Around the House: Kitchen Update

What seems like a really long time ago, I wrote this house introduction post that gives a brief walk through of the chaos that was our short sale home. We weren’t fazed though and have been busting our rears to whip this place into our dream home since moving in more than a year and a half ago.

My original plan was to reveal each room as we finished it, but reality has finally set in as I’m realizing that no room will ever be completely finished in my mind, and that it might be quite a while before any room is finished enough for a true reveal. So with that I’ve decided to exercise my right as a woman to change my mind and am instead going to give some room updates, so you can see how far we’ve come and in some cases how far we still have to go- starting here with a kitchen update.

Just so we’re all on the same page, here are a few photos of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in.

This was one of the first rooms we worked on after moving in for a variety of reasons. The main one being that it’s a main living area and we use it all the time. Ok, maybe that’s the second main reason. The first would actually be that when we bought it there was no refrigerator and the stove quit working a week later. So we figured we’d better attend to that.

I am not a fan of the original cabinet color at all. In some people’s homes it looks great, but I just felt like it was too country for our style. Besides that, they weren’t in great shape (a theme around here). They were covered with sticky brown residue that looked like either dried barbecue sauce or blood. We’ll go with BBQ… They also had a lot of scratches and nicks in them, and the finish was worn down irregularly.

We’re pretty cheap, if you haven’t picked up on that theme yet, and we had already committed to buying a new stove and refrigerator, so I knew we didn’t have the budget for new cabinets. I thought about staining them, but that seemed like a lot of work, so I decided to paint them instead. It was still a lot of work, but some sanding, painting and new hardware made a WORLD of difference.

Some other things we did- painted the walls a light blue instead of the sea-foam green that they are above, installed a microwave in place of the old vent above the stove, bought a new dishwasher to round out the appliance update, and built open shelving in place of one of the cabinets. That is probably my favorite project in here, and I’ll have to post a how-to on it soon. Super easy and inexpensive for such a dramatic change.

So without further ado, here is the kitchen now:

It hardly looks like the same room, right?? I love how the painted cabinets turned out. Most people can’t tell its paint at all, since the wood-grain is still visible. The dark color and modern hardware made such an impact, and you can see why I love the shelves. A lot more open and airy.

It’s hard to see in these pictures, but we also replaced the dilapidated gold spider chandelier with a sleeker flush-mount light. I’m not sure if a table would fit in that space, but we certainly don’t have one there, so having a chandelier hanging over nothing seemed awkward, and explaining that chandelier to guests was definitely awkward. Did I mention it shook whenever we ran the washing machine? Yikes.

Anyway, obviously there are still things we need to finish in here. Namely that HUGE fluorescent lighting fixture will hopefully be leaving us soon, which is why I haven’t bothered to paint it, and I’ve already put the new sink on my list of unfinished projects that should soon be finished. I’d like to paint the window trim white and I’ve been looking into refinishing the counter-tops with something like this, but their color options are sadly very limited and I really want something more in the mid-to-light-gray area. I don’t think tan will match at all and black would be way to heavy with the already dark cabinets. So for now, I’m still looking and dreaming.

Well, there you have it. Our kitchen as-is today. Not completely an ‘after’ yet, but getting close and definitely a big improvement over the ‘before’ if I do say so myself.


  • Mila

    Hi Dawn, I realize its been 2 years since you’ve done this but I accidentally came across your blog while looking for a countertop resurfacing ideas and absolutely LOVED your cabinets! This is exactly what I want to do to my kitchen, we even have the same cabinet door design. Could you tell me if you had to sand/strip/prime cabinets first before painting and also did you use a sealer over the paint? Thank you so much!!!

    • Dawn Sailors

      Hi Mila! Thank you very much! I did sand the cabinets, but that was about it. It was one of my first DIY projects and I was taking the quick rout, which isn’t always the best. haha. Luckily they have held up pretty well over the past four years. I didn’t use a sealer, but did use gloss paint, so they are pretty easy to wipe up.

      Hope that helps!

  • Erica

    Hello!  Could you tell me what paint you used for the cupboards?  Also exactly what color are the walls?  I love this look and I will probably be moving into a house that looks very similar to your before picture!

    • Dawn Sailors

      Thanks Erica! No problem. (Sorry it took me a couple days. I had to dig out my paint chips!) the cabinets are Valspar Brown Velvet (1011-10) and the walls are Valspar Woodlawn Silver Brook (5001-1B). I hope that helps! Good luck!

      • Erica Barnard

        Thanks so much!  We were also reading your how to on the countertops.  I may have to come over with Hilary some time and take notes.  (if that’s not too weird.)  Love your blog!

        • Dawn Sailors

          Haha, not at all. And thank you! We’ll make it a girls night. :)

  • Amanda

    WOW! What a transformation! I love how the cupboards turned out and I totally agree that the shelves there next to the window really helps open it up. Love the appliances you picked. Great job! :)

    • Dawn

      Thanks Amanda! We have some ground to cover still, but at least we’re on our way. :)


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