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!
Taking on a kitchen makeover is no small task. It’s even more challenging with a toddler and infant hanging around! We definitely hit a few snags that messed with our timeline for this project. The big one being Jesse traveling for work more than anticipated during this time frame. I had planned on knocking out repairing and painting the walls this last week while he was gone, but Mara came down with a cold, which she graciously passed on to me and the baby. However, like I said, we did make a ton of improvements over the past few weeks and they are more than worthy of showing off.
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Paint the cabinets Replace the outdated hardware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
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 important 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. 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 of the white cabinets change how everything in this room looks now.
For the cabinet hardware I really wanted something a little bit different. To be honest, Jesse and I 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. The knobs we chose are a gun metal 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 compliment the original door hinges. 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.
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 (and give ourselves more work). 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. 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 more of the trouble Mara tries to get into while I’m cooking.
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. 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. 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 like 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.
And for reference, here’s a few “Before” photos: