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Kitchen Remodel: Final Pictures

Well, it took me a while, but I finally got my act together and got some pictures posted of my big kitchen refresh project from last summer!
And I have to admit, I kind of love looking at these pictures, because the transformation really is amazing. Yes, it was a ton of work, but all totally worth it.
So first, here’s a little “before” action for you.
And here’s the after!
To recap, I made the following changes:
1) Built the existing upper cabinet boxes up to the ceiling (and purchased/installed new cabinet doors that fit the taller dimensions)
2) Painted all the cabinets (upper and lower) white (Sherwin Williams Snowbound)
3) Painted the walls more of a greige (versus the yellow-white that was there before). I would like to have gone even grayer, but thought it might clash too much with the granite.
4) Took down the window treatments, replaced the light fixtures, and replaced artwork.
Countertops, flooring, and appliances all stayed the same.
Obviously, the first change you probably noticed was the white cabinets. But I would argue that the even more impactful change was building the cabinets up to the ceiling. It’s amazing how small and builder-grade the original cabinets look, now that I compare them to the “after” picture! Taking them up to the ceiling instantly made them look more expensive and more custom. It was a major undertaking, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. For more on how I extended the cabinets, click here. I purchased the new cabinet doors from Cabinet Door World—12 new unpainted upper doors ran me about $900, including shipping.

Another before shot, looking toward the breakfast area.

A few other details: I replaced the can light above the sink with a hanging fixture, using this $16 conversion kit. If you’ve ever changed a light fixture, converting a recessed light to a hanging fixture is just as easy! I also swapped out all the cabinet hardware.


These glass-doored cabinets were a challenge, in that I didn’t feel like painting the inside of them. LOL. So instead I used them as an opportunity to bring some pattern into the room by adding herringbone peel-and-stick wallpaper, which I purchased here. It was super easy to install and it’s repositionable if you screw it up.


I chose Sherwin William’s Snowbound for the cabinets, mainly because all my existing trim and interior doors were already painted that color. The pantry doors you can see next to the ovens in this photo weren’t touched. I thought it made the most sense to keep everything consistent.

Of course there are still a few more things I’d like to do. The biggest is that I would love to take down that small granite backsplash and instead do a subway tile backsplash that extends to the upper cabinets. But I really don’t think I want to take on a tiling project myself, so that’s going to have to wait until we can get a pro. In fact, see the pass-through on the far left? I would love to do subway tile on that entire wall, all around the pass-through. How fabulous would that be?
I also feel like there’s more I could do with this breakfast area, but I’m just not sure what. I would love to put in some kind of banquette to make it cozier, but not sure how that would work with so many doorways and windows. Still contemplating.

The more I look at the “before” pictures, the more amazed I am that I lived with it the old way for as long as I did. LOL. Funny how that happens!

Oh, and just for fun, since you made it down this far, check out the before before pictures of our kitchen! This is what it looked like 11+ years ago, the day we did our final walk-through before purchasing the house. We gutted it right after we bought the house, making the kitchen work space larger by walling up the exterior door on the right and pushing the peninsula into that spot. We also added the arched pass-through where the refrigerator is in this photo. The evolution of a kitchen—it has come a long way, hasn’t it? Funny though, that we went back to white cabinets in the end!

Thanks for checking out my kitchen refresh! As always, I will update this if I make any additional changes!

30 replies
  1. KathyinMN
    KathyinMN says:

    Its gorgeous! How hard was it to paint the cabinets? Did you use an airbrush painter or rollers or ? Only ask because I'm considering the same thing. Love that you added the very first pic of the kitchen too-holy hannah what a change from them.

  2. Alison Wood
    Alison Wood says:

    It looks so much bigger and fresher in white! Very impressed that you tackled carpentry – I usually leave that to my other half. Very satisfying to remind yourself of the 'before'!

  3. Denise in PA
    Denise in PA says:

    Wow, incredible work! I love it! I really enjoyed going through the before and afters (and you first before). I think your ideas about the subway tile great! We had our kitchen gutted and remodeled about 10 years ago (luckily, I have a brother who did all the work at a very affordable price for us) and we always say it was the best money we ever spent!

  4. Libby in TN
    Libby in TN says:

    Agreed that cabinets to the ceiling not only provide more storage but look classier. However, I'm more impressed that you'd handle the paint job yourself. All your color choices are understated elegance. Great job!

  5. Robby H.
    Robby H. says:

    (sigh) It's gorgeous. To give you some perspective, my kitchen is far closer to the last kitchen picture you showed! I was surprised at how much the white cabinets lightened the whole space since you already had light wood. You appear to have made some verysmart choices, I think. Enjoy!

  6. Doreen Auger
    Doreen Auger says:

    That was so much fun to see the "evolution" and really happy that you are now able to enjoy the fruit of your labors. We re-did our farm kitchen 40+ years ago and enclosed the space above the cabinets (not like your cabinet extensions) and remember how many ppl were amazed by such an idea (that space above is a clutter-catcher/dirt-catcher!!!). Thnks so much for sharing!!!!!

  7. Dawn White
    Dawn White says:

    It's so fun looking at before and after pictures (and I did so enjoy your "during" posts as well). Your new kitchen looks fabulous! Adding subway tiles when you can is a great idea. We did that in our master bath remodel and absolutely love the result. BTW, I am so impressed with your DIY skills!

  8. Rebecca Grace
    Rebecca Grace says:

    I love what you did with your cabinets! Extending them to the ceiling looks cleaner and more custom, AND makes better use of space. Nice job with the crown molding flowing seamlessly from the wall across the tops of the cabinets, by the way. As for the backsplash tile — Girl, you can TOTALLY DIY the hell out of that if you want to. I've done it, and it's an excellent first time tile project because it's such a small area. No crawling around on your knees or anything! Your subway tiles are going to be easy to keep nice and straight, just start from the bottom (countertop) and go up. You can even get fancier with more decorative tile options if you want, just make sure if you choose a mosaic that you pick one that comes on a mesh backer — then you just cut it to fit, smear it to the wall, and grout the perfectly even spaces between tiles when you're finished. Seriously. There is probably even a class on how to do it at Home Depot or Lowes. And I'm sure there are a bazillion YouTube videos and blog posts…

    Congrats on your lovely kitchen refresh!

  9. Lara B.
    Lara B. says:

    Your kitchen could easily grace the pages of House Beautiful! Wonderful work Lee! For the first time ever, we have cabinets that go right up to the ceiling too and it makes everything looks better, gives you more storage and doesn't collect any dust.
    Love your idea of papering the inside of the hutch cabinet!

  10. HoldingOn4
    HoldingOn4 says:

    Wow! It's fabulous! Definitely worth all your hard work and effort. I hope that you are not only pleased but very proud because you deserve to be. I hope that you enjoy your newly revamped kitchen.

  11. Debbie Leschisin
    Debbie Leschisin says:

    The kitchen transformation is beautiful! I applaud you for taking on painting your cabinets yourself. Raising the cabinetry to the ceiling was definitely a good move. Love the wallpaper in your cabinet with the glass front! Such a nice contrast of the white with the wood floor! Can you come to northwest Wisconsin and do that here in my kitchen?

  12. Daytona Damsel
    Daytona Damsel says:

    Love the tall, white cabinets. I have white cabinets but they do not go to the ceiling, I wish they did. I kike your breakfast room but your right it seems to need something else. Your kitchen is so elegant so I think the banquet would not work, to casual. I do have one question, Where did you put the microwave? LOL Funny that was the first thing I noticed. I did away with mine 3 years ago and haven't missed it at all. Did you do away with yours or cleverly disguise it? Debbie

  13. JanineMarie
    JanineMarie says:

    This is an amazing transformation–especially when I see the before before picture. You tackled some projects I'd never dare do–extending the cabinets and painting them. If you can do that, I think DIY subway tiling would be a piece of cake for you! Congrats on your beautiful new space!!

  14. Lesley Gilbert
    Lesley Gilbert says:

    It was well worth all your effort – the end result is amazing and the new height cupboards finish off everything so nicely. I loved seeing the before 'before' photo as well – I always take 'before – during – after' photo's as well – we could never remember all the little details of what we've achieved, a few years down the line. Well done to you and your hubby 🙂

  15. Jen
    Jen says:

    I keep revisiting your page to look at your cabinets again. I want to do the same thing but am concerned with the seams between where the old cabinets end and new uppers start. How did you handle this?

    Fantastic work!

  16. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Hi Jen – the only place where that's really an issue is where the sides of the cabinets show, and in the glass-front cabinet. Everywhere else, the former tops of the cabinets are hidden now by the new doors. So, in the places where it does show:

    In the case of the glass-front cabinet, in the picture of that cabinet you can see that the top "shelf" showing through the glass is much thicker than the other shelves. There's really nothing you can do about that, and while I wouldn't CHOOSE for it be that way, it's a little quirk that doesn't bother me overly much. : )

    In the case of the sides of the cabinets, you just have to be really careful to make sure that where you're building on is really, REALLY flush with the sides that already exist. I did this by adding wood filler into the cracks and then sanding like crazy. Then, once I painted it, it was camouflaged pretty nicely. If you REALLY look, you can see it in a few places, but I don't think anybody is looking at it nearly as critically as I am, so I'm pretty happy with it. LOL.

  17. Jen
    Jen says:

    Lee, thanks so much for your reply, I really appreciate it! I've looked at both of your blog entries related to the kitchen countless times trying to get up the nerve to do this myself. 🙂 How tall are your ceilings? Did you get 42" cabinet fronts or did you need bigger than that? My ceilings are pretty high and if I get 42" cabinet fronts I will still have a bit of a gap, even with the crown molding (I think…need to measure again). I've looked at options for filling in that space with MDF and then attaching the crown. It looks like you built up the cabinets first and then ordered the doors?

    I only have two cabinets that would show the "seams" so sounds like as long as I sand really well and use wood filler and spackling compound, I'll be good.

    Thanks for the inspiration as well as the information. My best to you! Jen


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