the evolution of my house | part 4 | the kitchen

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Kitchen, My House

And now, it’s time to walk through the evolution of my kitchen.  This is part four in a series where I’m showing how each room in my house has evolved over the nine years since we moved in.

I have always loved a good before and after, but the truth is that there are usually a lot of steps between those two pictures.  In the case of my house, each room has been years in the making…pieces bought and sold, projects completed and everything eventually brought together to make each room what it is today.  I’ve learned a lot as I worked on each space and I think my decorating style has become more focused and refined in the process.  It is my hope that this series encourages you, as you see that each “after” was a slow process, not an overnight change.

So, this is what the kitchen looks like today…


When we first looked at this home, it was the kitchen that sold me on the house.  Yes, I was charmed by the original 1940’s glass doorknobs and excited at the promise of refinished wood floors under old carpeting, but when I saw the kitchen, I knew it had more potential than any other room in the house.  Hidden under the beige, builder-grade exterior, a great kitchen was waiting to be discovered.  The layout, the cabinetry, the space was already there.  It was already a great kitchen.  It just needed some cosmetic changes to make it suit my tastes.



I was itching to paint over the pinkish-beige walls in the kitchen and family room when we first moved in.  I knew it was where we would spend most of our time, so I wanted to get to it right away  My mom, though, convinced me to paint the old part of the house first, because it needed it a lot more.  And, she was right.  The 1940’s part of the house had been pretty much untouched.  Other than carpeting that was put over the hardwood floors, it was still sporting all of the original fixtures and finishes from when the house was built and, I suspect, original coats of paint in some of the rooms.  The previous owners opted to put their renovation dollars and efforts into building on an addition that included the kitchen, family room and master suite.

So I reluctantly left the walls alone for about a year.  With a newborn baby, I didn’t have much time for painting, anyway.  It was during one visit from my in-laws that I finally had the opportunity to paint the walls.  My mother-in-law hung out with Marshall while I spent almost all day painting the kitchen and family room.

You know I’m a blue and white girl, but I didn’t think I could fit that color scheme with the green counters and beige floors, so I decided to stick with a warmer palette of yellow, green and red.  I painted the walls in a buttery yellow that I thought complimented the things in the room that I didn’t have the money to change.



Since we’re not big wine drinkers, I also removed the wine rack and used the recess to house cookbooks.  Otherwise, I left things alone.  I looked into making small changes, like the cabinet hardware, but with 53 cabinet doors, even a “small” project like that was still going to be out of my budget.  The kitchen would have to wait.

kitchen 5

It was my blog that finally made it possible to give my kitchen a makeover.  I was a part of the True Value DIY Blog Squad and, as a part of that, I received a generous gift card to True Value to buy supplies for projects I could write about on my blog.  The kitchen was first on my list.  I bought paint for the walls, ceiling and cabinets…

kitchen 7

Painting the cabinets was a huge project.  As I said earlier, I have 53 cabinet doors and something like 19 drawers, so even just removing the doors took hours.  Each surface was primed with an adhesion primer and then painted in two coats of oil-based Impervo paint by Benjamin Moore.  I used a sprayer for the primer and rolled and brushed the oil paint by hand.


Painting the cabinets made a huge difference in the look of the kitchen and it was worth all of the time I had to put into it.  The kitchen I envisioned when we first saw the house was coming to life.

I also used the gift card to replace the hardware on the doors and drawers.


I later painted an accent wall and the backsplash in chalkboard paint.


That project was for an tutorial and I wasn’t sure if I would leave it.  I thought I would hate having scribbles on my wall, but I have come to really love it.  Right now, my boys have their Saturday chores written up there in their crooked handwriting.  Jeff and I do actually use it for our shopping list.  We write what we need up there and whoever is going to the store will snap a picture of it with their phone.  It’s pretty handy, actually.


Once I painted the walls and the cabinets, I made peace with the green counters.  They looked more of a gray/green and I didn’t mind them as much.  I still wanted to replace them, but we had a lot of counter and, what we did have, was in perfect condition.  Replacing it seemed to be a bit over the top.  The floors, though, they were driving me nuts!

kitchen 9

Then, I got an e-mail from Home Depot.  They wanted to work with me to promote a line of Dal-Tile.  Hello, new kitchen floor!  Contrary to common sense that says you shouldn’t have a white kitchen floor, I selected a white tile that looks like marble.  I had a floor that hid dirt and spills very well and I hated it, so I wasn’t shy about picking a floor that I would love, but would require more cleaning.

kitchen 8

At this point, I’m thinking the kitchen is done.  There were still things I wanted to change, but again, they didn’t seem worth the money.  And then, I got another e-mail.  It was from my editor at  She asked me for tutorial ideas for updating a kitchen.  In that list, I put down all of the projects on my personal wish list for our kitchen.  They hired me to write a tutorial on building a custom range hood and making butcher block counters.  Now, I had to do those, because, “It’s my job.”  And, while it wasn’t one of the projects I was hired to do, if we wanted a backsplash, this was going to be the time to install it.


I had never done tiling before, but decided this was a good time to learn!  I chose a white marble in a herringbone pattern that I ordered off of Amazon and, one snowy day, my dad helped me install it.  He did the cutting and I applied it to the wall and did the grouting a couple of days later.

kitchen 10

Meanwhile, Jeff was working on making the butcher block counters in the basement.  We bought sections of cherry butcher block from Lumber Liquidators, but they were unfinished and some of the sections needed to be pieced together and cut to size.  He also had to cut a hole for the under-mount sink and the faucet.


kitchen 1

He routed a decorated Roman Ogee edge for a bit more detail as well.  I sanded them and applied Waterlox finish to make them durable and waterproof and then we installed them once they cured.  Most of the installation was easy, but the large L-shaped piece on the peninsula was a bit of a bear.  It was huge and heavy and awkward to maneuver.  It was a little hairy at times, but we got it installed without any casualties.

kitchen 2

We also replaced the trim around the window, so it matched the simple pine trim in the 1940’s part of the house.  Moen gave me the faucet and under-mount sink, another perk of the job.


I still love my wood counters.   I think if money wasn’t a factor, I would probably choose a natural stone over the wood, but the wood was so much cheaper and something we could DIY, so it was the best option for us.


As I said earlier, Jeff built the range hood as a tutorial project for  For me, this project made the kitchen look “gourmet” and much higher end than it actually is.  I always hated having the microwave over the stove.  It doesn’t vent well, it hangs low, it catches splatters…I know it’s a space-saving feature, but I never liked it.  I happily gave up a little counter space for a microwave, so I could have this custom range hood.




If you’ll notice, we never changed out the appliances.  I haven’t gotten that e-mail, yet!  I’m just kidding.  While I would love a beefy gas range one of these days, I just don’t think it’s worth upgrading the appliances in this house.  I also like how the white appliances just melt into the white cabinets and floor.

Also, some of you have noticed that I have replaced our blue barstools…

kitchen 11

My mom bought those for me several years ago.  We found two of them on clearance at Target while we were on a shopping trip and then chased down a third one at another local Target.  They have been great barstools, but we use them a lot and one of them finally broke.  After saving credit card points, some birthday money and profits from selling a few things, I bought these new barstools from Restoration Hardware.  I’ll write a post with more details about them soon.
















And that is the kitchen!  If you’d like a list of sources, links to the tutorials and a cost breakdown, you can find all of that information HERE.

Up next is the family room…

If you missed the other room tours, here they are…

Part 1 | Living Room

Part 2 | Dining Room

Part 3 | Home Office

Part 5 | Family Room

Part 6 | Master Bedroom

Part 7 | Bathrooms

the evolution of my house | part 4 | the kitchen

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