When Kathy sent us her kitchen makeover pictures we had to wipe the drool from our chins. Here’s her letter:
I just wanted to send you some before and after pictures of our recent kitchen redo. I love reading your blog and all of the updates keep me inspired. In fact, we were inspired by your “how to” section’s tutorial on painting cabinets. Instead of replacing our kitchen cabinets (we considered going the Ikea route), we decided to paint the pickled whitewashed facade a chic and solid gray tone (Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore- the wall color is Winter White also by BM). We then hired someone to do the following: raise the cabinets to the lowest part of the ceiling, install a new sink and faucet and exhaust fan, tile the backsplash in a white subway tile, tile the counters in a gray marble, and install a white shelf where the bottom of the original cabinets used to be. We saved gobs of money by using tile marble instead of a big slab. We also took the original brass hinges and spray painted them silver instead of spending $150+ on new hinges. The entire cost of the redo wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t budget breaking either–materials and labor ran us around $1600 (the sink, exhaust fan, backsplash tile, counter tile and white shelves were all from Lowe’s). You can check out some extra details on our blog. Thanks for looking! – Kathy
Here’s the kitchen before the makeover:
And here’s the same space after the cabinet painting/rehanging, the new sink, the new backsplash and tile counters and the shelf installation under the newly raised cabinets:
Isn’t the difference just miraculous. At first glance it seems similar in tone, but the feeling of the newly transformed space is so fresh and crisp and charming as opposed to the builder before. And the raised cabinets and new stone counters really make the entire space feel a lot more luxe and lovely. And last but not least, the price! New counters, backsplashes, fixtures, faucets and rehung cabinets can usually run in the $5000+ range, so Kathy’s budget-friendly makeover is that much more impressive. What do you guys think? Isn’t this kitch the bee’s knees?
I’m jealous! Even the before picture looks ten times better than my kitchen! And the after– gorgeous!
Michele Daggar says
Oh how I love subway tile! So clean looking. Those counters are truly gorgeous. How could they possibly have done this so cheaply? I dream of counters that beautiful…..
Love how they spray painted the hinges instead of buying new. Terrific!!!!!
Wow this is beautiful!
Speaking of beautiful. I have a great poop story today that will make your Friday full of beauty :-)
(remember me? You helped me with my Gray bedroom with pitched ceiling) xoxo
looks great! we want to do the same type of work just to spruce the kitchen up until we go all hog and do a complete redo in a few years.
i’d love to know the steps they took to paint the cabinets.
Here’s our step by step cabinet-painting tutorial that Kathy followed: https://www.younghouselove.com/how-to-paint-your-kitchen-cabinets/
Hope it helps!
Nice! I love the subway tile backsplash!
Wow! What a great job and beautiful execution of your vision. Only thing I think I would do, would be to put moulding on the bottom of the wall cabinets to hide the underneath of the cabinets from view better. I am so glad you did tiled marble. We are thinking of doing granite tile.
Here is a link on how to tile directly over a laminate countertop (make sure the one you have is sturdy enough for the new and weighty tile).
I didn’t notice at first, but I think that’s what makes it great. I love that it doesn’t take the space from light to dark, the tones are still the same. Fantastic, indeed!
I’m diggin the counter idea. Its a bit unusual (to me anyway, I’ve never seen it in action) but has a certain appeal to it to compliment the floor and adding a bit of texture to what I feel like is typically a flat space, to say nothing of the cost savings!
[email protected] says
Love it! Would love it even more with a valance hung close to the ceiling to soften things up. Wonder if they have that planned?
I love the open shelving!
It looks great. I love the subway tile and open shelving below, but I don’t know that raising up the cabinets will be good for resale of the house. As a shorter person, this would drive me bananas.
Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog says
My house came with very similar cabinets- it’s nice to see how someone updated the kitchen while keeping the cabinets.
Also, I’m really leaning towards gettting the subway tile backsplash now, it looks so great!
This time I liked the “before” picture better. Except the hanging lighting. Looks great!
What a difference! I love gray–it’s one of my favorite colors to work with. I would be worried a little bit about the cabinets being too high for easy access–I’m short and I’d hate having to pull out a step stool every time I needed something. It looks really balanced in the space though, and I like the openness of having some dishes and items on the simple shelves.
Kevin M says
I really like the subway tiles, but it seems a little sterile. I don’t really get moving the cabinets up then putting shelves in right beneath them. Too much clutter for my taste. Why not just take out the lone cabinet to the right of the sink and put a series of shelves there instead? $1,600 seems pretty high actually – I guess most of that is labor costs?
$1600 is actually an awesome price when you think about all the materials they purchased for the makeover: a new exhaust fan, subway backsplash tile, granite tile for every surface including the island, a new sink and faucet, primer and paint for the cabinets, spray paint for the hinges, etc. That’s a ton of new stuff going into updating the space! Plus they also had some labor costs as you mentioned. As for raising the cabinets, Kathy had peaked ceilings and wanted a loftier look so moving them was all about creating an airy and more proportional look for such an expansive room (and less about getting added shelving, which was just a great little bonus). Hope it helps!
Let’s remember to encourage the lovely people who submit their before and afters so they keep rolling in! We don’t want anyone to fear criticism and therefore hold back their amazing projects! We’re all about supporting and encouraging everyone to make their house work for them. Of course decorating is subjective so everyone won’t personally love everything but it’s important to do our best to be supportive of one another!
I like your blog but your reply to Kevin seemed really heavy-handed. “We’re all about supporting and encouraging everyone…” So it’s Mr. Rogers Prozac Neighborhood, where we can’t even express an opinion that isn’t completely happy-happy?
There wasn’t anything snarky or malicious in what he said. He just expressed his opinion in a respectful way and even offered an alternative idea.
that’s an awesome redo of the whitewashed cabinets. I am buying a house that has a similar whitewashy thing going on with the cabinets… It’s making me crazy because the cabinets almost look PINK, and that’s not going to work for me. I wasn’t thinking I want to paint the cabinets but does anyone have any ideas on wall colors, etc that will tone down the pink-ness of the whitewashed look?
Love, love, LOVE the subway tile backsplash! It is awesome! I also adore the open shelves, they make the room feel much bigger.
While I love the look of the tile countertops, I can’t imagine how to keep the grout clean! I think I’m way too messy a cook for that.
Great before and after photos!
Looks awesome! I love the subway tile and the tiled countertops. We have a laminate nightmare for a kitchen – countertops, cabinets – and to complete the look, vinyl flooring! We can’t afford to do a complete overhaul at the moment, but we love taking on little projects that pack a punch. Any tips for dealing with laminate & vinyl? Can you put tile over laminate countertops?
This is a really cool makeover for a low cost. The shelves are a great idea – there are really many options for what to display or how to use them. I agree with another reader’s comments; a window treatment to balance out the white space b/w top of the window and cabinets would be a nice finishing touch. Thanks for sharing!
I gotta agree with David. . . I too love your blog, but think that respectful dissent is appropriate. It’s good to allow for some discussion around these choices. For instance, chacha’s point is a good one, re: changing the cabinet heights. Airing that comment could save someone else from making a costly mistake from a re-sale perspective. Or at least give them something to weigh and consider.
Hey LW and David,
Please excuse us if we’re a bit quick to jump on the be-nice bandwagon, we’ve just watched a number of awesome decor blogs turn into a place where perfect strangers snarkily tear each other apart, and we never want Reader Redesigns to dry up due to anyone fearing negative responses. We hope you understand! We work too tirelessly to write a slew of weekly posts and round up giveaways for our lovely readers to watch our blog turn into a drama-fest… which is why we have the bolded “drama free zone” disclaimer for those who are about to comment.
We completely agree that kindly delivered constructive criticism can be extremely helpful, we just don’t ever want homeowners to feel negatively about sharing their spaces with our readers (so perhaps we’re hyper sensitive in this regard). The funny thing is that we don’t mind when people constructively criticize our decorating decisions but we’re oddly protective of our reader submissions. Hope it helps!
s (& j)
Hi Youngsters ,
I have a question for you…not connected to this post. I have an ugly old ceiling light fixture in my entryway ..it has a broad base …I want to replace it with a cool pendant fixture I saw at Ikea ..However the base of the pendant is smaller than the hole in my ceiling (if I remove the ugly light fixture).
Any easy fixes ?? Hoping you have one of your fabulous ideas that leaves my wondering “why did’nt I think of that :)”
One easy fix would be a ceiling medallion. They’re sold at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s and they can easily hide the difference in size of your new ceiling fixture. You might want to carefully (turn off the power!) peek under the current fixture though, because a lot of lights look large but the actual hole in the ceiling is a lot smaller underneath- so it might be a non-issue once you look at what sized hole in the ceiling you’re dealing with under the light. Hope it helps!
Looks great! I love the color of the cabinets and the subway tile. Very fresh looking. My only criticism is I think they should paint the bottom of the upper cabinets the same color as the cabinets since you can see the wood bottom in all of the pictures.
Job well done!
It looks like the flooring is changed as well. Am I right?
heather s. says
I love the tiling and the new cabinet color, but also have to respectfully agree that I wouldn’t be able to use the kitchen since the cabinets are so high now. It might limit their resale but there are definitely people out there who look for higher cabinets/counters. In fact, I have friends who are both over 6′ tall and they had their home built for them so all the counters and cabinets are high. In their home I can barely reach the bottom shelf but it works for them. :)
WOW! $1600 and that included labor, good job. Carpenters do not come cheep so DIY as much as you can. If you don’t do anything else to your kitchen, giving the cabinets a face lift makes a huge difference. This is what we did with wainscoting.
Am I the only one that thinks they need to paint under their cabnits? I can’t believe I am the first to mention this…..the first thing I noticed was the ‘pine’ color peeking out from underneath the cabinets…..sorry!
Jeannine @ Small & Chic says
The new feel of the room is fantastic. Without any floor plan changes, they’ve made the room feel more light and airy.
A lot of bloggers have been championing the idea of raising cabinets and adding shelves lately (I think it all started with one women’s kitchen, but I can’t find the post for the life of me). I think it’s a great way to incorporate open shelving in a less scary way than some magazines are suggesting. I can’t imagine going to a kitchen with no upper cabinets, but I can imagine lifting some cabinets and adding a shelf or two.
As for the cabs being too high for short people, there are plenty of kitchens with 42″ cabinets that require even those of us who are average height or taller to use a step ladder. I think everyone adapts.
They did a beautiful job and the budget is fantastic.
Oh how I heart subway tiles….so crisp, so clean, perfect for the backsplash. Love this reader redo!
I too am loving this raised cabinet with shelving from a design standpoint (the original, was it featured in Urban Grace Interiors? I can’t remember but I was literally drooling), I think another reader redesign has featured this similar setup also…BUT, I’m dying to know from a functional standpoint, what do you store at the top? Items that aren’t utilized as much? Serving pieces there instead of a buffet? Same for extra-tall regular cabinets? I’m very short (5′ and my husband is 5’8″) so I already have to use a stepstool to get to the top shelves of my regular low-hung cabs so I’m thinking it won’t be that much different to use a stepstool to get to the higher shelves too, especially if the design is so great. Thoughts from anyone that actually has tall cabinets? Love to hear what you think!! :)
Hey Mandy and Jeannine,
Here’s the Cottage Living kitchen that you guys are talking about (the one that started the cabinet-raising trend): http://urbangraceinteriors.typepad.com/the_blog/2009/01/a-kitchen-intervention.html
Isn’t is amazing?!
And as for your question Mandy, we think Kathy’s kitchen looks clean and clutter free since she didn’t put things like plants or baskets on top of her cabinets. That being said, we’ve seen some awesome kitchens with clean-lined (so they don’t look too country) baskets or glass bottles sitting on top of cabinets that have a lot of space between them and the ceiling. As for what to store inside cabinets on the top shelves that are out of reach (I’m also short so I can’t get to much in ours without a step stool) anything that you don’t use as much- like seasonal platters, rarely used gadgets, etc- always works. Hope it helps!
I actually favor the before pictures! Such beautiful clean lines……so calming! The makeover is a bit busy for my taste.
Adding in my 2 cents… I personally do not like open shelving in the kitchen because when olive oil is properly heated, it sends out a very fine mist that coats everything and causes build up over time. My husband and I are mad foodists and he’s Italian – we do some serious cooking! As it is now, I have to clean everything with bleach more often than I like … I don’t think I would feel comfortable using and serving dishes, plates and stemware that could get icky over time.
I don’t think it looks busy at all! And I love how they used granite tile to save even more money. I’m impressed and it’s given me more ideas on how to update our kitchen!
PS – some hanging pathos plants would look great along the top of the cabinets.
Laurie M says
I dream of a white subway tile backsplash. However, our appliances are an off-white/cream color. We bought the house new and have no intention to replace all the appliances. We have light oak cabinets, a gray, wanna-be-granite, counter top (we did not pick these finishes) and white trim throughout the kitchen. Would it look unappealing to have the off-white up against the white? Or would the white trim help to tie it all together?
Hey Laurie M,
Great question! We’ve seen plenty of monochromatic and chic off-white mixed with white kitchens but the only way to see if it’ll work in your space would be to bring home some white subway tile and hold it up against your off-white appliances and see if it looks clashy or complementary. Hope it helps!
This is a great solution for people who want to do more than just paint cabinets, but can’t afford to replace them all. I love the clean lines, and although I think I’d probably have thrown in a sharp contrast somewhere, I adore the after photos. Great job on an amazing budget!
Sherry – Thanks for sharing the Cottage Living link – that renovation took my breath away! I see why people are inspired by it!
I really like the extra floating shelves. It allows them to display some of their pretty dishes without exposing all of their not-so-pretty things (tupperware, cereal boxes, etc). I can see how it’s a personal choice though, but I’m glad that they felt comfortable to be creative and come up with a solution that they love and not fall into cookie-cutter kitchen territory!
I couldn’t move the cabinets up high because I’m too short to reach the cabinets that I have already! lol. But I think it looks great and shows off the pretty new backsplash.
Oh, and I forgot to say… I think what would really complete the space would be some rattan blinds hung from the ceiling level to the top of the window to make it look even bigger! And (in fantasy, non budget world), a beautiful apron front sink.
Jeannine @ Small & Chic says
Thanks for the link, Sherry. The starred items in my Google Reader got cleared out at some point and I lost that blog post.
Something I noticed that makes this project even more tempting is that the woman in Erika’s blog post used nice, thick crown. The cabinets aren’t smack against the ceiling as a result, they’re a few inches lower. Those top shelves probably aren’t as much of a stretch.
I like the clean, simple look that the readers have here. If they had accessories or plants along the top of their cabinets, it might not feel so open. They’ve done a great job staging the room.
Sorry to be a pest, but I think my question earlier may have gotten lost in the shuffle. I just wanted to know if it’s possible to tile over laminate. If not, what alternatives would you recommend?
Check out the opinion Cheep3r5 submitted towards the top of the comments on this post:
Here is a link on how to tile directly over a laminate countertop (make sure the one you have is sturdy enough for the new and weighty tile).
We have no prior experience with a project like this though, so hopefully the link (and maybe a bit more googling will clear things up). Hope it helps!
I love love love the grey cabinets and the subway tile. So classic and always in style.
I do have to agree with a people about the cabinet height. As an active homebuyer this kitchen would be a massive undertaking even though I’m sure it would be considered “turn key”. At only 5’2 I would have to pull the cabinets out, chip away tile and re-hang the cabinets just to be able to reach the second shelf!
Also, what color is the tile on the counter? It looks brownish in the pictures… I feel like a dark grey or black granite would have been better.
PJ – my husband is an expert tiler and I posed your question to him. His response is… bad idea. Linoleum can lift and warp over time and if you lay tile over it, you could end up with shifting tile, cracks and instability over time. Your safest bet would be to rip out the linoleum and start with a clean surface. Of course, that is only one opinion and other tilers may have a different experience or opinion.
btw, I hope no one is offended by my comment on open shelving – I do love the look of it but I am SOOOOO over dusting and cleaning more items than I already do! :)
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your husband’s expert tiling advice! Hopefully it’ll save PJ some trouble!
Hi … lovely remake. The colour on the cabinets and the new backsplash are fabulous. I too would worry about the cabinets being so high, but maybe they are tall. Good suggestion of taking down the cupboard to the right of the window and putting the open shelves there.
As another shorty (I’m 4’10”), I sympathize with you regarding cabinet height. However, we bought our house and it has high cabinets as pictured in the post. At first I thought I was going to hate it but surprisingly, I don’t. Most of everything I use on a daily basis fits on the bottom shelf, which I can reach just fine. For other serving pieces that are used less, I whip out my stool (or call for the much taller hubs). We loved the rest of our house so much that I was willing to accomodate. Thought I would throw my 2 cents into the heap. Good Luck with the house hunt!
As a shorty with raised cabinets, thanks to much for chiming in with your personal experience!
I like their choice of cabinet colour – way better than that pinky stuff! And the subway tile is fabulous! I think some sheer curtains would be really cute for the kitchen window, maybe hung high like you always say, to raise it to the level of the cabinets? Though I’m not sure if curtains are practical right by the sink so maybe that’s not the best idea…
I have no issue with tall cabinets since I’m 6′ tall and can reach even the highest shelves in our pantry. ;) What I am concerned about though is the vent hood – does it still work with the extra distance from the cooktop?
You all have to check out their blog – it’s awesome, and I love the photos!
Yes, everyone head over to Kathy’s blog. It’s great and her photography is amazing!
Dana Miller says
Yay! I’ve been looking for some gray painted kitchen cabinet pics!!!! We are planning on doing the same in our ‘builder’ kitchen this fall. I think we may paint the upper cabinets white though and the lower ones a darker gray (to hide kiddie prints). I LOVE the look of a gray and white kitchen and think this redesign is wonderful. Great job; I’m inspired.
Anna at single bathroom vanities says
The new counter tops look very nice and make the kitchen much brighter. I also really like that the handles on the cabinets and other accents match with the dishwasher and sinks.
Praise be to Anne Turner! I love the raised cabinets and shelves look every time I see it.
I love the counters and sinks. I actually liked the cabinets better before and I agree that raising them is probably going to cause trouble when it’s time to sell. But what really matters is that the couple like it now — they can deal with lowering the cabinets later if it’s necessary!
I admire their courage in painting the cabinets — I know that’s a huge job and one that’s hard to do well. Looks like they did a great job.
In response to PJ’s countertop dilemma, Rust-Oleum sells a Countertop coating product formulated for laminate in 16 colors.
PJ – Denise had a great suggestion, and it reminded me of this diy countertop project – http://rockybella.blogspot.com/2009/07/before-after-painting-my-countertops.html – they did an amazing job painting their countertops.