the kitchen

Kitchen cabinet after
The finished product.

One of the most important rooms for a host is the kitchen.

I wish my “before” pictures were clearer, but there is a lot I wish were different about the process of this project. This was the first project we tackled at our new home, and it was the hardest. Well, maybe that fan we installed in the living room was just as hard. I know I cried during both projects, and Matt asked, “Should we just hire someone?”

It would not be the only time he was to ask me that question.

First, get a defined vision for your kitchen. Look at books, blogs, and pinterest to decide what you like. Look at a picture of a kitchen and write down what it is about that kitchen that  appeals to you. Look at A LOT of kitchens and look at the common denominators between all your “likes.” Then, copy it! P.S. That is pretty much the secret to styling; find something you like and make it your own.

I realized I liked the “all white farm kitchen” look, but I also liked a bit of color. We decided to incorporate color in a glass tiled backsplash, and keep the rest of it white and simple. I wanted my kitchen to feel bigger so I picked a white “arctic granite” countertop to pair with what would be my newly painted white cabinets. I don’t like “busy” countertops, so the one I picked looks more like quartz than granite. I also didn’t want everything to be so shiny that I was blinded, so a flat (matte) bright white paint was picked.

The DIY blogs I read, the YouTube videos I watched, made this project seem easy. It was not easy. But, believe me, anyone can do it. I just wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge. So, tackle your cabinets knowing:

1. It will take longer than one day to complete. I thought one Saturday would be long enough. It was not. 🙂                                                                                      2. Your arm will get a great workout if you sand everything by hand.
3. Prepare a large “working” space for all the drawers and doors to dry in between “treatments.”

After a lot of research, blog reading, and trips to Home Depot here is what we used:

  • Products that Worked for us:  KILZ primer, Glidden Exterior Paint in Bright White, Liberty Brushed Satin Nickel drawer pull, Liberty 3 in. Nautical pull in brushed satin nickel
  • Directions we followed: Steps to Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Having parties and serving others can be such a joy for the host, especially if they love room they are working in. And, I just love my twist on a “farm kitchen.”

matt taking down the doors
Matt taking down, and labeling, the cabinet doors.
Our materials from Home Depot.
Our materials from Home Depot; we did not use the poly spray! I decided that would be too hard, and that we did not really need it since we were using exterior paint.
sanding the cabinet door
The most important step is sanding. Get the door as smooth as possible and fill in any holes or scratches.

b and e cabinetsdrawers before and afterkitchen cabinets             ________________________________________________

The Rest of the 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 previous owners’  kitchen.

The clash of the "busy browns."

The clash of the “busy browns.”

They liked to leave a lot of things out on their counter.

They liked to leave a lot of things out on their counter.

After we moved in, before the contractors came.

After we moved in, before the contractors came.

Darker colors can make a room seem smaller, and all the shades of brown were suffocating me; the juxtaposition of the pattern on the backsplash tile and the speckle of the granite were not harmonious. I love mixing prints and patterns, but this mix was grating.

MS International Arctic Ice Subway 12x12, $8.97 each

MS International Arctic Ice Subway 12×12, $8.97 each from Home Depot

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.)

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.

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.

Wedding gifts: Kate Spade China, Larabee Dot

Wedding gifts: Kate Spade China, Larabee Dot

Hutch painted with Annie Sloan's Duck Egg Blue

Hutch painted with Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg Blue. Walls are done in Benjamin Moore’s White Heron.


Before and After- from busy browns to soft & elegant


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