My DIY Kitchen Makeover

My DIY Kitchen Makeover

It used to be, whenever we spent time in our kitchen, we just tried to ignore how unattractive it was. That’s because it looked like this:
kitchen before
But not anymore. The makeover is totally complete! And it’s a wonder what a difference it makes to how much we enjoy the space.
DIY kitchen makeover: white cabinets and open shelves

DIY kitchen makeover: white cabinets and open shelves
When your stove doesn’t look like this:
kitchen stove before
But instead looks like this:
DIY kitchen makeover: painted cabinets
Cooking is a whole lot more pleasant. And going into the kitchen actually puts you in a good mood.

I’ve posted some updates as we worked our way through the project, but I figured I’d give you one big final rundown on the outcome, with details on everything we did.  First, one more before-and-after, because they’re so incredibly satisfying.
kitchen before
DIY kitchen makeover: white painted cabinets and open shelves

Ahhh, so much better! Here’s a summary of everything we did to get this kitchen to where it is today:

It’s true, what they say, that home renovation projects always take longer than you think they will. Those home makeover shows or blog posts where people claim they repainted and remade their entire kitchen in a week are a LIE. (Or they just have much smaller kitchens, more help, and/or are way better at this than I am.)

It doesn’t help that I have a very strong streak of perfectionism, which meant that there were multiple times where I wandered around the kitchen with a tiny fine-art paint brush, touching up the slightest mistakes. But I was using a sprayer to paint the cabinet doors and drawers, and I screwed up the spraying of the fronts of the cabinets a couple of times. They got super bubbly, which Steven figured out was because I was holding the sprayer too close, and spraying too thick of a coat of paint. Having done a ton of spray-painting with cans, I really should’ve realized that I needed to use a similar technique of light coats, but that’s hindsight for ya. So the painting took longer than we expected, but before we even got to that part, the prep was a lot of work, too. We washed with TSP, sanded, did a coat of primer, sanded that, then did another coat of primer if necessary, and then sanded AGAIN. Some of the cabinets had really thick, gunky stain (or grease??)  that needed tons of sanding. And this wasn’t just the exterior of the doors and drawers–the interiors were so gross, with random drips of stain, that we painted them, too. I didn’t want to open them up and have the brown interior suck the light out of the room, and even though it was a lot of extra work, I’m glad we did it.

Besides the painting, there were a lot of projects in this room that were total time-sucks. Like replacing the wall cabinet with the open shelving. Which meant that I had to finish the drywall behind the shelves (you can see it in this post). I’d never worked with drywall before, and I was able to figure it out thanks to internet tutorials, but it definitely took extra time to get the hang of it.

Another thing I’d never done was cut and install moldings. Guys, I don’t want to offend anyone, but cutting moldings sucks. You’ve gotta be super exact, and with a three-part molding (quarter-round, baseboard, and molding), I did a lot of running back and forth to my saw in the garage. It took waaaaay more time than I expected.

I also added extra work for myself with totally optional upgrades like this pan organizer that I built:

DIY vertical baking pan rack

A tip-out tray that I added to the kitchen sink:

kitchen sink tip-out tray

Pull-out drawers that I added to several cabinets:

kitchen pull-out drawers

And several more upgrades, many of which you can see here.
In order to even get to the point where I could add the pan organizer, I had to remove a shelf. But these cabinets weren’t built with adjustable shelves. I had to cut it in half with a jigsaw, bang on the shelf fragments with a mallet until I could get them out, then fill and repair the resulting slots in the wood. On the other hand, it makes accessing my baking sheets and pans so much easier. I basically just adapted this tutorial for my shelves, and if you’re handy and you like to bake, I’d totally recommend you make one, even if you have to butcher your cabinets to add it. This upgrade, along with the pull-out drawers and pull-out garbage can, has made our kitchen a lot more user-friendly.

So, overall, a ton of work, but in the end we got a much more attractive and usable kitchen. Totally worth it, as far as I’m concerned. Steven and I both marvel over how much we love our kitchen now.

And now I can move on with my life, to new projects. Like what’s behind this mysterious* door:
kitchen makeover: painted cabinets and open shelves

*Not actually mysterious. It just leads to stairs that go down to our back door and basement. But before I’d even finished the kitchen, I started a new makeover project down there. I just couldn’t resist the thrill of ripping off dark wood paneling and old carpet. Stay tuned!

Update: Still curious about what’s behind that door? Here’s the terrible before, and the satisfying after of our back door/stairs.

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2 thoughts on “My DIY Kitchen Makeover

  1. Pat, thanks! It is so much more bright and cheery now, which has a great impact on mood, especially during our gray NW winters.

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