Lighten Up, Kitchen!


There is nothing wrong with the kitchen above.  It was designed nicely 30 years ago by the previous owners. It has a functional layout.  But it always felt dark in winter to me.  This past year I took Nesting Place's Cozy Minimalist course and it helped me to see I could change my rooms and have them reflect my taste.  I like a cottage - coastal - eclectic feel. 

So I decided to replace the black laminate countertops with lighter gray and paint the cabinets for a low disruption budget makeover.  

I had decided to go white on the cabinets, but it didn't feel right. I finally settled in a blue inspired by antique furniture. 


With that decision made, these kitchens below helped me hone in on the feeling I wanted.  I ended up painting the cabinets Benjamin Moore "Hemlock" and installing Formica laminate "Elemental Concrete" to get close to the bottom left and bottom middle kitchen (they are the same kitchen).  I also replaced the kitchen sink and the faucet.  I went with a Blanco granite sink to get a soapstone sink look.  


This was a big job! I started painting in late September. I finished in early January.  I did all but 10 doors myself which I sent out to a painter I know.  I paused for soccer season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For 4 months some section of my kitchen looked like this: 


Here is what it looks like now.  You can see I had used the adjacent office as a storage room.  That's the next thing to deal with! 




Until I decide on a backsplash, I'm painting it and hanging pretty vintage and antique plates. 


The cupboard above the fridge is a nice display spot now. 


A reminder of the before and after: 




Paint is transformative.  I still have some "styling" to do, but am enjoying it as is for now.  It is definitely lighter! 

It was a long process: 

1. Clean cabinets with Krud Kutter. 

2.  Sand cabinets with 180 grit to take down the shine. 

3.  Wipe sanding dust off with tack cloth. 

4.  Prime with bonding primer.  I used Benjamin Moore's. 

5. Paint first coat. I used Benjamin Moore's Advance paint which is an alkyd based paint.  It needs to dry 17 hours before recoating. 

6. Scuff sand first coat of paint. 

7.  Wipe dust off with tack cloth.

8.  Recoat. 

9.  Ta da!

10.  Learn to cook again!

10 comments:

  1. OH MY GOODNESS!! Dixie, your kitchen looks beautiful!! The cabinet color is perfect! Boy, I've been waiting for this post. :> ) Kudos to you and all your hard work! It was definitely worth it.

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    1. Thanks, Karin! I can't quite get an accurate picture of the color. Because of lighting changes, it looks very different from one side to the other. The color is more vibrant and complex than the pictures. And standing IN it feels like standing in a summer lake, which is really nice in the winter!

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  2. No matter how well a kitchen is designed I think it's hard to live with someone else's kitchen, especially color. What a lot of work but from the looks of your "new" kitchen it was worth it.
    Nancy. (ndmessier@aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

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    1. So true! I had thought of doing a gut job but it really is quite functional as it is. I'm satisfied with the changes I made. It was a lot of work, though!

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  3. Beautiful make over Dixie. I love the blue!

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    1. Thanks, Sherri. It is nice to have executed the ideas That had been stewing for years. :-).

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  4. You sure lightened it up in there. Enjoy!

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    1. I really AM. For so many reasons. Chief of which is proving to myself I can still do this stuff.

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  5. It's a beautiful transformation, Dixie! I just recently decided that since we can't do a total kitchen renovation for a while, we can still paint the cabinets... and now, after seeing yours, I'd like to change my counter top, too! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Lana, you won't regret the change if your old countertop is lackluster like mine was after 30 years of use. Depending on the countertop you choose, it can be pretty affordable. I'm glad I made the changes I did. It still leaves the door open for a bigger renovation if I choose to do that in the future, without having committed to high cost countertops. I'm pretty happy with where this ended up, though. It's definitely lighter and brighter.

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I'm so glad you visited and it is fun to read your comments. It helps me know what you think is interesting. :-)


"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden




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