before and after: creative kitchen redo

We’ve featured a couple of Sibylle Roessler’s Before & After projects before; her dining room was a huge hit back in August, and her airy, curated bedroom makeover was equally popular. For these rooms, Sibylle has employed a pretty simple but highly effective method of creating big change while keeping costs to a minimum. She brightens things up with a lovely coat of fresh white paint, layers in touches of black and wood for an elegant contrast, then finishes with pops of bright color and fun repurposed vintage accessories.

Her kitchen makeover today is another great example of this technique, and I think the results are lovely. I particularly love the twig wall unit for her rolling pin and the planter made from an old meat grinder. A little bird told me that Sibylle might me moving soon, and I can’t wait to see what creative solutions she’ll employ in her next abode. Awesome job, Sibylle! — Kate

This Before & After kitchen series is brought to you by Sub–Zero and Wolf. Get kitchen design ideas at

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Sibylle’s kitchen redo after the jump!

Time: about one month (one day of painting)

Cost: $0 (The landlord provided the paint. All other items on hand.)

Basic Steps: We had an ugly fridge, and I painted it with chalk paint. Now it serves as our sketch board/calendar/notebook. I once purchased this vintage meat grinder and decided to use it as a flower pot (I have a chili growing in there). Next to it is a mirror, which I also painted with chalk paint. I made my own spice rack — just screwed the jar lids to a shelf and screwed the jars onto it. Due to the small space, I hang a metal wire basket upside down and use it as a holder for all my big spoons, scissors, etc. I love simple and clean, so I kept everything kind of black and white. Hardwood floors help warm up the room.

Here’s the advice I always give: Don’t throw anything away; rather, repurpose it (if you have the time!) and go to flea markets and thrift stores to score a good deal! Reinterpreting flea-market finds is not only green, it can also be terribly charming and what’s old can be new, and 2011 is the year to prove it; –) Living in a small space forces you to prioritize. Having only what you love, need and use simplifies things, is more economical, and leaves time and money for fun! — Sibylle


I have a fridge I’d love to paint! Did she use any special techniques, like a metal paint or primer or anything?


I’m in love with that little spice shelf! Actually, I’m in love with everything. But especially that :)

Kasey M.

Are those counter tops blue? They look like they’ve got a navy hue in that after picture. Can we see a close up?

Love your use of chaulk board paint. I’m so worried that it’s getting used so frequently and I might get sick of it soon. But let’s be honest, it’s not even close to happening!

Teresa (Our Corner House)

LOVE this! Love, love, love it! Everything about it!

I’ve been trying to talk my sister into painting her refrigerator like this (it’s the only horrifically dated appliance left in her kitchen). I’m emailing this to her!

Thanks for sharing!


i love what she has done, but i always wonder – is chalkboard everywhere messy and dusty?


Suggestion for those who rent: I did the chalkboard paint idea for my fridge, only I first painted the chalkboard paint on contact paper and then applied the paper to the fridge. That way, when you leave, all you have to do is peel the contact paper off!

My brother first adhered the contact paper then painted and I learned from him that it goes through the paper and leaves a mess on the fridge.


This is one of the most creative kitchen ideas I’ve ever seen! I absolutely love the chalkboard fridge! I also think that the idea for chalkboard paint on contact paper for renters is brilliant, I sooo want to try that, thanks!


This is WONDERFUL! This makes me so excited to help my in-laws with their little kitchen. I have SO many ideas now! thanks!


amazingly simple and great!only an artistic fun mind can perceive and open minds receive with open arms and drooling lips (sorry) i did. :-p


I absolutely LOVE the chalkboard fridge idea. What a fantastic, simple update to an ugly but functional fridge.

@ Chelsea, great idea for renters!! Did you do enough contact paper to cover the whole fridge, or did you just make a mini chalkboard area on the fridge?


What a fun space! I love that it’s down-to-earth, warm and welcoming yet full of clever details and re-imaginings. Thanks for sharing!


Certainly a perky and cheery update, but I agree with Sarah, the chalkboard paint would be best featured on the refrigerator (concealing its ugliness, artfully) rather than spreading to so many other surfaces.


I love the transformation. Especially the chalkboard fridge, brilliant! How is the paint holding up and did you use a primer first?

Erica W.

I love $0 makeovers. Anybody can do something fab with lots of money, but the freegan version is the best.


Love it! Can’t seem to see the first two thumbnails enlarged though. Tech glitch?


Amazing what a difference a bit of paint and a few blackboards can make. I really like the plant growing out of the meat grinder as well.

Kirsten Maxx

Amazing transformation! I love looking at those pictures and looking through the details. I can’t believe how you could be trendy yet organize at the same time (as seen in the latter picture). Overall, it looks clean and fresh! Great job! Kudos!


@ Libby: I covered the entire fridge with the painted contact paper. It looks pretty seamless, just make sure you smooth out air bubbles. Also, I painted more contact paper than I needed just to ensure to cover everything with as few seams as possible. Good luck!

Anda Panda

I just discovered that black gesso works just like black chalkboard paint! Its often cheaper too!

veronica pineda

Need. Help my kitchen. Is very small…don’t. Know. How I can seand. A picture…. thank you hope you can help. Me