House tour: Kitchen (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

Today you get to take a tour of my kitchen.  Once again, I love the open floor plan.  I showed you how the eat –in kitchen and living room all open up into each other.


Right off of the kitchen is the dining room.  I shared you a full before/after post of that room but will probably do an updated post of it next week.


And yes I have “open cabinets” but it isn’t intentional.  We bought this house as a HUD home or government owned home.  It was in really good condition but the cabinet door in the corner was missing.  I think it must have fallen off and I wonder if it broke when it fell as it was no where to be found.  I took the other door on the left off for 2 reasons – #1 to balance things out, and #2 to take it to the local home improvement stores to see if I could find a match.  Bad news – no match.  I would have to get a custom door made which would be a few $100.  No thanks.  I actually posted all about my cabinet dilemma in this post and discussed a few options.  I just haven’t had the time to work on creating or finding glass paned doors (which is what I would to put there.)

open cabinets in kitchen

Here’s the other side of the kitchen.  Not sure that I am loving the crates and mason jars on top of the fridge but I really want to bring some “vintage” into this kitchen.


View looking back into the living room (you can see my winter white mantel and my DIY painted striped curtains.)

The paint colors in this room are Behr Classic Taupe (the lighter tan color) and the medium brown color is a custom mixed color by Behr.  


View looking in from the dining room.  You can see how made the coffee filter wreath here and the EAT letters here.


Here’s another view of the back door in between the eat-in kitchen and the kitchen.


Now for some of the good, bad and ugly parts.  This room needs the MOST updating but it will also require the most $$ and the most work.  I have entire bedrooms upstairs that need updating but paint, some yard sale furniture and accessories, and fabric could make them brand new.  Not so with this kitchen.


Things I love:

  • I enjoy the layout of this room – it has a good “triangle” between the fridge, sink, and stove.  And the dishwasher is in a great location too.
  • I have a decent amount of cabinet space.  I could use more, but I also know that many people may have less so I am thankful for mine.


  • I love the tile we had put in a few years ago!  It is so much easier to keep clean and get clean (I am a messy cook!)
  • I love the open floor plan!  While I am cooking I can still feel like I am in the same room with my husband in the living room.  And if I am putting dishes in the dishwasher (notice I didn’t say “washing” dishes – I DESPISE washing dishes – why wash dishes when you have a dishwasher??) I can see into the living room and even see the TV. 
  • As many people are changing their cabinets and painting them white I am thankful mine are already white!  I have a love/hate relationship with them though – hate that you can see every splatter, every smudge though. 


Things I want to change:  (where do I begin??)

  • absolutely #1 on this list is the countertops!!  I have hated those countertops from the very second I saw them when we were looking at the house.  I think they look like puke smeared on the counter (sorry!) and they are impossible to tell if they are clean unless you look at them from an angle.  But new countertops are not cheap Sad smile  I have debated painting them but haven’t been ready to tackle that yet.
  • the cabinets – I do enjoy having them white BUT they desperately need a new coat of paint.  I would like to take all the doors down, sand and repaint the entire kitchen and use laquer paint that is much easier to wipe down.  That is one of the things I dislike – they are very hard to clean cause the finish is horrible.
  • the missing cabinet doors – again see this post for what I would like to do.


  • the cabinet handles – out with the brass, in with something much darker.  And yes, I have mismatched cabinet handles right now.  I am trying to start a new design trend – LOL!  Actually I found and bought enough new pulls and handles for the entire kitchen at my parking lot yard sale last summer and I couldn’t wait to see what they would look like.  But I need to repaint the cabinets before I put them up. 
  • I need to install quarter round under all the cabinets – never got it finished after the tile was installed. 
  • I need to find and create a “style” in here – feel like it is a hodpodge of stuff.  Would like everything to look much more updated and modern.


  • The light fixture.  Oh, this fluorescent light fixture has got to go!  I actually have a chandelier I found at a yard sale that I would like to put in here.  I have installed plenty of light fixtures myself but I am not sure if this one is going to involve some ceiling patching and repair.  Need to just take it down one day and see. 


  • Can we just talk about the countertops again??  this wood edge – it grates on my nerves every time I see it.  I have threatened to paint it multiple times but hubby says no. 
  • The odd corner behind the sink – could be decorated better.  Any suggestions?


  • If and when we install a new countertop I plan on DIYing a backsplash.  Not sure if I would do tile or beadboard? 


So there’s the kitchen.  So much that needs to be done but they are all pretty major projects.  Hoping to accomplish at least the cabinet painting, cabinet knob switching, and light fixture replacement this year.  And hopefully the cabinet doors.  Although I really hate to do all that work and still have to look at puke on my countertops – LOL!


I spend a lot of time in this room and I do enjoy it – dislikes and all. Love the light that streams in from those bay windows. Is the kitchen the most used room in your house?


So tell me… what do you like and what would you change?

Any ideas on how to get new PRETTY countertops for less than $1000??



  1. Heather C. says:

    So, I’ve never noticed your countertops before (maybe never seen a pic so close up), but you’re right….they’re horrible 🙂 Almost looks like wood grain paneling in a light wash. I’m not sure about the price of upgrading countertops, however, if the countertops are the one thing you hate above all other things in the room, I’d be inclined to say save your money and replace those first….before the cabinet painting, light fixtures, etc. You’ll be happier having that one change, than doing all the rest and still having to stare at the countertops every single day.

    Oh, and BTW, we did the beadboard (wallpaper) as a backsplash last year when we redid our kitchen. Love it and is so easy to clean. Tile was out of my budget….and I was able to carry the beadboard as a backsplash behind all my cabinets and not just behind the stove. I do however, love the look of tile and one day, when we build or renovate a house to suit our tastes completely, I’ll have it!

  2. I love the white cabinets and the pops of red you have in there. Definitely wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on cabinet doors since open shelves are all the rage…unless you want doors. All the things you want to change are things you could do yourself. There’s so much inspiration in blog land and everyone makes it look easy…we all know it isn’t that easy. I can definitely picture beadboard backsplash. How about a plant behind your sink – at least it wouldn’t hurt it if the water splashes on it. 🙂 I think your kitchen is sweet!
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  3. I posted on your FB post ~

  4. I agree that a plant behind the sink would be nice. Or maybe a diy tiered “cake” plate type thing that you hold decorative soap dispensers etc. in. Could go vintage and do plates/tea cups you find at antique/thrift stores and cute canning jar dispensers???
    As for the countertops – I recently discovered “stainless steel” paint or “contact paper” that you could put on the counters and/or appliances that would at least rid you of the”yuk” on your current counters. There’s also diy directions for doing a “faux concrete” finish on countertops. Faux in that you just put a “coating” on your current counters rather than replacing the whole thing. Not sure if that’s too modern for your taste with liking the “vintage” feel. Your kitchen looks very nice as it is. Glad you enjoy it despite the flaws you see. I do like the dark hardware you plan to put up. I also like beadboard for the backsplash. Love beadboard.

    • Hi Liz,
      I love the idea of faux concrete for my kitchen! Can you tell me the product you are referring to? I also want to do a beadboard backsplash….wondering if the two styles will look strange together, or if they’ll look purposefully eclectic.

    • Hi Christina,
      I love your kitchen…it has so much potential. I was thinking that it would look great for you to remove the cabinet doors above your microwave…and then I saw your post of kitchen inspiration and now I’m convinced you should do it! I also love the pops of red. Where are those dishes from? I saw some red soup bowls at Walmart yesterday and they made me think of your kitchen. I may have to go back and buy them. Good luck with the transformation. I can’t wait to see what you do because I’ve been thinking of making some of the same types of changes in my kitchen.

  5. Hi Christina. I actually happen to like the doors off those two cabinets. Your red and white dishes look so pretty. I always liked a mix of open and closed. Shelves would look nice, but the way you have it is fine.
    Also – your idea of a beadboard backsplash would look stunning with your decor! Painting the countertop may not be such a bad idea if $$$ is limited.
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  6. You might want to check out the blog, “Bower Power”. She showed a product she used on her mom’s basement kitchen counters. Looked great. Also, you could probably make a cabinet door frame yourself. I think “young house love” shows how to do it. It is basically just a wooden frame with a lip for installing the glass. If you don’t feel you could do it, I bet you could find a local handyman that could make it pretty inexpensively!! Good luck, can’t wait to see it all come together!!

  7. Christina,
    The concrete countertop finish I found on Pinterest – I believe. It wasn’t an actual product, but a technique. The post I saw basically showed how to put a couple layers of concrete on top of your existing cabinets to make it look like a stained concrete countertop. The cost was a bag of concrete, the tools, and the time. Not sure on the beadboard meshing with the concrete. Maybe a search for the two woudl show some examples of it. Or maybe the color you paint the beadboard would tie it together. I love your blog – You are inspiring me to finally get a “style” for decorating. May be a while before I implement it all, but at least I’m starting to think about it. Good luck.

  8. should say countertops, not cabinets. Sorry.

  9. The first thing I would do is replace the white/gold pulls with the dark ones that are on some of them..I love the darker!!! I love the colors, the pops of red! I would also concentrate on the counters. I think that will give you more bang for your buck looks wise. I’m excited to see what kind of backsplash you will do but again, it’s all dependent on the counters.

  10. Your kitchen is charming and just needs a few updates like you mentioned.I would remove the cabinet doors over the microwave and leave that side all open. Mom 4 Real did a post today about a product she used on her ugly counters and now they look fabulous. Then you could save for some nicer ones down the road. The beadboard backsplash is a great inexpensive route to go. That is what we did in our daughter’s new home until she can afford tile. I would also add beadboard on the side of your bar area that now looks brown. The chandy will be much better than the light you have now for sure. I would just take that down and fix and paint the ceiling. It would be so worth the work. Good luck.
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    • I agree with Kim. Putting beadboard (painted white) up on the back of our bar/island was the best idea my husband ever had. Using the beadboard on our backsplash & back of bar really polished off our kitchen remodel.

  11. Sandy Manning says:

    Could you afford new countertops? $1000 doesn’t sound too bad for the impact it would make and since it is something you really hate, it would be worth it. I do understand if it is something you can’t afford though. I like the look of your open cabinets just fine. It seems very livable until you really want to change them. I think changing out the light would be great. I know you said you have a fixture but I happen to be a lover of ceiling fans so that would be my preference. If you aren’t going to paint the cabinets anytime soon, I would change out the hardware now anyway. I like the idea of a plant behind the sink. If it was my kitchen, anything I put back there would always end up splattered so I would always be cleaning a picture frame or anything glass or ceramic. I really think you have a great house and you have done such neat things with it.

  12. Hi Christina! For your cabinets & countertops you can look into Rustoleum Transformations (my sister used it & it turned out great!): For your backsplash to add that ‘vintage look’ you can try these peel & stick faux tin tiles by Armstrong: For your missing cabinet doors, Lowe’s has the Concord cabinet collection in-stock that might match:|1
    Good Luck!

  13. I’d invite you to shop by me but I don’t think you’re anywhere near my little Amish town in Indiana! 🙂 We have a company that sells seconds of their beautiful countertops for $2 a foot, only on Fridays from 12 to 3. You simply walk through and see what they have, and you buy it. They will custom cut it for you, too. I have fake wood countertops and want to redo mine too. I think I need to do so soon!
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  14. Love your kitchen. I had one with that same layout when we lived in Texas and our countertops were pink..ugh who picks those things out? We live in an older house now and gutted the whole kitchen. You can get oak countertops from IKEA for way little money. Then you can stain and poly them anything you want. Also Benjamin Moore makes an awesome paint that is called kitchen paint- it is for painting cabinetry – it is one hard shell when it dries. Love it. I’ve even painted our board and batten with it though out the house so it wipes up well with kids. On the backsplash- We have beadboard and well I have a love hate relationship with it..I love the look – I hate the upkeep. I will do subway tile next time. Keep the rooms coming I am enjoying it.
    Oh and I would also put the beadboard on the back of the island as someone said above.

  15. I have a good contact for countertops at reasonable prices in our area. Let me know if you’re interested

  16. Had you considered changing out the door to the with a vintage one? LIke this or this or this That would be a great way to bring vintage into your kitchen instead of the coke crates on top of the fridge (which block access to those cabinets.

  17. Kelly Palmer says:

    Hi Christina, I have enjoyed following your blog and seeing the things that you have done to improve your home. As for your kitchen, I am in agreement with some of the other comments. I would remove the cupboard doors over your microwave. Your red and white dishes are so pretty so why not show them off? Also the new cupboard and door handles look so much better so I would put them on and enjoy them now. Also, you can go onto Pinterest and do a search for painting laminate counter tops. Maybe this is something less expensive that you could do until you can save the money to do a replacement? We are doing renovations on our kitchen and are installing a bead board back splash and we love it! I also agree that if you do this to also do the wall facing the dining area with bead board too. You have such good taste and a sense of style so whatever you do I am sure it will look wonderful 🙂

  18. Christina…your kitchen is cute. I would go ahead and switch out all your hardware. You might be surprised at the difference it makes. The dark pieces you have look great on there.
    We painted our bathroom countertop and LOVE it.
    We just haven’t gotten around to doing others yet, but they’re on the list.
    Have a great weekend!

  19. I was going to say something about painting your countertops, but I wasn’t sure what the product was. My sister-in-law did it to hers. Someone already mentioned it, though – the Rustoleum Transformations. That shouldn’t cost too much, and it would be a major help. If you decide to actually replace them later on down the road, you won’t have spent a bunch of money.

  20. I happen to like the cabinets off the doors, too! My cabinets are white as well, and I’d love to paint them some other color because they’re so hard to keep clean, but then my kitchen would look too dark.

    As for the counter tops, have you thought about doing a DIY ceramic tile top with very minimal space between the tiles and a grout dyed to match? You could run it up the backsplash, too.
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  21. I would say my dad since he does marble, tile, and granite work.

  22. A fern (or whatever plant you love) would look so pretty behind the sink.

  23. Hey girl…we actually bought these for around $200 ish, then found out we weren’t staying so I returned them. I can’t vouch for the way they would turn out, but that was the plan. I like the dark hardware on the cabinets. I’m kind of a less is more person where counters go. I like the “clean” look of everything put away…:)
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  24. I think your kitchen is very pretty, and I love the layout! To try out the look of beadboard underneath your cabinets and on the backsplash I would try vinyl scrubbable/stripable wallpaper. One roll would probably give you enough to do your entire area (1 roll is 56 square feet, usually). If you don’t like the look, it’s easy enough to take it down. I don’t have the info in front of me, but I know that there is a Martha Stewart brand wallpaper in a very realistic looking vinyl beadboard. Probably you can find some at your local home improvement center too, and try shopping online at a discount wallpaper place. The only thing with shopping online from one of those places is that you usually can’t buy just one roll, you have to buy a “double” roll at double the cost, and then you’d be stuck with tons of leftover beadboard wallpaper. Have a powder room you want to redo? LOL! I’m with you regarding wanting glassed doors for above the stove. No matter how good your range hood and/or downdrafter is, when one cooks, particularly for a family (there’s just me here so it’s less of an issue), there is going to be a greasy build-up around the stove area over time, no matter how you think you’re cleaning it up every day all of a sudden one day you look at your white cabinets (I have white cabinets since I built this place in 1990) and you see all the gunk! Eeeeuuuw! Glassed in doors will keep that gunk out of the inside of your cabinets and off your dishes. I also highly recommend “Crud Cutter” or a similar product, just be careful to mix it according to the directions with enough water. I made the mistake of using it full strength on a cloth to scrub off my 20 plus year old range hood, which was greasy but otherwise in good shape, and the Crud Cutter not only took off the greasy build-up instantly, it also took off the paint, LOL! Lesson learned — do not use full strength on anything that has a painted finish. That experience, though, gave me a good excuse to finally have a new range hood put in after 22 years. Regarding your countertops, since budget won’t allow for replacement with new ones (I shudder to think how much that would cost), I have seen painted countertops on D-I-Y blogs that look absolutely incredible; but here’s an off-the-wall idea. Check out solid vinyl wallpaper. I know it sounds crazy, but I think a good quality solid vinyl would hold up to scrubbings and the day-to-day wear and tear in a kitchen, would be relatively inexpensive compared to say, a painted treatment, and if you don’t like it you just tear it off, scrub off the adhesive, and you’ve got your original countertops back. Finally, I also found the idea of one of the commenters above intriguing, about using your own mixed up concrete slathered all over everything. Not sure how that would hold up on the eges, though. Would need to do some study on the subject. Good luck with your continuing improvements, I will be following along. I have every confidence that you will come up with ingenious and cost-conscious solutions to solve your issues.
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  25. First of all, I think your kitchen has really good “bones” and it wouldn’t be hard to pretty it up. The layout is great as well!

    As far as counter tops go, we made our own for cheap. Hubby actually make the countertops of plywood and then covered them with laminate. The laminate we found is SO nice and when you first look at it, it looks like granite. I really love it.

    I’m a big fan of open shelving in cupboards, but I do understand wanting doors that match. Those doors, from what I can see look like a basic raised panel door (speaking in cabinet-makers-wife talk, lol)and a custom cabinet maker could make them for you quite easily. Maybe if you make a trip up here I think I know someone who could match your doors. 😉 {wink:wink}
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  26. Great comments about how to revamp your countertops. One more option for ya: You could try making one from wood. Found a really pretty tutorial here:

  27. If you are considering a white backsplash I think a “tea” stain on your cabinets would look great. White on white will wash out the room, especially with white appliances. The stain/distressing on the cabinets would look great with a neutral brown concrete or tile counter top. As for behind the sink, since you are not crazy about the crates and jars on the fridge why not move them there? You could also use the crates (if they are open inside) to display your most used cookbooks when you find storage space for the others. One placed by the stove with the books in it… But I think they would look great behind the sink. Maybe even add a few vintage bottles into the top crate with a flower in each one.

  28. Faith Vandriel says:

    Hi Christina – love your blog & your kitchen looks great! I think you might want to add some texture to the backside of your lower cabinets that face out towards the eating area. You could put up some sheets of headboard or more of what you did on your diningroom walls. Then a quick coat of grey paint and I think you’ll love it!

  29. Hiya! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m
    trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.

    If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!
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  30. Can you please tell me the name of the tan paint you have on the walls? I tried to match mine with it but got a color darker than I like. Hopefully you have a can lying around with the formula? It’s beautiful and hard to match.

    Thank you so very much,


  1. […] First, let me say thank you to all of my wonderful readers!! You gave me some great feedback on my house tour kitchen post.    I loved many of your suggestions and can’t wait to get to work on […]

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