Our Kitchen Renovation

kitchen updated

When we bought our house last year, it was 50 shades of pink and held together with white duct tape. These “before” pictures don’t even begin to convey the awfulness since the entire home reeked of cigarettes. The once white doors and trim were yellow. The tips of the popcorn ceiling were tinged black. The walls had nicotine stains that ate through the paint and left behind drip trails. It was so bad in some places, we had to drag the walls with drywall mud to smooth them out again. Obviously, the carpet and red velvet drapes were some of the first items to meet the curb.

Today, I’d like to share our kitchen transformation (which wouldn’t have been possible without my sister-in-law and mom’s three day fabric softener attack on the wallpaper.) Here’s a rundown of the changes we made.

kitchen renovation

But wait, there’s more…

kitchen renovation


kitchen updated

If you couldn’t tell, this 10’ by 40” peninsula is why I fell in love with this home. Not only is it the perfect buffet and gathering spot when we have people over, but I finally have a counter large enough to make Nana’s raviolis.  (We no longer have to lay them out on the beds before cooking. Haha!)

white oyster granite

The granite is called White Oyster, named for the egg sized whitish greyish spots swimming throughout the stone. It was one of the only slabs we saw that was large enough to get the whole peninsula in one piece without a seam in the middle. Lucky for us, it was exactly what we were looking for. It has taupe, grey, black, and white–colors that play nice with both the espresso colored cabinets and the faux white marble tiles original to the house.

The cabinets were refinished using General Finishes Gel Stain in Java. I would HIGHLY recommend this gel stain. You apply it like paint, but in very thin coats. When it dries, it looks like a stain. In the picture below, you can still see the grain of the wood in the cabinets.

General Finishes Java Gel Stain cabinets

I first learned of this product reading Monica Wants It’s tutorial on updating her oak bathroom cabinets. She profusely endorsed this brand of gel stain, and I’m so glad we gave it a try! It’s more expensive than other brands and you have to order it from Amazon, but you won’t regret it. (We’ve tried other less expensive, “over the counter” gel stains before. Not only were they more difficult to apply, but the final product wasn’t nearly as nice.)

kitchen before after

Taking down the upper cabinets (and moving them to the laundry room so we could get rid of wire shelving) was a huge and FREE improvement. It makes the two already large spaces feel gigantic.

raising upper cabinets

Another basically free change was Rocksteady raising the soffit (or header wall) above the fridge to fit the upper cabinets. If you’ve tried to replace your old fridge lately, you may have noticed all the new fridges are several inches taller. That meant our upper cabinets would no longer fit. He ended up shortening the whole header wall a few inches to accommodate the new appliance and the cabinets. I’ve got a post in the works detailing how he accomplished this, so check back soon if this is a project you’re interested in!

kitchen penisula granite

As far as what we actually spent money on, here’s the lowdown. (Note: I didn’t include the cost of paint or the outlets/light switches since those were bought in bulk when we redid the entire house a year and a half ago.)

Granite – $2500 (Amazing local fabricator – Granite Brothers of Daytona Beach)

Appliances – $1980 (Lowes)

Fridge – $750 (found in the scratch and dent section, marked down from $1300 for a small dent on the back panel); Dishwasher & Range – $1050; Microwave – $180

Pendants – $80 (lighting kit found online, shades Home Depot)

Cabinet Pulls – $70 (Amazon)

Deep Sink & Goose Neck Faucet – $166 (Amazon)

General Finishes Gel Stain in Java – $60 for 2 quarts, but we only used 1 ½ quarts (Amazon)

Paintbrushes – about $20 worth of foam brushes that we tossed after each coat

Total Cost: $4876




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