A year ago we decided to tackle a DIY kitchen makeover for the 2018 One Room Challenge. Life took us on a detour, but it is finally finished.
The last time I posted about our DIY kitchen makeover project was November of 2018. How in the world was it that long ago?! I knew it had taken us a looooong while to finish things, but I didn’t realize that it had been THAT long.
I posted the semi-reveal for the One Room Challenge after we painted all of the cabinets, replaced the cabinet hardware, and removed the upper cabinets over the stove peninsula.
The transformation of painting and removing cabinets was incredible! The kitchen was so much lighter and brighter! Shortly after that post, we installed a new range hood.
Once that was installed the kitchen was totally functional and we lost all of our project mojo. After we completed the first big stage of this DIY kitchen makeover life got busy with work travel, the holidays, sicknesses, a kitchen flood, and we just completely lost our project steam.
Finally, in January 2020, I got tired of looking at the patched walls and old tile every day and decided to finish the kitchen. My husband was busy with grad school, so Phase 2 of this project was 100% me. I was a little intimidated to take it on, but I just couldn’t deal with things being incomplete anymore!
In retrospect, I’m glad that the kitchen went this way because it forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. Now I know I can tile a backsplash, patch a ceiling and install shelves on my own.
DIY Kitchen Makeover
Tiling the Backsplash
The first step of Phase 2 was tearing out the old white, patterned tile backsplash. The backspace was incredibly dated. It was important that the new tile complemented the traditional style of the kitchen. However, I also wanted something more modern.
Ultimately, we chose a gray subway tile. The tile has warm undertones that coordinate with the beige, brown, and gray counters. I started with a small wall to get my feet wet with tiling. Once I realized it wasn’t hard, I jumped all in. I mostly worked in the evenings after the girls went to bed, so the project took me a while. But I still finished in just a few weeks.
Replacing the Kitchen Faucet
Then, the kitchen faucet sprung a leak. We couldn’t fix it and needed a new one. It was an unexpected addition to this DIY kitchen makeover, but it was very welcome!
I’d wanted to replace the faucet for a while, but my husband is an “if it ain’t broke” kind of person. When it actually broke, we were both excited to pick out a new faucet. Our old faucet was very low, with clear plastic knobs. It was difficult to fill our water pitcher and wash things in the sink without them touching the bottom or sides. We selected an updated faucet that was more functional. The tall neck gives us plenty of room. And the faucet handles are easier to turn on with dirty hands.
DIY Kitchen Makeover – The Finishing Touches
Painting the Walls
The next step for this DIY kitchen makeover was patching and painting the walls and ceiling. I decided to paint the wall the same pale gray as our living room, which was Olympic’s Faint Flicker. Lowe’s doesn’t carry Olympic paint anymore, but they color-matched it to Valspar. I also had them color match the paint on the ceiling.
Finally painting the wall and ceiling was such a game-changer for the space. It finally felt like a kitchen again instead of a construction zone! It’s amazing what you get used to when you live with it long enough!
After the walls were painted, I added some floating shelves. I received a pair of shelves from Ornamental Moulding and Millwork in a light, rustic finish. They are made of Ambrosia Maple, so they are thick and solid, which made me feel safe about loading them with dishes.
The shelves are 3 feet long and fit perfectly in the space. The darker grains in the wood coordinate with the trim work around the windows and doors nicely.
I styled the shelves with my colorful glassware and dishes, some fun accents and a plant. I wanted the shelves to infuse color and life into an otherwise neutral space. I’ve had these green bowls from Ballard Designs and green wine glasses for years. I was specifically saving them for a time when I could display them in our kitchen.
My design aesthetic for our house has been all about working with the style of the house, but brightening things up to fit my personal preference and vision. I’ve never felt closer to having this house truly feel like mine than I do now that the kitchen is finished.
It’s light and open, full of neutral elements and a few pops of bright colors. It feels cohesive with my fun, always springtime dining room. I feel inspired rather than discouraged. I can’t say it makes me want to cook more, but at least it’s nice to look at while I’m grumpily cooking dinner. 😉