdy backer. You could frame ANOTHER MIRROR with them! Mirrorception!
For another $5, you could instead buy a six-pack of 12 inch square mirror tiles at Meijer.
$12 Decorative Throw Pillow
vibrant blue microsuede pillows would work wonders on a white couch of similar material. Pristine white pillows can also draw the eye if they're placed on the right backdrop -- but be careful. You have to choose a narrow color palate for accents in any given room. It's a terrible idea to accent your couch one way, the rug another, and the table another. Err on the side of too few colors. Adding more later is easy, but it's easy to hoard garish junk when you've paid hard-earned money for it.
John Leeke, who writes for This Old House, and who i have never spoken to or met in any way: it don't matter none, son. Make sure you prepare the surface to be painted appropriately, and your paint should survive for decades. Do check out his article (linked above) for more specific information in that vein.
$150 Cylindrical Corner Sconce
Sharpie art, if that's your thing. I appreciate this kind of light because it not only conceals the light source (exposed bulbs can be an eyesore) and throws contour onto the otherwise forgotten corner of a room, but also it provides a decent amount of illumination. A corner sconce like this ALSO saves you floor space compared to a torchiere style floor lamp.You can buy them at this website, if you like.
$1,250 Shaker Trestle Table in Cherry
a pretty solid piece of furniture right there.
$3,500 Stainless Steel Refrigerator
a fairly high quality model to showcase on this list. Some people like the through-wall water and ice, other don't -- that's personal choice. This one features a double pull-out crisper and freezer, though, which is a particularly efficient design. Warm air, as you might recall from junior high, rises. Cold air, then, tends to sink...out the bottom of your freezer when you open a side-hinged door.
Don't just look for the EnergyStar rating. Instead, compare critically the amount of electricity you will likely spend on a yearly basis. It should be right there on the same yellow sticker as the EnergyStar logo.
On a design note, avoid polished in favor of brushed steel unless you have a live-in maid, because let's be honest here -- you aren't going to clean off those smudgy fingerprints every day.
$56,000 Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel
this very trustworthy site claims an average around 56 thousand USD for a mid-sized kitchen. Of course, that depends entirely on your geopolitical location, the size of the kitchen, the existing conditions, and just how much swag you need. After all, you COULD spend the entire remodeling budget on sixteen refrigerators.
Or you could do something nice and tasteful like Flickr user Armchair Builder.
$1,000,000 Authentic Tiffany "Magnolia" Lamp
like the example at left) for less than four digits, an authentic piece will set you back a bit more. That is, assuming you can find what you want at auction.
$1,000,000,000 Antilia, Mumbai by Perkins & Will
over here. I won't comment on tastefulness, though.