before and after

Before & After: A Kitchen is Totally Transformed with a Few Simple Steps

by Maxwell Tielman



After spending the summer with my fiancé renovating our new home’s kitchen, I learned a very important life lesson: you can solve pretty much any interior decorating conundrum with white paint. Okay— white paint and a lot of elbow grease. When these photos of Joy Lewis’ kitchen/dining room transformation reached my inbox last week, I was amazed by the final product’s brightness and simplicity. I was even more amazed, however, when I looked closer and discovered that the entire transformation was achieved largely by painting and rearranging the fixtures that were already there. Those drab brown upper and lower cabinets? BOOM—instantly transformed with some white and grey Benjamin Moore Paint. The previous green color of the walls? BAM—painted white with a beautiful subway tile backsplash! Granted, there was some extra work to be done (furniture needed to be purchased and electrical needed to be rewired), but the majority of this fabulous makeover’s success is due to its intelligent and subdued use of paint color. Ten points for paint! Check out all of the photos of this incredible transformation plus Joy’s fantastically exhaustive design notes after the jump! —Max

joylewisba_2 joylewisba_3 joylewisba_4 joylewisba_5 joylewisba_6 joylewisba_7 joylewisba_8 joylewisba_9 joylewisba_10 joylewisba_11 joylewisba_12


Countertop & Stainless Steel Undermount Sink  
Allen + Roth Solid Surface in White from Lowe’s
Hansgrohe Allegro-E from Costco
Tile, Supplies & Installation 
Imperial Bianco Gloss White 3″ x 6″ Subway Tile from The Tile Shop
Grout (custom mix of Whisper Gray & White) & grout additive from The Tile Shop
Bosch Evolution 500 Series
Open box clearance at Best Buy
Garbage Disposal 
Waste King 3300 from Amazon.com
Electrical Work & Materials
Professional installation of two pendants over peninsula,
a light over sink, two recessed lights in kitchen, and
re-positioning chandelier over dining table, with dimmer. 
Also replacement of all outlets in dining room and kitchen.
Light Fixtures & Supplies
Five Jar Chandelier from West Elm         
Three Jar Chandelier from West Elm (I cut this one apart and hung the jars as single pendants over the peninsula)
Hardwire Pendant Kits from West Elm
Open Shelving
2 pine shelves from Home Depot, cut to size
White brackets from Home Depot
Drywall Strap Toggle Anchors
Hardware & Hinges
Satin nickel Utility Pulls from Home Depot $3/each
Satin nickel self-closing hinges from Ace Hardware $6/each 
Paint, Primer & Supplies
Walls: Sherwin Williams Emerald in Satin, un-tinted
Upper Cabinets: Benjamin Moore Advance in Satin, Super White
Lower Cabinets: Benjamin Moore Advance in Satin, matched to Martha Stewart’s “Seal”
Cabinet Primer: Kilz oil-based for bases, Kilz low-odor spray primer & Zinsser low-odor spray primer for doors.
Supplies: 3/8″ roller and 3-inch brushes for walls, various foam rollers 
& brushes for cabinets. Frog tape, drop cloths, tack cloth, de-greaser, 
sandpaper of various grit, scrapers, etc. 
Front Panel for Peninsula
Piece of composite outdoor siding from Home Depot, cut to size
Decor & Storage
Mirror was a thrift store find that came as a set with a mid-century dresser
Chalkboard made from plywood and chalkboard spray paint
Metal towel basket on counter from Target
Ikea Aina Gray Linen Curtains 
Dining Table
IKEA Numerar Butcherblock in Beech, 73 x 39
General Finishes water-based stain in “Pecan” 
General Finishes EnduroVar Polyurethane
Raw iron hairpin legs from Hairpinlegs.com
Rustoleum Clear Coat for sealing hairpin legs
Dining Chairs & Stools
Tabouret Bistro Steel Side Chairs from Overstock.com (set of 2)
Bend Dining Chairs and cushions from West Elm (set of 2)
Tabouret 24-inch Lemon Metal Counter Stools


Countertop & Stainless Steel Undermount Sink   $1550  
Faucet $210
Tile, Supplies & Installation (40 sq. ft.) $1030
Dishwasher & Installation $575
Garbage Disposal  $120
Electrical Work & Materials $975
Professional installation of two pendants over peninsula,
a light over sink, two recessed lights in kitchen, and
re-positioning chandelier over dining table, with dimmer. 
Also replacement of all outlets in dining room and kitchen.
Light Fixtures & Supplies $350
Open Shelving $70
Hardware & Hinges $143
Paint, Primer & Supplies $375
Front Panel for Peninsula $30
Decor & Storage $160
Miscellaneous Supplies $120
DIY Dining Table, Chairs, & Stools $250
We sold our previous dining set for $530, and I used
$200 worth of gift cards toward it as well, so technically, 
the whole set would have been $980 for a table and 6 chairs.
TOTAL  $5958

Suggested For You


  • This is an amazing transformation! I love the open shelving, the splash of yellow, the clean feeling, everything. Very inspirational

  • Very organized approach to the whole process and I like how you shared your information too. The kitchen came out beautifully, I would be so happy with that.

  • Yellow accents are very beautiful, but the old wooden chairs were so much warmer and nicer than new plastic ones – shame there wasn’t found a way to keep them…

  • LOVE the kitchen makeover. The dining room? I agree with a previous poster. Seriously lacking in warmth, and to me, looks uninviting.

  • seriously inspiring! thanks a mill – I’m always all for keeping still good and useful stuff like wooden cabinets etc. You did a great job with your colour scheme and ‘elbow grease’ – and those white tiles just do the trick. congratulations, i’m proud of you.

  • Don’t listen to ’em! The white chairs look so clean & modern in comparison and make the room look so much bigger- you did such a great job!

  • i have to say, no matter how charming open shelving looks when it’s just been installed and cleaned, it’s so impractical. if you don’t have a perfect matchy matchy set of glasses and plates – and keep them dust free all the time – it looks haphazard and craptastic. if you don’t keep up with it, you get dust, or worse, grime (greasy dust) on your wares, which is highly unappetizing. if you want this open look, at the very least put a set of clear glass doors around the shelves to keep the contents clean.

  • Very impressed with the work you yourselves put into this!! Doing all the running around, shopping, searching and then prepping, painting, building, etc takes determination & commitment …and Sure keeps the costs down. Well done & beautiful!!

  • This is a great makeover! I really like the white chairs. As for the open shelves, I think they give the kitchen a lot of personality. There is plenty of closed storage here to hide non-matching items. They’ve carefully chosen the items to have on display and I think the shelves are far enough away from the stove to avoid becoming greasy. Nice work Joy!

  • Um, the new chairs are specifically referred to as “steel” and “metal” in the resource list – no mention of plastic.
    The old chairs were too tall and clunky for the dining table. They created a sense of entrapment, which, thankfully, is now gone. The dining area looks a little more spacious as well. The new faucet was already on my personal shopping list. Nice job!

  • I am in love with everything. I am especially in love with the fact that you kept such a great list of resources… I love organization! Oh, and kudos for getting the dishwasher as a open box clearance. I do that kind of stuff all the time and I defy anyone to tell the difference in my household wares.

  • Like, WOW!!!

    Love the transformation! And so lucky the bones of the kitchen were already good. The new colour palette is perfect…so inspired!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Love it all. Clever, tasteful, thrifty, beautiful.
    Question: for the “front panel for peninsula” – did you paint that, too, with the Martha “Seal” (BM matched) paint? Thanks – Amy

  • Lots of little things here that are not my taste but wow the overall look is great, and so good to see something with a reasonable budget!

  • Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! Amy, I did prime and paint the panel for the peninsula in “Seal”, the same as the rest of the lower cabinets.

  • I love it. Are the cabinets all real wood? They look similar to mine which are wood doors but composite sides and bases. I’m afraid to paint the composite because it feels much more likely to peel.

  • Such a clean and bright transformation!! I’m currently comparing countertop options, how do you like the acrylic? I really love the look (and price tag) but hear contradicting reviews from professionals. Does it stain, show scratches or oil/dirt?
    Such a lovely makeover.

  • Hi there! I am loving everything about this kitchen! Especially the metal dish drying rack on the counter LOL! Do you remember where that is from? I have not seen one like this before, thank you!

  • Beautiful job. This kitchen layout is exactly like mine and after purchasing all of my items (not sure why I took to pinterest after) and came across your kitchen! inspiring because it is everything I’m planning with the exception of the open shelving *although, extremely cute. Great Job! A.

  • you did a great job in that kitchen, I’m on the process of doing the same in mine, could please remember how much you pay per square footage in the countertop or at least the same so I can look for it at Lowe’s. Would you please sent me closer image of it to my email address, any help will be really appreciated. Thanks!

  • I have a question concerning the doors on the cabinets did you replace them? They don’t look the same as the before. Beautiful kitchen makeover.

  • Really great! The color difference between upper and lower really expands the (small) space. The open shelving helps that’s as well. One questions I had, where did you put your refrigerator? My kitchen is almost identical, and we are struggling to find a spot to place our behemoth fridge. Thanks for posting this!!

  • Hi DS team, Just thought I’d comment here and tell you that I saw the dining table solution on Pinterest, and was inspired to do it myself. I went with KARLBY countertop in Walnut plus Hairpin legs, costing me a little over $350. Happy to say that it’s a solid table and looks great too. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  • I LOVE the look of your kitchen Ah-mazing! So I am in the market for pendent lights and I cannot find any I like…until I saw yours! I love them! So I am curious how you took them apart and made them into single pendents? Can you email me or respond to this comment, maybe explaining how you did this? If I can make it work I believe these pendents are the one…hehe!!