Friday, June 17, 2016

Kitchen Remodel: New Counters and a Little Paint Transformed the Kitchen!

We recently "remodeled" our kitchen. We didn't do a full remodel. The only thing we replaced were our counter tops, but I was so amazed at the transformation that new counters, some tile and a few cans of paint can make. My kitchen wasn't terrible to begin with. In fact, I think it was cute. When we built the house 12 years ago, we could only afford laminate counters, so that's what we used. I had painted the kitchen a few different colors through the years and had most recently painted it dark brown. I didn't hate the brown. I thought it made my white cabinets "pop." But I don't necessarily love brown either. We weren't even thinking about changing anything in the kitchen until I noticed that we had scrubbed clean through our laminate counters. They were starting to look pretty it was time to replace them. Inspired by my sweet friend, Corinne, I realized I should go with a color scheme that made my heart sing.
Here's a little photo journal of our remodel:

Here are the "before" photos. You can see, it's not an ugly kitchen. I had dark brown laminate counters to simulate "real" wood counters. That's what I initially wanted in my country kitchen, but my husband vetoed the idea of wood counters. The cream counter on the island was worn all the way through in spots. It definitely needed replacing.

Here's an older picture of our eating area with the dark brown  paint, our oak
kitchen table (always covered with a cloth) and oak chairs. Also our hutch
is still plain wood.

A recent photo of the kitchen...before the new counters, tile and paint.

The dark brown walls make the cabinets "pop", but I don't like
dark brown walls. Also, we had no real back splash, just drywall.
Here, we've painted the hutch white. In the top picture it is still brown.

If you look closely, you can see that our cabinet legs protrude in
front of the cabinet face. I hated the little 1 inch "shelf". Every-
thing imaginable dripped and stuck to that little ledge. It was
always dirty. Also, when we swept the kitchen, we could never
reach the area behind the cabinet feet. I hated the design of
the cabinet feet.

We get our new quartz counters installed. The design is called "Rococo". I love them. I was looking for a traditional marble look, but didn't want actual marble.

Now it's time to put in a back splash. I've never tiled before in my life, but I borrow a friend's wet saw and have fun tiling my back splash. I even do a fun herringbone design behind my stove top. This was also a hard decision for me. I was so worried that my white subway tiles would clash with my cream cabinets. I didn't want the white backsplash to make the cream look too yellow. I really fretted about it for a long time, but in the end, I'm happy with the result. The cream and white look just fine together.

The next thing we do is add a fresh coat of paint to the white cabinets and we also put in some dark hardware. The new knobs and pulls look sharp! Before, we only had wooden knobs that were painted the same color as the cabinets.

Next, we paint the walls. It feels great to cover the dark brown. This was my HARDEST decision. Every color I picked looked baby blue on my wall. I painted the whole kitchen a color that I thought was grey-green (BM Silver Marlin) and it looked baby blue. With the help of a color specialist at Sherwin Williams, I decided on SW Contented. Looked grey-green on the chip, of course, but ended up looking "minty" on my walls. Nothing like the chip, but I really love it!!

We painted the whole kitchen twice. This is the first color, BM Silver Marlin,
but it was too blue. 

I painted a gazillion samples on the wall, some I mixed myself, others I bought.
It was super hard to decide, since everything looked so much bluer once it was
painted on my wall. Thank goodness for the help of Kat Powell, the Sherwin
Williams color expert! She recommended an entire palette of wonderful colors.

Now that my walls were pretty, my oak table stood out like a sore thumb. I have never liked oak.  We ALWAYS had it covered with a table cloth. So, it was finally time to cover the oak. And I'm SO glad that we did. We used the new water based Alkyd paint from Behr. So far it has been pretty durable. I haven't covered it with any sort of polyurethane yet, but I may do that later.

The oak blends into the floor...bleh!!

My cute daughter lets my littlest guy help her paint.

Love the my white kitchen table!!! We hardly ever put a
cloth on it now!! AMAZING what some paint can do to a room!!

Next order of business: Paint the island. I decide to use an oil paint by Sherwin Williams and love the result. The color is Roycroft Pewter. The oil paint has been very durable. I really like it!

Before we paint the island
Priming with an oil primer

Adding the second coat. The first coat took 12 hours to dry.

Love the result
 We are ALMOST done. But first we have our wonderful cabinet guy, Mike Long, make us some new feet for the cabinets. This time they are recessed, so that no gunk can land on them. AND they are flush up to the kickboard. That means that nothing can get stuck or swept behind them. I LOVE them so much more than the old cabinet feet. As you can see, I've also painted my kick board dark grey, so that it looks like it's not really there. Mike, who actually built our kitchen to begin with, also put our corbels back in (corbels are the decorative pieces of wood that look like they are supporting the upper cabinets). We had taken them out in order to tile the back splash.

And now, we're pretty much finished. I am amazed by the transformation! The kitchen went from dark and dated to light and fresh. It was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it. Plus, I learned how to tile!! And having a new skill is just as awesome as having a pretty kitchen!! My next project is the family room and my next skill will be reupholstering my two large sofas. If they turn out, I just might do a blog post...and if they don't, well, then I won't! :)

Finally Finished!

And one more look at the "Before":

Yay for paint!!!


  1. Way to go Nina! The finished product looks amazing and congrats to you for making all those decisions. I need to do something with our kitchen but all I've gotten up the nerve to do so far is to replace the countertop. I need to take the next step and paint the cabinets and tile the backsplash but I can't get up the nerve. Maybe your success will inspire me. :)

  2. Thanks, Angela. You're so sweet. I mostly posted because I spent so many months online looking for I thought I'd just put some of our experiences out there, in case they help anyone trying to make some decisions.