Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dill House Diary // Kitchen Progress

As most of you know, Mark and I have been working tirelessly for the past month on our kitchen renovation. In this post, I shared some images of kitchens that inspired our project. Today, I thought I would share a bit of the progress we have made thus far on the renovation. We're not quite finished-- there are a few details left to be concluded-- but we are getting so close. And I just couldn't wait to share a little of our progress on the blog!

When we bought the house, the kitchen was Dreadful-with-a-capital-D. Everything was white-- and not in a sleek, modern kind of way. More in an institutional, someone-had-no-eye-for-design kind of way. The cabinets were the stock white type... the sort of thing you'd find in any basic apartment anywhere. The walls were off-white, a dreadful pale color that the previous owners bought in giant five-gallon barrels and painted on everything. The original hardwood floor? Ripped up and replaced with a oak-leaf print linoleum that had stained and weathered poorly over the years. Ugh, my heart. Aside from functionality, this kitchen had nothing going for it.  Here's a blurry iPhone 4 photo to prove it. Its so white it almost glows. Or maybe that's just the grainy photo quality.

The profusion of white in the house must have triggered some kind of color-alarm in my brain, because I went out and bought a gallon of apple green paint, thinking it would liven up the space. My mother's kitchen was painted a lovely spring green color, a shade which totally worked in her space. Thinking longingly of home, I decided to copy the color as closely as I could.

And got this result...

Wop, wop, wop-- sad music sound, am I right? Thank goodness that this bloop was rectified!

Here's a lesson: green is a very finicky paint color. Without the right light, the color will not work in your home. My lovely apple green turned highlighter bright during the day and tinged yellow in the evening. Again, dreadful. I put up with it for several months--gritting my teeth and insisting I loved it--before I finally caved and bought a gallon of pale grey paint, with just the slightest lavender hint. The transformation was truly a testament to the necessity of buying paint that works in your space's lighting. Even if you love that Pinterest photo, the colors may not work for you.

Even once painted grey, I knew the kitchen was still not what I wanted. I fantasized about ripping out cabinetry and totally redoing the room. But the reality of a newly-wed budget settled in. Plus, since we don't plan for this to be our forever-home, there was really no point in busting the bank for the renovation. I knew that between the two of us, Mark and I could achieve style and functionality on a budget.

The Kitchen Goals:
- install new flooring
- paint the cabinets
- rip out upper cabinets and add open shelves
- replace ceiling fan with a stylish light
-replace cabinet hardware
- add a tile backsplash
- swap out outlet sockets (almond --> white)
- extend cabinets to the ceiling

So far, we've made some serious progress, checking off most of the goals on our list. Here are a few shots of what we've managed to achieve so far.

The first step was to remove the cabinet hardware (gold and outdated) with sleek oil rubbed bronze hardware that coordinated with our faucet. Next, we painted the lower cabinets using Annie Sloan Chalkpaint in the color Old Violet. If you're local to Frederick, you can pick up a can at Repurposed & Refined on West Patrick Street.

Then, we removed the bulky white upper cabinets, an act which instantly opened up the space. Our galley-style kitchen is very small so anything that opens up the space is a plus for me!

Next, my amazingly talented husband installed a white subway tile backsplash from the counter to the ceiling! Needless to say, that project took a while-- almost an entire week. You can only lay so many rows of tile at a time. Each row has to set; otherwise, the the whole backsplash could come sliding off your wall. Now that would be a disaster! 

Finally the backsplash was completed! At this point, we removed the wobbly old ceiling fan and replaced it with this simple light from Home Dept. Together, the tile and new light visually raised the ceiling about a foot! I still can't believe how much airier and open it feels in this room. 

Also: notice my pretty hardwood floors! Bye bye, ugly leaf-print linoleum! My heart still aches for the original hardwood the previous owners ripped out and threw away... but we work with what we've got, right? 

Next step? The open shelving! My sweet parents had some basic white shelves left over from their restaurant in Georgia. With just enough for us to complete the project, Dad kindly gifted them to us. It definitely helped us keep costs down! 

So now we're at some of the final stages: extending the cabinets, swapping out the outlet sockets, touching up paint. To extend the cabinets, we had to remove the top shelf to give Mark some wiggle-room to work. What's next on the agenda? Painting the new tops and moulding. Don't worry, they're not going to stay cardboard-box brown! 

I'm thankful to have a functional kitchen once again! I don't think I could have stood any more nights of take-out food. We're not quite finished... but the end is in sight! Stay tuned for the full renovation reveal-- this one with real camera photos, not iPhone photos. Haha!

Have you ever tackled a big renovation project? 
If so, how long did it take you? Was it worth it in the end?
Let me know in the comments below! 


  1. White can be made to look dynamic and as if it went through a thought process. It all depends on the execution, especially as a color to paint the house with. What the painters should take note of is the surrounding space, and how these can make the results stand out in a certain way. Good day!

    Harlan Sanford @ Painter Ready Knox

  2. Great job on the new color selection! I find the darker colors in a small space like yours often makes it feel smaller, but this color really punches out the white and seems to open it up. I might have also replaced the cabinet doors with glass doors to open up the space even more.

    Maxwell Frey @ Design Build Duluth


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