The Kitchen Is Finally Finished: A Kitchen Makeover On A Budget

Our twenty-year-old appliances were hanging on by a thread and it was time to bite the bullet and replace them.  The thought of putting new stainless steel appliances into an ugly kitchen made my heart sink but we didn't have the budget for a new kitchen.

Renovations on a tight budget force us to get very creative about how we can get the Wow factor without spending top dollar.

Kitchen Makeover On A Budget

To give you an idea of what we started with here is a before picture.  It felt like we were living inside a wooden box.  The dated golden oak just had to go!

Golden Oak Kitchen Before

Our DIY kitchen update was four months of sweat equity. It took so long because each door was removed, stripped down to the raw wood both front and back, and primed using Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer. The upper cabinets were painted white with Behr satin latex paint and the lower cabinets were stained Minwax in Dark Walnut.  It didn't help that during the process I fell on a patch of ice and ended up on crutches.

Sanded and primed kitchen cabinet doors

Determination is my middle name and I refused to let a couple of silly crutches get in the way of finishing this room because those pretty new appliances were a coming.

I found creative ways to climb a step ladder on my good leg while supporting myself with a crutch to paint the trim, frames, and sides of the cabinets.

DIY dark stained lower cabinets

Another view of the upper cabinets before...

In the picture above you can see the how the bottom cabinets were stained dark walnut. I like the contrast with the light hardwood floors.

We had replaced the countertops with granite a few years prior to this makeover.  We couldn't afford a granite slab so we did the next best thing and installed granite tiles.  What is even better is that we got the tiles at a local auction for a song.  We butt the tiles fairly close together for a seamless look without having visible grout lines.

The bulkhead was also oak and we decided rather than pulling it down and replacing it with drywall, we would save ourselves the time and money by removing the grain and the joints with Dynamic Dyna Patch Pro (a non-shrinking drywall compound).  After it was sanded and primed we painted it the same color as the kitchen walls.

You can see the difference in the picture below between the golden oak cabinets and the new fresh white painted cabinets.

Big difference, right!

DIY Kitchen Makeover

A few years ago we removed the wall between our dining room and kitchen.  What a difference that made!  In its place, we built a small island by repurposing the base of our china cabinet that we were no longer using.

We did splurge by purchasing a granite slab but it was an off cut which saved us a lot of money.

The top portion of the DIY Pantry (pictured above) was the top piece of our old china cabinet. Waste does not want!

It was a heck of a lot of work but so worth it in the end.  A HUGE improvement from before!

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Milk Painted Picture Frame

This is one of my Mom's first paintings. We unearthed it during a move. She wanted to throw it away but I on the otherhand had an immediate attachment to it. It now hangs proudly over our kitchen island.

My new found love is Milk Paint and this is my second attempt working with it. I love how unpredictable it can be! I had a vision when I started but the paint decided it had another, so I went with it. I used Homestead Milk Paint in Trading Post Red on the base coat and Miss Mustard Seed's Boxwood Green on the top coat. The colours just popped when I sealed the wood with a coat of Beeswax.
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From wall to chalk paint message board

A fun message board for your family!

This was my first attempt at Milk Paint. Love Love Love...so many projects, so little time!
Tip: I like to use Liquid Chalk Pens as they are not as messy and far more fun to play with.
Think the chalk boards at Starbucks.

Guidelines "not rules" to DIY this project:
  • Mask off area on a clean wall using Frog tape. 
  • Using a mini roller with a low nap, apply 2-3 coats of Chalk Paint, drying between coats. Remove tape. 
  • Cut pieces of trim with a mitre saw at 45 degree angles. 
  • Using a small chip brush, apply 1 coat of Milk Paint (darkest color - I used brown). 
  • Once dry apply 1 coat of Milk Paint (lighter color - I used white). 
  • Once dry, using a dark red colored sanding pad, gently rub off the white paint in corners, ridges, grooves to give it a distressed appearance. 
  • Apply 1 coat of Briwax or Polyurathane to protect milk paint from chalk dust. 
  • With carpenters glue, attach trim directly onto the wall, butting corners nice a tight together. Use Frog Tape to hold trim in place until it dries. 



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