Kitchen Makeover Process

I often get certain questions about our kitchen because people read one post, but don’t necessarily follow exactly what happened and in what order. So I’ve been feeling like I need a post that lumps everything that we’ve done to our kitchen, thus far, together.

That’s why I’m sharing our kitchen makeover process. We still have some things to do in the kitchen, but most of the heavy duty stuff is behind us.

Alright, let’s go back to the very beginning. When we bought the house in June, 2009 to be exact.

Our entire house was painted the color you see on the walls. I had it color matched to Sherwin-Williams China Doll, in case you’re wondering.


Before moving into the house, I decided to paint the kitchen. I went with a rather vibrant green– Valspar’s Emerald Isle. It’s a choice I came to regret a couple years later. Yes, it took me a couple years. I never worked it out in therapy, but my guess is I didn’t want to have to paint above the top cabinets again.

We decided to put some of our First Time Homebuyer money toward new appliances (fridge, dishwasher, range, microwave). We went with black because they’re cheaper than stainless steel and stainless steel appliances aren’t really a requirement in the houses in our neighborhood.


I saw the light in 2012 and, on a whim, painted the kitchen a more muted mint color (Sherwin William’s Mint Condition) one weekend. I listened to B.o.B’s Strange Clouds album, which is very good (let’s gloss over the fact that he’s a flat Earther), on repeat while I painted. And whenever I hear a song from that album, I think about the work out that was painting the kitchen.

Better, right?

honey oak kitchen cabinets

Four words– the power of paint:

In the fall of 2013 we had the kitchen cabinets extended to the ceiling and refaced. You can read more about that process and how much it cost here.

kitchen cabinet refacing

Extending the cabinets to the ceiling was my idea, and I’m SO GLAD I made that choice. The one foot of space on top of the old cabinets was wasted space, and it made the kitchen look shorter. See the difference between the photo above and the one below? It’s crazy how the toppers completely changed how the space felt height-wise.

kitchen toppers before 1

We also had a bookcase added to the end of the island and the island refaced to match the cabinets. Crown molding and hardware was also added to the kitchen cabinets.

adding bookcase to island

After extending the cabinets and refacing the cabinets and island, the kitchen looked bigger and taller.

When in doubt, take those cabinets to the ceiling, my friends.

kitchen cabinets and island 5

In early 2015 we got new laminate countertops. You can read all about that experience and why we went with laminate over stone countertops, like granite, here.

And a year later, I posted an update on the laminate countertops.

two twenty one kitchen

Looking at the countertops, you can’t really tell they aren’t real stone because laminate has come a lonnnnngggg way.

formica argento romano 3

We also installed a new single basin stainless steel sink and kitchen faucet.

stainless steel drop in sink

At the end of 2015, we got a “fancy space fridge“, as my best friend refers to it. We ended up taking the fridge with us when we moved. She was too pretty to leave behind.

Samsung 4-Door Flex Fridge

In the spring of 2016, we said “peace out” to our ugly florescent light and “hel-lo” to five recessed lights. The difference was amazing. You can read more about that here.

two twenty one kitchen 1

In March of 2017, we updated the laminate floors throughout the entryway, kitchen, and great room. You can read all about that here.

We sold the house in late June, 2017. And this is how the kitchen looked when we listed the house. The last thing we did was put in a new light above the kitchen sink.

Some may wonder, why the heck has it taken us 6.5 years to make these changes to our kitchen. Well, it’s because we’re real people with real bills and real debt. We’ve been working hard the past couple of years to pay off Brad’s undergraduate and graduate school student loan debt, which is a lot of money. Like when I tell people how much they usually say, “Ohhh.” (And not in a good way.)

We’ve tackled things, like replacing all of the outdated outlets, light fixtures, painting, landscaping, etc, bit by bit throughout our entire house when we’ve had the extra money to spend on those updates and maintenance. Not to mention the unexpected costs of being a homeowner, like needing a completely new heat pump system after just having (and paying for) a baby.

So if you ever find yourself feeling down because you don’t have a Pinterest-worthy or magazine-worthy house, just remind yourself that, for most people, full-fledged home makeovers don’t happen overnight. I’m going to sound like your grandma right now, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’m kind of glad we’ve took things on at a snail’s pace in this house because it’s given me time to really think about my choices.

You can read all of my kitchen-related posts here.

Kitchen Makeover

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  1. We took down our fluorescent light in the kitchen a few weeks ago. I was terrified of the hole too, but it was the size of a regular hole for a light fixture. We installed a semi flush mount light, and we didn’t have to patch or do anything to the center hole. The only thing we have to patch are two small holes they drilled into the ceiling for the ends of the previous fixture. I honestly think we can fill those in with come spackle or whatever that stuff is in those tubes for filling holes from pictures etc. My sister had the same experience with hers, which gave me the courage to take mine down haha. Maybe yours will be the same!

  2. This came at the perfect time! We just bought a house in December and the kitchen needs some major updates – as in there is matching floral wallpaper and tile back splash. It is so hard for me to compartmentalize projects because I just want to go from what it is now to the perfect kitchen in one day – obviously recognizing that is crazy talk.
    Thank you for sharing – it is beautiful!

  3. Dotty J Boucher says:

    WOW!! what a huge difference, I love how everything came out and that is something I would have done also is bring the cabinets to the ceiling.. love your countertops and that fridge is awesome looking

  4. Your kitchen is beautiful and I appreciate your commentary on taking time and prioritizing. It’s easy to get house envy and forget to take things one step at a time. Cheers to you!

  5. Wow! What a beautiful and workable kitchen. I,also went with cabinets to the ceiling.You will be glad you did(cleaning of and the extra storage). The extra storage is nice. Your cabinets shows up so much more painted white. Enjoy!

  6. I just LOOOVE every single change you’ve made! That mint color on the walls is so peaceful, and extending the cabinets to the ceiling was definitely an awesome idea. And I love the bookcase on the island, too! So smart.

  7. Beth Ingle says:

    Such a pretty kitchen! it does take time to make the perfect best for yourself. I’m a fellow Hoosier, not too far away from you, and we have been slowly updating our kitchen as well and I do feel you when you talk about renovating during life! I think you have done a great job! Thanks for keeping us updated:)

  8. Your kitchen looks great so far and I love your honesty in this post. Your advice is so true.

    We have been in our house a year and there are so many things that need to be updated because they are old and outdated but it will require some saving first. At the same I’m glad we can take it slow to be sure we can get what we want.

  9. This it looks amazing…especially the cabinets! It is so refreshing to see a nice kitchen without stainless steel and granite. We are DIYers and honestly, I do not think you have to have marble or granite everywhere (I actually prefer other materials). Thank you for also sharing how long it took you. Sometimes I get discouraged reading renovation posts because they take no time at all. We are financing and working on a basement reno ourselves and we are starting on year 2 and probably have another several months to go.

  10. Its is gorgeous! We just painted out my mom’s entire kitchen in white and what an amazing transformation and a TON work. Totally worth it though! You’re kitchen is so lovely now, amazing how you extended the cabinets to ceiling because you can’t tell AT ALL – that that was an addition.

    1. Thank you! We considered painting the cabinets white before having them refaced. That’s awesome of you to paint your mom’s kitchen! I’m sure it was quite the transformation– it’s amazing what white paint can do in a space.

  11. Huge difference from where you started! It looks beautiful! When we moved into our house (thankfully before we had kids!) we knew the kitchen had to go. I worked with it for a year and a half while designing exactly what I wanted for the space and my husband and I gutted it and rebuilt it by ourselves. It’s so much work, but so worth the effort!

  12. Look beautiful! It looks amazing. Well done. It take more time that most realize maybe because of the magic of TV. Even though they tell us; we blank that out. My daughter and husband have a 5 year plan and pay cash. We are slow too. One big project every year or so for our old, old farmhouse. It looks amazing. Well done.

  13. that looks amazing. i loved looking at the evolution of your kitchen, and i hear ya with your explanation! real people, real bills, real time. we’ve been in our home for almost 9 years, and finally the kitchen has got its due. we kept our cabinets b/c they are amazing quality, but we still think one day if we wanted to change the doors to something that suits our style more, we can do that. to do that now, with the market, would be a total waste, and i can enjoy the changes we have made. enjoy yours!

  14. It was fun to read and see all of the transitions through the years. Your kitchen is really nice and I know how much you appreciate the changes and work involved. It does take years for real people with real bills to fit these projects in! I’ve got some makeover plans for my kitchen, just waiting on the opportunity. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday.

  15. Love your kitchen update. My husband and I are installing an island. Just curious, what is the length of your island?

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