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 your new kitchen. In that Niche area, I would use chalkboard paint. You could have your menu for the week or a grocery list or what is happening this week. I have several chalkboards throughout my house. We have a weekly one and another one for the kids to draw on in our dining room. I would love to redo our kitchen and knocking down a wall between the dining room and kitchen so I can get more storage, counter space, etc.

  2. Oh I know exactly how you feel! If we had done any big reveals, I don’t think I would have had a single blog post in the past 2 years!!
    You’ve done an amazing job though and your progress looks awesome :)
    Karen x

  3. Totally fabulous, and you’ve made such progress! I agree about the In-PINT-security … imperfect is wonderful as it shows the loving handprints of the person who crafted it


  4. How about something like this for your return air vent?

  5. I have an ugly air return as well! Check out the super cute and easy DIY air return at Unfortunately I Don’t know how to add the direct link. Thanks for sharing your fabulous kitchen!

  6. love your new kitchen. it really does look like home. congratulations on this beautiful adventure.

  7. Re: your cabinet faces. I would say they’re a happy version of Domo. Google an image of him and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a big, goofy smile just showing ALL teeth. :D

    Everything is looking FANTABULOUS! Keep up the great work!

  8. Thank you for showing your imperfections and bit-by-bit progress. It helps me be content with the “real-ness” of progress and life!

  9. I love that you were able to configure things to take advantage of that view! I’m always all about the view.

    We remodeled the kitchen in our last home. I was grateful for it every day after it was complete. It’s great fun having everything where/how you want it. RE: Your drawer pulls–I painted copper accents on our stainless pulls. They needed touching up once in a while (some more than others), but I loved how they pulled everything together (pardon the pun!).

    I think the nook next to the stove would be a perfect place for spices and such! Stainless jars with magnets on them, or those wooden/bamboo diagonal jar holders would give you great access to things you use at the stove and would look good too. (Perfect spice storage is hard to come by. I had a narrow pullout that I loved that used an otherwise useless 6 inches next to the stovetop.)

    Look forward to other updates.

    Mary Hampton

  10. I really appreciate seeing the process. I’m 6.5 years into our kitchen remodel. It actually just got restarted and we are sort of starting over. Although I LOVE what we are doing, I spent hours last Saturday crying over it just not being DONE. (I’m blaming pregnancy hormones.) It makes me feel much better to see someone else living in the unfinished and in-process and imperfect. And here’s hoping both of our kitchens are finished sooner rather than later. ;)

  11. ahhh it’s looking so good. i’m obsessed with your stove/range – gorgeous!
    — jackie @ jade and oak

  12. I absolutely love how your kitchen is coming together. We are doing ours this year and are in the middle of planning. I love the Ikea adel cabinets but was concerned about mixing them with the white caesarstone and big gas range that we are dreaming of… but I see it looks perfect together!!

  13. I love how it doesn’t feel too kitchen-y. Which is a good thing. And I adore your stove! And can I make a suggestion? Why not paint that niche with some chalkboard paint? That’s what I thought you had used in the first place.

    Thanks for sharing!

    :) Linda

  14. I don’t know if I’m the only one who has this problem, or thinks of this as a problem, but whenever i try to pin from your blog it won’t let me choose what photo I want to pin. It automatically picks your main photo. This discourages pinning and therefore potential traffic to your blog! I would love it if you could change this (:

  15. Wow, everything looks great! I’m going through a kitchen remodel right now so I love seeing the choices you’ve made. Mine will also be lots of white, gray, and natural tones with a big white island in the center. That custom nook with the rustic light above it is so fun!

  16. I really love seeing progress photos much more than big reveals. It makes me realize that everyone goes through the same process, as painful as it is. I love what you’ve done so far. Wondering if you are going to name your farm? We are moving to a farm soon, our family has been braininstorming names, just haven’t found that one that fits yet.

  17. I am enjoying watching the progress on your kitchen. I’m learning so much from your patience with the process. I don’t have an eye for potential and have a hard time getting a picture without a picture. Did that make sense? Anyway, you are teaching me how to tweak and twist and make do until all the pieces of the big picture come together. Lovely! I think I like these little snippets along the way better than a big reveal. It shows the realness of life and that it doesn’t always come together as quickly or the way you thought, but sometimes ends up being better than what you thought : ) Thank you for sharing with all of us your family’s dream of owning a house and land and allowing us to watch it all come together!

  18. I think the inset would be a smashing pot rack/cutting board rack a la Julia Child’s kitchen, except keep the dark background. Or install several bars across and make more of a hanging pot rack.

  19. Since the niche is shallow and conveniently located to your stove, I think it would be a great place for some sort of spice storage. It would be cute with uniform tin containers or something like that.

    Kitchen looks great! We are in the middle of a remodel and have been missing some countertops for a few weeks now! It is being held up because my husband wants an instant hot water dispenser, but we haven’t found good reviews on the current ones. So, we are gelding off buying a sink because we don’t know how many holes to order for the faucet, etc. until he decides for sure.

  20. Loving it! I’d have to take a pillow and blanket and sleep with that Viking. ;) Wow!


  21. Candice S says:

    I love it! What a transformation!

    I think that niche would been really cool with glass shelves for glasses and/or barware. Like glass shelves held with brass brackets to tie into the accents on your Viking.

  22. I enjoy so much watching all the progess you’ve made! Love what you’ve done with the place! A lady my husband used to work with started a company making “fancy vents” with her husband. I’ve attached the link. They are great looking and are wonderful people.
    Keep up the good work!

  23. The house is beautiful, but the heart is even better. Love the new kitchen and its great to see that everything has been going so well with the renovation. That sunrise…

  24. I just ran across something last week for that air return vent – check out – some inspiration to begin thinking about the artful concealment,
    You and Chad have done an amazing job on your new ‘becoming’ kitchen – keep hoping and planning. One day you will look back and marvel at all the stages you took it through!:)

  25. We’re in the midst of updating our house (purchased 7 months ago) and I really appreciate your imperfect images and realistic view on progress. My husband cringes when I share pics on my blog because we don’t yet have the afters, but we’re making great baby steps, and baby steps keep me hopeful and are rewarding.

    I couldn’t find the source for the small schoolhouse flushmounts in your kitchen. I have been shopping for just the right schoolhouse flushmount for a while (and always comparing prices) and I like that one. It’s very charming. I’ve seen a similar one at lowe’s/home depot but not in that finish.

    Do tell!

    • wow you have a good eye meg! I forgot about those, yep they are from Home Depot but only came in bronze so I spray painted the bases black.

      • Ha! I was totally wondering if that’s what you had done. Well played! I had considered spraying those, and now I guess I know the end product will look great!

  26. Melissa McIntyre says:

    I LOVE the process! Big reveals are nice, but I like process photos better ;-) Oh, and THANK YOU for the explanatory pictures! In previous posts I couldn’t quite visualize what you were talking about, but in these photos I totally see what you guys did now. I can’t believe how much you all have DONE in just a few months! It looks wonderful (tiny imperfections included!) If I may be so bold as to suggest an idea ( since you said you were unsure) You could paint the niche with magnetic paint and store spice jars etc. in there. Just a random idea that I thought the first time you showed the niche, I just didn’t comment… too chicken I guess :-) I know. I’m lame. Myquillyn Smith is soo terrifying, SAID NO ONE EVER!!! And a sunrise over the pond every morning? Heaven! You can just SEE God all over that ;-)

  27. The kitchen looks amazing! I love seeing your photos as we plan our kitchen update! I know that feeling when you look at your windows. We live on three acres. When I look out the window every morning, I feel extremely blessed to have found our “little slice of heaven!” :)

  28. Michelle Holland says:

    When I see a new post from you I skip all the other ones and click on yours! Love to see how things are going, and it looks like they are going great! God is good!

  29. Love your kitchen! Found this website that sells wooden air return covers – – I need to order one for my house!

  30. Love it!
    Really like your choice of basin. Love the grooves for draining sponges etc.
    I too would go for either a chalk board or pinboard, or a combo of both.

  31. I love your reveal…it’s reality. While it’s fun to see the perfect reveals I also really love seeing lived in, real homes. It makes my unfinished floors and half painted walls feel a little more normal. :)

    I hate ugly air vents too. We have two very obvious ones on our living room wall and this is on my to do list:

  32. So, I’m in LOVE with your kitchen. I think that can {almost} go without saying, because it’s just that fabulous and fantastic!

    But…I just have to say…sitting here reading this after spending some time with a financial adviser {who is currently helping us for free} and wondering how , how, how we can afford our home {oh, yeah, and the rest of the expenses of living too} and the debt accumulated after a few years of a husband’s business which kind of tanked {but is now getting better, so he says} right after we bought our first home, and…yeah all of that. I KNOW that you know. I’ve been reading your blog for ages! I’m just so grateful and encouraged that you have shared your story with us. That I get to SEE how God has blessed you and that you can live a debt free life and afford where you live. And that with patience…there are great rewards! So thanks, a million times over, for being faithful and for sharing the true story here. It’s a blessing.

  33. I don’t comment much, but your “niche” really spoke to me. I think that would be a perfect place to display your canned goods. Can’t you just see canned tomatoes, green beans, peaches, and those sparkling mason jars taking a center stage in a working kitchen? Living in the country also makes it fit for your home. We live on a 13 acre fixer-upper, too, in AL. I sympathize with all you are going through. So worth it though. Have a nice weekend!

  34. Vanessa Lewis says:

    I’d definitely use the niche area for spice storage in pretty jars on wood shelves with the black background. So fun!

  35. I LOVE the picture of your boys sitting at the counter. I can put myself,on that picture, with my son of course. What a wonderful spot. I think that would be my favorite place. Can you come help me arrange my house? lol

  36. I like the slow reveals; they feel real and genuine, like you’re spending real money and sharing real time with real life.

  37. “Can someone please invent a beautiful air return thing?”

  38. I love that you’re hiding phase 3 from your husband. Priceless! I have so many hidden sketches around here for projects I’m planning. My poor husband and all he puts up with from me.

  39. Don’t worry about your painted drawer pulls. I have black ones & when they get scratched or nicked, I just “paint” the boo-boo with a black Sharpie pen. Works like a charm! Love your before & after posts.

  40. Love! I’m with the others (that sounds like Lost), love that you show the imperfections of daily life. That’s just real and normal. I don’t want to live anywhere that’s magazine perfect all the time.

    1. The thermostat has moved!!!

    2. I mean, you guys know this, but just making sure others (gosh, there I go again!) know not to fully cover an air return. Air actually has to go in to that intake and you have to be able to get to the filter to change it. Safety first!

    Your home is beautiful! That sunrise… I’d just sit there with a cup of coffee every morning.

  41. I echo the chalkboard idea for the niche. Or if you don’t like chalk (I don’t because asthma and chalk dust do not mix), there’s dry erase/whiteboard paint that comes in black. I love your pictures! I think they’re Pinterest worthy. Can’t wait to see more!

  42. I love your new kitchen and love that you keep it real…..thank you! The niche is fabulous……I love glass shelves…..maybe? I just can’t wait to see what you do with it! Happy Weekend!!!!

  43. I have been following your remodel more silent but it really amazes me and I’m thrilled for you how far you have come. Such a gorgeous family home. Everything speaks to me and that view is just amazing!
    Wishing you the BEST to come!

  44. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. How much I love who you are and that you keep it real. Please don’t ever change. I am in Utah – but am pretty sure we would be fast friends if we lived nearby. :D
    Thank you for the inspiration – I look forward to every post.

  45. Love your blog. Have you considered a plate rack like Karianne at thistle wood has in her kitchen? She has several large platters and it looks great. I would slide some pretty cookbooks in among the platters.

  46. Will you be enclosing/covering the vent hood in one of the later phases?

  47. Oh my! I just love everything. Thank you for being real. I like real so much better than perfect and polished. :)

  48. I love your authenticity. Your house is a work in progress, just like God continues to work in our hearts. Day by day. One step at a time.

    The transformation is beautiful through the whole process, even if it doesn’t feel that way all the time. In the house, and in our hearts.

    Thank you for sharing a peak into your home – imperfections and all!

  49. Oh my gosh, that sunrise, what a view!!! I love the new layout of your kitchen with the long island and the cooktop on that wall. That niche reminds me of the one at My Sweet Savannah with glass shelves and a recipe on the wall. Would be so fun as a chalkboard wall with shelves floating on it. Love reading about your progress in this house, so much better than a quick before and after! And for those of us who have sold dreamy houses and started over, your story of paying off your debt and buying this home is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece of you!

  50. This is the “nook” at My Sweet Savannah…….

Speak Your Mind