Making My Kitchen My Own

Remodeling a kitchen is a big undertaking, but the results can be amazing.

My husband and I bought our first home when our oldest was one year old.  We pretty much gutted the place and started from scratch.  It took us a month to remodel our cute little home and we loved it.  Two years later, we were selling our house and moving to be closer to my husband's new job. With a three-year-old and an almost one-year-old, I wanted something move in ready.  I was sad to leave our perfect little home and I just didn't want to think about starting over. 

We were blessed to find a house that met the needs of our growing family and it didn't need any work done.  The style of the house didn't speak to me, but it was a nice home in a nice neighborhood and that was what I was looking for.

The size of the kitchen was a big draw when we first looked at this house. It wasn't really my favorite style, but it was nice, clean, and move in ready, with plenty of storage and granite tile countertops. This kitchen worked for us for a long time. After seven years in our home we decided it was time to make the kitchen, and the home, our own. 

We knew that we wanted to get rid of the light wood of the cabinets and paint over the faux finish that ran throughout the kitchen and family room. We also wanted to lay wood flooring throughout the main story of our home, which also includes a formal living and dining room. We had neutral warm tones in the formal area of the house and wanted to extend those through this space, while adding some color. We decided to add new baseboards throughout the house and paint them and all the doors and trim a nice clean white.  After looking at dozens of paint colors and a handful of flooring choices we came up with a palette that we liked.

The lightest color, Horseradish, would be for all the doors, baseboard, and trim throughout the house.  The next lightest color, Toasted Almond, would be for the kitchen cabinets while the lightest green, Crocodile Tears, would go on the ceiling and all the walls in the kitchen and family room except for the fireplace wall which would get painted the darker green color, Sweet Annie. The brown and blue were inspiration for accent colors to be added through furniture and accessories.

My hardworking husband took a week off of work to tackle our project.  I thought his timetable was optimistic, but as he's the professional project manager I trusted his estimation.

We decided to open up the flow between the kitchen and family room by removing the peninsula.  It had become a dumping ground for papers and was really unused space.  The only purpose it served was to divide the kitchen from the family room.

With the peninsula out my husband recruited a friend and they removed the tile from the kitchen.  That was noisy, hard work.  The carpet was pulled up throughout the entire main floor to make room for a hand-scraped hickory floating wood floor. 

With help from the boys and another friend, the floors were quickly put in. The prefinished floating wood floor installed similar to a laminate floor, but can be sanded and refinished a couple times because it is real wood.  These were big pluses for us, easy install and durability.


I removed, cleaned and prepped all the cabinet doors for painting.  I primed them with a bonding primer and painted them Toasted Almond.

I decided to go for a distressed look and tried my hand at distressing by mixing glaze and a dark brown paint. My technique was to brush it on with a sponge brush and then wipe it off with a cloth.  I let the glaze run into the crevices of the cabinet fronts and left a little extra where there would be natural wear.   When I had the look I was going for I finished by sealing the doors and cabinets with a polyurethane sealer. 


With new oil-rubbed bronze hardware the update was complete. This was a very long process, but I am happy with the results, and it definitely beats buying new cabinets. So, as it turned out, I was the one who didn't meet the deadline of one week.

After the new granite sink and the quartz countertops were installed, we put in a white subway tile backsplash with white grout and oil-rubbed bronze finishing pieces. And Ta-Da! A brand new kitchen!

There are a many things I LOVE about my kitchen, but the quartz countertops, the under mounted granite sink, the simple yet warm color scheme, the chalkboard pantry door, and my double oven really make my kitchen a joy to use.

When it came to choosing an island I decided to go with a farm table and benches instead of going the conventional route.  A lot of factors were considered when making this decision.  I have boys that like to help in the kitchen, we'd like to use the space for art projects as well as food prep and a casual eating space, we often have other kids over, and lastly, sometimes I use a wheelchair, making a lower prep area essential. We found an unfinished table at a little furniture store and finished it by staining it, applying some wax to the edges and applying milk paint.  After the milk paint dried and began crackling in places, we sanded it to let some of the stain show through before sealing it. The benches have only been oiled and continue to wear.  I'll get around to sealing them with polyurethane at some point.


Another fun part of the kitchen is the bench we use as a window seat (I have always loved window seats) that doubles as storage space for art supplies and cookbooks.  The yellow chalk paint adds a pop of color and brings the sunshine in.


Even though this home was move in ready, it was fun to make it our own.  This kitchen might be my favorite project my husband and I have done to date.  I'm sure there will be many more. 


Do you have a favorite DIY home project? What are essentials for your dream kitchen?