The kitchen project is officially complete! It was something I was looking forward to doing since the day we signed on the dotted line for this house. I knew it was going to be a bit of an undertaking, but was excited to be able to design the space and do a lot of the work to get it looking how we wanted it! My mom was a giant help in the actual labor of the project – guiding us in how to hang tile and taking on the task of painting the cabinets, among other things. It was definitely a group effort! We were able to get it done in about 2 and a half days. Granted, they were 12+ hour work days, but it was completed before she had to fly back home, which was her goal!
Here’s a look at the kitchen before:
And here’s what it looks like now:
It’s even better than I pictured in my head! I love how light and bright the space is. Since you walk into our house and the kitchen is the first thing that you see, I wanted to make an impact with the space – something clean and airy and welcoming. I feel like we accomplished that!
I thought it would be fun to record some footage before, during and after the project was complete!
Here’s what we did:
+ added new Quartz countertops to existing countertop space, plus added a sit-up bar to the existing knee wall
+ hung subway tile backsplash throughout, as well as vertically up the pass-through
+ sanded and painted one coat of white paint on the cabinets (to freshen them up!)
+ spray painted existing hinges to match new hardware
+ added hardware to all cabinets
+ installed a new sink and faucet
+ swapped out main light fan for new light fixture
+ converted recessed light above sink to pendant fixture
+ switched out old (mis-matched and discolored) outlets and plate covers for new ones
It was a lot of work and took a lot of energy! I would do it again in a heartbeat for the end result, though!
Here are a few more Before and After comparisons:
One of the biggest differences, in terms of how the room feels when you’re in it, was getting rid of that big, dark, low-hanging fan. It was the first thing that would catch my eye every time I walked in the room and I didn’t like that. Removing it and installed a much lighter-colored fixture that hung significantly closer to the ceiling made the room so much better! As soon as we took it down, the ceiling instantly felt like it was raised 5 feet.
And here’s a look at some of the details, including the new hardware, countertops, and decorative accents we added. For it being my first time doing tiling, I’m so pleased with how it turned out! There are a few cuts that aren’t perfectly in line and a couple bumps in the grout, but nothing that can be noticed unless you’re really looking for flaws.
How gorgeous is the marbling in this counter? We were sold from the moment we saw it in store!
My favorite part has to be the addition of that sit-up bar on the knee wall – it makes such a difference! The kitchen feels larger, much more functional, and more inviting. We’re so pleased with how it all came together!
It was definitely a labor of love! I loved being able to take something that was outdated and kind of boring and turn it into a space that we love and are proud of! Home ownership is not without it’s hiccups and hard-to-swallow things sometimes (like unexpected repairs), but it’s been a blessing to be on this journey in our first home. While there would certainly be nice things about owning a newer home, I love that we get a little bit of the character and charm that comes with an older structure (like hardwood floors that creak in certain spots) and plenty of room to work with exercising our creativity and customizing it to our style.
If you’re in a similar situation with an older or outdated kitchen and want to make some improvements but don’t know where to start, a little can go a long way! Painting dark cabinets a lighter color, changing out or adding new hardware, swapping a flush mount light for a fun fixture, ditching the builder-grade faucet for something more modern, the list goes on. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impact in a space!
What we did with the cabinets:
My mom just sanded down some of the poor paint job that was existing on the cabinets – drip marks, unevenness, etc. She then applied just one coat of the paint that we picked out. Since they were previously painted a white color, there wasn’t much that needed to be done
A few notes on hanging tile:
I highly, highly recommend watching a few youtube videos OR having someone who has hung tile before show you how to do it. It is not difficult, but it does take patience and attention to detail. The most important part is making sure that you’re working on a level surface (we started with the bottom row that edged the countertop, since we knew that was level) and building your pattern correctly. If you’re not level or patterning it out correctly from the start, it won’t turn out how you want it to.
We were able to borrow a friend’s wet saw to make the cuts for the outlets and turns in the wall. Mike did a great job following the lines that I marked up for him and they turned out pretty darn good! I do know that some hardware stores have wet saws in the store, which you can bring tile to have cut. Getting precise cuts is important because you want to make sure the tile is still in the pattern and won’t be poking out of the outlet covers. Again, watch a couple YouTube videos to see how others do it!
Sources for all the things:
Countertops – Silestone Quartz in Calacatta Gold (we did them through Home Depot and had a great experience!)
White Subway Tile (we purchased from Lowe’s because they had enough in stock – 3″x6″ white tile)
Main Light Fixture
Cabinet Pulls – long pulls and short pulls
Cabinet Paint Color – Behr Polar Bear
Floating Shelves (2 feet)
Bakery Sign above Sink was a lucky Home Goods find!