Major Kitchen Remodel (Before & After)

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Hey Y’all! I’m back today sharing…..a MAJOR KITCHEN REMODEL…..mine!

It’s a photo heavy post, just FYI.
AND…please excuse the “mess” in these photos. Saying that in advance!
It’s a war zone when you are re-doing basically an entire home…and living in it with kids at the same time.
PLUS, I had only planned these photos for us to have a “before and after” of our makeover.
If I’d known all those years ago that I’d be sharing them with…well, the entire world through the internet…I’d have cleaned up first. ;)


We have been living in this house for 11 years now. The “first remodel” happened as soon as we moved in.
The second makeover/remodel happened some years later. 
Then I painted and redecorated in a totally different way/style (third makeover).

So this room has seen some changes!

But wait til you see the “before” photos. 

I’m not even sure where to start…..maybe right here at the beginning….

Kitchen Makeover - BEFORE with Realtor - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

As in….the VERY beginning.
This was a photo I snapped when walking through with our realtor.
I’m sharing it only to show how very dark this kitchen was then.
Sort of like every room in this house, remember “the cave”?
If not, you can check out that room makeover (before & after) here –> Family Room Makeover)

And this is what it looks like now….

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Sink - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

And this is how it got that way. ;)


We removed that dark plaid wallpaper.
My husband had to remove, and rework, that cabinet above so the refrigerator would fit in the space.

And now….

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Open Shelving - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

We originally decided to cut it down and make an open area for cookbooks as you can see below.
We later opened it up completely to have an open shelf (as you can see above).


In the above photo you can see I have painted the cabinets, the walls, etc.
The modified cabinet is back in place AND the new counter top is installed, along with the sink and faucet.
We’ve also removed the old trash compactor to ready the space for a wine refrigerator.

This is what we ended up with. (the tile came a few years later…you can read about that here –> Kitchen Tile Backsplash)

Kitchen Makeover - First Rendition too dark - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

I painted and then glazed the cabinetry. We also added that wood decorative trim to all the doors.
If you look closely at the “before” photos, you’ll notice that they are dark wood and FLAT fronted.
I’ll be doing a tutorial on how we did that soon!
It really made a HUGE difference in the way they looked.

Moving on to another area of the kitchen….looking into the dining room…

Kitchen Makeover - BEFORE - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

To the right is where the refrigerator goes (for perspective).


(see those door fronts? flat and blah!)

And the other side, corner/nook…..


So much plaid!!

But I got rid of that pretty quickly (but not effortlessly, that was a job)….


Dark plaid gone…and look at that cutie! Where did the time go?
I miss my babies young.

We had SO much to do in this house so weren’t into tearing out walls just yet.

That came later.

This is how I finished up the kitchen the first time….


This is looking in from the Family Room.

And finally…..

Kitchen Makeover - First Rendition Corner - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Terrible photo…but again, I wasn’t planning on sharing on a blog at the time.

This is the same corner/nook now…..

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Wall Removed - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Different, right?! MUCH brighter space.

Kitchen-Makeover-Before-and-After-Back-Wall-Corner- #kitchen #Makeover- artychicksrule

A few years after our first remodel we decided to tear out walls…on each side of the kitchen.

Kitchen Makeover - Wall it OUT - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Fun… not fun. ;)
We’ve been in a state of construction for years. (that’s my sweet boy again, a few years older than the last photo)

Much better……….

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER OPEN - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Wow, even I’m impressed at the difference revisiting these photos! ;)
So happy we went ahead and took out those walls.

Kitchen Makeover - After Wall Removed to Dining - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Kitchen Makeover - Before and After Dining Wall - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

On to the other side, and other wall we removed.

Starting back at the beginning …..


Lovely gold counter tops, broken floor tiles everywhere and dark, flat, plain cabinets.

And now….

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Half Wall Removed - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

I originally used latex but have since repainted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
You can read about the cabinet makeover here –> Kitchen Cabinet Makeover.

Removing half a wall….(and ceiling)…

Kitchen Makeover - Removing Half Wall and Floor - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

My sweet girl and Lexi, our Golden mix you sometimes catch a glimpse of in my photos.


Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Open to Family - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Yes, same stove…since day one! It’s getting changed very SOON.

We had also pulled up all the tile and were getting ready to re-do that too.

Kitchen Makeover - Wall Removal - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

What a mess to live in, right?
But the end result is so worth it.

New ceiling, flooring, island (that we made, and modified using ready made cabinets) and lighting.

Kitchen Makeover - After Island Added - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

Hard to believe it’s the same kitchen, isn’t it?

You can read about the kitchen island here –> Kitchen Island Makeover

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Bright and Cheery - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

From closed off and dark, to wide open, airy and bright.

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

To give you an idea of how I went from really dark, to well, still dark….

Kitchen Makeover - FIRST Makeover - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

I loved the openness we’d created but wow, I really had it painted and decorated much too dark still.
That is all changed now, thank goodness.
It’s like a completely new house all over again!
(That’s my husband, sister and I…I’m sure both will be so grateful I shared them here … not ;) )
See my messy cookbooks in the open cabinet up there?
That’s why it became open shelving later….

Kitchen Makeover - AFTER Open Shelving - #kitchen #Makeover artychicksrule

But as you know, I am also tired of all the yellow. Mainly in the Dining and Family room.
I just picked up my paint yesterday so I’ll be painting soon! :)
You can see my new plans for the dining room here –> Dining Room Changes Dreamboard

Kitchen-Makeover-Before-and-After-Half-Wall-Removed- #kitchen #Makeover- artychicksrule

UPDATE: I’ve since installed a new backsplash. You can see all the details, HERE.

I’m tired just looking back at these.
Hard to believe we’ve done so much….but it has been 11 years.
And….we are still “doing”!
No, we aren’t even all the way done yet. We still have our master bath to renovate.
Always the last, should have been the first. But my thoughts have always been…no one sees it but us! ;)
I’m ready to tackle that area though. Soon!

I hope it wasn’t too confusing going through the photos.
We did the first remodel, then the second and now the third so it was hard to share them “in order”.
Or in an order that totally made sense.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed seeing our progress in the kitchen.
We still have to replace the stove but it’s coming soon I hope.
I’ll share new photos once that’s done.

A work in progress, always, I tell ya!

My husband and I do feel a great sense of accomplishment though.
We’ve done every single renovation and project in this house ourselves.
Nothing has been contracted out. (except for adding an electrical outlet/switch here or there)
I have to say, we work pretty great together! Thank goodness, right?

I hope these photos also inspire you. There’s not much that can’t be changed or updated.
And wow, what a difference that makes.
So don’t overlook some of those homes (if shopping for a new home) OR feel you can’t do some of these things in your current home.
If we can do it, so can you! :)

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  1. What a difference! I can not even believe the before.
    I absolutely love the island..I think that may be my favorite part!

    1. I really want to know how you added the wood molding on the kitchen cabinet doors. Did you cut them and then just glue to the top? Did you need to make a groove on the front panel so they would fit? Do you have pics of how you did this? Thanks! I really enjoy your project pictures!

      1. Hi Robin,

        I kept meaning to do a DIY tutorial post on that but never go around to it. We did the original project long before I started the blog so I don’t have photos. I sanded the doors down and my husband cut and then applied, with clamps, the wood to the front of the doors. He used regular wood glue. I don’t even remember which brand it was, but it is rock solid 12 years later! We didn’t need to cut grooves or do anything else. The style of the original door really worked well with adding the wood. They were completely flat fronted doors with a curved/beveled edge. The wood was placed directly at the edge before the curve/bevel.
        Hope that helps! One day I may get that tutorial up. ;) We do have an old door or two laying around that I had planned to removed the trim from (or try anyway, like I said, it’s solid!) and then do again to show how we did it.
        Good luck!

  2. We’re now on our second major reno so I understand and sympathize with the effort it has taken to make your home what it is now. We’ve lived in our place for 20 years. We began what was supposed to be a carpet and paint update to the living room in 2007. That work went over the top when my better half, the Minister of Finance, bonded with the designer. New wood floors, 6″ base, new oak molding everywhere, new living room windows, entry door and lights, solid wood interior doors, tumbled marble in the living room and an entirely new fireplace surround. While we live on six acres, when at home we were relegated to the master…for months. Still, everything still looks good to me. We are in the midst of a major two story addition to add garage slots and (finally) a gathering space off the kitchen and a patio rather than the old deck off both the existing dining room and new great room. Phase II will be the kitchen gut. We’re just in the nick of time since the appliances have been giving up the ghost the last couple of months. The fridge still seems okay but the range is down to one burner and no oven and both the dishwasher and microwave are shaky. Goodness only knows where it will end up. But, the house will either be ready for our recent retirement or for sale. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh yes, Anna! It certainly is not a small undertaking for sure! :)
      I loved reading about your remodel, etc! It made me chuckle a bit! But I bet it’s amazing!
      And yep, ready for sale or retirement! Ours will be ready for sale once we finish. Really.
      Then we will start all over again on a new (old) home. We want to sell and find a smaller one story once my son graduates this coming year.
      BUT this time we will rent something and work on the house before we move in!
      Thanks for sharing your adventure with me!

  3. Hi Nancy ~
    What a beautiful kitchen and Dining Room
    It all looks so beautiful – I love the openness of all the rooms.

    Great job on everything.
    Much love,

    1. Thank you so much Rose! :)
      We really enjoy the openness SO much. It’s much, much better for entertaining guests too.

    1. Hi Mary,
      The kitchen walls have Sherwin Williams Ivoire SW6127 (yellow) and Sherwin Williams Kaffee SW6104 (brown). :)

    1. Thanks Christy! Oh it really does look and feel so much bigger. I love an open floor plan…but apparently in the 70’s they liked rooms…and DOORS to close off all the rooms! ;)
      Yep, I suppose it was (blogger in me). So funny! ;)

  4. From one DIY couple who has renovated their home over a couple of decades to another – woweeeee, what a difference! Looking at those before pictures only someone with a good eye and DIY talents could see the potential where others may have run the opposite direction. You guys did a fabulous job renovating your home! You’re right, it never ends. As soon as you declare one room complete the one you did first is now ready for an update. But you’re right, doing it yourself does give you a huge sense of accomplishment and now every room tells a story!

    1. Thank you Marie! You are so sweet!! I either had the eye or was crazy for taking it on!! ;)
      I do remember walking through with my sister after we moved in and telling her all my plans. She said “I’m glad YOU can see it!!” haha

  5. Oh what a beautiful job you guys did! I can hear my husband heaving a big sigh! I don’t think he would do all that work! lol You really accomplished a lot – so homey and cozy. :)

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to get that Ikea sink – did you cut notches in the front of your countertop for that? It looks like it would just sit on top of the counter.

    Many blessings to you and yours, Jayne

    1. Thank you Jayne! :)
      I love the IKEA sink! Yes, we had to cut the notches in. It really doesn’t fit right unless you do it.
      Follow the directions given (I think you can find some You Tubes on it too), (just ask my DIY hubby who tried to do it “his” way the first go…then had to redo ;) )

  6. Y’all did a fantastic job! Love, love the final makeover! It truly does look like a different house now.

    But what were those previous owners thinking with all that plaid?? LOL xo

    1. Thanks Karen! :) It really does look (and feel!) like a completely different home now.
      I have NO idea on the plaid, (or the large, eccentric looking floral in the master with the lavender walls and trim!—I didn’t take a photo of that before :( )

  7. It is a beautiful renovation. It is hard to keep clean when you are constantly tearing up though right? Thanks for sharing. I have painted my kitchen cabinets, but the paint has worn off around the knobs. How long have you had the Anne Sloan paint on your cabinets?

    1. Thank you Donna! and yes, it sure is hard to keep clean during all that craziness. (thank you for that! :) )
      Some paints and finishes are more prone to doing that around the knobs. Latex for one. I had a “glaze” over mine (first paint job was latex) so I think that helped. Mine held up pretty well actually for about 8 years. But I did sand them down very well beforehand.
      I painted them over 2 years ago now with the Chalk Paint. But I also finished them with Varathane too (poly finish) so I think that’s helped them hold up well.

  8. Your dedication to creating the space into an amazing home is just so, so inspiring! It reminds me that during our many remodeling needs, that it all takes time. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Aw thank you so much Kelly for the thoughtful comment! Yes, it is a lesson in patience, for sure. :)
      But all worth it in the end!

  9. The picture of the original kitchen is crazy, I can’t believe how dark that house is. Each room looks like it was meant for vampires or something. Both remodels look amazing, and I am a bit sad you strayed from red walls. All in all, the place is looking really great!

  10. Wow!! What a great renovation!! It definitely takes a lot of patience to do so much renovation over time. But the results you got are just amazing. I am also planning to renovate my kitchen. And by looking at your kitchen, I have certainly got some ideas. I hope that I will also be able to get such stunning results.

  11. That is truly an amazing transformation. I especially love the tile backsplash you did. It’s much easier on the eyes than the plaid wallpaper!

  12. The before and after pictures of this remodel are remarkable. It truly is a transformation. You did a tremendous job on this project. The work shows. Fantastic job!

  13. What a great transformation! Especially the kitchen cabinet doors, I loved that you recycled and customized them, what a savings!! Will you be posting the tutorial of adding the trim to door soon, I would love to see it. When you mentioned a flat cabinet door, it looks like there is a slightly routed edge around the front of door? Did you place the “molding frame” right up against that routed edge? Thanks much for all the inspiration!!!

    1. Hi Lin,
      Thank you!
      I am (and have been for awhile!) planning to do a tutorial on that. It really made a HUGE difference in our doors.
      Yep, the edges of the original doors were routed/rounded a bit. No, we didn’t place all the way to the edge.
      Are you subscribed to the blog here? I will try to get this post done early in 2016. :)

  14. hi i was wondering how your Varathane has held up? i am doing pure white and i want to avoid the yellowing. has yours yellowed? is Varathane shiny?

    1. Hi Jehna,
      The Varathane has held up fantastically! It’s really super hard stuff. BUT yes, I have had a bit of yellowing. Not a tremendous amount but it is there (if you are sensitive to it, you can see it, otherwise not so much). I used Semi Gloss and it’s not too shiny. I usually like to use Satin but already had the semi gloss so used it. You could get it in Satin if you want it less shiny.
      I think if I had to do it over, I would have used all Pure White and would have ended up with the perfect shade of off white.
      I do plan to do an update with photos, etc, on these cabinets/paint soon.
      Hope this helps!

  15. Wow! What a transformation! The after looks amazing – so much bigger and brighter! The cabinet trim added so much.

  16. How has the chalk paint held up on your kitchen? I’m thinking of using the same technique to update my boring kitchen. Thank you for your feed back

    1. It has held up amazingly. I am very happy with it and have no complaints at all. The poly I used I think was a key factor in this, however. But with that, there was still a tiny bit of yellowing with it. I didn’t start out with them painted bright white so it’s hard to tell how much. I can just vaguely tell. I am planning to repaint them but only because I want them bright white now (and I’m doing a mini kitchen makeover with new tile, counter tops, etc). I will also be using a different paint but not because I wasn’t happy with the Chalk Paint. Only because I have a blog and like to mix it up! ;)

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