Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Kitchen -- Before and After

I noticed yesterday that a post I wrote early in 2012 is now being viewed again.  The post was written at the time that we were just beginning our kitchen remodel, and I showed lots of pics of our kitchen as it used to be for the first 15 years that we lived here.  Then I showed some more pictures of the ongoing renovation, but I've never shown a real kitchen "reveal" since we've completed everything.  That's mainly because we waited about three months to hang anything on the walls because we couldn't stand the thought of messing up that pristine paint job.  :)  By then, we were into the 2012 holiday season, so again, I put off showing the kitchen until after the holidays.  I wanted everything to look perfect for my reveal pictures, so I kept putting off doing the post, and I finally realized that I just need to show you how everything turned out.

*WARNING*  Picture Heavy Post

There are several pictures here (the understatement of the century).  They were taken on different days at different times during the day with two different cameras, so please overlook the fact that the quality of some are not as good as others.

Oh, and by the way, these first pictures were taken before we had our new curtains or had hung anything on the walls.

I'm convinced that the single most important thing in getting good photographs is good lighting.  Lighting, lighting, lighting.  The lighting is tricky, at best, in this room because the only window is covered by the roof of our screened porch, so the room just doesn't get a lot of natural light.  It's hard to tell in these pictures, but it's so much lighter in here now than it was before we had the kitchen remodeled.

Yuck!!  This kitchen was pretty hideous.  We had the original stained cabinets from 1972 and stained woodwork and trim throughout the room.

Such a busy backsplash, and my husband really hated this color.  We didn't choose the backsplash or the wallpaper, by the way.

As wallpaper goes, I actually didn't mind this pattern.  I was just tired of wallpaper in my kitchen -- PERIOD.

 I cringe when I look at these pictures; do you think I had enough stuff everywhere?  On every surface -- way too much stuff!!  But I only had a few refrigerator magnets, right?  :)  Goodness, I should be embarrassed to show these pictures.

For several reasons, our kitchen is so much more efficient now, and this is one of them...

Our cabinet man constructed a built-in cabinet in this corner to replace the dinky microwave cart that had been here.  It has two adjustable shelves inside, so now I have storage for all those cookbooks that were taking up valuable countertop space before.

This cabinet holds a lot, and it looks so much better than the old cart did.  In addition our contractor, Tim, built some display shelves for the wall above this cabinet, and I'm loving those too!

My husband has gotten some new photography equipment to go with his camera since these pictures were made, so we have plans to take some more current pics.  However, I'm not sure when we'll get around to that, so I decided to break down and use these pictures in the post.

To give you a little more information about this remodel, we didn't do any of the work ourselves.  We talked it over several times and decided to hire it all out.  We definitely made the right decision there.  Our contractor was mindful that we couldn't spend a fortune on this kitchen, and he quoted everything within our budget.

We actually ended up going over budget because my husband and I decided to have a few additional things done after the original quote was agreed upon.  These consisted of replacing the old door between the kitchen and dining room, having Tim build the shelves in the above picture, replacing our stove with a new one, and replacing the overhead light in the breakfast area with a new chandelier.  We also gained an extra outlet and extra light switch for the under cabinet lights in the kitchen work space, and that has been a big help.

Another thing I love about the new kitchen is our new pantry on the left side of the above picture.  Our cabinet man suggested we replace the old tall, single door with two smaller doors.  It's much more convenient, and we love the updated look it gives to the kitchen.

The pantry before -- see how tall that door was?

This was how it looked on the inside.  Our cabinet man told us it wasn't built in 1972 to be a pantry but a broom closet.  That explains a lot.  :)  We made do with it all those years, but it was a pain.

Tommy (our cabinet man) built this insert with six adjustable, removable shelves; what an improvement!  I removed two of the shelves so that I would have a few larger spaces to accommodate my taller items.  I don't have any pictures to show you now, but I'll show how it's arranged in a later post.

Another thing that has helped tremendously with storage and efficiency in this kitchen are the drawers you see in the picture above.  Tommy built a drawer stack for this space where a cabinet with a single door used to be.  The kitchen originally had only five shallow drawers, and they were falling apart.  I now have eight drawers and enough room to comfortably store my silverware, dish towels, dishcloths, pot holders, trivets, and kitchen gadgets.  Thank you Tommy!!

I also got a bonus drawer with the new stove.  Our other stove was a drop-in style, so there was no drawer under the stove.  I've always had a drawer with my kitchen stoves in the past, and I really missed having one all these years.

You can see in the above picture that there is no drawer under the stove, just the oven vent.  You can also see the single cabinet to the left of the oven where the new drawer stack is now.  One thing we learned during this project is that every little bit of space you can gain in an existing room is a huge help, especially in a kitchen.

We couldn't afford to install new custom kitchen cabinets.  These were carpenter built directly onto the walls, and the removal alone would have cost a lot in labor.  Actually, we could have afforded the new cabinets, but we wouldn't have gotten all the other nice extras, too.  The existing cabinets are real wood, and they do hold a lot of stuff.  So we decided to keep the existing cabinet frames, paint them, buy new doors and drawers, and paint them to match.  We also added all new hardware in oil-rubbed bronze.  I've always been a fan of brass, but I didn't want brass hardware in our new kitchen.

Another thing Tommy did to give our cabinets an updated look was to add molding around the top and bottom of the upper cabinets, which you can see in the two pictures below. 

We love the difference this made.  It's the little details that really make a difference in our homes, right?

We paid extra to get a cast iron, porcelain sink rather than stainless steel because that was what we both really wanted.  We love the size of our new sink -- so much easier for washing those big pots and pans.

Tim had us choose our own tile for the backsplash, which we purchased at a tile outlet in Greensboro.  I ordered the accent tiles online from a tile company in Texas.  We purchased our faucet at Lowe's; it's a Delta "Savil."  I looked at the faucets on the Lowe's website before we purchased this one in the store.  I try to always read the customer reviews, and this one had really good reviews.  It was exactly what we were looking for, and the price was reasonable.  It came with a soap dispenser, as well, and has a bronze finish like the cabinet hardware.  The countertops are granite, Emerald Pearl "Giallo Fiesta."  We went with the Ogee edge on these.  The paint color on our cabinets is SW Dover White.  We chose the wrong cabinet color to begin with, and I actually found the SW Dover White online.  We love it!!

I really wanted one cabinet to have glass doors, so we got those as well.  We opted not to go with a really expensive backsplash because we were spending quite a bit on the granite countertops, the sink, and some of the other extras.  I realize the tumbled travertine would have looked really nice, but it would have put us way over budget.  Besides, I was going for something of a cottage look here, and I felt like this backsplash would work well for that look.

Another one of my favorite changes in the kitchen is that we had Tim, our contractor, paint this old farmhouse table black.  I could tell that he and his wife were a bit skeptical when I told them I wanted it black, but after it was finished, they both really liked it.  I think it makes a big statement in this room.  We've had the table for about ten years; we found it in a local antique store and purchased it to use as a kitchen island.  I've always loved the shape of the legs and all the trim work.  Here's what it looked like before...

It looks so much better now, don't you think?

One thing we didn't replace in here is the floor.  I would really love to have a new floor, but we knew that could wait until later.  This floor is not original to the house; we had it put in about two years after we moved in.

A few months after my husband took these pictures, I took some with my point-and-shoot camera.  I wanted some pictures showing our curtains and the walls after we got things properly hung.  The quality of these pictures is not very good, but you can get the general idea of how things look.

This picture was really grainy, so I did a little editing and just softened it up a bit.  My mom paid for our new curtains, and we bought new plantation blinds to replace the old mini blinds.  It took me forever to decide on my curtains.  I finally went with this black and white check from Country Curtains.  The pattern is called "Cabin Check" and these are lined, scalloped valances.

Here's the curtain on the door...

We hung my collection of Old Dutch copper molds around the soffits...

 ...and on one of the walls.

In addition, I found the blue and white transferware plates at a local consignment shop while the remodel was going on.  The botanicals are by Pierre Joseph Redouté.  I got six of these botanicals from eBay a few years ago, and they were a real steal!  The seller had purchased an old book and these were bookplates from the original book.  I plan to hang the other four in our dining room and master bedroom.

This is the Laura Ashley chandelier that I found at a local lighting company that we've purchased from several times.  It's so perfect for this spot; I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find it.

This wall color probably looks different in every picture.  The color is an old Duron color called "Tea Biscuit."  Fortunately I got a swatch before Sherwin Williams bought Duron.  Our contractor took the swatch to Sherwin Williams and had them match the color.  It really is a lovely color.  It's a soft, cheerful, buttery yellow, and it goes with everything.  The above picture below is probably the most accurate representation of the color.

We really couldn't be happier with our updated kitchen.  We went from this...

to this.

From this... this.

Tim suggested we move our big countertop oven from this spot... the opposite corner.

Tucked back in the corner, it takes up much less of our counter top space.

Maybe you can see the wooden applique on the soffit above the window here?  Tim bought that and he asked it I liked it before he painted it and put it on the wall.  I think it makes a really pretty addition to that spot.  We also elected to keep our overhead fixture here because this kitchen can get hot in the summer, and we do use the ceiling fan.  I know they're not fashionable right now, but comfort won out in this case.  :)

Mr. Forest Manor replaced the big can lights over the sink with some much smaller track lights.

I'll leave you with the last few pictures.  You can see previous posts with all the before pictures and work-in-progress Here, Here and Here.

Thanks for visiting my blog; I hope you enjoyed seeing the kitchen (sorry the post was so long).  I plan to do some more tablescapes in here in the near future.  I can hardly believe the weekend is almost here again.  This has been a quick week.  :)  Have a great Friday!


I'm joining the following blog hostesses:

Sherry for Friday's Home Sweet Home party
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Cindy for Amaze Me Monday
Susan for Metamorphosis Monday
Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Debbie for The Scoop
Marti for Inspire Me Tuesday
Ivy and Elephants for What's It Wednesdays
Barb for Homework Wednesday
Kathy for Home and Garden Thursday

Thanks to all of you ladies for hosting each week!!


  1. Denise it looks lovely! My kitchen is the same color. I agree with you painting the island table black. It really pops and goes well with it all and your gingham curtains! Great Job!

  2. Your kitchen turned out fabulous! Love the black island table and the curtains. Your vignettes are so nice too, the pie, flowers, fruit in the bowls. xo


  3. Denise,
    this is one of the best kitchen remodels I've seen.
    Love every detail~!

    I sure wish I had you Tommy here .. as you know I am doing my own remodel and its slow going as I am doing it myself..

    I hope mine turns out halk as pretty as yours..

    I know you grin every time you walk in there..


  4. The kitchen looks fabulous. I am encouraged to dig into mine. I will leave the current cabinets, too, because they are in very good condition. It is amazing what a good carpenter can do and you were wise not to try the DYI way. I bet baking the pie was a lot more fun in the new kitchen. Love the granite that you chose. Happy cooking.

  5. Your kitchen looks so serene and calm, Denise, with your choice of paint colors. I'll bet you love working in there. The black island just add the right grounding touch and gives it a farmhouse kitchen feel to it. It's just a beautiful room. xo

  6. Denise, your kitchen is so beautiful and all of your vignettes are so pretty! I'm sure you love this beautiful space. The piece of furniture for your island looks fantastic! I have the same granite and faucet as you! :)
    Thank you for popping in to see my dolls.
    Be a sweetie,

  7. What a beautiful new kitchen!!! I enjoyed every picture!!! It all came together so nicely. Love the backsplash tiles, they do not fight with the counter tops, the cupboards are wonderful........just the right touch of black with the hardware, the curtains and that marvelous work table in the middle!!! The wall color is perfect as is the chandy.....nice job, enjoy!!

  8. So lovely, Denise! I had to laugh, though, we you wrote that you waited for three months to hang artwork. I had my kitchen re-done three years ago and there still is no artwork on the walls!!! I did finally buy some, but I am waiting to find a small cabinet to go under them and do not want to hang them now and have to re-hang later! You made some really smart choices and everything looks so much lighter. I know you are enjoying cooking in there!

  9. Your kitchen looks so fresh and new. You must be so happy to be cooking there each day. Love that black table as a kitchen island!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  10. You really did a beautiful job transforming kind of a dark and dreary space into a much more spacious-looking and inviting room. I'm sure you have much more fun cooking in this room. Your "old" kitchen reminded me of some that we've had down through the years, & we were equally happy to see them go bye-bye!

  11. The pictures are great! Almost as pretty as the real thing. I know how long you wanted to do this and am so happy it turned out so beautifully. Love you, Mom

  12. I've enjoyed your kitchen remodel so much, because you guys did an amazing looks gorgeous, every detail of it! Now it's so pretty, inviting and warm and soo lighted too! Congrats, it looks awesome! Big hugs,

  13. Oh, and're pictures are great, I love them and again...GREAT KITCHEN REVEAL! Thanks for your sweet and kind visit too. Hugs,

  14. Thanks so much for your sweet visit and comments. I just love remodels and your kitchen is just exceptional! It is so light and airy now, with so much storage space. That was a great call on the black paint, it really makes it pop. I'm going to snoop around your blog a little more and see what else you've been up to.Stop by and visit anytime and share at the party, too. You're always welcome!

  15. Denise, your kitchen looks beautiful, and I love the black island table. Your "before" kitchen sort of reminds me of ours when we moved into our house in 1985..stained cabinets, etc. We ended up painting ours several years later, but I'd love to have some like yours. We REALLY need to update ours. Thanks for the inspiration and enjoy your beautiful kitchen.
    xo Babs

  16. FABULOUS transformation!! Love the farmhouse table painted black!

  17. What a fabulous kitchen! I think you made wonder choices for all the finishes. Love the black island....perfection! Jane

  18. Beautiful transformation, Denise.,I love the color, so bright now and I love your china and tea pot collection. Your old cabinets actually looks like ours but I know my husband will not let me paint....Christine

  19. Oh my word, the transformation is amazing and stunning. I love how light and bright it is now. Beautiful job. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  20. Denise, your kitchen looks fabulous and I LOVE the black island!! You and your contractor did a great job!! What color is "Tea Biscuit" now that it's a SW paint? I've been looking for a very soft, buttery color for my kitchen, but couldn't decide. Thanks for sharing your home with us.

  21. Wow! You'd better link this beauty up to every linky party there is! What a fantastic space. Gives me hope that my orange oak cabinets will take paint well. Sometimes it is better to hire the work out. After looking at my hubby's favorite chair for the past two years and thinking "It needs a slipcover" I finally dropped it off at the upholsters so it will actually get done. :)

  22. It really does look like a brand new kitchen. I know you must look around at it every time you walk into the room. You've found some pretty accessories to bring color and your own style to the room, too. I'm so happy for you! It's a place we spend a lot of time and should be beautiful and functional! Sweet hugs!

  23. I am so glad I sat down at the computer today!!! I love this so much and am one who really wanted to see the reveal. It is so very, very much my taste that my heart was pitter pattering. You know I speak the truth because you have seen mine, and it has similar colors.

    I am very excited about two things in particular. First, I want to do that same thing with our old "broom closet". We haven't done it yet, but it's the plan. I'll leave the one big door but want the shelves. I want mine for small appliances since I have pantry space elsewhere. I love yours.

    Second, I love your door. I have YET to put even blinds back up on mine because I couldn't decide what to do on it. I used to have mini blinds on there, but we changed out to the larger ones too so I didn't want that. I was afraid that the large ones wouldn't go on a door, but you have proven that they do. Would you mind shooting me an email to tell me where you got ones to fit that size?

    I love the valance. Little tidbit: I grew up very close to the original site of Country Curtains. My mom has many windows dressed by them, including her kitchen. I love your checks and I KNOW they are excellent quality. (I know because I'm always too cheap to buy them. LOL)

    Anyway, any direction you can give about buying and hanging the blinds on the door would be very appreciate.

    (BTW, my husband is in your town right now for a week long conference. I wanted to tag along, but it wasn't a good time for tagalong wives. Shucks. )

  24. I absolutely LOVE your kitchen redo!! I love those white cabinets, the backsplash and those countertops! Everything is perfect. So happy for your!!

  25. It's so cute! I like the light, bright white! Your island is really nice, and that microwave nook adds so much character. Great reno!!


  26. Such a gorgeous kitchen. I love all the updates. And that farmhouse table.... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! You were so right in painting it black. It looks great. Everything came together nicely. I'm sure you enjoy cooking in there so much more now. What a transformation.

  27. This is fabulous! I will feature it tomorrow at Home Sweet Home!

  28. So much charm! Just love your kitchen remodel, it truly looks beautiful! Copper molds are such a nice touch and your chandelier is perfect!
    Thanks so much for sharing at Amaze Me Monday...

  29. Oh my Denise...your kitchen is gorgeous...I love all the details .... It was worth the wait!

  30. Hi Denise! I know you're lovin' your kitchen remodel! Your cabinets and granite countertops are beautiful! Your island is wonderful too with its new coat of black paint! Kitchen remodels are painful, but oh so worth it! Thanks for sharing your transformation!

  31. Denise, your kitchen makeover is amazing! I love your countertops, really love it all! I know you are so enjoying all the light and bright, that's how I felt when I redid my kitchen. I found myself even wanting to cook more! That part wore off, unfortunately. lol Enjoy that new kitchen! XO

  32. Great choices of color for your kitchen remodel. The white cabinets are fabulous, especially the pantry. The granite and the wall color do compliment the cabinet color so beautifully. And that farmhouse table painted black, Wow!. What a great work surface and great storage too! I think I will work on making my kitchen lighter and brighter over the winter (I have no windows in my kitchen). I did put wainscoting around my kitchen island and painted it black several years ago. My cabinets are those ugly builders grade oak variety. I really don't know if I want to deal with painting them.

  33. Such a beautiful kitchen remodel! I love how light and bright it is now. Great job!

  34. Don't you just LOVE paint and what it can do for a room - your cabinets look wonderful - such a comforting, cozy kitchen - love the knobs, the open shelves and the glass cabinet doors - all beautuful! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  35. Oh wow! I'm glad that I was paying attention this time! What an amazing renovation. I love so much about it...the color of the cabinetry, the new pantry, the island painted black, the new faucet, the wall color. It sure is pretty, Denise! Well done!!

  36. Your kitchen looks fantastic, Denise. Great job! I know you must be thrilled.♥

  37. Your kitchen is so pretty! It's so light and bright now. The cabinets, the shelves over the microwave, the accessories...there's so much to love. Great job!

  38. A beautiful job of remodeling!!! Your choices all work so well together. I know how hard it is to make decisions about the details (faucet, sink, backsplash, etc.) but you really chose well. Enjoy your new space! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  39. What an amazing kitchen transformation! Everyone needs a "Tommy the kitchen guy"!! It's gorgeous, totally my style, and the stove is perfect. Love that you painted the kitchen island black. Makes a great statement.

    Blessings, Sherry @ Edie Marie's Attic blog

  40. you really did a beautiful job! I love how bright & fresh everything looks. What an improvement.
    Small Kitchen Remodel
    Cabinet Design For Kitchen



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