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Kitchen Reveal!


After 5 long months of working on our first house, we're starting to see some real progress! We used to joke that we only had before and "during" since we could never seem to get to an "after". Well... *drum roll* we today we have an after! The kitchen!

We saw a lot of awful, outdated and useless kitchens (with fridges in the hallway!) while out house hunting. It had us a little worried! Luckily the house we bought already had nice stainless steel appliances and new Corian counters but we were still skeptical about those linoleum floors, lower orange cabinets and the dishwasher that stuck out like a sore thumb. We knew we would eventually enjoy cooking but we had some changes to make first.




Kitchen RevealKitchen Reveal FridgeKitchen RevealKitchen RevealKitchen Reveal Table

Along the Way

While waiting for our closing date (we had three months between signing and closing) we came up with a lot of great ideas for upgrading the house. We didn't have the budget for a full kitchen renovation, but we had lots of ideas on how to give it a major face lift.

One of our ideas was to refinish the hardwood on the entire main level since some of the rooms were in bad shape. The only room on the entire level that wasn't hardwood was the kitchen. I had a theory in my mind that underneath the linoleum there was some original 90 year old oak wood. During our walk through I pulled out one of the bottom drawers in the kitchen and saw a beautiful sight - hardwood!

We had 6 weeks between when we closed and moved in. It was the perfect time to refinish the floors but if we were going to include the kitchen in that project (and you know we really wanted to!) we had to get rid of the linoleum first. It became our first project and it helped us jump into DIY improvements head first.

Linoleum up, ready to finish the hardwood!
Kitchen Reveal Hardwood

After some Minwax Dark Walnut, poly, and a lot of elbow grease.


Cabinets and Hardware
After conquering the hardwood floors, we turned to the cabinets. We had long debates about whether to paint the wood. We LOVE wood especially if it's original. But there was this constant internal battle between wanting to paint everything white for a nice clean look and bringing the house back to it's original character - which didn't involve white paint. In the end we painted all the kitchen cabinets because they were mismatched, mostly non-original, and the few originals were in bad condition. We also replaced the hardware with sleek nickle handles and knobs.

Kitchen Reveal Hardware

Pot Rack
Although there is a lot of cupboard space, we quickly realized how few places we could store our pots and pans. Since we were super blessed to receive an awesome Calphalon set as a wedding gift, we wanted to take good care of the pots and avoid stacking them in one another (which can cause the non-stick stuff to get scratched and rub off). So, we did some researched and learned how to hang a pot rack!

Kitchen Reveal Pot Rack

Once we recovered from the exhausting cupboard painting work, we also painted the kitchen walls. We chose two shades of gray that picked up the hues of the kitchen counters (Behr Anonymous and Dark Granite). The previous owners had painted a wooden chair rail trim the same color as the lower half of the wall (orange!). We debated removing it completely since it's not ornate in any way, but decided to paint it white (along with all the other wood trim) and use both gray shades on the main wall.

Kitchen Reveal Walls

Remember the 'sore thumb' dishwasher that blocked the path to the back door and made it impossible to get into the kitchen if the refrigerator door was open? Well, we moved that to the basement! It was a portable type that had to be hooked up to the kitchen sink while in use, meaning we lost access to the sink for a good hour and had to constantly roll it back and forth when we wanted to do the dishes. We tried hand washing for a few weeks and realized it was a realistic chore to accomplish each day, so we hauled the appliance to the basement. In the laundry room, the top of the dishwasher provides a great space for folding and if we're ever overwhelmed with dishes (like after a party) we can still hook it up to the laundry sink and do a load of dishes there!

Kitchen Cart
Because we lost some counter space when moving the dishwasher and because there was a fairly ugly radiator at knee height under the kitchen window, we decided to find a table/counter for above the radiator. We scoped out some Ikea options, and decided that this one would work if we took out the shelves. Since we weren't sure how stable it would be without the shelves, we weren't quite ready to commit so we left Ikea waiting for a better option. Craig's List provided one the next week! Ironically, we actually found a posting for the same Ikea counter we had looked at and because the price was lower ($60 instead of $100) we decided we would make it work, even if we had to anchor the counter to the wall for extra stability. It turned out to be plenty sturdy and we were even able to hang our heavy cast iron pan and a tray without compromising the stability!

Painting the GOLD radiator is a project for another day!

Update:  We gave this kitchen cart and stool and paint and stain upgrade!

With the larger refinishing projects done, we turned to the smaller additions. We hung some rolling pins for a fun and useful display, installed a roller blind for our huge window for evening privacy, and added a towel rack next to the sink for easy access to kitchen linens. For all the lids that coordinated with our hanging pots, we hung a lid rack that Katrina owned from an old rental apartment. To hold all our cookbooks that didn't have a place in the cupboard but needed to stay near the kitchen, we hung a shelf above one of the doors. And a rug on the floor now keeps our feet warm (but not always dry) as we wash dishes in the sink.


I enjoyed all of the projects (except for maybe removing that linoleum) but Katrina was most excited about decorating by adding little bits of turquoise everywhere. Our Kitchenaid mixer and blender earned prime counter spots as well as some useful canisters for baking staples and cooking utensils. We even whipped up some turquoise home-made art for the walls from food items and a perfect card.

Kitchen Reveal DecorationsKitchen Reveal Decorations

Cost Breakdown:

$30 Wall Paint - 2 quarts of Berh light and dark gray
$30 Cabinet Paint - 1 Gallon of Behr cream
$93 Pot Rack
$0 Removing the linoleum (excluding paying Katrina's sister in Dilly Bars to help)
$65 Minwax Floor stain/poly and renting a sander - Multiple rooms averaged $0.60/sqft
$60 Used Kitchen Cart (we already had one stool from a rental apartment and got a matching one as a wedding gift)
$35 Roller Blind
$6 Accesseory Hardware: Towel Racks (reused from old rental apartment), Paper towel holder ($6 from Target)
$30 Cook book shelf
$30 Rug - We think it was from Bed, Bath, and Beyond but it's been discontinued :(
$190 cabinet hardware upgrade ($85 for knobs and pulls, $105 for partial over lay hinges and inset hinges)
$35 Art - Picture frames (one at $19.99 and three at $4.99) with owned pictures/objects, string already owned to hang rolling pins
$10 New Accessories: turquoise soap dispencer and cup holding pens (similar to this from Walmart),
$0 Previously owned and Reused Accessories: blue mason jar to hold dish cleaners (reused from wedding), mug for holding chopsticks (repurposed since it wasn't spill-proof!), 7 stainless steel canisters (bought from Walmart at least 5 years ago), large metal box (originally from Ikea), and a small metal box (reused from Christmas candy canister), small utensil caddy (Ikea) and large stainless steel wine caddy used for utensils (Target)
$20 Mugs (4 mugs on clearance at Starbucks)

(If there's anything you see that we didn't list, don't hesitate to ask where it's from and we'll try to remember and share!)

Total: $634

What do you think? Does it look like a space you could see yourself chopping some veggies? Do you have war stories from your own kitchen remodel? We'd love to hear them!

Comments (21) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Beautiful! I love all of it, but the floors are especially gorgeous.

  2. HOLY COW! That's amazing you guys! The finished product looks like a million bucks and your budget breakdown is nothing short of miraculous. Standing ovation going on over here!

    s (& j)

  3. What a fantastic kitchen redo!

  4. Rhoda tweeted about your kitchen and I came to see for myself. It looks amazing! Ya'll did a wonderful job!

  5. It looks fabulous!!! We redid ours in our new old house…but we had to do a total gut job!
    WTG on the small budget, def looks brand new.

  6. Wow, that bookshelf is super cute! And I am amazed by how much a pot rack costs. Yikes!

  7. Thanks everyone! We're super excited about it. Our kitchen would be so proud if it knew it was on twitter, haha.

    Special K – this was actually a pretty cheap pot rack! Ikea has some for less but most we saw were 200-500!

  8. I came via Rhoda what a great job you guys did…


    Kathy :)

  9. Found you via the DIY showoff. LOVE this kitchen!

  10. I have questions for you!

    One: why did it take so long to close? We got into a short sale that took FOREVER so I feel for others when dealing with those situations.

    Two: You house looks like mine with a lot of wood trim! We love the wood trim and want to keep it that way but I painted my kitchen cabinets white and keep going back and forth as to paint the trim and doors white and where to stop with the white.

    Three: Wood trim and wall colors. Any good neutral wall colors you recommend that go with wood? I'm find it soo much easier to pick colors if your trim is white.

    Okay, still there?? :)

  11. We have answers!

    1) We were the ones who wanted the long closing. We were both renting and our leases didn't end for a few months. I guess we found a house too quickly :)

    2) and 3) We feel your pain! We love our original woodwork but it's hard to match colors to it. It would be so much easier if we painted all the wood white but we love the character and beauty of the wood. We painted the trim in the kitchen white and also all the trim in our master (it wasn't originally anyway) but we're leaving the rest natural. As for colors, We took a photo of our wood and matched colors to in photoshop. Our wood is really light and has hints of yellow (which we don't like). The best colors for our wood are cool blues, greens, and browns because they bring out the darker tones in the wood. We used Behr's Dark Pewter (blue-gray) in the guest bedroom and hobby room and we're going to use a shade of turquoise in the living room and dining room. Hope that helps!

  12. I love your blog!! Your redo for the cabinets are perfect. Our kitchen cabinets are currently a little pink color and we are looking for a quick fix. I think painting them white would be fabulous and cheap.

    Do you have any recommendations for a quick fix for counter tops?? They are YELLOW!! Ahh!

    We have a home build in the 60's and has very similar characteristics as your home. We actually have the exactly same tacky green carpet color you 'did' and we are currently in the process of removing it. It is the best feeling ever. Thanks for the inspirations!

  13. Jessica, that's awesome that you're making your house yours! I don't know of a cheap fix for counters (one of the few things paint won't fix). As far as I know, replacing them is the way to go. Good luck!

  14. This is the coolest kitchen overhual I've seen in a looooong time (and I spend a LOT of time on home improvement blogs). I am really, super duper impressed. Although I hate handwashing dishes, I have to agree that nixing the dishwasher was the smartest move. I absolutely love everything you guys did, and especially for that price! Really, I keep looking at the photos again and again. Fantastic job!

  15. Hi

    Found your site thru Better After. This is the best DIY Kitchen transformation I have seen. I love what you did. The floor- beautiful. The white paint fresh and modern. Looks fabulous.
    My best- Diane

  16. This is fantastic — talk about bang for your buck! We are working to do something similar in our outdated kitchen, but we'll be lucky to stay under $2000 (though that will include wood countertops and a new floor). Great work!

  17. I really like what you guys have done, beautiful work! I'm wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets and am overwhelmed with the millions of different "white, off-white, creamy-white" paint chips. I really like your choice and would love to know the name of the paint you used. Thank you!

  18. Kelly, thanks!! There are a ton of whites out there. We actually started with what we thought was a slightly yellow white but it was so bright! We had to tone it down a little. I'm almost positive the color is Behr Eggshell Cream but I'll double check that this weekend. Good luck!

  19. Ooooh, never mind. It's Creamy White by Behr.

  20. Wow! This is just gorgeous. Everything. It doesn’t even look like the same room. And the budget is miraculous, in my opinion. And you glossed over it, but refinishing hardwood floors to look that great is HARD WORK> You deserve a cookie (or ice cream bar) for that work. Probably more, but it’s all I can afford.

    • Thanks! When we were working on the floors the Dairy Queen that’s a block away opened for the summer. We DEFINITELY got our share of ice cream before we realized it’s not ok to go to Dairy Queen every day!

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