Kitchen Mini Makeover

There are so many incredible aspects of our house! There’s the gorgeous curved staircase, the floor to ceiling bay windows, the stained glass transoms over the doors… but the kitchen was not one of these gorgeous things.

Over the Thanksgiving break, while Tony and Dad were tearing up flooring, drilling holes, and installing new plumbing for the bathroom upstairs, Mom and I tackled the kitchen cabinets. In these before photos you can see that there were definitely some fab features here. I love that open shelving! The windows over the sink let in a lot of light, and the light fixtures were gorgeous. There were a lot of negatives too though, including plastic drawer pulls so thin it was nearly impossible to grab ahold of them, an outdated and peeling border/wallpaper combo, and that same hideous faux woodgrain finish that we’d recently painted over in the dining room. (Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of a faux finish! I love the pieces I’ve antiqued since picking up my furniture refinishing habit. I loathed that faux wood-grain though!)

20131223-232507.jpg That white stuff above the windows was when we got a little overexcited with the expanding foam while weatherizing!


Anyway, the plan was to cover the red wallpaper inside the built-in and paint the cabinets with leftover gray paint from the living room. This was to be a mini-makeover with a micro budget, and we were able to stick to that for the most part!

I pulled down all the nice dishes and stacked them on the dining room table. Yes, that’s the same table I recently worked so hard to refinish!


Day One was my introduction to wallpaper! In order to give the built-in some added depth, I decided to apply beadboard. The wall behind the built-in is plaster (while all the other walls in the room are sheetrock) and the old wallpaper that was up there seemed pretty solid, so we decided to put the beadboard wallpaper right over the old stuff. Here you can see the unpainted “beadboard” up there. My dad, who has installed countless sheets of actual beadboard at my parents’ house, didn’t believe me when I told him it was wallpaper!

20131223-232253.jpg You can also see how hideous these cabinets are! Most of them don’t even have shelves inside, so they’re kind of a mess. The long-range plan includes their removal and replacement with something made of actual wood… For now though, the name of the game is making the best of what we have!

Once the wallpaper was up/in and dry, it was time to paint. The cabinets themselves went fairly quickly. Each received two coats of gray and 2 coats of polycrylic. That big built-in, however, has been nicknamed The Beast because it was such a challenge to paint! Most difficult of all was that so much of it had to be painted upside now. I cannot imagine how the Sistine Chapel was ever completed, because painting upside down is miserable! Tony snapped this phone photo while I was trying to get underneath the bottom shelf.

Confession Time: I only ended up putting one coat down there. No one really sees it anyway, right!? “Midgets would,” Tony brought up. Remind me to add another coat if any little people will be coming over!

We completed all the shelves/cabinets by the end of Thanksgiving Break, but I didn’t put dishes back until the next weekend so the paint would have more time to cure. The new hardware was put on (1/2 price at Hobby Lobby!) and already the room was much improved!


Opening up those windows by removing the lace treatments brought in a ton of light to this dark little room; light I didn’t even realize was missing! We also brought in light from the west by removing the blinds on the adjoining bathroom window, frosting the bottom 1/2 of the glass, and covering the top half with an old window found at the antique store.

20131225-222019.jpg Why not just frost the whole thing? Great question! Because the top window pane is actually plastic. Yes, you read that right. Apparently at some point the window broke, and whoever replaced it used a sheet of plastic instead of getting real glass. Joy! : )

Anyway, at that point work in the kitchen paused for two reasons: First, my Aunts Amy and Beth came to visit for Mom’s birthday, and we had a great visit with them! That was the happy reason for the hiatus.

Second, we ran into a little issue when the weather turned really cold – our kitchen sink pipes froze! That was the unhappy reason. We were so lucky that the pipes did not burst though, and Tony was able to thaw them with my hairdryer. The frozen pipes did lead to some other issues, including a broken dishwasher motor. Needless to say, we’re taking some steps to bump up the heat retention in the kitchen!

Because of those two things, we had a dual colored kitchen for a few weeks. Then Mom came over and took down the old border and red wallpaper (Thanks again, Mom!) one day while I was at school so I could paint the rest of the walls. That was a nice surprize! Here’s the before:

I really like that red color, but in this little room and with that dark trim, it made the whole thing feel really small and closed in, so I wanted to cover it in a lighter color to brighten the whole room. We’d had to repaint one room of the townhouse before we moved out, so Tony bought a couple gallons of returned paint at Home Depot for $7 a piece. We had a whole gallon left over, so that’s what I used in the kitchen! (Really sticking with that micro budget thing!) Here’s the after:

We did keep a bit of the red color by using the same paint color on the door to the back porch. It gives a great pop of color, but isn’t so oppressive.
The wall by the stove is still really bare, and the kitchen has some other issues I’d like to address, but the new colors are a major improvement! The room seems much bigger and lighter now.


Watch in the next few weeks for some additional decor elements in this room and the addition of a pantry, which I’m currently in the process of building, with Tony’s help of course!

Oh, and I mentioned that micro-budget. If you’re curious, here’s an approximate price run-down:
Beadboard Wallpaper – $30 (one roll was the perfect amount)
17 Drawer/Cabinet Pulls – $35
Wall Paint already on hand – $7 originally
Gray Cabinet Paint left over from previous room
1 gallon trim paint, because we ran out – $35
Glass window for bathroom – $15
Glue and food coloring to color the glass – $2
Total – under $125!

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7 Responses to Kitchen Mini Makeover

  1. Nancy Clewell says:

    Wow! It really doesn’t look like the same space at all. Love what you are doing!

  2. Pam McNicoll says:

    Unbelievable difference and I was right there to witness it and still am amazed with the before and afters!
    Thanks for letting me help- what fun!!
    Love, Mom

  3. Becky Waters says:

    Beautiful, Lindy!! Great job!!

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