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

Pin It


  1. Aaahhhh so nice.

  2. Maybe you don’t have the big reveal as some other bloggers have, but you are not other bloggers. You are you. Perfectly imperfect you. Uniquely and wonderfully created. Be you. I so enjoy your posts and the things you point out like dishes in the sink and things laying around the house tell me a story. People live here. People play here, eat here and are learning and growing here. This place is loved. It looks like home to me. I recently found the app houzz, which I love, but some of the homes pictured there are stale to me. They seem stiff and uninviting. They seem like just a house. Your house says ‘I’m a home, welcome’. And if you hadn’t pointed out that the stove is sitting on a dolly, I wouldn’t have even noticed! Honestly I had to scroll back up and squint to see it!

    Anywho, I enjoy you. Keep up the good work. And p.s. Not to be all creepy but, I saw your car in a parking lot as I walked to my car just before Christmas, I was bummed I didn’t run into you in the store. I thought about going in to find you but didn’t want to seem like a stalker. :)

  3. Mary Lee Carrigan says

    FYI – they do make fancy vent covers!!! They are not cheap though, so it is on my list for “one day” …. but check it out. My husband says it is not good to block them – so we we have a desk in front of ours with no back, but at least it doesn’t stick out so badly.
    Loving your new home …. we moved a year ago into our new home and your blog is just what I need :). I don’t like blogs that make me feel bad or less than. We have very different taste, but you help me to “think”…. like how a light fixture can speak :) ….. I’ve never liked homes that look like they went to a store and purchased everything in one fail swoop …. they are beautiful but it doesn’t feel like our family. So you have helped me to slow down and see what feels like our house and my family and to wait until we can afford it …. yeah, the fancy vent is a ways down there for today :). Slow and steady …… my word for this year is “SHOW US” …… This has been a rough, rough past year with way too much busyness …. I find my life is too much of me showing God what I need or what i want ….. this year I’m pleading for Him to SHOW US what/where/when/who ….. know it is two words ….. but it is my heart. to be open to His ways, His thoughts…… to really listen. Happy New year my friend!

  4. You amaze me. I didn’t get ANY of these genes!!


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  5. If that were my kitchen, & I knew it would be a while before I could replace the hutch or be bothered painting it (& lets be honest, it would be a long while), I would paint the frame of the hutch inset black, and change (or paint) the knobs of the 3 top drawers to black as well, to match the black kitchen accents. I don’t think the green hutch & timber floors are disagreeing, at least it doesn’t show in your pictures. Loving the transformation.

  6. Thanks for sharing along the way. What about a skinny table to be used as desk in front of vent? No more dueling shelves.

  7. I know these are overdone but love the kitchen chalkboards. The inset would be a good place for chalkboard art. Love the kitchen and your resourcefulness, keep it up!

  8. I just want to tell you …the reason I keep following your blog and really enjoying it is because you show and tell your “lived in” house, as you say ! I love that about you and your writing ! It’s so refreshing to me and encouraging. I love watching the process. You just seem real and un-intimidating. Thanks !

  9. Beautiful. Peaceful. Quiet. Can I use the word quiet knowing you have boys in your house, with the smelly socks, the rough housing, etc? I’m currently in the process of finding a new color for our kitchen/dining room: currently I have yellow and a grey/blue on the walls. But I know that I will find it (actually, I have-a bowl from Anthro).

  10. It is coming together so beautifully! You’d never guess it’s the same space. That range gets me every time!

  11. I saw these metal grates that have designs cut into them (that would allow air flow). You could build a little wood frame to attach it in front of the air return so it would hide it and the thing would only stick out about an inch or two. I am not sure where to buy them but I bet you could find some online at amazon. Your kitchen is coming along beautifully and I am excited to see your faze one final.

  12. Try I love mine, they look great, easy to install and when you need to change filter they swing open.

  13. I LOVE the cabinet at the end of the island and I also LOVE that you share with us your work in progress since that is how most of us tackle a remodel – a bit at a time while we are still living in the room. I bought door knobs for our whole house that I was positive were black but ended up being a very dark oil rubbed bronze…and have wondered about painting them myself so I will be waiting to hear how your handles go. I am also curious about your black chairs and wondering if you would mind sharing your source and also wondering if they are comfortable?

  14. You are doing so great! Thank you for sharing your progress and not making us wait until you are ready for your next BH&G spread. :)

  15. No cringing necessary! Real photos are far more fun to see. Anyone can post the pretty pictures, but your own pics are far better. Thank you for sharing your journey. Love the niche, great idea.

  16. Thanks for ALWAYS keeping it “real”. Your blog gives me so much inspiration without making me feel bad that my house looks lived in and isn’t perfect. I was thinking the other day about your word for the year “slow”. It’s hard not to have 1,000 projects going on in my brain. I realize that things are a process and take time and will eventually get finished. Thanks for keeping the dirty dishes and lived in look in your photos. It makes the rest of us feel “normal!”

  17. I can only try to imagine how wonderful it must be to watch the sunshine and your three treasures from your kitchen workplace at the same time!
    Anf please, please keep the pictures of the proces coming! That is where the inspiration is; also I feel very priviliged that you trust me enough to show me your life as it really is :-)

  18. I think chalkboard paint would be awesome on the niche for now or forever! It would be so cute to do menus or lists and then decorate behind the shelves later on. :)

  19. Valerie H. says

    The hutch probably needs leveling: check underneath the corners on the bottom for little “wheels” that spin- these are used to level the hutch so the doors close. If there aren’t any there, you can use a lever and wood shims to accomplish the same thing. (But the hutch should be anchored to the wall if you go that route!)
    And you should check your local big box home improvement store for fancy return covers. They sell them, but they can be pricey.
    (Also? Soooo jealous of that range!)

  20. I love the kitchen! And I agree that its great to see it in process. I’m just wondering if you could show a little more of your cabinet space and pantry, how do you fit everything in there? Maybe I just have too many dishes and too much food at once:) Although you have boys so I’m sure its hard to keep food in the house! And also do you have a dishwasher or microwave? I don’t know that I could live without those. This could be a continuation post…

  21. Thank you for sharing the “messy” side of renovation, especially while trying not to go into debt. We are in the midst of the same process, and it is sometimes defeating when you see the shiny blogs that only show the end result. Life and home improvement are messy, and I admire those that are confident enough to share both sides. Fist pump for being “real” and for an awesome kitchen!

  22. Love this space!! How high did you position your pendants above your island?

  23. Look at the blog “Simplicity in the South.” She made a beautiful air return cover in her home. I love it. In fact, it is so pretty that you don’t even have to cover it up. (which you should not do anyway.) It’s also a lot easier to clean than the vented types.

  24. I didn’t read through all 131 comments before mine, but just wanted to tell you that I sprayed our kitchen hardware black when remodeled our previous kitchen. I couldn’t find the finish that I wanted, so I decided to try painting a style that I liked in a cheaper finish until I could find what I wanted. It actually worked really well and after about a year there were a few that needed some touch-ups…just the drawers and cabinets that were most used. I was actually surprised how well they held up. So maybe yours will hold up too. And black is very trendy right now and they tend to be a bit pricier than some of the other finishes. The worst that can happen is that you unscrew them and take them out in the yard to spray them again. So good choice. And the kitchen looks fab!

  25. Beautiful. I also have those very same ikea cabinets and LOVE my ikea kitchen. AND so affordable. Love the fancyvenet website someone suggested. I am ordering one to cover the plumbing access in my livingroom..(what a great place for a big plywood door :{ ) That should make quite a difference!

  26. Any chance this would be a “beautiful air return thing”???

  27. I loved this post, I know it took really great efforts and time but the results are just awesome.

  28. As the admin of this website is working, no uncertainty
    very soon it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

  29. Okay, found it! I just commented on your new post and asked about your kitchen remodel. Love the kitchen and that range!!

  30. Loren Haas says

    About that air return thing, I have modified louvred shutters for this purpose. You might get lucky if you keep your eyes open, but they are also available to purchase on line.

  31. Love what you are doing with the kitchen. It looks beautiful now and know the finish project will be amazing. I wish I was as good as you are at taking your time…I’m a little too impatient.

  32. Light bulb moment. Your niche area could make a great spice rack holder. I built one in my open pantry and love it. I can find things easily and used matching jars since my pantry is so visible. Let me know if you would like me to send a picture.
    Good luck.

  33. What type of counters did you install?

  34. They do make cast iron (fake) return air vents. I would highly recommend one you could even paint it white to hide it yet still be pretty when it is noticed. Personally I wouldn’t mind the black or even another color.

  35. Lisa Buchanan says

    Ah! I see an aero press on your counter! Now I know we can be friends! :) Love your blog and your book. I was just introduced to you by a friend who loaned me your book to help fill my time while I try and recover from mono. Its been a fun! I’m so happy for you and your new house! What a testament to the goodness of our God and His desire to bless those who seek to honor Him. Blessings!

  36. I love how the colours really tied everything in in the end but as much as you don’t like to do a big reveal, it was a bit difficult to keep track what was from the old look and what was from the new… You might have opted to do a before and after photo at the very least so we can see how the storage and placement of the kitchen equipment changed throughout. But otherwise, congratulations! The new kitchen looks great!

  37. Hi!
    I have been following your blog for quite sometime! I love your style, you truly have a talent! But, my main question of the day, is how your sink is holding up? I know in our new house we are going to have a apron sink and they can get pretty pricey. I love ikea, but I just wondered if it is holding up well, or is it staining, scratching, etc? Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks!!!!!

  38. “Can someone please invent a beautiful air return thing?”
    YES, there are beautiful air return grill covers that are made from wood, plastic and other materials. You wont be able to find them at your local home depot but, any AC company can probably provide you with a nice catalog to choose from.
    Good luck..

  39. I must know – are the Hudson stools holding up well? Are they comfortable? I am searching for some metal stools for our house and the ones I have tried are so uncomfortable. I also have two young kids (3 & 6) and was concerned the backs here would be too high for them. Would love your two cents….

  40. Love the post, Love what you are doing with the kitchen. I will register to this blog.

  41. donna vallone says

    where did you get the hutch? it’s beautiful…..

  42. I like your style…& if anything can disturb anyone that HOW CAN I GET MY KITCHEN CLEAN??
    so if that disturb you can Depends on us ..

  43. I love the design you are so talented.

  44. Corena H says

    Love following along. Thank you. Suggestion you seem to have loads of talent ( hubby and you) how about fashioning a vent cover for your air return out of the many decorative metal sheets that are available. You could paint it to add dimension above add part of an old hutch or leave it metal for added color and texture. Just a thought…

  45. Wow.. What a makeover. Love the new design.

  46. Oh wow, this looks absolutely amazing! We recently had one of our rental properties redone by a make ready service in Houston and they did a really great job. I wish that I had some design or home improvement talent like you do until then I’ll just have to rely on professionals I guess! LOL

  47. Fantastic makeover. I really like what yall did to the kitchen. The crew at works with many home remodeling teams in Kingwood and Houston and this is top of the line work.

  48. What a nice blog, love what you did with this kitchen. following !

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