Hey friends! Today I wanted to share with you the renovation we did a few years back on our kitchen. This, in my mind, was a mini-makeover because we chose not to change the layout or configuration of the space, we only changed finishes, appliances and other cosmetic things.
This is a great example of how you can really improve the aesthetics of a kitchen without breaking the bank on an extensive remodel. Making some smaller changes resulted in a huge shift of how much we love and enjoy the space.
When we bought this home in 2006, the homeowners had just completed a renovation of this space to make it more appealing to potential home buyers. While they did install some very high end hickory cabinetry, nothing else about the space was of high quality, and aesthetically, it really didn’t appeal to our tastes whatsoever.
The counter tops were a light beige formica, backsplash was plain beige tile, the flooring was a beige vinyl, cheap white appliances were installed, there was a terrible fluorescent ceiling fixture…basically it was as boring and neutral as you could get. Not offensive per se, but definitely not bringing any excitement or joy to our lives. It would just cause a slow death to my design-heart, lol.
The first thing to change was early on in our residence when we installed wood floors throughout all the “public” areas of the home which included the kitchen – nor more crappy vinyl flooring! We also replace basically every light fixture in the home upon move-in and painted, but those were the only real updates that we made to the kitchen for many years. There were so many other rooms of the home that were actually offensive that we wanted to address first. So, the beige kitchen lived on for quite a while.
Years later when we decided to go for the full update, we went back and forth for a while about whether to remove the upper cabinets above the peninsula. They obviously prevent you from having any openness or sight lines to the adjoining spaces which is a HUGE pain in the butt when we have people over. Everyone wants to gravitate to this area despite the fact that you can’t see anyone and the space is so tight! Whyyyyy??
However, removing that cabinetry would mean losing SO much storage. It would also mean that we would have to relocate the microwave which is above the cook-top (and there wasn’t really anywhere it could go,) as well as add a new range hood/vent, so in the end we just decided to keep the structure and layout of the kitchen the same.
Once it was decided that there would be no demo involved on this project, I started by finding a company that could paint the cabinetry. I had a great recommendation by several friends who had all hired the same local family owned and operated business. I selected white (Behr Powdered Snow) for the perimeter and uppers and a dark charcoal grey (Behr Cracked Pepper) for the base of the peninsula. He color matched with his high end enamel paint and I’m happy to report that they have held up amazingly, are super cleanable, and still look brand-new several years later.
I just want to use this opportunity to insert my opinion about painting wood. This is a very controversial subject. There are those who believe it is sacrilege to paint over beautiful, pure hardwood. A violation punishable by death to some, lol. While I do see their point, I have to say that I am all for painting wood if the wood doesn’t light you up, make you happy, and bring you joy! The hickory cabinets are very expensive because they are a high end wood product. However, I freakin’ hate how they look! The tone of the stain is not my cup of tea one bit. So, I could choose to preserve the integrity and beauty of the wood but feel crappy about my kitchen, OR, I could paint them thereby giving my kitchen the look and vibe that makes me smile every time I look at it or cook a meal in it. Which would you choose?!?!? I choose the love for my space and my home every dang time!
Moving on – I selected new stainless steel appliances to be installed. We did have an existing stainless refrigerator because the previous homeowners took their white one when they moved out. So now we finally had matching appliances throughout the space that were also highly upgraded in quality and performance.
We selected a new single bowl granite composite sink by Blanco which is one of my FAVORITE products to recommend to people! I think I’ve suggested this type of sink to at least 5 people and everyone freakin’ loves it. You literally cannot do anything to ruin this sink. It doesn’t stain or scratch – seriously, best sink option in the world! We selected a modern faucet to accompany it.
Next came the counter tops. I really wanted something that resembled marble, but was a quartz material. I have a friend who has real carrera marble in her kitchen and while it is gorgeous, it is so easily stained and gets the water marks that you can’t remove… I just didn’t want that. So, we found a man-made quartz which is super strong, durable, and won’t stain. No, it doesn’t look exactly like carrera, but it is a nice white base with some subtle veining/flecks that looks very clean and fresh. We had enough of the slab left over do do a special waterfall edge on the peninsula and that small touch makes the space a little extra special and high-end looking.
After counter tops were installed, I put in this gorgeous new backsplash tile. It is a mix of marble and glass diamonds on a mesh-mount sheet. I finished it off with white grout which has held up really well. This is a little touch of sparkle and glam that I absolutely LOVE!
Lastly, I had spotted these cabinet pulls at a showroom when we were out searching for the counter top material. These babies were suuuuper expensive and we needed 46 of them, lol. However, I found them on a site called www.goingknobs.com where you can put in a bid for what you’d like to pay based on the quantity you are purchasing. They came back with an offer that still was wayyyy below the retail cost I’d seen at the showroom. Yes, they were still quite pricey, but I just had to have them. They are literally my favorite hardware I’ve ever seen and I’m thinking I might need to re-buy them for my new house because I can’t live without them!
So in the end, this kitchen is still a small space that doesn’t exactly allow the best eye contact between our guests and ourselves if we are working in the kitchen. However, the simple style changes we implemented really made the best of the space for what it was. We greatly improved the space without tearing it all down and starting over, and for the day to day use of just me and my husband, it serves us pretty well.
I can say after having this kitchen for almost 13 years, I am looking forward to the huge open kitchen we will have in our new house in a couple months, but I have loved what we did to our current kitchen none-the-less. Again, a great example of how you can make some smaller changes to a space to bring about so much love and joy without diving into a full-blown bank-breaking remodel.