my kitchen redo: big changes on a tiny budget

Well, finally, here it is! The long story of how I transformed a plain white-wall and oak-cabinet kitchen into a kitchen I can live with—on a tight budget, without spending on new cabinets or countertops, and doing it all myself.

after—I actually like my kitchen

Here you'll see what I started with: cold white walls, white tile floors, cheap fake oak cabinets, and a very bad layout. You can only go up from here, people!

Boring, ugly, cold. Get me out of this kitchen.

I knew absolutely that the first order of business was to paint, but it took me a long while to decide on color. In the meantime, I played with the layout (that set of cabinets to the right in the picture were not screwed to the wall, which meant I could move them anywhere—yippee!) and I was lucky to receive new appliances as housewarming gifts from Mom and Dad (double-yippee!).

Phase 1 Quick Fixes
1. Create new layout for better flow and use of space.
2. Replace old appliances.
3. Remove upper cabinet doors for a more modern look.
4. Remove pantry door for easier access.
5. Remove glass ceiling fan shades and replace with drum shade.
6. Cover up cold white floors with a rug or two.

not there yet

Here's the kitchen in transition. But many things are still wrong with this space. I hate the range sitting all along on that wall. It's so far away from the sink. And it's next to the entry on the left and the basement door and pantry and upstairs access on the right. This is a high-traffic area and so, cooking here makes no sense. And I might even more detest that itty bitty single cabinet next to the range. Drives me crazy. The itty bitty kitty does not drive me crazy. Well, most of the time.

a too-big fridge—or is it just in the wrong spot?

I thought I'd try the fridge over here, but it's so bulky. And with no recess to back it into, it's taking up way too much room. Also, there are more entries and exits here: the fridge has the living room entry on the left and a pantry on the right. The layout's still not working.

getting ready to paint

What did work is moving the double cabinet that used to be all alone and a few steps to the sink and adding it to the sink wall of cabinets. This extends counter space and makes this almost look like a real kitchen! Nevermind that the wall behind it is set back. Building that out and creating a linen closet (the bathroom entry is to the left) is Phase 3—maybe in the spring!

What's also working is the paint color I tested on that wall—Benjamin Moore's Raccoon Hollow. But maybe a little lighter. In the end, I went one shade lighter to Brandon Beige.

Phase 2
1. Paint walls
2. Paint cabinets
3. Install cabinet hardware.

happy white cabinets—a breath of fresh air

White painted cabinets and new hardware make all the difference. White: Benjamin Moore Dove White. Green inside cabinets: Ralph Lauren Lafayette. Hardware: Home Depot.

if you can't have a window over your sink, this is not a bad alternative

I love the way my chalk/corkboard fits perfectly over the sink. I pin recipes here and write a shopping list or menu. I had no wall space to mount my set of wine ledges, so I sat them on top of the upper cabinets to create a sort of wine rack. (Maybe I should write on the chalkboard: buy more wine.)

a new layout and new look

The range works better over here. And I love the stainless shelf above it, where I can line up spices, lean artwork, hang utensils, and use a magnet to mount a recipe or two as I'm cooking.

not a bad place to cook

a better spot for the fridge

And the fridge works better over here. The basket on top makes me happy. And makes it hard to reach snacks! You also might notice two oddly placed little frames near the door. I kind of like that they're low and off-center, and that's good, because they're hiding wall boo-boos that were really hard to fix with wall compond. So, I say where you cannot fix, conceal. And, you probably can't help but notice the ugly ceiling fan blades. Lighting is expensive. I have not gotten around to replacing this yet!

Murphy soaks in the new atmosphere

didn't think I could get more counter space, but moving things around helped

So there it is. I can live with this! At some point, when I've got the funds, I'd love to just gut the whole thing and start over: new cabinets, counters, backsplash, flooring, ceiling, lighting, farmhouse sink, faucet, table and chairs. But I live in the real world. And this kitchen, it works for that.


Julie said...

I seriously LOVE makeovers like this, that are out there in the real world, with real budgets! You did a fantastic job!

casey at loft and cottage said...

Thanks, Julie. It was fun to see the place change! And felt good to spend so little. I paid just for paint, rugs, lampshade, cabinet hardware, and the stainless shelf. I already owned everything else or received it as a gift!

Melissa at HOUSEography said...

Great job! So nice. One suggestion - what about a shelf for your microwave right above it's current location? You could then slide your coffee pot under it and gain yourself a bit more space. Just a thought! Looks really great!!!!

Southwest Cottage Designs said...

I like the open white cabinets. Great transformation! And I love that you were able to do all of this with a tight budget, too!

Anonymous said...

You did SUCH a great job! I love how you worked with what you had and made it a functional and beautiful space! You really picked the best layout and it just looks so good! Congrats! And you know I'm a sucker for White Dove cabinets. :)

casey at loft and cottage said...

Melissa, great idea. I would love to do that for Phase 3, when I build out that wall. Tweeds, I know! I noticed you are a fan of white dove too!

René said...

I loved reading the thoughts behind the details Casey. You have done so much with color and layout to completely transformed your kitchen and it looks great. (I'm loving Raccoon Hollow, btw) The chalkboard above the sink was a terrific idea.


Fran said...

First, of all I love your cat's name! ;) Second, you did a fabulous job with your kitchen and I value your explanations behind your thought process. I believe it is easier to do design w/an endless budget, but it is definitely more challenging to do it on a tight budget! And, you did it! Great job, Casey! said...

That really looks great, what a change -- did I miss it -- what's the wall color, I love it.

Jen said...

I am in some serious love with your kitchen transformation!!!!
I'm featuring this on my blog today! Hope you don't mind!

Anonymous said...

I really like what you've done. It looks so good and what a surprise from the before picture. I like the wall color and the cabinets look fantastic. I'm a huge fan of white! I like how you swapped the fridge and the stove. They look like they're made for the spots you've moved them to. Great job! It was fun to follow along.

Jeffrey Scornavacca said...

Wow that looks great! Great job Casey!

Erin Deegan said...

what a transformation!!! great job! i always love to see "big changes on a tiny budget". it reminds me it's possible with a little creativity.

casey at loft and cottage said...

Thanks for all the great comments, friends! The wall color is Benjamin Moore Brandon Beige, cabinets are White Dove, and inside cabinets are Ralph Lauren Lafayette. Happy painting!

Kat @ City Southern said...

Is that an ELLE lunch bag I see hanging in the pantry?! I have the same one! The kitchen looks fantastic - I love the painted open shelves!

casey at loft and cottage said...

Ha ha, good eye, Kat! Yes it is, and I love that lunch bag ;-) Thanks for the compliments on the kitchen. All the nice things people are saying are inspiring me to do even more now!

Leigh said...

I especially love: the open cabinets with the paint in the back, the scalloping, & the adorable cat on the lovely kitchen table!! <3

Robyn said...

Casey, the wine ledge is AWESOME- looks like a fun molding/trim @ the top of the cabinetry. Nice work. May I ask where you got it? You have inspired me to give my gross kitchen a mini-lift, probably after the 1st of the year. Keep up the great blogging!

paige said...

I came across your blog after doing a search for "brandon beige" on google. I am in the process of painting my kitchen the same color! I love the look of the rich beige in the kitchen!!! Your kitchen is gorgeous!! nice job!

joanne said...

Love the look of the two trays ??
that add architectural detail for little money and do double duty if you need extra trays!

Ashley Rae said...

Hello! I've been following your blog for a while now and I love it! I am currently in the process of redoing my dining room and I wanted to ask you where you got your dining table in your kitchen. I have been searching for a farm table for MONTHS and its driving me crazy that I can't find one! I love the look of yours. Thank you! :)

René said...

Popping back by to say thank you for sharing your kitchen in the Room By Room series this month Casey!

I still love seeing what you did here.