Carla’s Design Dilemma: Solved

A month ago Carla and her husband Evan hit us up for some suggestions to take their wood-on-wood kitchen to new heights. They wanted something vibrant, polished and a lot younger and fresher, so we tossed out a slew of ideas (painting the cabinets & chairs white while the table goes black to echo the backsplash, bringing in pops of fresh green with dramatic curtains and other accessories, adding a round jute rug under the table for texture, etc). Then we sat back and anxiously awaited the after pictures…. and they actually came pretty quickly! Here’s their letter:

We couldn’t wait to send the kitchen after pictures to you just one short month after our consultation. All we can say is WOW!!!! We honestly cannot believe the transformation- it’s like a brand new kitchen and we freaking L.O.V.E. it!!!! As you can see, we took a lot of your advice and I was able to talk my hubby into painting the table, chairs and cabinets- I think he’s still in shock! He was very apprehensive, as you know, but my smooth talking, good looks (haha) and the fact that I promised to do most of the work myself (even took a day off of work, thank you very much!) got him to love it AND help out too! We still cannot believe how different it all is. WOW! And all for around $800 (including primer, paint, curtains, rugs and every last plant, pot, accessory, and dishtowel). It was so great to be able to do this project with you and the best part is that we feel like we’re really making this house our home! You guys are an inspiration– keep doing what you’re doing! -Carla & Evan

Here are the before pictures for your viewing pleasure:



And the jawdropping afters thanks to some paint and a slew of accessories:




Is that not an amazing makeover? We love how much lighter and more cheerful the room is (we’ve said it a hundred times, but paint and curtains really can completely transform a space). We’re so glad that we convinced Carla- and Carla convinced her understandably nervous hubby- that painting those cabinets along with the table & chairs was the way to go (before the room was one big tan-on-tan blur, even the floor blended with the cabinets which blended with the blinds and the kitchen table). Plus tying the table into their sleek backsplash (with a dash of black paint) really added cohesion and updated what was once a country piece into something you’d find at Pottery Barn. And aren’t those punchy green curtains and that round jute rug the icing on the cake? We can’t get enough of ’em.

Oh an here’s a source list from Carla and Evan:

  • Paint for cabinets: chairs/cabinets- Valspar’s Ultra White, table- Olympic Black Magic, walls- Benjamin Moore Ashen Tan (you were so on the money w/ those colors)
  • 3 Curtain Panels: Crate & Barrel (thank you for suggesting 3- it makes all the difference!)
  • Table & Chairs:  free! (painted black & white at your suggestion)
  • White Placemat on Table: Pottery Barn
  • Blowfish Fruit Bowl: Anthropology (seriously, isn’t this awesome!?)
  • The “M” in the window: Urban Outfitters (painted black)
  • FAB Round Jute Rug: Pottery Barn (LOVE it!)
  • Coral: Pottery Barn (every room needs a piece of sea life, right Nate Berkus?!)
  • Dishtowels: Crate & Barrel
  • Rug at stove: Crate & Barrel

Fabulous job guys! We love that you went all the way and the transformation is seriously stunning. We especially appreciate this makeover because it’s a great reminder that “new” kitchens don’t always have to call for major demolition and mucho moolah. Let’s play one of my favorite games: whats-your-favorite-thing? I’m on the fence between that amazing jute rug and those lively and lovely curtains. Yummy.

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


  1. Melissa says

    Carla and Youngsters-
    This is so imspirational I have the exact same wood cabinets, a quartz countertop, and the same dishwasher. I have been thinking about painting the cabinets, but havent had the confidence to do it. Now I have seen how beautiful it can be! I love your new kitchen. I am off to buy some Valspar Paint. Will any type of primer do? Please advise and enjiy your new space! It is stunning.


  2. says

    This is fantastic! We have very similar wood cabinets, and just yesterday I finally mentioned to my husband that I want to paint them. This makeover is exactly what I need to convince him that this is the way to go. And maybe I can even get a tiled backsplash out of the deal too. :-)

    Looks FABULOUS. Great job everyone!

  3. says

    I love the bright punch of green! The jute rug is fantastic too. My husband and recently bought a house and I needed (wanted) a natural looking rug for under a black pedistal table we purchased at potterybarn outlet for our kitchen. I needed it in specific measurements and ended up having one custom cut and bound to my measurements in sisel from a nearby carpet store for only $200. It looks perfect, fits perfect, and I love that we used an “eco” material!

  4. Melissa says

    Also Carla,

    Did you use one large curtain rod or is it two small. If one big, what size and where did u purchase it?

    Thanks again!

  5. meg says

    love the makeover! have contemplated painting my light wood kitchen cabinets – this will give me more food for thought. really like the draperie panels, but am wondering about the height at which they are hung? what are your thoughts?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Meg,

      Good question about the curtain height. In many rooms that have transom windows, the choice must be made whether to hang a curtain rod above both sets of windows or between them. Either solution is acceptable and can look lovely, as is the case with Carla and Evan’s room. It’s really just a personal choice, and taking a few things into consideration (like the length of the curtains you love) can help you figure out what will work best for you. Hope it helps!


  6. Sami Jenkins says

    Fantastic pictures — and thanks for posting the source list! What a lovely kitchen. (And I see you have the same black wood words “Cucina” and “Family” that Katie from ABR has!)

  7. Erin says

    I didn’t even notice that they had such beautiful countertops until it was painted. Looks amazing!

  8. says

    I mean, W-O-W! What a huge difference! It’s so peppy and bright! And the dining area looks much more grounded and cohesive with the round rug and coordinating colors. Great job as usual, Youngsters!

  9. Kylee says

    WOW! That room looks great. I love the green curtains. I close on my new house in 11 days and can’t wait to get started on my kitchen. First thing to go is the carpet…..yes I said carpet!

  10. says

    It looks great! I love the punches of green but am trying to decide if I like the panel in the middle of the windows. The jute rug is amazing – I may just look for one for my round table!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Meg,

      Dark cabinets take perfectly to white paint as long as you use a coat of oil-based primer first to get them nice and ready first. Hope it helps! Happy painting…


  11. says

    Wow- I absolutely love the new kitchen! I think the cabinets look amazing and really pop against the grey countertops. And I’m loving the bright green- looks great next to the black cabinet. Great job!

  12. says

    I love it, it looks really fresh and modern. The green against the white looks amazing and I really like the letters above the door. I’m guessing it says family and that’s a lovely touch.

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