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My Kitchen Remodel + A Kitchen Tour

This post has been a long time coming! I recently completed a six-month kitchen renovation project and survived to share the finished product with you!

Let’s start with a picture of my pretty new kitchen before I get into details on everything.

Kitchen Remodel

Some backstory…I purchased my home in 2010 under the first-time home buyers program. I was working in advertising at the time and able to get approved for a loan on my own thanks to having a steady salary. I have a feeling that might be trickier now with all of my various jobs!

It’s a 1300 square foot single family home. The exterior is brick and there are hardwoods throughout the house (other than in the kitchen). Owning an older home has pros and cons. I love living in an established neighborhood with mature trees and bigger lots but the house requires constant updates, upgrades and repairs. Since being in this house I have replaced the roof, replaced the HVAC, replaced all of the soffit and fascia board around the house, refinished the tub, painted the interior walls of every room and most recently…this kitchen renovation. That’s not to mention the countless times I’ve had plumbers and handymen out for other issues and upgrades.

The house was semi-updated when I purchased it but I have a long list of things I’d like to do to it. Last summer I finally decided to pull the trigger and tackle my most desired major renovation…the kitchen! Since it’s my favorite place to spend time, it seemed like the best place to start.

Let’s take a look at the before.

kitchen before

The floors in the kitchen are tile. The walls are painted wood paneling, which you’ll find in pretty much every home in my neighborhood. Apparently, wood paneling was quite the trend when these houses were built. The cabinets are original to the house, laminate countertops, updated (but not great) appliances.


Nothing special happening with the sink and I wish you could see the lattice piece of wood that was over the sink and the old light fixture but oh well!

old dining room

And here’s a shot of the dining room. It’s attached to the kitchen and features a big window and brick fireplace.


These were two features of the kitchen area I loved most when I bought the house.

Overall the kitchen was very livable and functional and I made the best of it for years. Last summer I was finally able to bite the bullet and move forward with the renovations thanks to a few major work projects coming through (and a WHOLE LOT of training clients at 5:30 a.m. and a WHOLE LOT of teaching yoga). Even with this, I still had to do it a little at a time as my budget allowed over the course of six months.

Let’s take a look at what I did!

fridge before

First, I had all of the walls painted to get rid of that awful olive green color. I went with Benjamin Moore’s China White but color matched by Sherwin William’s. I love white kitchens and I wanted to bring as much light in from my windows as possible.

cabinet extension

I had a cabinet extension built. I always hated how the cabinet ended so abruptly so I hired a contractor to build an extension with a trash can cabinet, another drawer and built-in shelves. This allows me to hide the trash, display wine, cookbooks, etc. on the shelves and extra counter space.

sink ripped out

The contractor also ripped down the wood piece over the sink and installed a recessed light. This allows more light into the kitchen in general and gives more light over the sink.

granite install

The granite went in after the cabinet extension was installed. This included a new undermount sink and a new faucet.

wrong color cabinets

Next I had the cabinets painted and if you’ve been reading for a while…you will remember that was the pain in the ass of the century! The first painter I was working with (he was doing it for a trade) painted them not only the wrong color but used the wrong type of paint so it immediately started peeling and chipping. They were like a weird blue/green/gray color.


So I had to bring in my regular painter (who is amazing and I should have just used from the beginning) to sand them and start over. In an ideal world, I would have purchased all new cabinets but it just wasn’t in the budget. I love the finished product!

kitchen remodel backsplash demo

I took a 3 month hiatus from kitchen improvements after the cabinet painting fiasco. I picked it back up again in November and was determined to finish. First up was the backsplash. Little did I know that installing a backsplash would require demoing the wood paneling.


My kitchen was a disaster for a few days!

Kitchen Remodel Stove and Sink

But the finished product was completely, 100% worth it. I went with white subway tile for the backsplash and I love how clean, timeless and simple it is. In this photo you can also see the new oven, microwave and dishwasher I had installed. They’re all Maytag appliances. You can also see the new cabinet hardware. I went for pulls instead of knobs because I think they look more modern and clean.

kitchen remodel granite

Here’s a close up of the granite. It’s really beautiful and has little specks of silver throughout. I especially love it because it doesn’t show every crumb and streak on the countertops.

kitchen remodel sink

Here’s a closeup of the sink area. It’s such a nice bright space to do dishes. I added a “All you need is love…and a dog” sign and some lucky bamboo.

kitchen remodel fridge

The last thing to go in was a new fridge. It’s a tight space so I was really limited in what I could do but I love the option I ended up with.

dining room after

In this view you can see the recessed lighting I had installed in the kitchen and the overall flow from the dining area to the kitchen (the fridge had not been updated yet).

kitchen final product

This is where we are today. Overall, I am really pleased with how everything turned out. I love the white and gray and I’ve been accessorizing with pops of yellow and red. The only thing I have left to do is the floors but I just couldn’t swing them quite yet. And I also have no idea what direction I want to go in with them but all I can say for sure is that white tile + two golden retrievers does not a clean floor make! 🙂

Here’s the breakdown on everything:

Let me know if you have any questions about anything. (Or suggestions on what to do with this floor! Ha!) The renovation was worth it but it definitely took longer and costed more than I anticipated…but that’s the general rule with most things involving home improvements, right?

Now, I’m off to cook dinner in my new kitchen!

{ 58 comments… add one }
  • Taca @ A Side Of Dessert February 4, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Wow, 6 months!! I’m not sure I could have survived that so you did amazing!

    The kitchen is gorgeous!! I guess that made up for it. I love the shelves you added on the extension! The granite is fabulous!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:37 pm

      thanks so much! i love it. it was worth the wait!

  • Katherine February 4, 2015, 8:48 pm

    I love it! It looks so fresh and clean, white subway tile is the way to go!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:38 pm

      agreed! so glad that one of my friends put the bug in my ear about it! it was perfect!

  • Lauren February 4, 2015, 8:50 pm

    beautiful!! do you know what’s underneath the kitchen tile? wondering if you could have it pulled up and if there was hard wood underneath (that was salvagable), have it stained an espresso brown. i have a yellow lab mix and i thought i would constantly be seeing tufts of her fur everywhere on my hardwood kitchen floor, but so far so good! but i am diligent about sweeping 🙂 i just went thru a 7 month entire house renovation….i feel your pain!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

      yes, sadly not hardwood. just some subfloor. and gosh, i can’t imagine living with the whole house in chaos!

  • Tara February 4, 2015, 8:54 pm

    Looks great!!! I love the counter extension with the shelving. I remodeled last year with black and white, and I too love yellow as an accent. Consider a black and white checkerboard floor! I’m partial it they look great.

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:40 pm

      thanks tara! yes, the countertop extension is one of my favorites too. yellow is such a fun accent color that’s so bright and cheery.

  • Amanda February 4, 2015, 9:24 pm

    What an inviting space. And a place that I’d want to cook in, eat in, and hang out in! Congrats and enjoy! 🙂

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:40 pm

      thank you amanda!

  • Chelsea February 4, 2015, 9:40 pm

    I am so impressed! Your new kitchen is beautiful!!! What a wonderful gift to yourself. Thank you as always for sharing with us:)

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:41 pm

      thanks chelsea…and i never really thought of it as a gift to myself. i like that! 🙂

  • Sarah February 4, 2015, 9:49 pm

    That looks really good! So wise to spread it out like that – congrats on the updates!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:42 pm

      it was painful to spread it out but the only way to get it done. so happy to have it complete now!

  • Cameron February 4, 2015, 10:16 pm

    Your kitchen looks awesome! A pipe busted under our foundation so we have to rip out all the floors on the first floor of our house. I went with hardwoods in the kitchen so its the same throughout (and I could never keep the slate tile in our kitchen clean- i have 2 dogs too 🙂 ). I plan to put a runner rug in the kitchen. Also- be careful keeping wine above the fridge! I hear the heat from the back of the fridge causes it to go bad.

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:43 pm

      oh cameron, that sounds awful!

      thanks for the wine tip! i hadn’t heard that!

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv February 4, 2015, 10:21 pm

    Your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL. I love getting to see where all of your roasted veggies, fancy dinners, and delicious smoothies & wraps will be coming from! 🙂

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:43 pm

      thanks so much liv! 🙂

  • Leah February 4, 2015, 10:44 pm

    We have Bamboo wood floors and they don’t show any scratches or dirt and clean really easy! Highly recommened. Not sure on cost because they were installed by the previous owner.

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:43 pm

      awesome, thanks! i’m just so worried about doing wood floors and having them totally clash with the hardwoods in the rest of the house?

  • Ashley February 4, 2015, 11:24 pm

    Congrats on the reno! You deserve a beautiful space to create! As for the floor, I really love the look of faux wood tile. There are many different options and design layouts that are very chic and timeless. Happy cooking!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:45 pm

      thanks ashley! the kitchen is my creative outlet so i love the way you said that! 🙂

      i will check out the faux wood tile. i have seen it in home depot and liked it. i’m just worried about having something that goes with the rest of the hardwood in the house.

  • Kacy February 5, 2015, 5:34 am

    It looks great! Why oh why did everyone on the 50’s do that wood paneling? We had it in our house, and painting it really brightened it up. We are moving in the spring to another house that is old…with that wood paneling. We have lots of painting in our future! (Love the back splash!)

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:46 pm

      kacy! i didn’t know you were moving. let’s catch up!

  • Susannah February 5, 2015, 6:57 am

    I recently bought a home in Charlotte and am in the process of some renovations! Going to look at kitchen tile today.. I have some names of discount people and also Habitat (believe it or not!) has some great deals on good looking tiles. My kitchen renovation is probably going to be stretched out a long period of time given my budget. Very exciting! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:47 pm

      let me know what you find with the tile. and yes, the restore is awesome!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen February 5, 2015, 6:58 am

    It’s beautiful, Jen!! 🙂

  • Claire @ My Life Cravings February 5, 2015, 7:19 am

    It looks beautiful! What a transformation. I really love the granite counters + subway tile combo that you chose, and your appliances are sooo pretty. Congrats on finally having it done, must be a relief!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:48 pm

      thanks claire! it was totally worth all the craziness of the renovation to have it all done now! i love it and it’s a happy space to be in! 🙂

  • Emily February 5, 2015, 8:16 am

    Gorgeous! I love white and bright kitchens. And even though it was a long journey, you get to enjoy it every.single.day.

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:49 pm

      thanks emily! yes, they are the best!

  • Allie @ Sweet Potato Bites February 5, 2015, 8:37 am

    I live in an older condo (if you consider 1980s old) and am getting ready to remodel my kitchen so all of this is super helpful! love the granite countertops too 🙂

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:49 pm

      i totally get that you would want to renovate a kitchen built in the 80s! haha! 🙂 good luck!

  • Jacki February 5, 2015, 9:03 am

    Hi Jen! Your kitchen looks amazing!! I have a friend going through a kitchen reno right now and as soon as i’m done posting this, i’m sending her this blog post! 🙂 I would loveee some type of kitchen-organization post, sounds crazy but I am getting married this year, and with a shower coming up i find myself thinking how am i going to fit all of our stuff in my kitchen. Mind you, my kitchen is brand new and quite large as well! I think I either have too much stuff or need organizing help! Would love to hear your thoughts!! Thanks and enjoy your new kitchen!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:50 pm

      thanks jacki!

      i am so bad at organization but i will definitely consider showing how i make it all work. i have made some major strides recently in getting it all neat, tidy and in place!

      congrats on your upcoming marriage! 🙂 kitchen showers are the best!

  • KaTe February 5, 2015, 9:38 am

    looks great! I think concrete floors would actually look really chic In your kitchen — they’re also very unique!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:51 pm

      thanks girl! i LOVE concrete floors. we have them at the yoga studio in the lobby area but i don’t know if my old school house is modern enough for them! 🙁

  • Allyssa February 5, 2015, 10:40 am

    I love it! Whenever I move into my own home (instead of renting an apartment) I want a more simpler color scheme for the kitchen so I can add bright pops of yellow and turquoise and reds (similar to you!!).

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:52 pm

      yes! it’s always best to go with neutral fixtures and then add color with accessories! that way you can always change it up!

  • Allie February 5, 2015, 12:17 pm

    Looks great! We just updated our kitchen floor with ceramic tiles that are made to look like wood. It sounds weird, but looks awesome and is so much more practical for a kitchen (especially with a dog and two toddlers)! We loved it so much that we used it again for a bathroom renovation. We just used a different color. Here’s something similar: http://www.tileshop.com/product/brunei+damas+6+x+18+in.do?sortby=ourPicks&refType=&from=Search

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:53 pm

      i have seen this type of tile and i do like it! the only concern i have is finding something that goes with the existing hardwoods throughout!

  • Nicole February 5, 2015, 1:22 pm

    I love it! I have been wanting to update my kitchen for awhile. Cabinet refinishing is what I’m looking to do (the construction of the cabinets is good – plus, I live in a condo and can’t make architectural changes), as well as getting a new countertop. Thanks for the bright and clean inspiration!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:54 pm

      thanks and you’re welcome! 🙂

  • jill February 5, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Hi Jen! Been following you for awhile now so I’m curious why you said you bought the house on your own when at the time you were still with Brandon?

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 4:16 pm

      Hi Jill – thanks for following along. I can see where you might ask this. I said I bought the house on my own because I did by the house on my own. The mortgage has always been in my name alone. It’s been a huge responsibility but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • Hilary February 5, 2015, 4:58 pm

    I love the little extension you made! So cute to display your cookbooks and things on it! Love the remodel!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:54 pm

      thanks! it’s one of my fave features of it too!

  • Alexis February 5, 2015, 7:54 pm

    I’m curious to know why you had to have the paneling torn out to install the backsplash? We also have that paneling in our kitchen (ugh, actually ALL over our house) and we were going to DIY install a backsplash. Would love to hear why you couldn’t do it with the paneling!

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:56 pm

      hi alexis – great question!

      the backsplash would not have been flush with the counters if it was laid over the wood paneling. in order for the proper alignment, sealing, etc to work, the wood needed to be ripped out. they installed a backer board and tiled over it. does that make sense? if the backsplash had been laid over the existing wood, it would have come out too far.

      • Alexis February 5, 2015, 10:50 pm

        Interesting! I never would’ve thought of that. Now I’m going to make my husband look into this for ours. Thanks for the quick response, this is really helpful!
        And I’m so so sorry to hear about Sam:(

  • Michelle February 5, 2015, 8:44 pm

    Hi Jen – I was wondering about the color match you mentioned for the paint. Do you prefer sherman williams is that why you went for the match? We are currently looking for our first home so this post provided some good tips! Thanks

    • Jen February 5, 2015, 8:57 pm

      i love BM paint colors but my painter prefers SW paint so that’s why i always color match.

      glad the post was helpful! happy house hunting! 🙂

  • Irene February 6, 2015, 8:46 am

    We just replaced our fridge and I bet we ran into the same sizing issues you did! I am 99 percent sure we wanted the Maytag fridge you got but couldn’t wait for anyone local to get it in! Funny how few fridges come in what was obviously the standard size not long ago at all.

  • Amy Clingan February 6, 2015, 9:26 am

    Hi Jen–the kitchen looks great! I wouldn’t trade an old house for anything. Ours was built in 1926 and it’s been in a state of constant renovation for 6 years now. We’re getting ready to tackle the last major renovation project–our master bathroom, bedroom and the attic. It’s going to be another huge project. However, before we moved into this house we lived in a new house in the suburbs and I just don’t think you can go wrong with a older home. There’s so much character and a sense of establishment. I love it!

    As to your kitchen floors–I put down limestone in my kitchen when we ripped out all the old stuff. I don’t love it. It’s porous and has to be sealed every year (technically!). Also, I have two kids and a German Shepherd which I think is a lot of wear and tear on the tiles. My floors are beautiful but they require a lot more maintenance than I would like.

  • Lindsay February 6, 2015, 11:32 am

    We have that exact same chandelier in our dining room! Too funny!

  • Jenn February 6, 2015, 6:12 pm

    Beautiful kitchen! When you are ready to do the flooring, I have a suggestion I think would be perfect! I just updated my home and used the Botanica Teak wood tile from Home Depot..looks so much like natural wood and works better with the dogs! (I have two of my own as well!)

  • Janice February 20, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Looks great! What is the name of the grey grout you used with the subway tile backsplash & where did you get it?

    Thanks and good luck with the rest of your projects.

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