Tag Archives: Cabinets

Kitchen Makeover on a Modest Budget

Kitchen Makeover on a Modest Budget

I’ve wanted to revamp my kitchen for a while, but I couldn’t ever decide on the direction I wanted to go.  I knew I wanted something timeless, and if I did incorporate trendy things, then I wanted them to be easily removed for other updates. This past fall, I finally found an inspiration picture of one that I loved, and decided to go for it.

A little background on the kitchen…This is what we started out with in 2005 about a month after we first moved in. Functional, and in really great shape physically.  Cosmetically, it screamed 1980s. We did change out the handles to a brushed nickel almost immediately after we moved in. Also, we added a light box and fixture over the sink to provide more light sometime in 2006.Kitchen when we moved in

Our move-in day was a bit hectic, because we had the dishwasher installers working on ripping out cabinets to fit in the new dishwasher.  Can’t live without one of those:) We were left with a small area to the right of the dishwasher which Double D and I eventually turned into a tall cabinet for baking sheets, with a tiny drawer above that.Cabinets before dishwasher

In 2008, we decided to turn the floating counter, that the previous owners had used for a bar area, into a pantry of sorts.  We filled that up pretty quick.  It was a laminate wood, so while it wasn’t an exact match to our cabinets, the color was close.Bu;ilding of 1/2 wall cabinet

Forward on to 2015.  The above items were pretty much the only updates we’d done to the kitchen in the 11 years we’ve lived here. Once I had a plan of what I wanted to do, I started by ripping out the scalloped wood trim that was above the sink.  Other than the flooring, I’ve disliked that piece for years:)  It was no hardship to rip it out, but I was left with a line in the ceiling from where it had been caulked.  Wasn’t expecting that.Scalloped trim above sink

The next item was lights. We changed out the one over the sink for a single pendant with a white glass shade.Sink light before and after

And we took the ceiling fan out (which I never used anyway), and exchanged it with a beautiful craftsman style light fixture.  It was on clearance, only in oil rubbed bronze. I bought it, and spent a little time spray painting it with Rustoleum’s satin nickel.Main light before and after

Then the big day came. Double D and I had spent days/weeks running around to all the stores looking at quartz, which I knew that I wanted just because of the ease of cleaning and maintaining.  We went to all the box stores, and some independent stores.  I decided finally on the Ella pattern from Cambria. I just loved the veining in the pattern, and it fit with the inspiration picture.  Another thing I loved about it was the marble like look to it, which I think is timeless. This is what it looked like after we had to empty out the bottom cabinets, and remove the doors and the appliances.Getting ready for countertop installation

The installers came and took off the 1990s speckled blue Formica. Nothing at all wrong with blue Formica, but I was glad to see it go:)taking formica off

And left us with beautiful countertops, which I love. They also changed out our sink to a Blanco Precis single bowl sink in Metallic Gray. This is the first time I’ve had a undermount sink, and I have to say I love it. There is an ease to just sweeping crumbs directly into the sink. There wasn’t anything wrong with our old sink, and I actually did like it too, but we decided to go from a double bin to a single bin, just so I can get my baking sheets all the way in the sink to clean them. It’s worked great so far.Quartz Ella counter topsQuartz Countertop on 1/2 wall

Another item they fixed for us was to replace the wood window sill behind the faucet with a quartz one. Every time we used the faucet, water from our hands would end up collecting on the wood, and after 10 years, it was looking pretty bad.  It didn’t matter how often we wiped it off, some got left.  Now we don’t have to worry at all about water spots, and the quartz provides a backsplash for the sink area. We also got a new faucet from Lowes.  It was the only one Double D and I could agree on, but in the end, it looks great, and fits with the clean line look of the kitchen.Quartz backsplash for sink area

The next step was the cabinets.  Since the cabinets were basically a blank slate, Double D and I added trim to the doors to give them a craftsman/shaker look. We caulked the gap on the edges between the trim and lip of the door. I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in French Linen to paint them, and then sealed them with floor sealer.  You can read my separate post about the transformation of the cabinets to see how we did it. All told, I think that project took about three weeks to finish.French linen cabinets

After the cabinets were done, I started stripping the wallpaper border. Luckily, this was pretty easy to do, although time-consuming.  I just had to strip off the first layer…Stripping wallpaper

And then used the 1/2 fabric softener, 1/2 water solution to scrape it off.  I let it soak into the paper for about 10 minutes before I tried anything.Paper layer removal

Finally, I could paint all the walls.  I had a hard time deciding on a paint color.  I originally was going to go with yellow, but I happened across the paint match tool on Cambria’s website, and ultimately decided its suggestion for Castleton Mist by Benjamin Moore was what I would go with.  It is a bit more green in real life than what is on the website, but when I picked up the sample I loved it immediately.Stages of wallpaper removal

The next project we tackled was the crown molding. Again, we had really a blank slate, since there wasn’t any to begin with. Double D and I are not the greatest at mitering. Well, that and mudding.

So we wanted to go with something relatively easy, but still fit with the Craftsman theme we found our kitchen going with. We ended up making our own, using paint grade pine boards.  After Double D cut the boards to fit, I painted them in the French Linen, and sealed them with the floor sealer. Then we hung them up. I’m glad Double D had this all figured out, because it was a bit like putting a puzzle together. Putting the crown molding together

This is a before and after of the crown molding. I also had to putty and repaint where the joints ended up being on the crown molding. You can read a separate post for the crown molding as well, where it is a bit more detailed. Craftsman crown molding

We had our friend Jimmy come over and help us install LED under cabinet lighting.  I’ve never had this before, and I can tell you, it makes a huge difference!  I wasn’t sure about it, but Double D talked me into it, and I’m so glad he did. The two guys started by running the wire under the cabinet.Under cabinet lighting installation

They then drilled a hole under the cabinet, fed the wire through, and nailed the transformer box at the top. They did this to the cabinets on both sides of the sink.  From there, Jimmy was able to wire it into the light switch for the kitchen, creating a separate switch for both the under cabinet lights, and the main light. Don’t ask me how he did that:)lighting box

The result is obvious, and I’m not sure how we lived without them before:)LED lighting

Another item we had to tackle was the line in the sheetrock above the sink.  As I said before Double D and I are not good with mudding, and we also have a texture on the ceiling that I have no hope of recreating.  We did hire a guy that we know to come in and fix that, in addition to where the Formica backsplash was ripped off.  It was just easier that way:) He did a great job.Sheetrock repair above the sink

At this point, I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Sort of. I was originally thinking all of this would take me about three weeks.  That’s what the cabinets ended up taking, just by themselves… I was ready to be done.

Unfortunately, we had three big projects left to do. One of those was the wood cornice shelves that we built for above the sink, and the dining room windows. Again we used the paint grade pine boards to build them in the style of the crown molding.  I painted them in the French Linen color, and sealed them with the floor sealer. We hung them above each window, and I decorated them. I got the cute little signs from The 36th Avenue. The cornices do cover the mini blinds when they are up, but I do think I would do a 1×8 for that bottom board, if I was to do it over again. To see more details on building the cornices, just go to my separate post.


Dining room cornice done

So remember I said I disliked the flooring I’d lived with for the past 10 years?  Well, dislike was a nice word. It wasn’t pretty, and I was super excited to get rid of it. old linoleum

I contacted my friend, Shawn, and he laid down some beautiful Luxury Vinyl Tile in Country Oak.  We had to go with something thin because there was VERY little room between the top of the fridge and the bottom of the cabinet above it. I’m talking about barely-getting-your-fingernail-under-it type room. Also, I loved that it had the grey, brown, and light colors that all complemented the new kitchen colors, and that it’s water proof. The linoleum came up just fine, so we were able to use the underlayment boards that were already there.Installing Luxury Vinyl tileVinyl tile installed

The last big project was the backsplash.  You can read the more detailed separate post for this one, but essentially I wanted something that wasn’t going to be permanent, and that was easy to put up.  I’m not even sure where I got this idea, but I’ve loved the perforated metal that’s used for radiator covers and so this came to mind as an idea.  I researched every kind of backsplash the internet could provide, and I kept coming back to this.  I ended up ordering it from Decorative Iron. Double D and I spent an evening putting the metal up, and I have to say the end result overshadows even the impressiveness of the countertops:)  I’m so glad I kept coming back to it.Perforated metal backsplashMetal backsplash

Finally. Finally, after a long two months, we were done. I piled all of my stuff back on the counters, and took some photos. Love, love, love how everything turned out!  Even if it was a ton of work.Finished revamp of kitchenFinished kitchen with lighting

And here are some before and after pics. Feel free to click on them to enlarge.before and after 1Sink before and afterBefore and after of L shape

Thanks for staying till the end:)  I know there were a lot of pictures, but we did a lot of work.  I couldn’t have done it without Double D, and his background in construction. We didn’t get to do some items that I would have loved to have done, like hide the microwave in some cabinet, disguise the vent hood somehow, and paint the trim around the windows and doors.  I felt like to paint the trim in one room would mean I’d have to do the whole house, and I just don’t have the energy:)

I didn’t keep an exact total of all the projects, but I know the quartz and sink was a huge chunk of the money spent, at $4200.00.  The flooring was next at $1200.00. Since we were able to use our existing cabinets, we did save a substantial amount there, and we kept our white appliances. I love the end result, and even though it isn’t exactly like my inspiration picture, I think that is totally fine, since that’s what makes it ours.

Thanks for looking!


For more information on our kitchen revamp, see also:

Creating Craftsman Style Crown Molding for Kitchen Remodel

Tired Cabinets get a Facelift with Chalk Paint

Using Perforated Metal for a Kitchen Backsplash

Wood Cornices Built for Revamped Kitchen

Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors, Between Naps on the Porch, Domestically Speaking, A Stroll Thru Life and Home Stories A to Z:







Tired Cabinets get a Facelift with Chalk Paint

Tired Cabinets get a Facelift with Chalk Paint

Double D and I have lived in our house for almost 11 years.  When we moved in, I didn’t mind the kitchen so much, but over time it seemed dated. I knew that it needed to be renovated, but part of the problem was that I could never figure out exactly how I wanted it. Finally, inspiration struck, and we had a plan. I knew I wanted grey cabinets, and I wanted the process to be fairly painless. Also, I knew that we had to keep these cabinets, since we splurged on our countertops.  I really do like them, since they fit everything we have, and they go all the way to the ceiling. Therefore, I opted to go with chalk paint by Annie Sloan since it eliminated the primer step. This is what the cabinets looked like when we moved in. We assume the cabinets are original to the house, so almost 40 years old now.Kitchen when we moved in

The maple doors were completely flat on the front, with just a little beveled edge. They were a blank slate, and in really good condition.  After finding this post from Build, Sew, Reap I decided to buy pine 1 3/4″ x 1/4″ lattice boards at Lowes, and attach those to the front of each. I loved the craftsman look, and wanted something simple but that would withstand the test of time.  We took the doors off, cleaned them really well, and threw the old hinges and handles in a bag to go to the Restore store. Double D then cut the lattice boards to fit each side, and we used brad nails to attach them to the front of the door. This also covered up the old handle holes, at least for the front.Brad nailing trim on

We then did this 22 additional times, including adding trim to the 1/2 wall cabinet to match the doors. There was no going back now. Trim on cabinetCabinet doors with trim

Once the trim was on, the doors were left with a gap between the trim and the beveled edge.  I bought some paintable caulk, and we used that to fill in the gap.Paintable caulk for doors

Because caulk shrinks, Double D would do a rough first layer that he smoothed out with a credit card. After it dried overnight, I would sand it, and do a second, more finished layer with the credit card. This seemed to get most of the gap filled in. This first picture is really blurry, but it was the only one I took of this process.  Sorry!filllling in gap with caulk  Smoothing out the caulk

After the final layer dried, I would then scrape the remaining putty from the back and the front of the door.  It seemed to come off better after it was dried, and didn’t mess the sides up.  I realized this about half way through the doors. Live and learn, right?taking off dried caulk from doors

This part of the process really did take the longest.  It was the most detailed part, and it also had a lot of drying time in between each layer. Additionally, I also put wood putty on the front seams of the trim, and filled in the handle holes on the backs of the doors.  I gave everything a good final sanding with a sanding block, and used a damp rag to get all the dust off. Finally though, we could begin painting.Caulk on door sides

We started by laying out the doors in the garage. I had to do it in batches since there were so many doors.Cabinet doors ready for paint

Side note: When we took the Super Susan door off, we found that they must have re-stained the doors a darker color at some point, because the back had that lovely 1970s orange color to it. If they had been that color when we moved in, I wouldn’t have waited as long to do something with them:)

1970s orange stain

I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in French Linen for the color. I’ve loved the grey trend that has been around for a while, and we have a lot of natural light in the kitchen, so I wasn’t worried about it being dark.  Also, this color seems to have a brown undertone to it, so I thought it would go well with my new countertops. I did break the chalk paint rules and use my sprayer to paint the doors. I got the idea for that from a post at the Charmed Nest. I did add water to thin it down, and the sprayer made it go a LOT faster. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint french linen drying

For the cabinet bases, I brushed the paint on without adding any water.  The first coat was a bit streaky, which is normal. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint french linen first coat

The second coat went on very well, and completely covered the wood. I didn’t need a third coat for them. Between the doors, the outside of the cabinet bases, and the 1/2 wall cabinet, I did end up using 2 1/2 cans of the chalk paint. It was a bit more expensive than I thought in the beginning, but I consoled myself by realizing I didn’t have to buy any primer. second coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint french linen

Once the doors were dry, I was able to start on the sealing process.  I know chalk paint normally has a wax that goes over the paint to protect it from chipping.  I have seen beautiful pieces of furniture with a wax finish, but since it is in the kitchen, I wanted something that was going to be able to take a lot of abuse.  Another thing was that I didn’t want to have to be redoing the wax part every few years for all of the cabinets.  I stumbled across this post from Artsy Chicks Rule, and so I decided to follow her advice and use the floor sealer as a finish coat.Floor sealer on chalk paint

I used a foam roller to brush it on, and I loved the outcome of it. I got semi-gloss, so there’s a slight sheen to the cabinets after the sealer dried. The sealer did change the color of the chalk paint, and made the grey a bit darker, which worked for my color scheme. I did two coats for each door, cabinet base, and the 1/2 wall. I know it’s only been a month since we got everything done, but so far the sealer is holding up very well, and I haven’t noticed any scratches or dings. 1/2 wall with floor sealer over chalk paint

Finally we were able to put the doors back on.  That in itself was a huge project because the new hinges were larger than the old ones, so we had to drill all new holes. It seemed to take forever.Cabinet doors rehung

I had a hard time deciding on the cabinet pulls.  I wanted something simple, and ultimately decided to go with little finger pulls.  I needed 21 of them, and they were $.99 apiece on Ebay.  Can’t go wrong with that. Double D drilled a hole on each door, and we installed the pulls. Finger pulls

The cabinets were officially put back together, and I even took the time to use clear matte contact paper to cover the back of the glass doors on the 1/2 wall cabinet. It is still see through, but it does give it a hint of privacy, so all of the stuff in there is a bit muted. contact paper

There were a lot of different steps to the cabinets, and between adding trim, caulking, painting and sealing, I think it took about three weeks to get them completely done.  Of course, this is with both of us working full time, and life in general getting in the way:)  I do love the outcome of these, and think it has completely changed the look of the kitchen so far!French linen cabinets

And here are some before and after photos. Annie Sloan chalk paint before and after1/2 wall before and after

We totally renovated the kitchen and have only recently gotten done, so there will be additional posts to come about how we did some of the other projects in the kitchen. More to come!



Update two years later:  I have been beyond pleased with the results of this process for painting cabinets.  I looked the doors over recently, and have found that there are no scratches, chips, or dings in the floor sealer, and that the paint looks like the day we put it on. We do have one cabinet that I was kind of concerned with when we began the painting, since it’s the one where we store our pans.  I checked the sides, and they are completely fine. Also, the wood surrounding the silverware drawer is holding up great as well.  I would recommend painting cabinets this way to anyone.

For more information on our kitchen revamp, see also:

Creating Craftsman Style Crown Molding for Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Makeover on a Modest Budget

Using Perforated Metal for a Kitchen Backsplash

Wood Cornices Built for Revamped Kitchen

Linking up with Between Naps on the Porch, Home Stories A-Z , Funky Junk Interiors, Domestically Speaking and A Stroll Thru Life: