Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Kitchen Makeover: Before and After

Remember when I said I needed to show you more of my house and personal projects?  Well I'm following through on that today!  For those who have visited my home, you know it's seen quite the transformation since my husband lived here with 6 guys before we were married (yucky!).  We live in an older neighborhood, but we're the nearest suburb (within 1 mile) from the downtown portion of our city.  We love the location, and it's common knowledge that if you buy here, you're really paying for the land, not the house.  We also live within a mile of a major university, and thus plan to use this house as a rental after it is payed off.  This is the main reason for our DIY-ing...  We don't want to over-improve our home for it's neighborhood, and we can't put anything in here that won't be a good investment for the renters who will eventually live here.

With that in mind, we renovate very carefully, making sure we'll get more than 100% back on our investment.  I was growing tired of the kitchen after living here only about a year.  It was straight out of the 1970's: LOW ceilings, dark oak cabinets, formica countertops, basic appliances, and limited storage space, among other limitations.  Just for fun, we priced out new cabinets.  Estimated cost?  $20,000!!!!!  Holy ridiculous!   While I'd love to have that budget, mine was about 1% of that: ~$200.  So, repainting and small adjustments seemed like the best option.  We set out to choose paint colors and hardware that we like, and without further ado, I began the project of Summer 2010.  It took me 6 weeks, and a total of $322, but it was QUITE the transformation!


I apologize for the poor picture quality, this was before the new camera!  And I can't believe I didn't think to take pictures until I had already removed the cabinet doors, and taped everything off!  Do you just love the low ceilings and terrible oak cabinetry?  Inviting, no? ;)

This is after I'd applied the first coat of primer, and I was wondering what the hell I was thinking getting into this!!

6 weeks, 27 hours of sanding (BY HAND!), 4 coats of paint, countless hours of hunching over, and picking paint out of my hair and we ended up with this...


The pantry doors will be my April/May project.  They'll be getting a (scalloped?? maybe??) white border and black chalkboard paint.  Sorry about all the junk on the fridge, we live here... I'm just keepin' it real. =)

You can see we had to remove a cabinet above the stove to add an "over the range" microwave.  Would I have loved in industrial hood?  Yes.  Would it have been the best choice for a rental and a cheap makeover?  Definitely not.  Since having a custom cabinet remade to match the existing cabinets is expensive, I made a curtain to hang there until we have the $400 to have the cabinet made or I think of a better idea. =)  Suggestions welcome!  The curtain color can change as well, I made a cranberry one (pictured), a green one, a blue one and a striped one.  Also, we're saving up to replace the yucky white dishwasher and fridge with stainless steel.  Two appliances down (micro and stove), two to go!

You can see that the lazy susan in the corner and the two drawer fronts below the sink still lack their proper knobs and pulls.  Until recently we couldn't figure how to drill through the back of either cabinet since both were blocked.  UNTIL.... I had the bright idea to just GLUE them!  They're not going to be used to pull anything, they just need to match.  I'll have to do an update when we finish them (such a small task, but I put it off SO well).  Also, can you see my tree through the window that DESPERATELY needs trimming?  Next weekend!

Close up of the nasty white dishwasher.  Luckily for us, the original formica counter tops are faux butcher block, which makes the white look more "southern kitchen."  Even if it is fake-ity McFake-erson. =)

Here's a close up of the paint job, and the farmhouse pulls we chose for our drawers (all hardware by Amerock from Lowes).  And Coca~Cola, haha!

We'll also be installing a new drop light over the sink in a few weeks (as soon as CSN stores ships my new lamp!), and the florescent lighting will go, in favor of a vaulted ceiling... eventually. =)  I'll be sure to post more pics!

This is the first of the projects I've completed around my home that I need to let you see.  So, what do you think?  Although it was hard, it was worth every penny, especially since it only cost $322!   Next I'll take you to my reading nook... as soon as I buy my lamp from Ikea to finish off the space.  (I should be able to go tomorrow, yay!)  Thanks for looking, and I'm serious on advice for the "above the microwave" space!   I hope you're enjoying your weekend; happy Saturday, friends!

**Linking to:


  1. Looks great, April! I actually thought the counter was new post painting the cabinets!

  2. April, I think the kitchen looks great. What a dramatic change! For over the microwave, maybe you could get a Hardboard Wainscot Panel from Lowes, cut it to size and paint it to match your cabinets. They run about $11. You could attach it with Velcro so it’s easy to remove should you need to get into the cabinet. Another idea is to use scrap lumber and cut to size then paint it to match the pantry doors when you paint them. However, I like the curtain. Changing the colors would be fun. Good luck! I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

  3. Thanks! Great idea, Leslie. eventually, I'd love to have a wood surface up there, and a wainscot panel sounds easy and nice-looking. =)

  4. Thanks for linking to my Room By Room series. Your kitchen looks great April!


  5. I can't really tell about the space over your microwave and I know this is an old post I just found, but what about a shelf or two up there? However, I think the curtain idea is pretty cute too, and changing the colors is very clever.

  6. Great job! It really brightened up and updated your kitchen! Looking forward to seeing more! Thanks so much for sharing in the Roomspiration Kitchen party! :)


  7. Love what you have done. The kitchen looks so much brighter and fresh. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. I think you could cover that space with small shutters painted to match your cabinets. You can install them with minimum framing. I applaud you for all your hard work - the sanding alone would have done me in! Keep up the great work.

  9.  You really did a beautiful job! I love how bright & fresh everything looks. What an improvement. 

  10. I LOVE your kitchen! It is so modern and stunning! I pinned it for inspiration!

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  11. I am so happy to have found your blog! Your kitchen makeover looks beautiful! The information you have shared is very informative. thanks

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