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Before and After: Kitchen Edition

Are you sad for me? (thanks for letting me borrow that, Sara!)

This is the kitchen I inherited when I bought my home. I knew I wanted a fixer-upper, something to add my own flavor to, and as you can see, this house has definitely given me (and is still giving me) the opportunity to do so. My favorite part of this kitchen was the laminate countertops that had split, buckled, and swelled at the joint in the corner. OMG, it was so gross I thought I was going to be sick every time I looked at it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of counterspace but I’ve been able to make due. My dream kitchen would be an open space with drawers for spices, an island, an attached great room/open floorplan, and probably a serving window that leads to the pergola in my beautiful backyard. As you see, that’s not what I’m working with.
I really loved the combination of that original 1984 wallpaper with that dark trim. I’m sure that lots of fun and exciting meals were held in this space before I moved in!!! **note the sarcasm.
I really wanted to change the layout of the space and open the wall between the kitchen and dining room, but I was worried about taking on too much (both, financially and as a novice DIY-er/designer). I decided to go with the basic upgrade–flooring, paint, hardware, lighting and countertops–and keep my costs to a minimum.
I had a skim coat applied to the seams of the wallpaper and then primer and paint. I also had that little “bridge” taken down that went over the window and connected the two cabinets. The trim was painted a high gloss white to match the rest of the house (all the trim & windows were originally a pink-ish peach. Gross.), and I removed the doors between the entry hall and the dining room for a better flow. Just those small changes alone made a HUGE impact.
Drumroll, please . . .

. . .

. . . .
This was the way the eat-in looked when the basic makeover was completed. The chairs were purchased for $2.50 each at a thrift store and then I added a fresh coat of paint and recovered the bottoms. They fold up, too, which means I can store them to use as additional seating if/when I get new chairs. I ended up covering the chairs with a heavy, charcoal grey faux suede-ish material. It’s soft, worked well, and only cost me about $5 for 5 yards. Lately I’ve been thinking of recovering them with a patterned fabric, but haven’t found anything yet. That crooked light came from Ikea (the glass was actually uneven), and the one in the kitchen did as well. I’ve since changed the light in the eat-in, but am still searching for the right fixture for the kitchen. I did eventually paint over the discoloration left by the old fixture.

This . . .
has evolved into this . . .
Please excuse the miscellaneous items in the last 2 photos– I just took them a few days ago when I realized that a few things have changed since the last photo session. Also, the bookcase you see in the corner is just in the kitchen for safekeeping until I get it sold. I would, however like to find something to go in that space, but I don’t know what just yet.

So this was a very inexpensive update, factoring in only costs for paint, tiling, and plumbing (like less than $1500). I’m not including any other expenses because the floors run throughout the downstairs (so it wasn’t a kitchen project, so to speak), and the cost of the appliances can vary depending on what you choose for your own needs. The most expensive thing for me ended up being the counter-depth refrigerator, which, in hindsight, was a waste. I could really use the extra room that would’ve come with a normal sized unit. Ah, we live and learn. This project was DIY, but in this case the D stood for “Design” and not “Do”. In hindsight I’m kicking myself for not doing the painting myself, but I was impatient and felt like I didn’t know enough to do a good job. I really wanted it to be done by move-in day, so I folded and went with a (horrible) contractor. Now I know better. If you have the time, patience, and don’t mind stretching the project out, I encourage you to take it on yourself.

As you see, I painted the cabinets a high-gloss black, changed the hardware, installed granite (tile) countertops, subway tile backsplash, and purchased new appliances. I would have loved new cabinets and granite slab, but it would have taken my budget way beyond what I was prepared to spend. I really like the look of glossy black cabinets, and I feel like I did well considering what I spent. I’d still like to add moulding to the top of the cabinets (when someone teaches me how to cut it), under cabinet lighting (the battery operated ones will do), bamboo shades to the windows, and change the lighting over the kitchen area. I’m still not 100% sure about the wall next to the stove, but I’m hanging in there for now. I’ve also been contemplating removing the cabinet to the right of the sink and going with open shelving, but I’m afraid to take the plunge. I keep feeling like if it’s the wrong move, I won’t be able to go back. Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough. 🙂 It’s been fun seeing this space come together in all of it’s layers, and there’s still work to do!

I’ve been nervous about posting photos of my own home, but decided to try it out, so hopefully you like what you see. Does anyone else have an inexpensive, but dramatic kitchen makeover? If so, direct me to your site because I’d love to see it. Layla’s is really amazing as well. Check her out.
**also, a quick shout out to Lakeitha & Annette for helping me with my blog and answering my questions. Thanks, ladies!

42 Comments on Before and After: Kitchen Edition

  1. Annette
    October 27, 2009 at 9:46 am (9 years ago)

    I’m truly impressed. This is a fantastic makeover! I think the molding on the top of the cabinets would be a perfect finishing touch. Excellent job!

  2. Dayka
    October 27, 2009 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

    Now that I’ve seen the way Layla’s husband did theirs, I’m going to try it. Wish me luck!

  3. Kim A
    October 27, 2009 at 10:19 am (9 years ago)

    I absolutely love your cabinet make over. Now that I see the pictures, I have a visual of what you have described to me. Love it.

  4. Symone's Mommy
    October 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm (9 years ago)

    OH MY WORD! You did a FABOULOUS job. You should be extremely proud. That is what it is all about. Feeling accomplished every time you walked in the room. Much better than just paying someone an arm and a leg to do something you can do for yourself…look who’s talking. I need to finish my 10,000 projects! I love it! Congratulations.

  5. Dayka
    October 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks, Symone! Get started with a small one first–I can be so bad with finishing stuff, too. And that you, too, Sweet Pea!

  6. Dayka
    October 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm (9 years ago)

    oops, that should say “thank you”, not “that you” @ kim

  7. L.Duncan@home23duncanboys
    October 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Hey Lady! This is GREAT!!! I don’t know if you read my post about wanting black cabinets, but I WANTED BLACK CABINETS! i let people talk me out of doing it and now looking at yours I’m like: WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Your kitchen is FABULOUS! Now I’m starting to rethink white. I paint mine myself and it takes me about a month and a half to finish (3 kids and all)!! Make sure you link this to Metamporhasis Mondays at Between Naps on the Porch (I’ll find the link) And link it up to Transformation Thursdays at the Shabby Chic Cottage (I’ll find the link)

    Feel free to email me sometimes (like to tell me about these thrift stores) Lakeitha_duncan(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. L.Duncan@home23duncanboys
    October 27, 2009 at 8:39 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh and also, tell me more about your kitchen! What color is on the walls, what black did you use, granite tiles? who knew? where would I find them? tell me more more more!

  9. Tamstyles
    October 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm (9 years ago)

    wowowowowowowowow….love this.girl this kitchen has got it going all the way on..its beautiful. love your blog and will follow.

    I am glad you commented…thanks for the wonderful story.

  10. Dayka
    October 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks so much. I love your blog! Keep it up!

  11. Struggler
    October 28, 2009 at 1:31 pm (9 years ago)

    This is wonderful – looking at the before pictures, I expected to see that you tore everything out, but I’m so amazed and impressed at what you kept, how it looks now, and the incredible difference you made. You should feel very, very proud of this!
    I noticed your dream kitchen list included a drawer for spices. I have a spice holder attached to the inside of a cabinet door, which is kind of nice and takes up zero room. Maybe you could treat your stylish new kitchen to one of those?
    I love the decorative touches in your dining area too – great job all round!

  12. pk
    October 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm (9 years ago)

    I left a message yesterday and I must have done something wrong. So… I’ll say it again. 🙂 This is an INCREDIBLY GREAT makeover! You should be so proud! It doesn’t even look like the same space. Love all of the changes you made. I came back today to tell you that you should submit this to the DIY Showoff. I’m sure she would love to showcase it on her blog. Not sure if you’ve heard of her or not, but this is her site… All the best in the rest of your renovating. I’m following.

    pk @ room remix

  13. Dayka
    October 28, 2009 at 6:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks, ladies! @ Struggler-I don’t think it would fit on the inside of my cabinet, since I have so much shoved into them due to the lack of storage space!! It’s a great idea, though, and maybe I’ll be able to make it happen after my sideboard project is done.
    @ pk-I checked the site, but I think she’s only doing Halloween stuff right now, and I’m not sure if it’s inappropriate to send something that’s not in line with the theme . . . I’m just learning the “blogger’s rules”. 🙂 I’ll keep a watch out and post it the first chance I get. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  14. pk
    October 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm (9 years ago)

    Actually, to get on DIY Showoff’s site, all you need to do is shoot her an e-mail (the address is on her site) with either your photos or a link to your post. She’s really good at responding and will ask you any questions she has or whatever – Then she’ll post it on her blog at some point. I know she would LOVE to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by today. That encouragement board is cool, isn’t it? 🙂
    pk @ Room Remix

  15. Tammy of Yarborough House
    October 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Looks great lady. We are in the final stretches of our kitchen remodel and hope to post the whole thing in about a week..


  16. Delightful Dwelling
    October 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow it looks amazing! I love the black cabinets and the tile counters and backsplash. It’s gorgeous, what a transformation!

    Moulding for the top of the cabinets isn’t too hard, but you need a miter saw or miter box. A cheap miter box is less than $10.

  17. Traci @ Beneath My Heart
    October 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Fabulous job! When I saw your before pictures I could tell there was great potential for a re-do. And man, you did it! I love the black cabinets and the granite counter tops. My husband installed granite tile in our kitchen too, and we love it. I love your dining area too. Just perfect!
    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on a job well done!

  18. Shannon
    October 28, 2009 at 11:15 pm (9 years ago)

    BEAUTIFUL! Your kitchen rocks. I love the color you went with too. The black is stunning. Great job! Thanks for sharing it!

  19. Heidi
    October 29, 2009 at 12:38 am (9 years ago)

    Wow! What an incredible transformation. You did good!! Those cabinets don’t even look like the same ones. I love it. You should be so proud.
    Welcome to the addictive world of blogging…
    I’ve been at it for 3 months now, what can I say, I’m hooked!
    I posted my kitchen redo awhile ago, check it out. Click on one of the kitchen pictures on my sidebar and it will take you to the right post.
    Hope to see you soon!
    Heidi – Heart and Home

  20. Mrs. Chic
    October 29, 2009 at 12:46 am (9 years ago)

    Wow! you did an amazing job of your kitchen! It looks so fresh and open, I love the black cabinets, they offset your counters perfectly. Everything looks so nice! I can’t wait utill we re-do our dank little kitchen, you give me hope

  21. Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking
    October 29, 2009 at 12:50 am (9 years ago)

    So pretty! I LOVE the glossy black cabinets. It is a amazing transformation… I’m sure you’re LOVIN’ it!

  22. Dayka
    October 29, 2009 at 2:31 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks ladies for all of your comments! If you don’t see a personal reply here, then I probably left one on your blog. I appreciate every word!

  23. Sarah
    October 29, 2009 at 10:25 am (9 years ago)

    my jaw is almost on the floor, because you turned that kitchen from fug to FABULOUS. wow. seriously amazing job.

  24. Tamera
    October 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm (9 years ago)

    I love a good makeover! You did a great job in transforming this space to look more like YOU! And that’s the whole point of it, right?

    Thanks for sharing!


  25. Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog
    October 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm (9 years ago)

    I love the finishes you chose for your kitchen!! I’ve been thinking about going with black cabinets myself. I did it in my bathroom makeover and I love how it turned out, but I’m worried about how it will look in my small galley kitchen.

    I’m definitely adding your kitchen to my inspiration file :)!

  26. Beth@The Stories of A to Z
    October 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm (9 years ago)

    It looks amazing! And I’m loving your twisty willow sticks on your table. (I have a thing for sticks lately.) Nicely done :).

  27. Jan @ bobbypinsboardwalk
    October 31, 2009 at 4:54 pm (9 years ago)

    I think you may have just made up my mind. I was torn between going with cream or black cabinets. Having seen yours is really tilting the scales toward black. Very nicely done. Please stop by my blog. I would love to have you as a neighbor!

  28. Terry
    October 31, 2009 at 8:08 pm (9 years ago)

    Saw the post about your kitchen re-do on DIY and love it! The appliances, the cabinets, the flooring, the pictures – you got it all! Great work!

  29. Lindsey@creativeattempts
    November 2, 2009 at 9:33 am (9 years ago)

    LOVE that! Much better 🙂 I bet you were dying to get that project done, huh? Great job and nice to ‘meet’ you!

  30. Low Tide High Style
    February 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm (8 years ago)

    Having recently gone through a kitchen remodel myself I can appreciate all of the hard work and planning that went in to your amazing update! Your kitchen turned out beautifully! I love the black painted cabinets and all of your finishing touches! And I can’t believe the price tag!

    Kat 🙂

  31. Nita Stacy
    February 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm (8 years ago)

    Your kitchen redo turned out wonderful. I love the black cabinets!!!


  32. Linda (Nina's Nest)
    February 10, 2010 at 8:50 am (8 years ago)

    Beautiful job on that kitchen redo. You made great choices and the look is just “Wow”! Linda

  33. Janelle
    February 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm (8 years ago)

    Your kitchen is beautiful! I am getting ready to paint my kitchen cabinets and do some renovating too. I have a quick question about your stove/range. Do you have any type of vent for it? I have a slide in stove with suspended cabinets above it that I want to knock out to make the kitchen more open. But if I do that, there won’t be any vent above it. It will be kind of like yours facing the dining area. A suspended vent is very expensive so I am not sure what I should do or if I need to worry about it. Thanks!

  34. Brooke
    February 11, 2010 at 10:54 am (8 years ago)

    AMAZING! Job so WELL DONE! U would have never thought that your kitchen looked like any of the b4 pics. I love the window in pic 3. Also I went to HomeDepot about painting my cabinets black and she said go with the choco brown; if not I would have to change the granite on the counter. We have the stainless everything from upgrading our kitchen but our walls are red. So I would have to paint it white! I dont wanna, I dont wanna. Anywhoo, you did a great job. Ever thought about doing interior decorating for someone or creating a company of your own? There are enough bloggers on here that you can come together with as a team.
    Congrats on it all. I luvz it!!!

  35. this blessed nest
    February 11, 2010 at 10:31 pm (8 years ago)

    you did so well. honest. what a transformation. i was stuck looking at all the “after” pics, before reading what you wrote about everything. you should be so proud. AND yes, why not show it off!
    it really is something to re-model. i say it all the time…it is so much more work to re-model then to build. in my opinion. said she with an almost 100 year old house.

    i noticed you use high gloss in your kitchen & some of your projects…is there a certain brand you like?
    just curious. i was on some blog the other day…can’t remember which one (of course) and she was recommending an opal white high gloss for projects. is that similar to the one you use?

    again, i would be so proud to call this my kitchen.
    take care, girl!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 am (8 years ago)

    Wow! The after is awesome! Is that really the same kitchen! Greta job!

  37. Amanda
    March 12, 2010 at 11:38 am (8 years ago)

    Absolutely amazing! I really love the dramatic feel and the pops of green!

    So spill more on the granite tile… Does it look seamless (enough); was the grouting easy; do the side pieces go on the same way?

    Send this in to, too.

  38. Dayka (Life +Style)
    March 12, 2010 at 11:51 am (8 years ago)

    hey amanda-

    i didn’t get your email address, so i hope you’ll be able to see the response here. i wouldn’t say it looks seamless, but it definitely doesn’t have huge grout lines. i had it placed relatively close together and i think it works well. the end pieces are laid the same–they’re just tile edges and can be laied flush to the larger tiles.

    hope this helps!

  39. Amanda
    March 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks! I have been researching (stalking?) blogs for a while trying to find out if the tiles are really as great as they seem. I have a tiny kitchen with a dated countertop, so it can’t really get much worse.

    I love your blog!

  40. Pink Inc.
    April 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm (8 years ago)

    Your Kitchen came out fabulous!!!Good job …..What a transformation..


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