When you buy a home, we all dream of that special kitchen and gathering area that is warm and inviting, whether cooking dinner for yourself or hosting your favorite people for a party. Well, our old kitchen was none of those. Our little townhouse has a small galley-style kitchen designed to be compact over functional and design-oriented. The cabinets and counters were all original to home construction in the 1990’s, and the flooring and wall color selected by the previous owners horribly classed from a pale yellow to a brown and green marble-like tile. This was far from my dream kitchen the last two years while renting the home.
Looking at our home daily, and of course binge watching A LOT of Fixer Upper (because Joanna Gaines might be a God I can get behind), I was able to come up with a design that I loved without blowing up our kitchen for a month or even squeezing every penny out of our pocketbooks. With a lot of elbow grease and a few trips to the hardware store, it’s not perfect, but we transformed our kitchen into something we love.
Our old cabinets were this two-tone ’80’s style standard construction cabinets with some loose hinges and grooves built into the design so you don’t have to use hardware. Having lived there, I found that using our hands to open cabinets and drawers left a lot of dirt and food stains all over the place. I knew hardware and making them a single color was a must. I would have adored some new shaker cabinets in white with a marble counter, but our budget unfortunately didn’t allow for it, so after researching some others who painted their laminate cabinets and a long talk with the paint specialist at the hardware store, I found the right solution.
I started the process by giving the cabinets a light hand sanding to give some texture for the paint to grip to. In this case, I opted to only paint the exterior and doors of the cabinets, leaving the interior a wood finish for design. For paint, I bought one gallon of Dutchboy interior latex paint in base white satin finish – you can do a semi or full gloss for a shiny, fresh look, but I knew I wanted matte for a more modern farmhouse look.
Over three weekends, I painted three coats on all the cabinets and gave ample time to dry. I noticed some chipping of the paint in areas that were not dry enough after 24 hours and using the kitchen, which meant touch ups. The great part about this paint choice was that I used the exact same gallon to paint the ceiling.
After leaving the last coat for 24 hours, I drilled holes and installed the hardware. I searched all types of hardware stores and online retailers, and struggled to find handles I loved that were simple and modern, but gave a home-like rustic touch. I stumbled upon this set at Target of all placed while looking for wall hooks, and even better, it was only $10 per pack of 6! That’s a complete steal when the average handle is $2-$3 each. $40 later and I scored them with extra to spare for possible use in a bathroom. Another great tip is to use a stencil to ensure your holes all line up. I used a basically right angle piece of paper with holes poked in it that lined up perfectly with the corner I wanted to install the hardware in so that the hardware was level and matching on all doors and drawers.
For the walls in our entire main level, I opted for Dutchboy interior latex paint in century grey – it was just light enough for a subtle touch of grey and a small touch of beige so that our house didn’t look blue in the abundance of natural light we have. What I loved was that the paint not only included the primer, but really only needed one coat. Because the yellow underneath was so bold, I ended up putting a second coat in most areas just to make the color richer and eliminate any unwanted shading.
Since the kitchen is small, I opted to go more simplistic. I moved all of the appliances we don’t use on a daily basis into a designated appliance cabinet, such as the toaster, blender and food processor. This freed a lot of a counter space and reduced clutter. I also added some fresh herb plants to provide extra flavor for cooking and a cute little sign to accent the one small wall we had in the room. The EAT sign originally hung in our kitchen, but was an equally complex design with wood and white diamond patterns like the cabinets, which wasn’t the most flattering. Using the same cabinet paint, I easily transformed them into something to match. I also bought a new track light to hang versus the dome light to offer a lot more directional light to capture some dark corners where the dome and natural light didn’t reach. I also made sure that it was an oil-rubbed bronze to match the cabinet hardware and other accent pieces in the living room and dining room.
In the dining room, these wonderful lavender sconces were handmade simply with a saw tooth mounting kit and hooks, a piece of shiplap from the hardware store’s old wood bin, some stain (already had in the garage), and two small hanging pots I found on clearance at Michael’s. With a little creativity, I made something perfectly rustic and farmhouse modern!
BUDGET AND TIME
Overall, the project was only $200 to complete with about 4 weekends of labor, each using about 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday: one to paint the walls and three to paint the cabinets.
Paint – Two gallons @ $20 per gallon (after sale and rebate from Menards) = $40
Hardware – Four boxes @ $10 each (Target) = $40
Lighting = $25 (Menards)
Décor – Plants, mirror and other = $95 (Lowe’s, Home Goods)
Next up, I cant wait to reveal our living room which is a work in progress!