Kitchen Update :: Five Months In

surprising kitchen renovation

Years ago I figured out that I wasn’t one of those bloggers who did big impressive reveals. I LOVE those kinds of blogs and I am so inspired and impressed with them. But I am not one of them. If I waited until I had a glory shot of each project I’d have about three posts a year. Maybe two posts. I’d probably just quit blogging.

So I share along the way cringing that these photos aren’t Pinterest worthy. What kind of home blogger am I? I double cringe every now and then when something does get pinned and it has dirty dishes, a dirty sock, and a dirty dog in the background. Such is life.

Here are photos of our in-progress kitchen renovation on an ordinary, sunshiny Tuesday morning after partially cleaning off the island right after three boys made their lunch and right before I decided not to take a shower. I think the journey is valuable so I’ll risk sharing a lived in kitchen with you. And I also want to have more than three blog posts a year, so that helps me get over me and my big self too…



The newest addition to our kitchen is the drawer pulls. Finally! I found these long bar pulls on clearance at Lowe’s months ago. But they didn’t have the two sizes I needed in stock so I bought one black pull for our dishwasher and  a sales person sent me home with a print out of what to order online for the other four. I noticed that the printout listed the color as ‘Oil Rubbed Bronze’ and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted–I wanted black.

But when I went to order them I couldn’t find the black and realized maybe that’s what they called the black ones. Sadly, they were out of stock at Lowe’s but I found the same thing online at Home Depot so I ordered them from there. And of course, when they were delivered they weren’t black.

DSC_0948Small knobs from Hobby Lobby

After much googling I realized finding simple, super long black bar pulls was more difficult than I expected. So I decided to take a risk and spray paint my pulls black. I know the risks. They could peel or scratch and normally pulls that are spray painted don’t hold up that well. But since they were already dark I decided to risk it and spray paint them a few shades darker. What’s the worst that can happen? They look horrible in two weeks and I have to start my kitchen remodel over?

rustic modern kitchen

Here’s my inspiration board

kitchen, during(during)

DSC_0950(during but a million times better)

I knew I would get faces on both ends of our cabinets once the drawer pulls were installed. Luckily these were pleasant faces. A little on the grumpy side but I can deal with them. :l


We still have to install the toe kick, paint all the walls and ceiling, tile the inset part where the range is, take the range off the wheeled dolly it’s sitting on, pass inspection and get electricity in the island outlets, one day refinish the floors…


And I decided to bring in the hutch “for now”. Famous last words.  I’m sure this hutch will still be here in fifty years. This wall is actually phase two of the kitchen (I even have a phase three but I’m not mentioning that to Chad right now). Since we are paying cash as we go, we focused on the main working parts of the kitchen first so it could be functional. Also, after moving this hutch (twice in the past few months) that door refuses to close. It’s the little things that make a house a home.


I plan to have more cabinets with a pantry on this wall along with a counter top where we’ll have the coffee maker, blender and mixer and lots more storage. But for now the hutch will do. Although the greenish color of the hutch and the wood floor aren’t getting along very well. I painted the aqua frame around the hutch inset white, but I still think I’ll paint the hutch grey so I can buy myself some more time while I save up for phase two.

kitchen beforebefore (we removed this wall and the far wall where you see the brown cabinet)

kitchen: during(during)

farmhouse kitchen(during)

I’ve been moving stuff around and I kind of like how this narrow little cabinet fits almost perfectly on the ends of the island. We could almost work in one on each end with a little shaving down of the base. So that’s why you see it moved in on some of the photos. I love the storage it adds. But it takes up precious walkway space that is really important in a small house. And…


One wall over I’m currently using another similar type of cabinet to hide the air return thing. Can someone please invent a beautiful air return thing?

DSC_0903dueling small cabinets, which one will win?

And I think they look weird this close to each other. It makes it look like my house is a furniture store. I bought both cabinets online through Joss & Main (referral code xo). I found the grey one over a year ago and I think the price has gone up considerably. Some of you have told me HomeGoods sells them, so if you are looking for one, start there!

make a niche

Sadly, this wall backs up to our stairwell to the basement. So as much as I would have LOVED to put a bunch of cabinets there we didn’t have room. But our contractor suggested an inset shelf and I thought it was a great idea. Chad made it all in one piece and it was pretty impressive the day he brought it in.


I’m still not sure what we’ll do with the niche. I intended on having shelves inside it. And I think that would be great, but before I commit I’m going to play around with it.


Here’s where we are on the little niche area. Chad installed it Christmas Eve Eve or something like that so I quickly slapped up one coat of primer and one coat of black paint just to have something. This photo was after another coat of white primer and a coat of white paint, but now the inside needs to be painted black again. Whenever I am using a dark and light paint, I always finish with the darker color because it’s easier to hide mistakes where the two colors meet.

nesting place kitchen

kitchen before

before–see where the basement stairwell wall is there on the middle left? That’s the black niche in the next photo…

nesting place kitchen


One of my favorite parts about the kitchen is that you can see the sunrise above our pond right through the bay window. I’m not a good enough photographer to capture the colors and reflection in the pond. But trust me when I say it makes me incredibly grateful to be able to look out and see this. After selling what we thought was our dream house almost eight years ago after losing a business, paying off 150,000 in five years and renting houses, we are beyond thrilled to be here. At home.


Related posts: Rustic Modern Kitchen (more about the mood board and lighting options)

The Kitchen :: Before

Hudson Counter Stools: World Market (currently unavailable but these are similar)

Cabinets: Ikea (really happy with them!)

Sink: Ikea

Faucet: Dyconn

Counter: White Quartz (I LOVE it!)

Viking Range & Thermador Hood (Craigslist: great story!)

More about our wood floors

How I thought through our kitchen remodel

My three kitchen must haves

Beaded Crystal Chandelier

My Kitchen Inspiration Pinboard

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Pin It


  1. Love everything about it … even if these are “during” pics! About the niche, did you consider using it as a spice shelf or a place to hold dry goods like flour, etc? Not sure if it’s deep enough for that. I could totally see some sweet glass containers with chalkboard labels up there with the black wall behind it! How cute would that be?! :)

    Have a good weekend!

  2. It’s beautiful! I love the niche — it would be a perfect chalkboard for your grocery list or notes to each other!

  3. This is magnificent!!!Thank you for being real – it’s inspiring and lends encouragement. :)

  4. I completely love that you’re real enough to put the in-between photos up. It’s all a process, and that’s encouraging to me. We’ve been homeowners for 8 years (can do whatever we want!) and I’ve had what I would consider one real “after” in all that time (that was our girls’ bedroom, which had AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE in it, so was a very boring after anyway. Oh, and I guess you could count our bathroom renovation as a second). I especially love seeing how your decorating style is changing with the new house.

  5. Your kitchen is perfect! It is so refreshing to read these progress posts. And your morning sunrise is more than any unfinished bits that may bug you. One of the things that makes me sad about my house is that we have no east-facing windows (it’s a duplex). To see a sunrise, I have to go out the front door and down to the street. I love the black niche, and the little black light above.

  6. Your home is beautiful, in large part because of the imperfections. But can I just tell you that the way you explain your lack of super polished “after” shots can kinda feel like home fat talk? You’ve taught me so much about embracing the beauty in imperfections and hospitality – not apologizing for the flaws we see in our homes to those who visit. I’ve taken it to heart and its changed me. This is the way I visit your home, so hearing you say you cringe when you see what I (and many others) consider to be absolutely beautiful pinned with everyday imperfect life included, kinda breaks my heart.

    The kitchen is charming and I’m so happy for you.

  7. Just WOW! Incredible transformation! As we say in the south, “You done good!”

  8. I love your new kitchen! It’s awesome, even if it’s not your idea of perfection! I really like the gray cabinets on the ends of the island. They should win. What if you built a tiny little desk to go over the air-return? A cute chair and bulletin board or pictures would distract the eye from the air vent.

  9. Ooooh! Yeah! A kitchen post!

    It’s looking great! I’m so interested in how you re-worked the layout! Looks like you have a much bigger and better functioning kitchen now! Love how it’s all coming together!

    We remodeled our kitchen three years ago, and it was the biggest headache of all the house projects we’ve done, but so so worth it in the end. I think you were smart to do it first. We waited for a year after moving in, and it was really hard to get that project started.

    Thanks for posting your in progress photos! I have been so interested to see what you’re up to. :)

  10. Love this kitchen! Have you considered pegboard for the niche to hang pans and/or utensils? The cutting board hanging up made me think of that possibility…
    Oh, and I’ve been reading your blog for years and this is maybe my second comment ever :). Love checking in here, and just recently on Instagram! :)

  11. It’s amazing how far your kitchen has come from Day One. I’m in awe of everything you’ve done in such a short amount of time. Love it!

  12. I love everything so much! I don’t know about you, but this sure is fun for me! I love how everything is coming together!

  13. Here is a diy cold air return cover on Pinterest –

  14. It’s coming along beautifully and the view out that window certainly makes up for what has to wait. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  15. Great remodeling project…love the openess of it. I’m jealous of your magnificent Viking range. As for your return air grill, check out Pinterest…I have seen a few projects where they cover it with wood using slats…looked great.

  16. Your kitchen looks wonderful! Love that you painted the drawer pulls black. It’s so frustrating when you know exactly what you want, but can’t find it!

  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE New to you…and so glad to see a blogger who is not ‘over the top’ and believes in ‘cash as you go’ as a new ‘small business owner’ and ‘sky high debt’ and ‘oh Lord, Where will I be in 5 years?’
    This is my ‘way to redo’! Thank You! Glad I found you!

  18. Here’s an idea for your air return! Love your kitchen!!

  19. Awesome and inspiring! We have been living in our first home for 2.5 years. We hope to sell it on another 2.5. We are slowly fixing it up. By then we should make enough on the sale to pay off the mortgage and our student loan debt (which is the size of another mortgage) leaving us debt free!

    We are currently paying cash for our renovation (along with mortgage payments and student loan payments and life stuff). Once we sell and become debt free we will probably rent a house for a while to save for a down payment on our dream home with lots of land! You guys are an inspiration :) not sure if we will buy land with a house to fix up or build but we will decide when we see whats out there.

    Was it hard to find your new property? Did you have to compromise your wish list of amount of land, location, house type, etc.? Or did you not have one?

  20. Thank you for sharing your “journey”. So inspiring! Can’t wait to work on my “dream house” which will be a small, 2 bedroom condo decorated the way I want when hubby and I are empty nesters.

  21. Wow, wow, wow!! It’s looking so gorgeous and personally I love seeing the “in progress” photos before the big reveal because it builds anticipation. I spray painted the knobs on the cabinets in our laundry room 2 years ago and they are holding up beautifully! You have done such an amazing job transforming that kitchen! :-)

  22. Loving this process! Those stools are perfect and I really hope the spray paint holds on the pulls. My husband and I are putting in our hickory floors this weekend and my anxiety level is off the charts. Our kitchen and dining room is down to the subfloor at the moment, drywall is punched out, and it’s just an absolute mess. We’re well past the point of no return, but it’s just stressful seeing everything that needs to be done. And we’re not even doing most of the work and I’m stressed out!

  23. Imperfect is perfect! I HATE those perfect Pinterest-worthy shots from blogs, because they make me feel so inadequate! What’s that word? PIN-security!!

    Oh and so funny how you said “small” house. Your house looks enormous from here.

    • it all depends on what you compare it too! We have almost half the finished space that we did in our last house–the main floor is 1200ish square feet and then we have the two boys bedrooms upstairs so yes, it really isn’t small!

  24. i love that you share the in-process pictures. i think that’s even more helpful and inspirational than a “big reveal” :) i’m in love with the lines of your hutch…and after our move this summer, we have a similar cabinet door with the opposite problem. it closes but refuses to open easily.

    and oh, your sunrise view. i just want to settle in that bay window with a cup of coffee and my devotional :)

  25. I so look forward to your kitchen posts (well all your posts actually)! I love how you are doing small steps at a time and yet your kitchen still looks “pinterest” worthy dirty dishes and all! Makes me feel like there are others out there who have homes that are lived in rather than museums where you look and can’t touch! I am dreaming of a kitchen remodel like yours but might have to save up the funds until I can do it the way I want but still do it on a budget! I love your mix of high and low! I don’t think you can tell the difference if you never pointed it out! Great job! Love it!

  26. Thank you for being real and sharing “during” photos. I actually *MUCH* prefer these to finished, stages photos which frankly feel impersonal and rather unattainable. I need the reminder that change takes time and is messy, but that doesn’t have to mean miserable, either. Love the way it’s coming together! Simple and welcoming.

  27. You are doing a fantastic job on your kitchen! It looks functional and pretty. Which white quartz did you use for your counters. I am choosing a quartz product for my counters and I love feed back on the product,
    Thank you,

  28. I think the white cabinet with baskets will win over the gray one. I love your idea for the pantry wall.

  29. It’s BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the transformation and how much it opened up your kitchen.


  30. Terri Stevens says:

    Just an opinion on the inset wall space. I haven’t read the other comments, but just thought I’d throw mine out there too. I might put shelves in there and spices, especially since it’s beside your oven. You could put two cute little doors in front, if you want to keep them hidden. I love makeovers. Looks great!!!

  31. Love it all- especially the sunrise through the windows, because, as beautiful as our homes can be, God really is the most amazing artist:-) I am so grateful for your “real” shots, because it shows life and living, not just a gorgeous home- although yours definitely is that, as well.

    Blessings in your new space and home. I love the journey you have been on, and am awed at all God has done to give you such a wonderful home- and a grateful heart!

  32. I really love seeing progress photos-more than big reveals. Please continue. regarding return air grill – you really shouldn’t block it! How about a cast iron decorative grille. I just googled cast iron grille. Here is one example. I have never used because we live in an old house with no central air and radiator heat, but was thinking of the grate that the boy in the movie HUGO crawls in and out of.

  33. a pegboard would look cool in the inset cabinet.

  34. I know whatever you choose will be fantastic. I love to see the process photos myself. It’s a great motivation knowing you can try different things before you get to the beautiful.

  35. This house is WAY better. It has a pond and a barn … and now that stove. Need I say more.

  36. Love it! It’s hard to believe it’s the same room. I had to look at the before and after pictures several times and then “got it” You amaze me!

  37. Love the way this is turning out. The stools!! And, I like where that niche/nook is headed.

  38. Looking good, love to see the work in progress…
    My first thought upon seeing the inset space was chalkboard paint!

  39. Fabulous! Regarding the return air vent: Have you ever looked at Brooke Gianetti’s site or Pure Style Home? They’ve both used vintage air vents that are architecturally beautiful and you can have them made somewhere (?) to look vintage. That might be a fun long term solution.
    Here’s an example:

  40. beautiful! someone may have suggested this as i haven’t had a chance to read all the comments…what about using glass shelving for your inset? it would certainly keep with the open concept you have and provide a great space to show off things out of the way.

    i really like the bigger of the two shelving units. i’ve seen a suggestion for replacing the cold air returns with a decorative grid that is more ornate than the standard. i have considered searching for one myself as mine is also in at the bottom of a wall in my hallway.

    great job! it looks fabulous!

  41. WOW it is just beautiful! So much more functional and gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing.

  42. I like your kitchen remodel. It’s fun to see the progress photos. What I like best are the unstaged photos; your home actually looks lived in! Oh, and I like the hutch. But if you replaced it with something else I’m sure that would look very nice as well.


  43. Just an idea: What if you put cork on the back of the fun little cubby? You could paint it whatever color you like, pin up recipes, still have room to put little trinkets (or useful stuff) on the ledge. Just a thought. Oh, and thank for keeping it real with your reveals. I don’t know if any of us ever feel “done” or “reveal worthy”, but it is good to know that someone out there will be real ;) The kitchen looks amazing (even if it isn’t perfect…in fact, that’s what makes it perfect)!

  44. Susan Adams says:

    I would paint the niche in chalkboard paint and use it as a message center. Love everything so far!! Good job.

  45. I think it looks great!! The view alone is worth it!! I am a sucker for a beautiful view. :) The little bit of green from the plant adds so much to the space and I can’t wait to see what goodies will be in the niche. :)

  46. You disco ball lights make me so happy every time I see them. : )

  47. Im such a big baby, you got me in that last part about the sunrise and Gratefulness and being HOME.. Made me a little misty eyed! What a beautiful blessing! You all have put in the hard work and it’s paid off. Your home is absolutely breathtaking, what a transformation! Can’t wait to see it all complete! God bless!! Xoxo

  48. I agree with the chalkboard paint and command center idea. It’s an ideal location and high enough to not break your back. If you’re adding a desk area where the hutch is, then the niche “could” stay clutter-free. There could even be a way to have both a command center and a few most-commonly-used spice bottles without it looking strange….not sure how, but I’m sure there’s a way.
    I love the pinterest air return cover posted by amber! If ours weren’t on the ceilings, I would be all over that project! I’m not digging the metal grate covers, but with the style of your house, they would work.
    As always, I love reading your posts!!! I’m a renovation junky but currently without time (baby+toddler+kindergartener) or money (husband=budget ignorer).
    Happy New Year!

  49. Everything looks AMAZING. So exciting to see all your progress! The niche was such a great idea, so much impact! And when that subway tile goes up over the range with the darker grout lines… the whole room will come together so well! So excited for you!

  50. Jamie Rowe says:

    I love that you keep it real. I love reading home decor/DIY blogs but sometimes they can make me feel inadequate. With 2 small children, a large dog, and a husband who might as well be my third child, keeping my house picture worthy is not a reality. Your honest postings really go a long way to helping me realize that my home is beautiful, even in the chaos and ongoing house improvements.

Speak Your Mind