The Rest

Kitchen Remodel Before and After Pics

January 4, 2013

For more posts like these, please visit my new blog, Creating This Life.

Here’s my first piece of advice on kitchen remodels: don’t schedule one during the holiday periods of Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Unfortunately, that’s when our number with the contractor came up. It’s all done now, though, and I finally have some pics to share with you.

First a few before and afters:


kitchen view


kitchen eating area view


Kitchen fridge view

And a few more shots:

kitchen from DR view

kitchen sink window

kitchen microwave built-in

Kitchen island vertical storage

Kitchen island roll out shelves

cabinet hardware

kitchen plates

silver kitchen tool caddy

kitchen entry

Here is what we hoped to accomplish with the remodel and how it played out:

Better functionality

  • Problem: Our island storage was just one, large space, which meant a lot of towering (and often crashing) stacks of pots and pans.
  • Solution: The old island was removed and a new island was built. We got shelves that slide out for pots and pans, divided vertical storage for cutting boards and cookie sheets, and we discovered we had room to make the island six inches longer, which gave us more countertop on one side of the cooktop.
  • Problem: The area to the right of the refrigerator had an open shelf in an unusual size (built for the previous owners’ TV) and the counter space below it was small and cramped and not very useful. It became a catchall.
  • Solution: This upper cabinet was pulled out and a new cabinet that went all the way to the countertop was built to give us a built-in area for a full-size microwave and shelves for cookbooks (a must-have for me). We also got an extra drawer out of the deal.
  • Problem: Our refrigerator opening was too short for a full-size refrigerator.
  • Solution: Our contractor pulled the existing refrigerator cabinet out and raised it up three inches, putting decorative moulding around the bottom that actually looks better than the old moulding did.
  • Problem: The door to the appliance garage was a sliding one that didn’t work well. You needed two free hands to open and close it.
  • Solution: A new cabinet door was built to match our existing cabinet doors.
  • Problem: The main lighting in the kitchen was a large, fluorescent box light. The plastic that covered the light tubes was prone to come crashing down.
  • Solution: The fluorescent box light was eliminated and replaced with 4 canned lights and two pendant lights over the island.

Updated look:

  • What we had: White, formica countertops with a wood edge that had seen much better days.
  • What we chose: Granite countertops in Giallo Ornamental.
  • What we had: A white tile backsplash with hunter green and burgandy accent tile running through it.
  • What we chose: White, beveled subway tile with a white rope border accent.
  • What we had: Wallpaper in a fruit design with a white background that completed the white (cabinets) on white (countertops) on white (walls) look of the kitchen. :)
  • What we chose: A dark neutral paint to give the kitchen an earthier feel and to contrast against the white cabinets.
  • What we had: Brass hinges on the cabinets and oil-rubbed bronze pulls. (The pulls were my desperate attempt to update the kitchen without spending a lot of money).
  • What we chose: New hinges and cabinet pulls in brushed nickel.
  • What we had: A popcorn ceiling.
  • What we chose: A ceiling with knock-down texture.


  • I wanted the kitchen to have as much charm as I could give it, so we had three of the cabinet doors converted to glass fronts. I played around with which doors to do this with by removing the doors and living with them for a while. Eventually we decided on the doors on either side of the sink, where we keep dishes and glasses. All the cabinets with ugly stuff behind them remained wood.
  • We added crown moulding at ceiling height around the entire kitchen. I had hoped that this would visually shrink the area of above the cabinets, since we decided not to go to the expense of adding new upper cabinets in the kitchen. That didn’t work the way I wanted it to, but it was still a pretty inexpensive way to add some more detail to the kitchen.
  • Happy accident: when we took the wood blinds down for painting, we decided we loved having the windows bare. So I scrapped my plan of buying roman shades for the windows and put up drapery panels on rings instead. They’re easy to close at night for privacy, and during the day we can take advantage of the light and view. We’ve had several friends and family ask us if we got new windows.

Thanks for coming along for my little tour. Not gonna lie, it was a long few months of planning and then disruption, but I’m really happy with the result and I feel lucky that we got to do it.

This post is part of Cowgirl UpThe William Morris Project, Best of 2012Metamorphosis Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Take a Look Tuesday, Tuesday’s TreasuresJanuary Before and AfterShow and Tell Friday, Finer Things Friday, Feathered Nest Friday, and Weekend Bloggy Reading.

  1. Looks great Julie! Your old kitchen was very similar to my old kitchen…very, very white. My white cabinets had yellowed over the years and started to crack and chip and split so we opted for a complete gut and re-configured the layout too. We’re very happy with the results although the cost was not so pretty. Question for you – what do I see hanging in the dining room? It looks like a very unique chandelier made out of wine glasses?? Where did you get it? Or is it something you made?

  2. It’s really amazing how such small changes can make such a big difference. I’m sure you now wonder how you lived with it before…I know I did when I finally redid mine. I’m not surprised you didn’t get the desired effect with the crow,n molding; it’s the contrast between the white cabinets, dark paint and then white molding/ceilings that actually make the top cabinets seem shorter. However, I wouldn’t worry too much as it looks lovely.

  3. This looks great!!! Did you DIY the wine rack above the fridge? I’m trying to figure out where to get something like this to remove a door and build into an existing cabinet.

    1. Amanda, the wine rack is part of the cabinet and something that was already here when we bought the house. I’ll be if you find someone who is good with wood, they could figure out something pretty easily for you. Good luck!

  4. Wow–the “After” pics are just stunning. It’s amazing what you were able to do WITHOUT ripping out all of your existing cabinets. Kudos on a job very well done! Enjoy. :)

  5. wow. BIG difference! I’m sure you just loved that wallpaper:) I’m already thinking how I could build a wine rack over my fridge like yours!! Thank you for visiting my kitchen redo today over at Shabby Sweet Tea!
    Happy Friday.

  6. WOW! This is truly an amazing makeover. I am amazed by the transformation – the dining area looks like a totally different space with the window treatment updates! So impressed. I’m pinning this just for inspiration of the possibilities and I love your cabinet organization.

  7. Great before and after shots! You did a fantastic job! From the light fixtures to the countertops! Especially like the trophy vase you used for your utensils :)

    1. Sara, they’re from a company called Capitol Lighting, but when I went to find them to link to them here, it appears they’ve been discontinued.

  8. It looks amazing! Did you come up with the design solutions yourself or did the contractor offer advice? We have a lot of open space in our cabinet drawers as well which results in the crashing of things. I really like the divided space idea where we can put specific pots and pans. Maybe this is something I can knock out myself. Home Depot is my new favorite store these days!

    I’m sure it was awful to have done during the Holidays but it’s a great new look to start off 2013!

    1. Marvin, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted going in, so I didn’t work with a designer. I had a great contractor, however, and he helped with the pros and cons of different things I was considering.

      Good luck on the DIY stuff. You’ll love having more efficient storage.

  9. Julie, it looks gorgeous. I love the paint color and you made the right decision to remove the blinds. I might just do that now.

    I also did a kitchen remodel in 2012 but still haven’t finalized the window coverings.

  10. Wow Julie, I LOVE how warm and inviting your kitchen looks now! And the moldings and cabinets really pop now with the new wall color. Beautiful re-do!

  11. Phooey, I tried to leave a comment, and got an error – will try again!

    LOVE the transformation – what a huge difference! I had to chuckle at the holiday timing of your remodel, as that’s about the time I painted my kitchen cabinets last year. :-) Suffice to say, the holidays were a great motivating factor, and I finished around Thanksgiving!

    I’m glad you clarified that you didn’t replace your windows, because I would have *sworn* that you did! I had to do a triple take on those photos – gorgeous! I don’t blame you for leaving them bare, it looks beautiful!

    Love the glass fronts, and have been contemplating adding those to my kitchen as well – great tip to take the doors off first! Well done – love it!

      1. I was going to guess Edgewood Rocks by Benjamin Moore because it looks so much like that color which I have in my house. lol They are probably on the same paint chip strip!

        Beautiful kitchen redo!

        1. Stephanie, I think Benjamin Moore must like “wood” names. I have a guest bath painted in something very similar to this and the color is Driftwood by B. Moore. LOL

          1. Lol. I noticed the other day that Benjamin Moore now goes by “Ben”. I guess he is trying to be more casual now. I thought it was funny to see “Ben” on the paint can. As long as “Ben” doesn’t start calling me “Steph” we won’t have a problem. haha :-) (Actually IF that ever happens then I’m afraid it’s time for me to put the paint can/fumes away!) Some of their paint names are different. I have a color called “Alpaca” in my kitchen. What a weird name for a paint color. Although when I did an image search on Alpaca, some of them do match the color!

  12. Your kitchen looks amazing. I love every part of it. My kitchen is also on the “to do” list but not this year. But I do love what you did and will be referring back to it when the time comes.

  13. LOVING your kitchen – the storage – wow the storage –
    I would give anything to have such organization ( my kitchen is the size of a cupboard basically – so never going to happen )

    1. Thank you, Beth. The drapes are from Ballard Designs. Yes, the drywall had to be replaced on the ceiling, but I think that was more for the new can lights that were installed than from the removal of the box light. Hope that helps!

  14. Wow – I LOVE the transformation! I’m hoping to tackle my kitchen in March when the weather warms up. I love the paint color you chose and the drapes. I see those are from Ballard Designs, I will have to find a less expensive “look alike”! :)

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