before and after

Before & After: Kitchen Makeover

by Kate Pruitt

I’m sure a lot of us go through favorite color phases. Right now, Grace is loving olive green, and I can’t disagree — it’s a rich, warm, earthy color that’s perfect for fall. Even though we’re interested in dark tones right now, I can still appreciate a pale palette, like in Kristine’s kitchen makeover. I love the icy mint green, especially paired with a blanket of beautiful, snowy white, and the new lighter colors are doing wonders for the gray countertop, which looked somewhat muddled in the “before” space. This new kitchen is bright, cheery and so well composed — a must if you’re switching to open shelving, but not always easy to achieve. — Kate

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.)

Time: 6 days

Cost: $4000

Basic Steps: Without a doubt, the large windows and open floorplan were the big sellers in this kitchen to begin with, so we really wanted to maximize the light, especially since it is often cloudy or drizzling where we live. We decided to remove the doors from the main stretch of upper cabinets to show off our bright and cheery dishes, and that gave the inspiration for the rest of the space.

We switched the existing backsplash, which called out the pinker tones of the granite, with white subway tile and painted the cupboards, walls and window frames white, which both brightened the space and provided a needed neutral backdrop, allowing our little pops of color to really sing. To pull it all together, we had an electrician add three jadeite pendant lights over the bar.

Our advice: If you are going to remove cabinet doors or add glass doors, keep in mind that you may have to replace shelves if they aren’t made of the same wood as the cabinets. And while I am a big fan of DIY painting, hiring professionals to do cabinets will save a lot of time and heartache if you can afford it. Once wood has been painted, it can be difficult to fix if something goes wrong. Cabinet pulls are a simple way to update the look of a kitchen, and using a template is a good way to ensure they go on straight. They are easy to find online, and usually cost $5 to $10. We used these, and with the exception of a drawer face that had been attached crooked, they worked like a charm. — Kristine

Paint: Parker Paint “Swiss Coffee” in Latex Millwork (woodwork and cabinets), Parker Paint “Swiss Coffee” in Satin Glow (walls)
Lighting: Ivanhoe Aero Shallow Bowl porcelain pendant in Jadite “12” from barnlightelectric.com, $149 each
Drawer Pulls: GlideRite 6-inch solid Stainless Steel Finished Cabinet Bar Pulls from Overstock.com, $46.99 for a case of 25
Backsplash: 3″ x 6″ white subway tile, available at Home Depot for around $1 each
Barstools: Glenn Bar Stool from Ikea, $69.99 each
Tea Towel: Latticework Tea Towel from Avril Loreti

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  • I would be glad to be in touch, @Andrea. How can I reach you? Or you can follow the link on my name below the first before photo to my blog. Thanks!

  • I’ve always loved white kitchens. So classic and they never go out of style, whereas you can tell what decade a kitchen was installed by the type of wood finish it has. You see oak for instance, and you know it was probably the 80’s. Lovely reno!


  • Wow…it looks so pristine! I live on a farm full of animals and little boys. That would look pretty for about ten minutes here! Well done!

  • Whew! The before photo is a million times better than my current kitchen. I’ve been itching to do open, all-white cabinets and this has really inspired me to go for it.

  • I liked the before MUCH better.it was a gorgeous kitchen and you took all the personality out and replaced it with a sterile operating room look. open shelves might look good on paper,but they are not practical in a working kitchen. that’s why cabinets have doors.i liked the lots of counter space.the only thing I might have changed in the original would be to center the sink under the window and put a hood/exhaust fan over the countertop stove.

  • Thank you so much for this! We are moving into our new place and the kitchen is in desperate need for an upgrade. I knew immediately I wanted to paint the cabinets white so thank you for providing the exact colors and type of paint to use and also the type of back splash. We also are going to hire a professional to paint, that way it can be done right the first time. Thank you sooo much!

  • My cabinet maker says we cannot paint over the cabinets he built…they have a lacquer finish and are Alder with a cherry-ish stain. My kitchen feels very dark. Our floors are brazilian cherry – Jatoba. Our sinks are black and the countertop is granite that looks like smeared mud. I want to have the cabinets painted white, remove the granite countertops and put in marble and replace the sinks with white ones. My question to you is…can my cupboards be painted over…even with a lacquer finish??

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