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?