Baby Steps: Updating the Kitchen

When we’re feeling brave and rich, we’re going to gut our kitchen. Hardwood floors, new cabinets, granite countertops … but until then, there’s only so much we can do. I mentioned our plans for a Phase 1 update in this post, and I’m happy to report that most of them are complete.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen with painted cabinets and gold hardware

We’ve removed the upper cabinets that blocked the view to/from the dining room, painted the remaining cabinets, and Rub ‘n Buffed the existing cabinet hardware to a soft gold.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen with dark gray cabinets and gold hardware

Brad and his dad removed the cabinets, and we paid our painters to refinish the cabinets. It was worth every penny to not do it ourselves. They only charged us $300, and when I consider the fumes alone (we used oil-based paint for extra durability), I have no regrets whatsoever. The color is Ashland Slate by Benjamin Moore, and it’s the same color we used in our guest room.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Dark gray cabinets with gold hardware

There are still a few more changes we’re hoping to make before the major renovation. Updating the horrendous fluorescent light fixture and changing the wall outlets to GFCI (with nice, white wall plates) are at the top of our list.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Dark gray painted cabinets with gold hardware

I still hate the tile floors, but this yellow area rug helps distract me from their yuckiness.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Dark gray painted cabinets with gold hardware and yellow accents

The rug is Nate Berkus from Target, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s light-colored and it’s in the kitchen, so it surely has a short life span. When it finally gets so dingy that I have to get rid of it, I will mourn its passing like that of a dear friend.

While I doubt my rug will survive for long in the kitchen, our magical greenhouse window seems to keep plants alive way past their expected time of death.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen greenhouse window

See the plant in the middle? That’s one of those little basil plants you get in the PRODUCE SECTION at Kroger. It didn’t even come in a pot – it came in a plastic bag. We had one at our last place, and it died after three days. This one has been alive for six weeks. IN A COFFEE MUG. The plant on the left is from the house’s previous owner. Remember how it took us two months to close? Yeah, the plant just kept on living while it waited for us. The window is magic. I swear.

My penguin lives in the window, too. He only wears the wreath for Christmas time.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Wooden Christmas penguin

Another necessary update? Getting rid of the vertical blinds in front of the sliding doors and replacing them with colorful curtains.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen with painted dark gray cabinets and gold hardware - Wood cutting board

They’re from Pottery Barn in their Bettina fabric (which has sadly been discontinued). I love how they cheer up all the cool bluish-grays in the space, along with the warm gold hardware.

I originally planned to replace all the cabinet hardware with new knobs, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try DIY-ing it first. After sanding each knob with fine grit sandpaper, I used Rub ‘n Buff in Gold Leaf to add a soft golden sheen.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - DIY kitchen cabinet hardware update - From dark brass to gold with Rub 'n Buff

Left to right: Original hardware, sanded hardware, Rub ‘n Buff-ed hardware

This method wasn’t perfect. They looked great, but after a few weeks, I noticed that the gold on the often-used knobs was rubbing off. I ended up redoing those and coating them with Valspar’s Clear Satin Sealer. It added a bit of a gritty finish, and it’s a little dusty-looking up close, but no visitor is ever going to notice the difference. Either way, I’d recommend this project for someone on a tight budget looking for a similar result. For one thing, finding non-shiny brass hardware for a reasonable price isn’t easy. With the amount of knobs we needed, I’m sure we would have spent at least $50, if not more. The Rub ‘n Buff was $4 at Michael’s – I used a teeny tiny fraction of the tube for all of these – and the sealant was $4 at Lowe’s. So, yeah, I’m not complaining. Look at the difference it makes!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Gold vs. brass hardware on dark gray painted cabinets

Rub ‘n Buff-ed hardware on the left, original hardware on the right.

I think we got pretty close to my original cabinet inspiration photo, don’t you?

For funsies, here are the before-and-afters.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen before and after

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen before and after

When we first moved in, we thought gutting the kitchen would be our first priority, but we actually don’t mind it as much now that it’s been spruced up. (We’ll probably put our focus on the master bathroom first!)

Have you made any relatively minor changes to your home that have made a huge difference?

     

House Tour: The Entryway and Kitchen

You’ve seen the front and back of our new house. It’s about time we went inside, no?

When you first come through the front door, you see the staircase on your left, the living room on your right, and a hallway directly in front of you.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Entryway

We’re keeping the little wooden table, but I’m definitely going to paint it. I’m leaning toward white at the moment – maybe with a dip-dye effect, like this? I’m open to suggestions!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Entryway Angle

The entryway and hallway have tile floors, which extend into the kitchen. I hate them. When we have the money, we’re going to put down hardwoods through the entire first floor. And the ceiling in the hallway is lower than the rest of the first floor, for some reason, so we’re hoping we can raise it at some point. Plus, why the hell was there a door there?! We’ve already taken the door off, and the frame needs to go at some point, too.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Downstairs hallway

While we live with the tile floors, I’m thinking of putting down a runner. We’ll also need to replace the light fixture, but until then, I’m thinking maybe I can use some Rub ‘n Buff to dull the shiny brass finish, like in this post.

On the left of the hallway is our “powder room.” We had one of these in our first rental home, and we loved it. They’re so much easier to keep clean for guests!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Downstairs half bath

Eventually, we’ll want to replace the toilet, vanity, mirror and light fixtures, but for now, we’re just painting the room Champion Cobalt by Benjamin Moore. It looks like this (featured by West Elm!):

Benjamin Moore Champion Cobalt - From WestElm.com

After the bathroom is a coat closet, then a short hallway to the garage. Yes, that’s a doggy door.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Garage hallway

We’ve already ordered a new door. Macy hasn’t figured out how to use the doggy door yet, but she will eventually, and we do not want her in the garage. Macy + chemicals + sharp tools + potentially open door = Not a good combo.

After you pass the hallway to the garage, you reach the kitchen.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen - View from dining

It’s not huge, and it’s not particularly pretty. We’ve got big plans for a total overhaul in the future, but we’ve got some saving to do first.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Kitchen Pantry

It does have fairly new appliances, though, and a pantry, so we’re not complaining.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Refrigerator

The gas stove is brand-new, and it has FIVE burners. Five! What are we going to do with five burners?!

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Stove

And of course, I’m obsessed with the window over the sink. I’ve always loved sink-windows, and I’m especially thrilled that I can put plants in there, and my kitty cats can bask in the sun. My parents’ house had a bay window over the kitchen sink, so I think it’s a nostalgia thing.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Sink

There are so many changes that we want to make to this kitchen, it’ll need its own post. But since it’s going to be at least a few years before we can gut the thing and start from scratch, we’ve got to make the place livable in the meantime. This weekend, Brad and his dad took down the cabinets blocking the view out of the kitchen. That will get its own post, too, but here’s a sneak peek:

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Upper cabinets removed

It makes such a huge difference. The kitchen doesn’t feel anywhere near as cramped anymore, and so much more light gets in there! And you can talk to people in the dining room! It’s wonderful.

There’s a truly horrible fluorescent light on the ceiling, so we may want to replace it with an inexpensive fixture, like one of these from Lowes.

Glitter and Goat Cheese - Ceiling lights for the kitchen - from Lowes
one | two | three

The cabinet hardware is already antiqued brass, so I’d really like to paint the cabinets dark gray, for a look like this:

Cote De Texas - Dark gray cabinets with brass hardware
Via Cote de Texas

House and Home - Dark gray cabinets with brass hardware
Via House and Home

The wood is super grainy (is that a word?) and pretty banged up, though, so I’m not sure if painting them is within my DIY ability. We’re going to ask our painter how much he’d charge to paint them for us, and then we’ll assess whether that’s worth it. He and his crew are starting today! I can’t WAIT to see how the house looks with all the light blue gone! The entryway and kitchen will both be painted in our perfect light gray, Benjamin Moore’s Alaskan Husky.

So, that’s it for the first interior portion of the house tour. Next up: the dining room. We already bought our dining set, and I’m so excited to show it to you!

As always, PLEASE share suggestions for home updates, renovations, decor, etc!