A DIY Kitchen

My husband and I bought our house in July 2012.  We spent a month before we moved in changing, well, everything.  We repainted the whole house, ripped up all the floors, ripped out the  baseboards, painted all the doors and window trim, and even gutted the front and back yards. Clearly we bought for the location….and the awesome cathedral ceilings.

We started with some small projects, adding tile backsplash to the half bath and painting the vanity. I knew the kitchen was going to be a huge project that would take a lot of time.  But..we wanted to be simple about it. We weren’t sure of when we would start it, but we knew we would.

Soo…it all started in March 2013.   My husband came home from work to find this.


I had enough of the outdated blue whatever this is. You can see we had a two tier breakfast bar, which I hate. So that had to go first.  We set out to our local granite shop, “The Granite Guys, ” and picked our slabs.  I really enjoyed that we could pick our own slab instead of just the color, because then there were no surprises in the pattern. Also, it’s always best to shop small business…it was less expensive, we got a free edge upgrade (large Ogee), and a free sink. Yay!

Obviously we couldn’t have granite countertops with the outdatedness of the cabinets.  Before we closed on the house I bought a cabinet refinishing kit from Rustoleum.  I picked an antique white finish with a brown glaze.  John got started on the bottom cabinets first…


It was actually really easy to follow the instructions.  And the finish looked really great.

kitchen 2

Next we needed a backsplash.  After much looking and discussing we decided we wanted to do a natural stone look.  As much as we loved the look of glass tile it was just too busy for the granite.  Plus, after speaking with several realtors and carpenters we were told glass was a fad and would fade out. So, stone it was. We chose a cream color.  We really wanted the counters to be the focus in our kitchen.  We installed it ourselves of course, which was actually extremely easy. We did not use thinset, but instead used this adhesive paper sold at The Home Depot.  It was extremely easy to use and mess free.  Grouting of course was messy, but really was easy.



So, the kitchen looked like this…


Ehhh…it was better.  But still wasn’t fabulous.  That soffit haunted me.  Finally, I convinced John to take it down. The ceilings would appear taller and we could add cabinets above the existing ones.  So, with the help of a neighbor (Hi, Jason!!), the soffit came down with little to no damage.  Almost…kitchen6

As you can see someone thought it was brilliant to put a soffit up that had absolutely no function.  No pipes, no duct work, no electricity….they simply thought it was beautiful.   It left very little damage to the ceiling…expect for 1 spot.  One 2″ spot that would be covered with crown moulding later on…so as you can see below, John had to fix it.  He began by screwing in a peice of drywall ….into the main water line.  It took us 10 minutes to find our water shut off…in the crawl space…where we’ve never gone before, ever. But we found it and John welded the pipe back together beautifully. And the 2″ spot turned into this…


So now the kitchen looked like this…


Ehhh…better.  Our original plan was to add 12″ cabinets above the existing cabinets and paint them to match. But, no one sells those in the widths that we need. So…we made the decision…a whole new project…new upper cabinets.  We purchased them on New Years Eve 2013 from TheRTAStore.com for basically 90% off.  They were ready to assemble, meaning we had to put them together ourselves. No big deal. And that actually went very smoothly.  Purchasing them online was a huge risk as we could not see the color or material in person. The sale was ending that day so we had to buy or pass.  We bought. And we loved! The quality of the cabinets is unreal…way better than the ones we’ve seen at the big box stores. We ordered the exact size cabinets we already had so it made it even easier. John got all the cabinets put together in less that 2 hours.  Hanging them was also a breeze. We just had to find the studs and there ya go.  At one point John broke his measuring tape and had to use Ella’s toy measuring tape.  He also put a cabinet on our oven while it was on, luckily it was on the back side.  Oh boy.


So, the cabinets were hung…and they were completely different than the bottom cabinets,  but they were beautiful!  We chose Vintage White. I love them.


Next came the hard part…matching the bottom cabinets.  We played with the idea of buying the base cabinets anyway, but would have to have someone come and take the granite off and put back on. It was just too much hassle and money.  The bottom cabinets were in perfect condition and were very sturdy.  So we decided to reface.  The biggest problem was the wood grain.  We didn’t want to see it through the paint because it still wouldn’t match.  John found a solution online called “Brushing Puddy.” It’s basically very thick paint that sticks in the grain of the wood after you sand it away. And it worked like a charm.  We John literally had to sand for 2 weekends straight, 10 hour days of sanding… But you can see where it stuck inside the grain to give a wonderful smooth finish.


Next we had to match the paint.  Thank goodness for Karen down at Sherwin Williams.  She matched it. Spot on. Perfectly. Then of course adding a piece of trim around the outside that matched the trim on the top cabinets. We John glued and nailed them into place. Then sprayed with the matching paint.



Besides filling in all the wood grain…the hardest part was finding the color marker to match the detailed lines drawn in on the top cabinets.  We finally scored big time with a stain marker from Home Depot.  The color matched perfectly if we went over it 3 times..and luckily for me it didn’t dry right away so if when I made a mistake I could just wipe it off real quick.  It took going over the lines 3 times to get them to the correct dark brown.  It was really just following outlines and groves, so it wasn’t too difficult but it added a nice detail.


That was it!! 🙂 🙂 We also did the end caps as well to match.kitchen15


Soo..after all that….viola!!



There’s still a tad to do. We have to finish the crown moulding in the corner by the entrance to the dining room and finish painting the ceiling.  Here’s a quick before/after for you! 🙂kitchen19

Thanks for reading!!!

Until the next project… 😉










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