We Got 99 Problems…

but a kitchen ain’t one – uh, yea.

That’s right. You’re not imagining things. We’re finally posting pictures of our kitchen facelift – and doing so with the help of Jay-Z circa 2003. Now how many times do you read that?

Before we explore the after shots. Let’s rewind to where our cocina started from. Clean and easy but not cozy and not very Chad and Amy.

We didn’t have the budget to gut the cabinets or knock out walls, but we do feel like the changes we were able to make have really warmed things up and made our kitchen feel more like a room in our home and not just the room with the food in it.

Lucy seems to approve. What do you guys think? Here’s a quick run down of all the projects we tackled – all of them DIY. If you’re interested in doing any of these things in your own home check out our How-To page for details on each project.

Project 1: Butcher Block Countertops and Subway Tile Backsplash.  We carefully ripped out the old laminate countertops, which were really 1″ x 6″ boards with laminate glued on.  A contractor’s quote just for removing the old countertops was $250. A little time and elbow grease took care of this for free – and Chad only bled a little.  No stitches were necessary. Plus we didn’t have to pay for hauling services, the City of Durham picked them up on heavy trash day.

Our new butcher block beauties came from IKEA and we paid less than $350 for two 8 foot pieces.  Four coats of Waterlox sealer keep them shiny and wipe-able.

We also added new drawer pulls to our lower cabinets for a little extra vintage flair.

Project 2: New Faucet and Under Mount Sink. Our new faucet came from Lowes and our sink from Overstock. The sink is by far Amy’s favorite part of the kitchen because of its low center divide. Well, maybe the sink is tied with the new stove. We were lucky to be able to hold on to our old disposal, but did have to replace all of the piping underneath.


Project 3: Stainless Steel Appliances (that’s right we’re fancy). These were by far our greatest expense in the whole upgrade. We were able to stick to a budget for everything which included a new refrigerator, range, microwave and dishwasher all from the Frigidaire Professional line. We also had to fork out some extra beans for the gas company to come run the line to our new range. Gas ranges seem to be rare in Durham homes, but we are really happy we made the switch.

Project 4: Lighting.  One of the first projects we completed was hanging two new pendant lights over our sink area in place of the horrid fluorescent light that was there. I felt like I was in a hospital every time I washed the dishes – no bueno.  That was so early in our plans that you can already see them in the before shots.  We later switched out our dorm room like track lighting for more modern track lights with halogen bulbs that give the space a little bit of a gallery feel. We’ve focused the six lights on our workspaces, shiny new appliances and open shelving.  Our cabinets also have new LED lights underneath them, read more about that here.

Project 5: Bamboo Window Coverings. You guys voted and helped us out and boy were you right. We love the warmth that our four new bamboo roman shades add.  Plus we can close them in the evening for added privacy when hitting up the midnight snacks.


Project 6: Open Shelving – as a result of our refrigerator mishap. For a couple of months our plan was to create a custom wine rack in the space above the refrigerator. But after staring at the hole for a few weeks we decided a. above the fridge is probably not the best place to store wine and b. that could be pretty tricky to do right and well, let’s be honest we are amateurs. So for about $6 we just recreated the shelf and filled it with brightly colored serving dishes and other items that we don’t use on a daily basis.

Project 7: Create an Entry. Our old dish cabinet was great. We love its new home in our living room. But it just wasn’t doing it for us in the kitchen anymore. So we pulled a switcheroo with an IKEA desk, lamp from Carolina Pottery and garage sale mirror. We already had the chair and decorative items on hand, including the blue rimmed glass we’re using as a candle holder. It was used during communion at our wedding.

Project 8: Storage. We scored some new canisters with Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards and coupons that were just lying around and filled them with our go-to snacks. We also got creative with a little wooden box we’ve had on hand for years to make a little nook for holding oils and measuring spoons near the stove. A handy lower shelf became the perfect place to store my mixer, since it was now too tall for our countertops.

Project 9: Add some color. We did this with dishes and accessories we already had, like these measuring spoons from Anthropologie.   The only new items brought in was the desk lamp and these plants picked up at Lowes a couple of days ago.

Project 10: Add some artwork. We used cheapo frames from IKEA and Michaels to frame everyday items that were all free like our restaurant post cards, printed family recipes and tear sheets from magazines. If you look closely on our new shelf above the refrigerator you’ll also see a framed photo booth strip of Amy’s sweet grandma – taken at our wedding. She keeps an eye on the cooking.

Projects 11-13: Paint and Crown Molding. A lot of time, a little frustration, but a beautiful finished product. We didn’t agree on hanging the molding in the beginning but are now both really happy it’s up. We also painted the walls with Gentle Tide by Glidden and added a chalk board to our built-in spice rack. Barton approves.

Whew, that was a fun mini-makeover. We’ve got lots of other spaces to tackle in our home so stay tuned for adventures in bedroom painting, new toilets, pedestal sinks and light fixtures.

Anyone else kitchen-proud? Got a great home project to share? We’d love to hear about it, see pics and even share it with our other readers right here on the bloggity blog. Got a late 90’s early 2000’s rap reference to go with it? Even better.

P.S. We also just posted our new addition on HGTV Rate My Space just for fun. You know to see what total strangers thing. Check it out!

This entry was posted in Kitchen Updates, La Casa. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to We Got 99 Problems…

  1. Alex says:

    Wow- you guys did a fantasic job in your kitchen! I especially like your accessories and new butcher block. One thing, you didn’t mention the backsplash! Just did subway tile in our kitchen a few weeks ago and it has to be the easiest project to do but makes you *so* proud after. Bravo!

  2. Wendy says:

    Looks great you guys!!!!

  3. Weezer says:

    LOVE IT!!!! Great Job Guys!!!

  4. eliza laciste says:

    Wow!! It’s great job.. Keep it up!

  5. Sara says:

    What a great job you did!! I just may hunt down some Waterlox for our Ikea butcher block kitchen island. If you figure out an easy way to keep your new appliances clear of fingerprints, please blog about it!

  6. Wendy says:

    Great ideas! Did you guys do the sink cut-out and mounting yourselves? I’m just curious how you get a super water tight seal around that… it looks excellent!

  7. Aunt Shirley says:

    It is just absolutely beautiful, I love it! The butcherblock countertops look great & I love the picture of Granny in the photo booth!!! lol All in all, a job well done you two!

  8. paige says:

    I came across your blog after I did a search for “brandon beige”….just wanted to say how I love your new kitchen and the color scheme you picked out! I am in the process of painting my kitchen BB and I love it so far!! I will post it on my blog when I am done, but it won’t be half as pretty as yours! Nice job!!!! Have a happy New Year!

  9. LauraC says:

    Hey! Just found your blog from your post on YHL Facebook and LOVE your kitchen!!!! I mean I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The way you kept the vintage feel and updated it at the same time takes talent. Thanks for the inspiration. It’ll be quite awhile till we can redo our kitchen, but I’m keeping yours for ideas when we’re ready. Thanks! Now off to read your archives . . . (oh, and happy New Year!) Laura

    • Chad and Amy says:

      Thanks so much Laura! We had a blast working on the projects together. It took some time but was well worth the effort. We would love to gut and totally redesign a kitchen one day, but for this house we think it was right to keep it as original as possible. Thanks for reading!

  10. Kristen says:

    Your kitchen reno is amazing! I am really impressed with the countertops… they look awesome and so affordable! You have inspired me!

  11. Diana says:

    I came over from A.T. I love what you did with your kitchen it looks amazing. I agree with one of the comments on A.T. where they say the microwave is too low, and I just wanted to suggest that you can remove the cabinets above the microwave and move it up. Just a tought =). Of coarse if you like it the way it is now than thats what counts.

  12. Diana says:

    on second tought maybe just make them shorter?

  13. Lissa says:

    Great work! If you don’t mind me asking a bulk range for the cost of this level of reno that would be helpful.

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