Our kitchen makeover before and after photos really show how far this house has come in the past eight years. But, even with the updated kitchen we installed years ago, the evolution of the kitchen was not yet complete. We decided to go white–and it was the best choice EVER.
The Original Kitchen
We moved into this foreclosure–and we had our work cut out for us.
One of these drawer fronts was broken right off. The dishwasher if anyone was at the sink or cabinets below. Just a dysfunctional design.
A year into living here, the kitchen was gutted–by Scott and our friend, Corey.
To save money, the guys did all the demo to prepare it for the crew to come in and get to work. We had three different flooring types: tile, laminate and carpet.
Look at little Dexter! Finding these photos was a walk down memory lane.
Once demo was taken care of, the crew came in to lay the hardwood floors. What would I change?
All My Thoughts on Hardwood Flooring
We decided to do hardwood floors–replacing the entryway, hallway, kitchen, powder room, laundry room and dining room floors. What would I do differently?
We chose pre-finished floors over raw wood that has to be finished in the house. I would NEVER do that again. Yes, it saves time. The house doesn’t smell bad. But–they do not stand up to wear and tear as well. They have grooves in between the slats where dirt and dust land and fill. If you’re going with pre-finished floors, I would definitely have them put one coat of polyurethane on the finished product just to give it one layer of added protection.
I also would have done the entire first floor. We skipped the front room–our playroom, what most would consider the formal living room. And, we left carpet in the family room–the area that connects with the kitchen. If you’re in doubt, just do it all. Carpet + children + pets ends up being gross and dirty.
I love the color. People are always saying that dark floors show too much dirt. But, in my opinion, if my floors are dirty, I’m going to clean them. I would choose this color again and again–if it fit the look of the house, of course.
The Kitchen Makeover Part One
We were thrilled with how this came out. We had re-worked the layout, making sure we had enough room for an island. So much more function, easier to utilize.
The tall cabinetry adds height to the look of the space, and it adds storage we desperately needed.
Instead of a “desk” area next to the fridge, we added a deep pantry with pull-out shelves. And, of course, during the first year, we had replaced those stunningly beautiful light boxes with some contemporary track lighting.
The Dark Cabinets
As we quickly learned, the ultra-dark cabinets made the space feel pretty dark. The kitchen windows face North, with a giant tree right outside–offering lots of shade. A few years in, we started talking about how we *probably* should have chosen white for the kitchen, as much as we love the look.
The “Flaky” Doors
The cabinet doors started…peeling. Tiny cracks in the finish led to huge chunks flaking off, revealing the unfinished door front underneath. It happened to almost every door. After a couple years of this, I reached out to the company. Although I was pretty surprised, they approved our warranty claim.
It took about 6 months for this all to go through and for us to get new doors. By the time they arrived, we had pretty much decided to have the kitchen painted. But, there are lifestyle factors involved, financial decisions to make–these things take time.
The Kitchen Makeover Part Two
We booked a local company that came with amazing reviews. If you’re in the Chicago suburbs, look them up on Facebook at Big Bear Painting Co.
One thing we wanted to do was to trim out the island and the end cabinets, to give it a more finished look. Hubs surprised me by doing all of it while out was out wine tasting with girlfriends, and he did so good.
It was time to choose “paint” colors. The finish they use isn’t actually paint, it’s actually a tinted polyurethane, which provides a “factory” finish. But, in order for them to tint it, you select the color. We ended up choosing Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore for the cabinets. The island was going to be greige with Smoke Embers, also from Benjamin Moore.
With the interior of the cabinets taped and sealed, and the other parts of my kitchen lying on the floor, they were ready to prime.
They sealed the entire area off, protecting the rest of the house.
After the cabinetry was painted, we just waited for the doors. The doors had been taken to the shop to be painted the following week. But, in the mean time, we were able to use the kitchen again.
This was a big decision. I knew I wanted black, to stand out against the white. But, finding matte black pulls can be somewhat difficult–especially if you’re shopping the big box stores. I ended up finding this hardware on amazon.
We ordered four different sizes, choosing larger for the top and smaller on the bottom. Then, I was able to get an XL and an XXL version for our kitchen sink and large pantry.
We had the guys fill in the prior holes from the hardware on the few doors that hadn’t been replaced and install the new hardware on all the doors.
The Finished Kitchen
The kitchen turned out AMAZING. It’s light and bright. I love the finish. I love the two-toned look with the island.
What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do? This house is an evolving work in progress, but I love each upgrade we make to it! Continue to see our regular progress on Instagram. There are more projects in the works!