Could family, coffee, and a little red wine be the secret to a successful remodel? Well, for HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, that combination proves to be a triple threat. And we don't doubt them. With hit TV shows like Kitchen Cousins, Cousins on Call, and now the upcoming Cousins Undercover , the charming duo knows a thing or two about tackling a renovation. Lucky for us, we sat down with New Jersey's finest to chat everything from tips for saving and splurging to how to prevent a major remodeling disaster.
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POPSUGAR: When it comes to updating a kitchen, where should one splurge and where should one save?
Anthony Carrino: Kitchens are notoriously the most expensive rooms in the house. But you can definitely save on cabinetry. The face of the cabinets is what you’re showing off, so when it comes to the back boxes, you have some leeway. If you're budget allows, the high end would be plywood, while melamine — what we often choose — is more in the middle. On the low end, there's press board cabinets — perfect if you’re on a tight budget. Where you don’t want to compromise is on your appliances . . . assuming you cook and your kitchen reno isn't just for show!
John Colaneri: We sometimes tell people to splurge on an item that offers a big impact. A great example is a standout backsplash. A lot of time we choose something unique like handmade Moroccan tiles. Because this is a project that involves less square footage, you get more bang for your buck.
PS: What problem do you often see people making during a major home renovation?
AC: We find that the biggest mistake is that people don’t plan properly. They don’t plan the work properly, and they don't plan the budget properly. Trust us, if you don’t plan out your project or budget, you're tying both of your hands behind your back before you even start!
JC: It's true, we see so many people just jump in and start their projects without having a plan and budget in mind. Then they panic, the project stalls, and things get pretty bad. But it's also when they call us!
Source: Nate Berkus 
PS: What's the most rewarding part about a renovation?
AC: I know it sounds cheesy but when you see peoples' faces as they walk into their home. It never gets old.
JC: Also, the thing that really surprised the two of us were the volunteers that came out; a lot of these people don’t even know the homeowners! We got to know their stories. By everyone being selfless, you get this spiraling effect that echoes through society. It was a really positive, restorative thing to be a part of.
PS: Do you have any advice for updating rental kitchens?
JC: Focus on the lighting. We go into a lot of homes where people don’t realize the impact that lighting has. Although important, a lot of people might focus solely on changing the hardware, but truly how many people will notice that? It's the lighting that sets the tone. Hanging two fixtures over an island can make a huge impact without costing a lot of money. And the best part is that you can take them from place to place.
AC: It’s not even the fixtures though! It's the lighting itself (try Cree lighting  or LED bulbs ), and the placement of that lighting can really dictate the mood in the room. Having a quality light source can set the mood for a sexy dinner or a lively party.
Source: Nate Berkus 
PS: What's the best part about working with family?
AC: We couldn’t do this if we weren't working with each other. We have a lot of clients that we do individually, but if you talk about Cousins Undercover  (all new, starting June 25 8 p.m. PDT) with three-day builds, 60 people on site, and an entire floor renovation, I don’t have enough trust in any other human being on this planet than my cousin. It may sound cute but it’s true . . .
JC: We're on the road so much and our days are so long that you need to have your family close. Your mind is in so many crazy places that you need someone to pick you up when you’re down.
PS: So what you really need is family and coffee?
AC: Family, coffee, and a little red wine!
PS: OK, so is there anything bad about working with family?
JC: No, we haven’t had anything bad yet!
AC: We actually get along!
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