make me pretty – our builder grade kitchen upgrade

March 11, 2010

When we first bought our house the kitchen was the thing I loved the most and the least about it. I loved that it was open – it had once been a galley kitchen but at some point someone knocked out a wall and now there is this really nice flow between the living room, dinning room and kitchen. The list of things I hated about it were a lot longer:

• Ugly brown cheap builder grade cabinets.

• Horrible linoleum floor.

• Cardboard-y wall board on the back spalsh.

So of course we want to gut the kitchen and start over. Some nice stainless steal appliances, concrete counter tops, and real wood cabinets. But that isn’t in the budget right now so what do we do? Just live with an ugly kitchen?

Hell no. I make it as pretty as I can as cheaply as I can and keep planning my dream kitchen in my head.

We pulled up the linoleum and found hard wood floors! I decided to paint them in a checker board pattern – one of the more tedious project I have taken on but I think it turned out really well.

We pulled down some cabinets, covered the wall board with grass cloth wall paper and put up open shelves. I found the brackets on clearance at Urban Outfitters for $5 each – score! I got the boards cut at Lowes and stained them ebony.

I painted the cabinets light gray and the walls dark gray. I decided to use yellow as my accent color and painted the back door a bright bold yellow.

I even sewed the curtain for the window (and I am not much of a sewer.) If you have a curtain that you like it is pretty easy to use it as a pattern and figure out how to make your own.

So there it is. It’s not perfect but it is so, so much better!



  1. Wow – what a fantastic transformation!

  2. That looks great, what a lot of work!

  3. I love this remodel! I would never think to paint the floors like that, but I’m glad you did because it looks beautiful

  4. I wish you lived here and could help with my kitchen! Your changes are wonderful!

  5. Any advice on pulling up linoleum? I need to do that in our hallway, but it’s hard to find a point to get it started. I just keep getting spots that tear superficially.

    • our linoleum came up pretty easily. we did use a scraper tool – once we got up a corner we would run this scraper between the linoleum and the floor to separate it. we were left with a nasty coating of glue that we had to rent a floor sander to sand off before we could paint the floor.

      • Hearing that yours came up pretty easily gives me some hope! Maybe I just need to find the right starting point!

  6. […] ago and she’s been posting before and after pictures and stories ever since. Some of this is about the house, but most of it features the furniture you leave in the alley. Karen rescues it and rehabilitates […]

  7. I really love it! The painted floor is fantastic!

  8. Great Job, I had a litchen from the 70’s complete with harvest gold appliances and mushrooms. I also painted cabinets, added trim looks great.

  9. This game is best played online. Why? Due to the fact, its quite fun and entertaining. I love to play it wherever I’m going.

  10. Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  11. you need to be locked up for starving that dog.

    • That dog was twelve years old and very sick and I loved her very much and took very good care of her her whole life. Maybe you shouldn’t judge things you know nothing about.

  12. I would love to know how your curtains are gathered at the bottom…. with ribbon? Is the Ribbon sewed all the way down or just fixed at the top? Do you have buttons or button holes at the bottom for the ribbon to string and tie through?

  13. […] and refinished the wood floors, pulled up carpet (burgundy!!) in the basement and put down tile, pulled up linoleum in the kitchen and sanded the original floor and painted a checkerboard pattern, pulled up linoleum in the first floor bathroom and put down slate tile, created a raised bed […]

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