|Lower Cabs, Benjamin Moore, Ivory White; Upper Cabs, Behr Color-Match, Kraftmaid Canvas|
Right after we closed on the purchase of our home, a 1946 apartment in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York, we immediately embarked on a gut renovation of the bathroom, which was in dire shape.
A bathroom renovation of that magnitude - taking walls down to the studs, floors down to the beams - will run you about $20k-$30k these days. So, I knew there wasn't going to be a whole lot of budget left over to upgrade the kitchen. I had to get creative and focus on the things that could be most easily and most economically fixed.
They might not be the things you'd think they'd be. Here's a look at it "before":
|Kitchen - Before|
In Praise of White AppliancesDo the white appliances jump out at you? Well, I'm okay with them. While I'm by no means one of those alarmists predicting the demise of stainless steel, I also don't feel that every kitchen must have it. In some kitchens, especially those in houses built before 1970, white appliances look right at home. I think they look great with blue cabinetry. And in my opinion, they look spectacular with cream cabinets and butcher block counter tops. That's what we have at the cottage, and I love it:
But the bare wood cabinets in our new home were not doing us any favors. In fact, those builder grade wood cabinets were what I objected to most - that, and the loud peach granite. My personal tastes run to slate or polished concrete. But even something as economical and simple as butcher block would have been more welcome to me than this granite.
However, granite is what we'd got and it is an expensive and durable stone. I was determined to try to make this peachy granite work.
Painting the cabinets white was the first thing that crossed my mind when I viewed this kitchen. Painting cabinets takes a lot of sweat and elbow grease, though. And when all's said and done, would it even work? And were these cabinets even worth salvaging?
I was not and I'm still not a fan of the cabinetry style. The framing, with the T-bar coming down between where the doors meet, prohibits efficient use of interior space. We actually have to turn some plates sideways to get them in. Dumb.
But they are solidly built and in almost-new condition. (They still had sawdust in them when we moved in.) What I really disliked was the shortness. At 30" high, they fell so very short of the ceiling, leaving a good 15" of wasted space above that just looked... wrong. Too bad the previous owners hadn't sprung for longer cabinets. But I felt certain I could remedy this by adding a second row above in a similar style and painting them to match.
I wasn't even going to try to match the two rows. I just couldn't bring myself to spend money on something I disliked so much. Instead, I ordered cabinets with glass front doors, so that any slight variation in style would not be so obvious. But also because it's just nice to have some glass front doors in a white kitchen, to break up the block of white, to reflect light, and to display some of our nicer stemware and crockery and give some pops of color. I mean, I would not want glass doors on my pantry cabinets, displaying all my cans of plum tomatoes. But up high like that, I thought they would look great. And maybe someday when I get around to it, I'll run some puck lights in them.
Painting the Existing Cabinets WhiteAt first I was going for a pure white with just a touch of cream. So after removing the doors, washing and sanding, vacuuming and tack-clothing, I laid on two coats of Benjamin Moore Semi-Gloss in Ivory White. And when I was finished, they looked great.
Here are some progress shots of them with two coats of BM Ivory White:
Already they looked so much better!
It was only after we got the new glass-front uppers that I realized BM Ivory was too white against the new Kraftmaid Canvas cabinets. So, down came the doors again to be sanded and vacuumed and tack clothed once more, and given a third coat, this time of Behr Plus, color-matched to the Kraftmaid canvas cabinets. Then up they went again, including another round of adjusting the doors to hang evenly.
If you want to see more progress shots of the sanding, vacuuming (90% of painting is vacuuming), and painting, see this post: Painting Cabinets to Match Kraftmaid Canvas Color.
Next Stop: Cream Subway TileThere's almost no better deal in the renovation world than subway tile. Classic, timeless, inexpensive. Replacing the pinky travertine-look backsplash with Daltile 3x6 field tiles in almond in a traditional brickwork pattern did more than any other change we made to bring our loud peach granite down a notch.
Here are some progress shots of the tiling. You'll see that I tiled right over the existing tile. Yes, you can do that!
While I was at Home Depot picking up the subway tile and grout, I picked up a quart of Glidden flat paint from their Martha Stewart collection in Spanish Olive. It's a green with a lot of yellow in it, so it complements the undertones in the creams and the peachy granite. Eliminating the boring beige wall color was the final touch to taking this kitchen from boring beige to dreamy white - all for under $3,000.
|Kitchen - After|
You'll also see that we replaced the shoddy plastic chrome-look faucet with the real thing, a simple chrome Delta Trisinic faucet. And we added a towel rack to the sink front.
We got lucky with our timing on this project, and our contractor who was cutting tiles for the bathroom loaned us his tile cutter, saving us the cost of renting one. And wow, was that an experience. His was like the Cadillac of tile cutters!
So I put the unspent tool rental funds toward this indoor/outdoor runner from Dash & Albert instead. It pulls together the ivory cabinets and the green wall color perfectly, don't you think? And hides that pinky-beige floor tile until I decide what to do with it. Inspired by Domestic Imperfections, I may actually paint over these floor tiles. On the other hand, I heard from a neighbor that there are hardwood floors somewhere beneath that tile. Can you believe that? Someone covered hardwood floors with tile?
That's a project for another day!
Source List & Price Breakdown for Our Kitchen MakeoverKraftmaid Cabinets, Canvas Doors, Home Depot: $2,100
Delta Trisinic Faucet, HomeClick.com: $250
Bygel Rail, IKEA, $2.99
Benjamin Moore Ivory White Semi Gloss, 1 qt., Schatz, Steinway Street: $15
Behr Custom Color Semi Gloss, color matched to Kraftmaid Canvas, Home Depot: $15
Glidden, Martha Stewart Collection, Spanish Olive, 1qt., Home Depot: $13 (discontinued)
Daltile 3x5, Almond, Home Depot: $35/case (covers 12 sq ft.)
Custom Building Products Grout, Non-Sanded, Linen, Home Depot: $13.87
Spacers, 250-pack, Home Depot: $2.97
GE Silicone for Kitchens & Baths, Home Depot: 3/$6.50 ea.
Striped Runner, Dash & Albert: $125
Paint brush, Rollers, pan liners, Home Depot: $20 (I have a lot of paint supplies on hand.)
Tile Cutter: $0. (We lucked out and the bathroom contractor loaned us his!)