Kitchen Before and After: One Room Challenge – Kitchen | Week 6 Update

We have reached the end of the One Room Challenge! So it’s time for a little kitchen before and after! (If you’re unfamiliar with the One Room Challenge, it’s a biannual design challenge where 20 designers (and even more guests like me) tackle a room makeover in 6 weeks.) That’s right, it’s been 6 weeks since we started tackling our kitchen makeover. While we are far from done, we have made a lot of MAJOR improvements. So, I will be showing off those improvements today. Be sure to follow along for the future BIG reveal in the coming weeks!

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This Kitchen Makeover Was a HUGE Undertaking

Taking on a kitchen makeover is no small task. It’s even more challenging with a toddler and an infant hanging around! We definitely hit a few snags that messed with our timeline for this project. The big one was my husband traveled for work more than anticipated during this time frame. Then my toddler came down with a cold, which she graciously passed on to the baby and me. However, as I said, we did make a ton of improvements over the past few weeks and they are more than worthy of showing off. 

kitchen before and after

Here was the plan for our One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover:

  • Paint the cabinets 
  • Replace the outdated hardware
  • Replace the current backsplash (postponed)
  • Take out a few cabinets
  • Add floating shelves
  • Repair and repaint ceiling (postponed)
  • Paint walls

Painting the Cabinets – Kitchen Before and After

The first task that we knocked out was painting our cabinets. They were a medium-toned knotty pine and we had wanted to paint them since we bought the house 7 years ago. We chose Sherwin Williams’ Pure White for the cabinet color. Since we plan on keeping the same countertops and the wood trim around the windows, doors, and baseboards, it was essential to have a white that wouldn’t look yellow against all of those warm tones. I put paint samples on every different angle of the cabinets to see which white would look best at all different times of day, and Pure White was hands down the winner.

kitchen before and after

Painting the cabinets brightened and updated, this space so much. I’ve actually been asked, in-person and via Instagram if we got new countertops because the white cabinets change how everything in this room looks now.

kitchen before and after
kitchen before and after
kitchen before and after

Updated Cabinet Hardware

For the cabinet hardware, I really wanted something a little bit different. We both like the look of more modern hardware, but that style wouldn’t work in our traditional style kitchen. Since we couldn’t have what we really wanted, we decided to focus on a finish that was a little different but worked well in our space.

kitchen before and after

The knobs we chose are a gunmetal finish, so it’s dark with slight nickel undertones, but also kind of brassy/bronze. These knobs are an excellent finish for our space with the stainless steel appliances and sink, and the black stove. Plus, the brassy undertones complement the original door hinges.

kitchen before and after

We decided to keep the hinges because we really like the patina on them. I believe they were originally brass, but I don’t plan on cleaning them to find out. We kept the hinges when we painted the cabinets in the girls’ bathroom and our master bath, so we knew we would like them in the kitchen as well. 

kitchen before and after

Removing Cabinets

We could have just painted the cabinets and updated the hardware and been pretty happy with the kitchen, but we decided to take it a step further. When you’re already putting in the work, why not go for what will make you really happy? So, we took down the block of upper cabinets that separated the kitchen from the dining space.

kitchen before and after

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and we both always hated that despite the rooms being “open” to each other, the cabinets blocked you from really seeing the people sitting at the table. This is the real game changer for this makeover. The house feels so much more open! The kitchen gets twice the natural light it originally did thanks to the French doors and Bay window in the dining room. Plus, I can see and hear the kids more easily when I’m in the kitchen.

kitchen before and after

Why This Was the Best Decision

This improvement wasn’t really one I had seen us making, mostly because I knew it would result in more work, but I’m so glad we did! It’s led to us needing a new range hood, experimenting with open shelving, and realizing that we have ample storage in our kitchen without them.

kitchen before and after

It’s not only visually lighter in our kitchen, but also lighter on never used pans and gadgets. Once the range hood, open shelves, and backsplash are in (sometime in the coming weeks) I will be doing one last reorganization of the cabinets.

kitchen before and after

My plan there is to make life easier and have all that we regularly use easily accessible and well organized. And, in the spirit of transparency, here’s what life looks like without all of the ugliness cropped out. There’s a toddler in her high chair with Play-Doh, a baby strapped to my chest as I shoot pictures, and a destroyed wall and ceiling. 

I hope you will continue to follow along in our kitchen saga! I can’t wait to have the full reveal up sometime in the coming weeks! We’d like to have it done for Thanksgiving, but before Christmas is probably a more realistic goal. This is a bummer because I’d love to have the open shelving decked out for the holidays!

And for reference, here’s a few “Before” photos:

kitchen before and after
kitchen before and after
kitchen before and after


  1. it turned out great, ashley! i love the cabinets in white and with that one part removed- what a difference!

  2. Ashley. I love how bright and open your kitchen looks now. Removing that upper cabinet was a big win and of course, paint was the trick that gave your kitchen a completely new look. It’s beautiful! Maybe you can also paint the backsplash or add beadboard as a temporary solution.

    • Thanks Cristina! We have plans to replace the backsplash in the near future! We’ve got the tile picked out already, we just need the time to get it done!

  3. It turned out great! awesome job!

  4. We removed the hanging cabinets in one of our houses and it really did make a huge difference to our enjoyment of the rooms, it was three times nicer when that was done. Good job.

  5. I literally can’t even BELIEVE what a transformation this is!!! You guys are incredible!

  6. Kathy Thompson

    Any chance you remember the color and company that mad your backsplash tiles. Love the color and think it might work in my own kitchen. Your kitchen came out beautiful.Love it.

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