everybody’s workin’ on our kitchen: part 1

Because we have so much catching up to do, I’m going to do this in 2 long posts with lots of pictures… here we go.

As a little refresher, the last (and only time) you saw our kitchen it looked like this with freshly painted countertops…


Our kitchen “demolition” started the weekend of Jason’s fantasy football league draft party back in September. Our friends were sick of getting sore necks trying to talk through those upper kitchen cabinet – well, that and then boys just wanted to destruct something – so four of our sweet guy friends picked up some drills and screwdrivers and took down all the upper cabinets that hang over the peninsula in about 20 mins!





what a difference! It’s so much less claustrophobic!  I felt like I could finally breath in there – it’s just so open now.


a couple weeks after that I spent the weekend scrubbing that kitchen grout clean. it’s absolutely disgusting how dirty it was, but wow so much better!


I made a paste of bleach and baking soda, it was a tedious job, but those floors were sparkling!



on a different weekend (probably something like a month later), our sweet friend Tommy came over and down came the arched valance over the cooktop + all the molding. Jason and I purchased some paint for the kitchen cabinets. I went for the two tone like I mentioned in this post.

We decided to try out the Rustoleoum Cabinet Transformation kit. We tinted the uppers to Quilter’s White and the lowers to Tudor. The whole process of painting the kitchen cabinets took about 2 weeks. I ordered the hardware that I specified on my kitchen design board from Home Depot and with the help of a gift card, we were able to score all 46 pieces for $30! Not to shabby, right!?



The box says “no stripping, sanding, or priming” but we sanded some of the really bad cabinets first and I’m glad we did. Lot’s of water damage from years of neglect.



after that we removed all the cabinet doors, taped off the fridge, and then it was time to start painting!





Because we purchased brass hardware we were able to clean and reuse all of our brass hinges from our 70’s kitchen. A little Brasso, a wire brush, and a patient husband and they were like new.


then, somewhere along the way Jason and I got our first experience with drywall mudding…




I think we did a pretty nice job for first timers.

After painting the majority of the kitchen in Benjamin Moore’s Grant Beige as I specified on my design board, we decided that the color just wasn’t dark enough for the room.  I don’t have any pictures of it, but the color was really lost in there, casting an almost purple hue. Really strange for such a pretty color, but also a lesson – ALWAYS paint samples on the wall FIRST.  Fortunately, second try’s a charm and we got it right with the combination of Benjamin Moore Greenbriar Beige (matched to Glidden) on the walls and Benjamin Moore Texas Leather (also matched to Glidden) on the faux brick.

here’s a reminder of the first draft:

kitchen design board

and here’s the updated design board:

kitchen design board 2

I’m loving Greenbriar Beige! Such a warm color and I’d dreaming of the day I get to see how it looks with the brass flush mount.

Here’s what it’s looking like freshly painted on our kitchen walls



the updates don’t end there… but I think this is a good place to stop for now. Come back tomorrow for part II!


a direction for the kitchen

We’ve been busy here, and slowly picking away at the kitchen. I’ve been trying my very hardest to stay focused on one project at a time but I can’t help but wander around this house, staring at empty walls, and plan plan plan. The ideas are almost exploding out of my head– seriously though, I almost wish that they would so something would actually get done!

When I find myself tired of painting I turn to my computer to put ideas to paper… er, screen. I’m finding that design boards are going to be the best way to keep myself focused on the vision and direction of a room in this place. I just explained to you that I get sidetracked while painting, and planning, you better believe that I get side tracked about a certain design direction. While my boards start as mainly a jumping off point, they help me stay focused and on task and ensure that I don’t stray too far from the intended aesthetic of the room. They also help me avoid making costly mistakes – there were a couple rugs that I was considering, until I laid them out on the design board and realized that they were way to loud for the space. My favorite part of design boards is that eventually, they will ensure that the entire house is cohesive and transitions are thoughtfully laid out.

Before I start “shopping” I always start with some inspiration images. Here’s a bit of my inspiration for our kitchen:

Definitely want to go for two tone. I’m in love with this look and it might just be the main inspiration photo. Dark lowers, light uppers, white trim, dark sashes, light back splash and light counter tops. I LOVE the floors, too. We aren’t quite ready for a flooring change, but this photo is surely saved for inspiration when we do.

tudor brown lowers, white uppers, and definitely brass hardware. Digging the bamboo blinds

more brass hardware. swooning over those grey/navy lowers.

more yummy brass (are you sensing a theme here?) love that this kitchen introduces pattern into the space through the backsplash.

speaking of pattern, the floral element on these curtains and valance soften the space in this lovely kitchen.

I’m also loving the pattern of this traditional Persian rug, especially when paired with the vintage/modern chairs and eclectic chandelier. The pop of red doesn’t hurt either. Like this scheme, love this space.

another red Persian rug + some industrial bar stools

…or perhaps a pop of color with some red bar stools.

I love the way a little bit of red goes a long way in the warmth department. Especially against some dark window sashes.

like these…

or these.

this photo seriously has me considering painted our (faux) brick.

a little bit of this + a little bit of that, lead to…

the inspiration for our kitchen:

an overall neutral scheme with two tone cabinets, brass and natural accents, with pops of red and mixes of traditional and modern.

I’m pretty proud of this scheme and it inspires me just enough to put a paint brush in my hand again… and to keep saving my pennies for that new rug and those red bar stools.

Do you ever use design boards to keep true to your desired aesthetic?


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design scouting: two tone cabinets

here’s a little hint on what we’ve been working hard at these past two weeks…

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now we just need to decide between Slate Blue or Tudor Brown/Black…

what do you think?

painted laminate countertops

One of this first projects that I wanted to tackle in our new house was the kitchen counter tops.

(sorry about my crappy iphone photos… that’s about all the photo I’m able to provide at this time. My wide angle lens is what’s making it look distorted.)

I know orange is trying to make a comeback (at least that’s what I gathered from the September issue of House Beautiful), but we’re not interested in it on our counter tops.

(and a closer look just in case I didn’t quite sell you on how gross and dated they are.)

One evening, before we moved in to the house, I spent some time Googling “paint laminate?” and stumbled upon Rustoleum Countertop Coating. At only about $20 a quart Jason and I did a little shoulder shrug and thought “eh, let’s try it.”

It comes in 16 tintable colors that you choose from the top of the box. We went with “Cobblestone” which actually looks more like their version of “Light Ash” on our counters. It’s more of a warm gray, but we’re pretty happy with it.

If you’re interested in trying this product for yourself, let me warn you that this paint is really sticky and stinky. Take lots of breaks to get fresh air and keep the windows open if you can. Our entire house reeked of paint fumes for a few days. Jason’s parents were sweet enough to bring dinner over to us on the night we were painting and we all seriously contemplated eating outside on the front stoop because of the fumes. . . well, they did, Jason and I were so silly and high at that point we were like “what fumes?!”

We used some cheap foam rollers to roll it on and a paint brush for the hard to get areas. I’m so glad I bought cheap brushes for this project – the paint is so sticky it really wasn’t worth it when we tried cleaning our brushes off. We actually just made a giant painted mess on our hands and then needed to shift our focus and scrubbing energy to get the paint off of our fingers! Some salt scrub did the trick. We found that the trash can was the best remedy for those paint brushes.

It took about 3 coats of paint to fully cover our counter tops and we went though the whole quart. We actually ran out before we finished the tiny counter of our wet bar. I bought another quart, but we have yet to open or use it. I think we’re afraid of the smell… if that tells you anything.

No painting photos, but here’s what it looks like now…

(you can see some of the roller marks, which we tried to even out after this was taken, but they still could use a touch up)

We’re about 3 months in and the counters have been holding up pretty well. There are a few minor scratches, which is a bummer, but overall we’re so happy to be rid of that orange!

What do you think? Improvement? Would you ever consider painting your counter tops?

I know there’s not really a whole lot of prettiness to this post, but oh my gosh I promise you – it’s coming! Jason and I have spent ALL of our free time this past week (with the exception of MSUvsUofM game day, yesterday) working on the kitchen and I can’t wait to show you!