Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kitchen- Before & After

The kitchen. It is the gathering place, where you eat, drink and be merry. Well... the state of the kitchen when we bought the house was probably the last place you would actually ever want to cook in or gather around. It was sooo dark with all the wood, felt super cramped with the massive kitchen island, and the appliances? Plain disgusting. There was a layer of filth and dirt and probably mold over everything. Even though this room needed an overhaul, we knew we wanted to do it on a pretty tight budget, because eventually we would like to rip out everything and start fresh- but after living in the renovated kitchen, I think those plans will be on hold for awhile :). We love the way it looks now- fresh, clean, and updated with some character. 

Source details and steps of what we did are detailed below. I hope this inspires or motivates you to take on a little remodel of your own and be sure to let us know if it does! 


The refrigerator is from our house in TX, it is a bit small for the opening but who cares, in my mind it was free :).  We first took down all the cabinet doors (they are easier to paint when removed off their hinges) and gave everything a good scrubbing with Dawn dish soap and hot water.

After taking down all the doors, we removed the appliances we planned on replacing (sink/dishwasher/microwave). Then per usual we removed a ton of freaking wall paper and prepped the floor for painting.

No surprise here- we put down two coast of our favorite oil based primer literally over everything except the floors. If you look at the beams in the picture above you can tell where we did one coat of primer and then started going over everything with a second coat. 


After primer, we painted on two more coats of my favorite white- BM Chantilly Lace. Gloss was used on the beams only, everything else, including cabinets was done in flat- mostly because we had a ton of that sheen. I think if I were to do it all again I would do the cabinets in satin, but definitely like the chalky flat look too. Cabinet doors were given the same treatment- two coats of primer, two coats of flat white finish. We didn't spend time or money using grain filler- which I am glad of because the trim and cabinet doors look great, the wood grain is barely visible. 

I do not miss these stages at all- it is a lot of work! (but totally worth it!)

Originally I wanted to take down the cabinets next to the window and install shelves, but we were kind of scared to know what the wall condition was behind the cabinets and the fact that there is a faucet/beam above them which would require way more work than what we wanted. Also, Whit committed to turning the solid wood doors into glass cabinets, which I will blog about later! The light fixture shown has a great story- it is a newly dubbed "family heirloom" passed down from Whit's Aunt. It was in her dining room when her house burned down, but she was able to have it rewired and sent it to us at our former house in TX. We made sure it made the trek to Alabama with us and will move wherever we wind up next. To give the chandelier an updated look, I sprayed the white covers for the lights flat back and used round bulbs vs. using the normal candle bulbs. I love the way this looks!

The next thing we did was probably the best decision we have ever made! Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on stone or Formica counters, we used marble contact paper!! I don't have any good action shots of us putting it down, but we cleaned off the counters and scrapped any dirt particles off. Next we rolled out the amount to cover the counters length wise, so there is a barely noticeable seam that runs down the center of the counters. Whit used this tool to smooth the contact paper while I would hold it up a few inches off the counter. Doing this prevented air bubbles and ensured the lines were straight. We installed the sink (which was a clearance find at Lowe's) after placing down the contact paper. I love love love the sink- it was cheap, came with a decent looking faucet and doesn't have that dumb divider.

Next up was tiling. We watched you tube videos on how to tile, and then went to work. It was slow at first, but once we got our pattern down it was pretty fast moving. We tiled all the back splashes and edges of the interior of the kitchen. We used this tile cutter and it worked great, and was super freaking cheap! In all we put up about 500 tiles- good practice for the bathrooms :)


We were sooo happy to start cooking again, we didn't care if the tile wasn't finished or that there was crap everywhere! After we cut and placed all the tiles, we filled in with bright white mortar and sealer. Again, we just watched YouTube videos on how to do all this!

After the tile was finished, we painted and hung back up all the cabinet doors. We painted the doors the same color as the walls and installed new knobs and pulls. Hinges can get expensive so we painted ours in flat black. I'll do another post on how we inserted glass in the cabinet doors, as we still have a few doors to finish! The opening to the left is where an electric oven was located. We took out the oven and will be inserting some shelves along with DIYing some custom glass doors.

When all this was done it was basically cleaning up everything and unpacking boxes of kitchen stuff into our "new" kitchen!



Whit made the kitchen island out of these legs and this top- which he cut down to the size we needed. We used food grade mineral oil on the butcher block to act as a protectant (we apply this about once every few months) and I am absolutely obsessed with how the island turned out! The bar stools are from a vintage shop and cost in total about $50, which is less than half the cost of a normal bar stool from a any retail store. Why are bar-stools sooo expensive???!!! 

Can you tell I am obsessed with wine glasses? I found the glasses above for like $2 each during the holidays at Pottery Barn last year. Anything I get from that store is from the clearance section and usually only when they have the "additional 40% off clearance" sale :)

I used stacked books in the cabinet space above the fridge because I was part lazy and didn't want to paint, and I have an abundance of thirfted books. 

I love white- I collect white plates, bowls, mugs from all over so my look is streamlined but has character.


We seriously spent very little considering this is like a full kitchen remodel. It just took a lot of grit, paint and wine :) We still have some finishing detail work to do in here with regards to cabinet doors and figuring out what we want to do for under cabinet lighting. I'll continue to update as we make changes. I love looking at the after photos and being so happy that we are done! 




  1. Wow Elizabeth and Whit!! I am amazed...especially with the marble contact paper!! Can you come and do my counters that way next time you are in Muscatine???? LOVE IT ALL!!

    1. Of course :) Thank you for the sweet comment!!

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  3. This is amazing!! Wishing you much success with this new blog.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Jenna! XO!

  4. My wife and I were discussing painting our kitchen. It is too dark, and we wanted to know how much difference it would make if we did that. Wow, you really brightened up the whole room and remade it into something great. We will use many of the same colors you used, and we hope to get the same results.

    1. We love it and I am a fan of bright white kitchens- something about it feels just so clean and refreshing! Good luck on your remodel & thanks for reading!

  5. Looks fantastic!! Did you use brushes to paint the cabinets or did you spray? Also how deep are your counters, looking to buy some of this contact paper but finding it hard to locate the right depth. Keep up the amazing work!!

    1. Hey Vanna! Thanks for much for the kind comment and for reading! We used brushes on our cabinets, but definitely recommend spray as well. We had to put down two strips of the contact paper, so there is a line that runs toward the back of the counter length wise. You can tell there is a line if you look really close, but most people don't even notice! We didn't overlap the paper at all, just got them as close together and tried to match up the pattern. Hope this helps!