Hey strangers! I am back and have returned with goodies – the full before and after of my mother’s kitchen.
I have no idea what to call it. It was much more than just a revision, but not quite as extensive as a renovation. My mother wanted a few improvements to her kitchen, but she didn’t want it to be a complete remodeling with torn-out closets, and she didn’t want anything that would require her entire house to be renovated.
Therefore, all changes that we had made in the kitchen had to be coordinated with their existing furniture, curtains and decorations in the breakfast room and in the family room.
With that in mind, we chose a new cabinet and wall color to match their existing curtains and furniture, and then it took us about eight weeks to change that …
… find that very good …
… find that very good …
Isn’t that a remarkable difference? It’s so big a difference that it almost feels like a complete makeover. But as you can see, we kept the original cabinets, although we have pretty much improved them.
The body color is a Valspar color called Sweet Carolina, but we had it color-coordinated in Behr Premium Plus color with an eggshell look and then had it coated with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in a flat surface. The new wall paint is a Behr paint called Aged Beige, and we used an eggshell finish.
There was so much in there not completely redesignSo I will try to give you as many details as possible.
My mother didn’t want to do anything terribly extensive. After all, this should be a quick revision so that new floor tiles or backsplash tiles were out of the question. So we started the whole thing by changing the color of the mortar on the floor tile and the backsplash tile with Grout Renew.
Mortar renewal is magical. It is a paint type product that has been specially designed to change the color of grout, and the before and after is really amazing. Here is a picture of the ongoing grout renewal process. Do you see what it looks like to change the actual color of the tile?
This dark mortar really accentuated the dark colors in the tile, with the light mortar seeming to emphasize the light colors in the tile and somehow make the darker color disappear.
Of course, the changes we made to the actual cabinets made the biggest difference in the kitchen. The original cabinet doors and drawer fronts were the thin ones from the 1960s that had a routed design on the edges. And of course there was also the scalloped canopy around the window area.
We kept all of the original cabinets, but we made all of the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, removed the scalloped canopy around the sink and window area, and replaced the panel just above the canopy (as it was cut to install the canopy). , filled the lines of the panel with wooden spatula and sanded them smooth, and then took the color of the cabinet color to the ceiling.
The new cabinet doors and drawer fronts are very simple in design – 3/4 “plywood with edge strips on the edges and a simple paneling for dressing the fronts. Then we added new hardware.
I was so shocked by the difference in the window area without the scalloped canopy. Only this simple change made a significant contribution to making the kitchen feel modern and fresh. But it also made the kitchen more open and bright. It was such a small change for such a big payout.
And you’ll also find that we swapped the sink and faucet, swapped the almond-colored switches, sockets, and front panels for new white ones, added a new Lowe’s woven shade, and added a new pendant lamp where the can was lit above the sink earlier and added a piece of trim under the windowsill. One of my mother’s paintings and a new cute little plant rounded it off.
The back of the peninsula has also been completely redesigned. Before we started, the back (i.e., the side of the breakfast room) of the peninsula had two poorly fitting closet doors that my father had installed about two decades ago. My father was one of those people who managed to make it beautiful, so making it beautiful wasn’t really a priority for him. He had two additional closet doors and decided to use them. 😀
We not only removed the doors, but all the cladding on this side of the peninsula …
… and I built it from scratch. Now it has four doors instead of two, and they are actually symmetrical and much more pleasant to look at. I also added some consoles to even out the countertop’s 12 inch overhang.
Now the back of the peninsula looks more deliberate than afterwards.
My mother originally planned to build pull-out shelves for both the left and right sides of the peninsula, but as things approached completion, she decided that she didn’t need any pull-outs on the side they accessed The inside of the cupboard could be seen from both the kitchen side and the side of the breakfast room, since on this side nothing can get lost in the dark niches of the cupboard.
Here is the access from the kitchen side …
… and access from the side of the breakfast room …
There is therefore a risk that none of these items will become inaccessible.
On the other side (i.e. on the wall side of the peninsula) there was originally a blind corner, which means that it is not easily accessible from the kitchen side. On this side, I built their two pull-out shelves that were accessible from the side of the breakfast room so nothing was lost.
I also built their two pull-out shelves for the newly configured closets to the left of the stove. We haven’t really reconfigured anything here except the doors. All shelves stayed in the same place. She decided that everything in the upper area was easy to reach, with no pull-out shelves.
But I added two pull-out shelves at the bottom …
And finally, I added two more pull-out shelves in the closet to the right of the stove.
You will also notice that all the inside of your closets are now light and white. It made such a big difference !! I didn’t get an official “before” picture of the inside of their closets, but I found one that shows the original color …
It was just unfinished wood that had probably grown darker over the years. The inside didn’t even have a clear coat. It was just plain, raw, dark wood.
And now all the closet interiors are bright and white and look so clean …
My biggest tip when painting cabinet interiors is to use a clear varnish and especially the use of high finishing topcoat for general surfaces. If you just paint the interior of your closets with latex paint and leave them there, they won’t be beautiful for long. Latex paint always seems to have a slightly sticky feel, and the paint sticks and scrubs the paint. A high quality top coat makes a difference day and night.
Another big change we made was on this corner where the dishwasher was.
Her dishwasher has been broken for some time and she decided that she would rather have more storage space than replace it. In particular, she wanted a storage location for her KitchenAid blender so that she could take it off her countertop. But she knew there was no way she would get it out if it was put in a normal closet to use.
So we removed the dishwasher and I turned this area into more closet space …
And then I installed a Rev-a-Shelf blender shelf in the closet with a pull-out shelf underneath so she could keep her blender accessories.
There was already a socket for the dishwasher, so the mixer can now remain connected and you can easily raise it to worktop height when you need to use the mixer.
In addition to all of the cabinet upgrades, I also built her all new drawers. The original drawers had seen better days and I never thought that I could remove the drawer fronts from them without completely destroying them. All new drawer boxes with soft-close drawer guides with full extension were in order.
And after seeing how I customized my kitchen drawers, she decided that she wanted it in hers too. It’s so easy with Home Depot’s 1/2 inch project boards. Simply cut them, glue them and nail them (with tiny 5/8 “nails) into any configuration.
Here are the ones I made for my mother …
After I finished it and went home for the day, she decided that she wanted to cut another drawer, so she did it herself.
This is a simple, inexpensive and relatively quick way to customize your kitchen!
There was a big upgrade that we didn’t do ourselves. My mother’s breakfast room originally had this large panoramic window …
And she decided that she wanted to replace this window, along with the door on the side of the fireplace family room, with new French doors to facilitate access to her new covered terrace.
These new French doors are incredible! They let in so much light and now that they are there it seems as if they should always have been there.
I can’t believe what a HUGE difference it was to swap a fairly large window for French doors. But this change, along with the removal of the canopy around the kitchen window, seems to have doubled the amount of natural light that falls into these rooms.
In my opinion, we made the biggest difference in the kitchen by bringing the color of the cabinet color to the ceiling. In fact, it made such a difference that several commentators in previous progress papers actually thought we had added new crown moldings.
But as you can see here, this crown molding was there from the start.
It looks so much better to combine the crown molding and the space above the cabinets with the actual cabinets than these areas have different colors.
We have also added new laminate countertop material over their existing laminate countertops. The new laminate is almost the same color as the original, but is only a little bit whiter and lighter. It was a big project!
The last thing we did was replace the original light bulbs with GE Reveal LED light bulbs. These are my new favorite light bulbs and they don’t even have to pay me for it (and didn’t pay me for it, FYI).
Lightbulbs make such a big difference in how the colors look in a room. But I admit that when I buy light bulbs now, I’m totally confused and overwhelmed. After looking at the different options (and what the hell are lumens anyway? 😀), I decided that I liked the way the GE Reveal lamp looked on the display and bought one for it little light above the sink.
The light that put it out was so pretty to me – not so warm that it is yellow, but also not so bright that it was hard and blue like these daylight bulbs. I enjoyed it so much that I persuaded my mother to replace the bulbs in her 6-inch can lights with the Reveal bulbs, and the difference was amazing!
I think that covers all the changes we made. It was definitely much more extensive than a simple revision, and we seemed to be adding projects over time. So it took longer than originally planned.
But I think all of our hard work has paid off. My mother loves her “new” kitchen – both appearance and functionality – and that is important to me. I’m so glad we could do it for you.
Anyway, I’ll leave you a few random pictures of it before and after the transformation …
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