CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Steve Shaluta likes to build things while his wife, Vickie, has an eye for decor.
They had finished remodeling their St. Albans townhouse when a nearby home caught their attention.
"Every time we would walk by this house, I would say, 'I really like that door,' " Vickie said. "While walking our puppy one day, we saw the house was for sale. Three weeks later, we were living here. Sometimes, the best things are what you don't expect."
It was 2008 when they moved into the house with a spacious backyard that meets the Coal River. Since then, vacations and any spare time have been invested in making changes.
Initially the house was 1,800 square feet but has been expanded to 2,500. Changes have been made on an ongoing basis and mostly on a shoestring budget.
"Vickie is thrifty and I'm a tightwad," Steve said.
The house has become colorful, elegant, comfortable, convenient and inviting due to their combined expertise and assistance from 18-year-old grandson Timothy Smith.
Steve could not estimate how much money they have saved through smart shopping and doing the bulk of the work themselves.
Vickie's decorating plan includes getting an idea of how she wants a room to look. Then she seeks out the items needed to achieve her goal. Timothy goes along to make suggestions and offer insight. He also has a knack for decorating. By assisting Steve, he has acquired building skills to boot.
Vickie shops online as well as at spots like Big Lots and Walmart. When she sees an item that will fit, she just knows.
Everything must be kid friendly and pet friendly.
The Shalutas have three children and seven grandchildren. Three large dogs are part of the family, including Maya, Willow and Georgia.
When they moved into the house in 2008, the first project was the kitchen.
They removed a wall between the kitchen and dining room and added an island with a granite countertop and cabinets beneath. Vickie refinished existing cabinets and added floor-to-ceiling cabinets. The room was completed with new lighting, stainless steel appliances and an elegant-looking plastic backsplash that was a fraction of the cost of tile.
The original wood floor was left in the kitchen while carpet was replaced throughout the rest of the house.
The entire interior was painted.