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My Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia Kitchen Transformation!!

02 August 2011

Amazing Kitchen Before and After with Tutorials!

I am really excited to show off Kristin's kitchen today.  Her kitchen is one of my favorite kitchen transformations in all of blogdom!  It is so inspiring, let's see what she did to create this:

There was nothing wrong with our kitchen when we first purchased our home 8 years ago. The layout was very functional, the cabinets were sturdy, the tile and appliances did their job but it was so not me. Builder grade oak cabinets, white 4x4  tiles with white grout you couldn't get clean.

 I spend the most amount of time in our kitchen, I wanted it to be a place that made me happy.   Fortunately for me, I have a super handy husband that gets just as excited over a can of paint as I do. I was a little worried though, kitchens can become so dated, whatever we did I needed it to be as close to timeless as possible and done cheap. Sounds impossible but it wasn’t. One day we would achieve the look that we wanted it just wasn’t going to happen
overnight, how about 5 years to be exact.

So here is my before picture right before we moved in. Over the years I kept a binder with pictures of my dream kitchens and drooled over model homes with eat in islands and gourmet stove tops. Remember the kitchen from the movie Something's Gotta Givetalk about making my heart pitter-patter. It is renowned for its elegant simplicity.

I love white kitchens, and consider them to be a classic. In my mind, you can never go wrong with a white kitchen and there is such an elegance about them. I also love the look of cottage kitchens; I needed to come to a happy medium. Overall, in the end we achieved a pretty traditional kitchen yet toned down with a twinge of French and cottage.

Five years ago it started with the removal of the white tile and was replaced with granite tile and a travertine back splash. My girlfriend Katie with Eitak design came in and painted my amazing Tuscan backsplash over my stove. 

Year 2 and 3, we began replacing our white appliances with stainless steel appliances. Did I mention not one of our appliances was purchased new. I am a huge fan of craigslist, well, let me rephrase this, my husband is a huge fan of craigslist, I just get to enjoy his findings! He scours the ads first thing every morning and sends me any postings I might find interesting. He is also the same man that wakes up early every Saturday morning so he can be the first one at the garage sales, the ladies love him but that is another story. Back to the appliances, all of them were basically new, used for a few months in some huge estate before the bank took over and the owners were all very eager to sell them for incredible prices.

Year 4 we replaced the floor with natural stone. When Home Expo went out of business I scored the chandi and pendant lights for 75% off. I had been hovering over them for 2 years but wouldn’t spend the money on them.

Year 5 we had the most exciting part of our kitchen renovation take place, the painting of the kitchen cabinets!!! So here it is step by step on how to paint your kitchen cabinets. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how my hubby transformed our cabinets from builder grade to custom made.

Remove all of your doors
Prep the room covering everything you don’t want painted
Remove hardware and your hinges. 
If your cabinets have gaps or dings fill them with wood filler.
Empty all your cabinets
Degrease all the doors, draws and frames. Tsp is a great degreaser as is vinegar and hot water.
Sand everything I used an electric sander with medium grit (80 or 100).
Prime with oil based primer; Foam rollers will give you the look as though your cabinets have been sprayed.
Lightly sand


Caulk away. Caulk can be your best friend; hiding all imperfections and watching them magically disappear once the paint is applied.
Here is the exciting part, Paint your desired color using a foam roller or having them sprayed!!!
NOTE: Latex top coat paints will adhere perfectly to oil based primer. Latex primer paint over oil paint will not work at all.
Let it dry, buff out any drips and give it another coat.

Now…I can’t lie. After I had sanded all my bottom cabinets, primed and started to paint, superman came and saved the day! You see, we were doing this all ourselves because the quotes that came in made me gasp and I said who needs a painter I’ll do it myself. Did I mention I have 37 cabinets and 20 or so drawers? Then my hero (painter) who used to work for a large builder was out of a job and needed money came by! He gave me a quote that made me gasp, this time in a good way. I hired him immediately and told him to start, before he changed his mind. I was so excited and he probably thought I was a little crazy getting so giddy about paint. He finished sanding, priming and then sprayed our cabinets; he was done in 2 days. It most likely would have taken me at least 6 more weeks. We were left to reinstall cabinet doors and drawers, replace the hinges, hardware and glaze. This alone took us about 2 months prior to working about 2 months on adding height to the cabinets and rebuilding the island. I know that sounds like a lot of time but we have 3 little ones and only one of them in school full time. So this project was really only done in our spare time without jeopardizing family time. 

I really love the look of Staggered cabinets, I just didn't care for the price tag.

After reading a very detailed instructional from The Lettered Cottage, we were inspired. We drew out lots of rough drafts and looked through countless kitchen magazines and decided to achieve the look on our own.
Here is how  we did it.

Remove existing trim and molding on top of the cabinets

Build a box using pine plywood in a smooth finish.
Anchor the box to the top of your existing cabinets.

Apply new crown and nail to the top of your boxes.

*We went with a double stacked baseboard on the bottom and crown on the top of the baseboard.

Click Here 
for a video tutorial on how we installed double stacked crown molding

Nail small wood trim to hide the seams between the old cabinet and the new addition.

Caulk away, hiding all imperfections.

Now the fun stuff!
Click here to see how we painted our cabinets.

This project came with lots of trial and error. You definitely need to be on the tolerant side if you are taking this on yourself. When something did not look right we took it down and started over. This is your time to get creative.  This is a big project but definitely worth all the elbow grease!

I have to admit I loved not having doors on my cabinets, I loved the open feel, I didn't like the dust. SO the glass went up.  I had painted all the oak doors creamy white prior to this.  They get pretty scuffed up in the process so I would have saved the painting for after the cuts were made.  Remove the center panel, a router would come in handy here....on our list of things to purchase this year.

With the panel removed, you've got something like a picture frame

We added a very small piece of molding to hide all the rough cuts and painted it.

We took our doors into the glass shop and they measured for us. $8 a piece, what a deal!
Run a single bead of clear silicone caulk in the groove.

Press the pane of glass into the groove, let it dry overnight. I still need to add a simple plastic frame clip just in case but I don't think that glass is going anywhere!



The final shots:

I think the most important thing is you have to realize that there is no going back, you can't un-do what you're about to do.

See more after pictures here.

This project was contributed by one of our fabulous readers! We love to share your projects with this great blogging community. So, if you have projects from kitchen renovation ideas to small bathroom remodels, overhauled and repurposed furniture, spray paint updates you name it please send it in! Thanks for reading Remodelaholic!

If you liked this kitchen renovation please check out these past kitchen remodel features:


Maury August 2, 2011 at 7:37 AM  

This transformation is absolutely stunning! I can't believe how much more open, airy and bright the kitchen feels now. I'm completely amazed. We just completed a kitchen update and it was so much work, but it was nothing compared to this! Nice job!

Rachel August 2, 2011 at 8:43 AM  

DROOL! What a fabulous makeover! I love the updated look. And those lights over the island - I WANT! :)

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia August 2, 2011 at 9:52 AM  

Thank you so much for the feature, I am honored to be highlighted here, thank you!


Unique Hrebina August 2, 2011 at 5:02 PM  

I think I could do anything for a kitchen like this... I'm impressed... and the chandelier... oh my...

Tanya Anurag August 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

You have such a huge and beautiful kitchen. If it belonged to me, I would have never gone out of the it. Love it!!


The OutPost August 3, 2011 at 10:26 AM  

Your site is such an inspiration. I wanted to put glass in the upper cabinets after they are installed and now I know exactly how to do it.
Thank You http://theoutpost-jackied.blogspot.com/
The kitchen transformation is gorgeous..

Lettered Cottage September 27, 2011 at 7:34 AM  

Gorgeous kitchen, and we still love that molding trick around the top of the cabinets! ;-)

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