Our Mini Kitchen Makeover

Our Mini Kitchen Makeover

As I said before, the kitchen was something that had been renovated before we bought the house.  There were things we liked, and things we did not like.  The granite is “kashmir white”, and I have to say, if I were choosing a kitchen countertop, and I had to choose granite, that is exactly the color I would pick.  It is so pretty, and almost has a marble feel to it.  I also really like the cabinetry style and the architectural details like the fluted corners.  Since the things we did not like were minor (well, fairly minor, see my backsplash makeover here), we have been changing things up over the last year.  But to understand the journey to our mini makeover, you have to see where we started, right?

Behold the MLS photos of our kitchen!

You can see here the room was painted a mustard color.  I don’t know if you can really tell from this photo, but the panes in the cabinets were shower glass.  There was also what we lovingly called the “pool hall” light fixture.  The hardware was bronze.


This photo illustrates the tiny, and I mean tiny, size of that island “bar” overhang.  See how far the counter stools stick out from underneath it?  I’m still not totally sure what the thought was behind that.  The overhang is about 10″, normal is 21″, and the bare minimum is usually 17″.  I pondered adding cabinetry there (see this post), but it was too cost prohibitive so I am still brainstorming.

You can also see the old back door in this photo pre-addition.  That back door is gone now as is that tiny cabinet and window.  We left the countertop because I wanted to keep the counter space, and the new opening to the room goes from the right side of the doorframe all the way to the left wall!


And here it is now!


You can see I painted the bottom cabinets, and I painted them Benjamin Moore’s “Rockport Gray” to match the island.  It is grey with a hint of taupe, and feels slightly contemporary without being over the top.  Tip:  To save money on repainting your cabinets, paint the trim and bases yourself and send the doors to someone that will spray them.  Make sure you take them your paint can versus the painter color matching your color choice.  You do not want any “oops” paint!

rockport gray

When we moved in, we moved into a house with no refrigerator, which was a big surprise.  We worked it out with the previous owners, but we ended up buying a new fridge.   I found this JennAir white glass refrigerator (it’s not just white, it has a translucent white glass front) on clearance at a local appliance warehouse and fell in love.  JennAir had discontinued it, and the salesman told me it had sat there for months “since it was not stainless steel”.  I snatched it up and am so happy with it!  It is gorgeous!


I knew I wanted brass hardware in the kitchen, but it is H-A-R-D to fine unlacquered brass kitchen hardware.  I did not want the 80’s-esque polished brass look, and wanted it to be a little more weathered and patina looking.  I found the pulls I was looking for at Horton Brasses, a family owned company I was happy to support.  Their customer service was great!  My pulls are the “Queslett” pulls in the Semi-Bright finish.  These were definitely my splurge of our mini makeover, but I am thrilled with how they look against the gray cabinets!  I also considered this more cost effective option from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot, but ultimately decided against it since there was not an extra long handle in this style for my dishwasher.


Then came the knob debate…since I had splurged on the pulls, I knew I needed to keep cost down with the knobs.  I didn’t love any of the coordinating knob options from Horton Brasses, and they were expensive anyway.  Then I found these unlacquered brass knobs at Home Depot, and they looked great with the new pulls!  Bonus: they were less than $2.00 each!


Although I love the warmth of the brass on the gray cabinets, the jury is still out on how I feel about the brass against the white cabinets.  I may end up changing these out, I’m not quite sure yet.  I’ve considered these, these, and these.  (feel free to express your opinion)  You can also see we changed out the shower glass panes for clear glass panes.


I got a few comments last week on the chandelier, and it was not a new purchase, but simply a “shop your house” moment.  This crystal beauty is original to my 1921 home, and we moved it from the dining room to the kitchen.  The little mercury glass pendant made the move from or old house – I found it at an antique store and painted the black cord white.  You can also see the new paint color – Martha Stewart’s Bakery Box White.


Across from the kitchen sink is my small pantry made up of four cabinets.  I changed out the bronze hardware for these 6″ acrylic pulls for the smaller upper cabinets and these 14.5″ pulls for the taller lower cabinets.   I love the look!  The walkway between the island and these cabinets is not very big so I wanted hardware that would be less obtrusive.


They definitely add a sense of elegance to what would otherwise be a boring set of cabinets.


Then came the faucet.  You guys, why are faucets so expensive?  The faucets I was looking at were around $700 which did not quite fit with my mini makeover.  So I took to the Internets and found this bridged faucet beauty in Polished Nickel.  For $225, I got the look I wanted, at what I consider to be great quality for the price.  Seriously, I was impressed when I took this out of the box.  It was heavy and well made.  (Transparency:  The only thing I don’t like about the faucet?  The screws on the top of the handles versus having a pretty “Hot” or “Cold” decoration.  For the price however, I can get over that.)


I chose polished nickel because it has a lovely warmth to it, and can take on a slight golden tone which worked with my brass hardware.


I added art to the windows above the sink to make that area a little more interesting.  I haven’t done anything with window treatments so I added a vintage paint-by-number (more about these in this post) and a piece of art I picked up for $15 at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago.  I wouldn’t be heartbroken if something happened to these, and they look nice there for now.


Plus they help distract from the fact the windows are different.  Can you spot it?  (for those of you who read “Highlights” as a kid)


All in all, my kitchen makeover cost less than $700.  It has taken about a year to do, but I am happy with how it has turned out.  You can see I have mixed hardware quite a bit in this room (does that scare you?), which I have never done in a previous home.  And I have to say, I love how it helps to take away the sterile feel from the kitchen.  This room is definitely more warm and unique and interesting now.  One step at a time, and your home can tell the story you want it to.

Want to remember how to mix hardware and finishes?  Here are some tips!


And of course, the before & after.


 Hope you enjoyed it!

Also, thank you to all who entered for the $250 Home Depot gift card #BountyChallenge giveaway!  I used random.org to choose a number between 1 and 171 (the number of comments I had at the time), and the lucky number was…

Number 112’s comment was Meredith’s!  Congratulations!

 Have you ever done a mini makeover on your kitchen, or are you contemplating one?

Do you like what you see here?  Please like me on Facebook!

Written by Grace

  • Lisa
    Posted at 10:16h, 01 July

    It’s so gorgeous, Grace! I could hardly believe it was the same kitchen and had to keep scrolling back and forth. It’s just amazing how powerful paint is. The change to your backsplash is dramatic, and the grey lower cabinets with the gold is so pretty! How about crystal knobs for your upper cabs…they would relate back to the crystal chandelier and acrylic pulls on the other side. Love what you did – you completely transformed your space!

    • Grace
      Posted at 10:25h, 01 July

      Thank you, Lisa! I am really happy with it, and needless to say, I spend a ton of time in this room so it has been nice to make it look more like “us”.

      I pondered crystal knobs. And you are totally right about how they would relate! I think that may be the way to go.


  • Sheri
    Posted at 10:22h, 01 July

    Beautiful job, very warm and inviting. I love the Mother of Pearl cabinet knobs myself. They feel more like you and the kitchen to me but my only concern is whether there would be too much going on with the pattern detail on the knobs and the chalkboard tiles underneath. Just a thought? Love your work.

    • Grace
      Posted at 10:26h, 01 July

      Sheri, thank you! Yeah, I wondered the same thing. I don’t think I have found “the one” yet. Thank you for reading!

  • Erin
    Posted at 11:02h, 01 July

    I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. If you don’t mind my asking, did you paint the cabinets yourself or have that done? I’d like to do a mini-makeover in my kitchen that mostly focuses on painting very basic cabinets, but don’t have a clear sense of what the cost might run. Will have to get an estimate!

    I ADORE the grey and white cabinets – a beautiful look without being too much LOOK. Can’t wait to see the new addition!

    • Grace
      Posted at 11:56h, 01 July

      Hi Erin, it ended up being about half and half. I had someone do the doors with their sprayer, and I finished up the trim and bases. If you do it that way, it shouldn’t be too expensive. It’s worth it especially to pay someone for the doors so they will be smooth as silk. My guy did an awesome job!

      I can’t wait to see the addition, too. 😉

      • Erin
        Posted at 11:59h, 01 July

        I’m so glad you suggested that – it’s a brilliant idea and I wouldn’t have thought of it. Thanks!

        • Grace
          Posted at 13:00h, 01 July

          Of course, glad I could help! That is something I should have put in the post – I updated it. 🙂

  • Kat
    Posted at 11:19h, 01 July


    Your brass hardware also matches your Dinner Bell!

    • Grace
      Posted at 11:57h, 01 July

      Hey, you’re right, Kat-y Kat! I do love my dinner bell. 🙂

      • Kat
        Posted at 18:40h, 01 July

        By the way, I wanted to compliment your gray color choice for your bottom cabinets. It pulled out those hues from the granite and made your counter tops look amazing.

        I think this inspires a lot of people to work with what you have and make it look the best it can look. Granite can go in lots of directions and you made yours look amazing. Sleek, contemporary and unique! Sometimes you don’t have to change everything to have a completely different look and one that pleases you. Way to go!

        • Grace
          Posted at 20:25h, 01 July

          Thanks Kat! Yes, I LOVE the color with the cabinets! Thank you for the sweet and encouraging words. 🙂 I appreciate them so much! G

  • Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door
    Posted at 13:13h, 01 July

    I think you have done an amazing job of making the kitchen look totally different without spending the earth. It looks wonderful! As for the glass door front cabinet knobs, I like the mother of pearl, which ties in the gold below. Or, those acrylic handles are very cool. is there a knob version of those?

    • Grace
      Posted at 14:05h, 01 July

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I haven’t looked at the acrylic knobs, great idea! xoxo

  • Nanette
    Posted at 15:28h, 01 July

    Lovely kitchen…I actually like the brass against the white cabinets. Your trick with the art in the window really works…I didn’t even notice they don’t match! I am going to hang some kid art in my window…thanks for the idea!

    • Grace
      Posted at 20:26h, 01 July

      Nanette, thank you! I’m so glad you can use this idea! Kid art is the best. 😉

  • Susan Lee
    Posted at 17:41h, 01 July

    Lovely kitchen! I like the idea of clear knobs for your uppers.

    • Grace
      Posted at 20:27h, 01 July

      Thank you so much, Susan! Still pondering those cabinets, but I love that idea, too!

  • textilady
    Posted at 19:56h, 02 July

    my vote goes to the Mother of Pearl knobs from Anthropologie! Love the look of the entire kitchen!

  • Alison
    Posted at 06:17h, 03 July

    LOVE the acrylic pulls and the antique pendant above your sink. 🙂

    • Grace
      Posted at 22:32h, 03 July

      Thank you, Alison!

  • Kristine
    Posted at 18:24h, 12 December

    Hi- love the hardware! Curious though where are the Kashmir white countertops? I’m looking for a marble alternative so would be interested to see photos. Thanks!