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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!


My Kitchen Refresh: Extending My Cabinets To the Ceiling

I have a lot of projects that I want to get done around my house this summer, and as many of you know, the first one I tackled was modifying my kitchen cabinets—making them taller and extending them up to the ceiling. So I thought I’d give you an update on how my kitchen project is coming along!

It’s been a lot of work, but I’m done with the building portion of the project. I’ve ordered new, taller upper cabinet doors that will cover the length of the new cabinets, so those will be installed when they arrive, and I’m re-installing all the crown molding. Then I’m painting everything white.


Here’s the thing—when we moved into this house 10 years ago, we gutted this entire kitchen. In fact, our remodel was finished 10 years ago this month. So all of the changes I’m making now? Involve things I actually put here originally.

Another before

But I can’t for the life of me remember why we didn’t do taller cabinets in the first place (maybe that just wasn’t done back then?). So I got it in my head that I wanted to extend them up to the ceiling, to give us some additional storage and make my ceilings look a bit higher. (We only have 8-foot ceilings in this house, so anything I can do to visually raise them, I’m gonna!)

Here it is now that I’m done building them up. Even in this unfinished state, the ceilings seem so much higher. I love it! Well worth the effort, I think, and I can’t wait to see them when they’re all painted and completed.

This was a challenging project for a couple of reasons. First, I have never built anything. Ever. Total newbie here at this kind of thing. Second, since we were the ones who put these cabinets in, I remember how much they cost—and now I’m taking a crowbar and a sander to them? Scary stuff, you guys. But my taste has changed a lot in those 10 years, and I guess it finally bugged me enough to take action.

My basic process: First I removed the crown molding from both the top of the existing cabinets and the walls. Next I added a sheet of hardwood plywood to the tops of the existing cabinets—there was a rim around the top, so I nailed on the plywood to give me a flat surface that would become the next shelf up. Then I added the sides and backs, either screwing them into the wall studs, or attaching them to each other with metal corner braces. Last, I added the face-framing pieces in dimensions that matched those pieces on the existing cabinets. I glued everything in place with woodworking glue before securing the pieces, so that nothing would shift out of place as I worked.

Obviously you wouldn’t normally want to use something so visible as a corner brace in a project like this. I had intended to use a Kreg pocket hole jig to drill pocket holes to hide the screws, but since I was building everything in place on top of the existing cabinets, there wasn’t enough room in there for my drill and the Kreg jig. So I went with the braces instead, and I think it will be fine—I’m not too concerned with how the cabinets look on the inside, since it’s the very tippy-top shelf only, and of course the new doors will hide the braces when they’re shut.

If you’re thinking of tackling a project like this, the first thing to know is that if I can do it, anybody can! Remember, absolutely no woodworking experience over here. LOL. I would just pass on the following tips for other beginners such as myself:

1) Everything has to be perfectly flush and square and level. If the new pieces you add aren’t level with the old cabinets, the new doors won’t hang correctly. And if the new pieces aren’t flush with the old pieces, paint won’t be sufficient to make it look like it was always just one cabinet. I used this power sander to sand down any edges that stuck out a little, and spackling compound to fill any cracks or other spaces. (I used a lot of spackling compound. It’s your friend in a project like this!)

2) If you don’t have an impact driver, get one! This is probably old news to anyone who’s done any woodworking, but as a total beginner, I wasn’t aware that such a thing existed until my dad recommended one. Unlike a standard drill, it has hammering action that provides force while you’re driving in screws. It made my project go a lot faster and more smoothly once I had one. (I bought the one linked above because it works with my other DeWalt tools’ battery system.)

So there you have it—phase one of the kitchen project is complete. I’m really happy with it and can’t wait to get painting! I’ll update again when that’s done!

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WIP Wednesday: Summer Runnin’

Ah, summer. That time of the year when I spend entire days in the car, just shuttling the girls from one lesson/activity to the next. Looks like nice weather out there, does it? I wouldn’t know, I’ve been in an air-conditioned car all week. LOL.
Oh, but look! I did manage to remove the paper from my completed kaleidoscope blocks and press them. And my 6-year-old helped me put them up on the design wall. Progress!! : )
And my kitchen project is proceeding. Sort of kind of. I’m building onto the top of my existing kitchen cabinets, so that they extend all the way to the ceiling. It’s been made interesting by the fact that have never built anything, ever in my life. (Please note that this has not stopped me from buying lots of power tools over the last month.) So it’s been a learning experience, but I think I’m on track. And I’m really enjoying it, so I hope to continue putting those power tools to work!

Okay, what are you working on? Let’s see it!


1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the “Add Your Link” button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says “Link,” use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!