our first home: finishing the kitchen

Ginger Jar

I don’t want to work in a busy brown kitchen.

Before, our kitchen was brown… a busy brown. The only thing I liked was that the cabinets, at one time, were white. They were now “patinaed” to a yellowed cream.  As mentioned, I “pinned” a lot of kitchen ideas and knew the components I wanted to incorporate into my style.. my “adjectives” were: farmhouse, clean, comfortable, and glam. I tried to keep the last adjective a secret from my husband Matt. I knew I couldn’t adequately explain how “glam” fit into the kitchen vision.

We really wanted to be wise with the money we saved, but we didn’t want to skimp on quality or style. Believe me, IT CAN BE DONE. You can have a home that looks like a million dollars for a fraction of the price. It just takes time, patience, and a willingness to do some things yourself. Oh, and some fusses and tears! :)

Here was our kitchen “before”:

The previous owner's kitchen.

The clash of the "busy browns."

The clash of the “busy browns.”

I am learning to be handy, but I am not advanced enough (yet) to re-tile our backsplash and install our countertops, so we hired someone with the money we saved from re-finishing our own cabinets. I went to 5 different tile and kitchen design places in Jacksonville, and looked at tile samples that ran the price gamut from $2.75 a sqft to $43 a sqft.   Matt, my husband, actually found the perfect tile (from Home Depot, again! I don’t think I can say it enough, Home Depot is one of the nicest places to shop because of their service.)

MS International Arctic Ice Subway 12x12, $8.97 each

MS International Arctic Ice Subway 12×12, $8.97 each

For me it is the perfect compliment to the white cabinets and countertops.  We finished off the kitchen with an older, hand-me-down china hutch that I painted and waxed using Annie Sloan “Duck Blue”, which is a shade darker than the backsplash tile. The hutch, with its crystal knobs and shelves of wedding gift china, adds just the bit of “fancy” I wanted in my take on the farmhouse kitchen.

The softness of the backsplash now seemed incongruous with my black, shiny canisters so I am slowly phasing those out and replacing them with blue porcelain ginger jars. These are a great twist to the conventional canister.  

For a twist on canisters, mix in some blue porcelain ginger jars. ($18 & $10 from local consignment/antique stores)

For a twist on canisters, mix in some blue porcelain ginger jars. ($18 & $10 from local consignment/antique stores)

Our carpenter, Frank, suggested we add the wainscoting to this part of the kitchen and I LOVE it. It is amazing how trim can change the feel of a room.

Hutch painted with Annie Sloan's Duck Egg Blue

Hutch painted with Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg Blue

I knew I needed to love our kitchen, because I knew I would be in it A LOT. I truly believe that you need to love the environment you work in, and pretty surroundings make me feel good. I just love serving guests from my kitchen.

Below are some more pictures, befores, and afters:

Wedding gifts: Kate Spade China, Larabee Dot

Wedding gifts: Kate Spade China, Larabee Dot. I used a piece of houndstooth fabric and velcroed it to the back of the hutch.


Matt loves his Moen Touch Sensor faucet, and I love having a larger, single sink as opposed to the double sink.

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