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:
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.
When your stove doesn’t look like this:
But instead looks like this:
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.
Ahhh, so much better! Here’s a summary of everything we did to get this kitchen to where it is today:
- Replaced the overhead light (Schoolhouse Electric base and shade) and over-the-sink light fixture (DIY with parts from Color Cord Company)
- Painted the cabinets, inside and out (Benjamin Moore Advance paint in semigloss Cotton Balls)
- Replaced the cabinet hardware with knobs (Rejuvenation) and bin pulls (Rejuvenation)
- Painted the walls and ceilings (Benjamin Moore Regal paint in semigloss Cotton Balls)
- Removed the vinyl flooring and refinished the wood underneath (we hired Brandsen Hardwood to do this)
- Replaced one of our wall cabinets with live-edge wood shelves from Salvage Works (with brackets we installed from Blue Stone Shelves).
- Painted the plastic vintage brown clock black.
- Added a pull-out garbage and recycling bin (from Rev-A-Shelf, bought on Amazon here and here)
- Added several cabinet pull-out drawers (from Rev-A-Shelf and Home Depot)
- Added door shelf organizers under the sink.
- Added a tip-out-tray to the front of the sink (from Rev-A-Shelf)
- Built a cabinet organizer for baking sheets/cooling racks/other miscellaneous baking pans (followed this tutorial)
- Tore off the grey vinyl glued around the perimeter and as a toe-kick, and replaced it with wood molding that we painted (Benjamin Moore Advance paint in semigloss Cotton Balls)
- Added a clip-on light to the shelves (You’ll never guess where this is from. “The hardware store?” you might be thinking. But no, A PET STORE. It’s a clamp lamp from Petco, which is meant to help keep your reptile nice and toasty. It’s the dimmable one, and with a LED bulb there’s no heat. There are similar hardware store versions, but the white part on this one is ceramic, rather than plastic, so it won out.)
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:
A tip-out tray that I added to the kitchen sink:
Pull-out drawers that I added to several cabinets:
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:
*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!