I’ve been promising to post this kitchen makeover reveal for weeks, and I finally decided done is better than perfect, haha! I was planning to get some pro photography and really “do it right,” but as it turns out, my iPhone and a little Lightroom “magic” works just fine.
When we discovered this house (exactly two years ago this month!) there was so much about it I fell in love with. It was everything I ever wanted in a forever home, and then some.
The one major exception was the kitchen — not the layout, but the finishes and decor.
This house was built almost 20 years ago, so the cabinets and countertops reflected that era of earth tones and tuscan decor. It didn’t help that my last house was the same age and that kitchen had a very similar look and feel.
I liked it at the time, but I’d lived with it for 13 years, and I was ready for something fresh and light and airy. I knew when we bought the house that I’d want to do a kitchen makeover some day.
Well, some day arrived last month. With the holidays behind us, I decided it was time to tackle the kitchen project.
It seemed like a good winter project, and my goal was to have it all finished by the time we opened our pool, so we’d be ready in time to host spring/summer get togethers.
First, I’ll show you how it looked before.
This is how we found it when we moved in.
After living here for a year and a half, it looked like this.
Basically all we had done was add counter stools and replace the pendant lights.
Oh, and we painted the entire house (with the exception of the dining room and the guest bedroom) Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray.
I couldn’t wait to replace my black appliances with stainless.
This desk area was not getting used as a desk; rather, it was a place to gather clutter.
After some debate, we decided against a total gut. Instead we would paint the cabinets, replace the countertops and appliances, and add a tile backsplash.
The appliances were the first step in the process, and we decided to go with Bosch for the dishwasher, fridge, double ovens, and microwave.
We knew all along we wanted the same Bosch 800 series dishwasher we had in our last house.
We actually upgraded to a slightly nicer model, and we are beyond thrilled with it. (Pardon the messy counters!)
We also ended up going Bosch for our fridge and double ovens.
I fell in love with the fridge, mostly for the interior layout, and also because it’s one of the only counter depth models tall enough to fit into our space perfectly — see how there is no space between the top of the fridge and the upper cabinet. It’s the little things!
Because the fridge is Bosch and they are side by side, we went with the Bosch double oven so the stainless finish and the handles would match.
I do not love this oven, though. I wish we had upgraded to the 800 series. I thought I wanted knobs, but they are not operational in the traditional sense, and they make the interface a lot more complex than it needs to be.
I almost had them switch them out, but I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and the restock fee. It works fine; it’s just rather frustrating to operate, but we’re getting used to it.
What we learned from all of our appliance research is, no one brand does them all well. Usually there is at least one weak link, and in Bosch’s case, it’s the double ovens.
I’m thrilled with the fridge and dishwasher, though, and at least the ovens look nice!
We also decided to remove the lower cabinets in the desk area and make it into a drinks station. We found the company that made our existing cabinets, and they were able to find a close match.
The reason we went with a pull-out microwave is because we wanted to put in a proper vent hood over the cooktop, where our microwave used to be.
The next step in the process was to get the counters installed. We looked at granite, quartz, and marble; but we ended up choosing a gorgeous slab of Zermatt Quartzite.
Quartzite is an all-natural stone mined the same way as marble and granite, but it’s supposed to be the hardest of the three. When sealed properly, it’s very durable.
And also gorgeous! I love the shades of white and the subtle gray veining throughout the Zermatt stone.
The guys who installed my counters also installed my new cooktop. Here is where we went rogue; but this time, I actually did my research.
Rather than sticking with Bosch, we decided to go with a local brand called BlueStar that’s made right here in Pennsylvania.
We wanted an induction cooktop, but they all operate differently. Many seemed very confusing and unintuitive, but this BlueStar model has knobs that actually do what they look like they should do. (Unlike my Bosch ovens, ahem…)
Also, we liked the idea of supporting a local company, so BlueStar it is!
I was afraid I’d regret not going with gas, but I LOVE my BlueStar induction cooktop.
So here’s how it looked after the counters and cooktop went in. At that point, all that was left was the cabinets and the backsplash! But of course, that was a big piece of the project.
I hired two sisters who have made a business out of painting cabinets, in fact, they call themselves the Cabinet Sisters. They were so much fun to have around, and they did a great job. If you’re local, I highly recommend them.
Magda from ReImagine Interiors helped me on this project yet again (she has helped me on all of my big home decor projects so far) and we decided to paint the island Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, and the cabinets Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.
Here’s now it looked after the island and cabinet boxes were painted.
The painters took the doors to their shop to spray them, so I lived like this for about a week before they came back and put it all back together again.
And here’s how it all came together!
I absolutely love the Zermatt Quartzite. I think it’s my favorite part of the whole kitchen, although it needed the cabinets painted to make sense in the space.
As you can see, I decided against messing with the corbels and support columns on the island.
I wish I’d looked into switching them out when I had the chance, when the countertop was removed. We did talk about it, but I just couldn’t visualize it at the time.
Now that they’re painted and the countertops are on, I figure it’s better to leave well enough alone.
We swapped out my counter stools for backless models that slide easily underneath the island when not in use, and everyone loves them.
They’re very comfortable, and it’s so nice not to be fighting with those heavy, high-backed chairs anymore.
Here’s a good view of the paint color on the island. It usually looks more gray and less blue.
We left the wood floors as they are, and I like the way they warm up the space with so many cool hues going on.
We installed under cabinet lighting, which we leave on all the time. Paul has it on a timer, so they turn off overnight, but they’re always on when I get up in the morning.
It’s so welcoming, especially considering I usually get up when it’s still dark out.
And my vent hood is installed, but it’s not hooked up yet. I’m still waiting on the replacement parts, so that’s why it’s so dark under there. Eventually I’ll be able to turn on that light as well.
We also picked out a really pretty white 2×20 polished subway tile with wavy edges for the backsplash.
I didn’t think I wanted subway tile because it seemed too predictable. But in the end, I decided this particular tile was unique it its own way, and it keeps the kitchen neutral and classic, which is something I was trying to achieve, with resale in mind.
We aren’t planning to go anywhere anytime soon, but I tried to pick finishes that look modern but will stand the test of time.
The door handles and knobs are brushed chrome (or brushed nickel?)
I sort of wanted black, but I like how the silver coordinates with the appliances.
Here’s how the drink station turned out. We absolutely love it.
I moved the coffee maker over there, and I put all of our mugs and extra coffee in the cabinet above it. Then I moved the wine glasses over to the cabinet on the far right, over the drink fridge.
Another thing we added was a wine rack in the opening above the new drinks station. You can see the strip of gray paint that needs to be touched up on the right.
I also love having a big, deep sink.
And our new faucet is streamlined and sleek.
So that’s about it! I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.
As I’ve shared before, I know it’s a great space, and it was lovely before, but I’ve had brown wood cabinets in every home I’ve ever lived in. It’s so nice to have a bright, white kitchen for a change!
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