When I moved last year it took a very open mind to look past the hideous kitchen and fall in love with our new home.  The above photo is what the kitchen looked like the day we closed on the condo.  Orange walls, greenish/taupe counters, black appliances, forest green plastic light fixtures?!  It was bad.  Luckily the realtor took the fake fruit with her…

Immediately after moving in we painted the walls Benjamin Moore Roosevelt Taupe- I couldn’t get rid of that burnt orange color fast enough!  I also thought a taupe color might make the counter tops less offensive.  We then replaced the plastic track lighting with a simple fixture from restoration hardware.  While the kitchen was no longer orange, there was no doubt we still had a long way to go.  Instead of being a bright eyesore, it turned into a dark and dingy corner… made worse by the fact that the kitchen is visible from the dining area and living room!

The finally plan was devised in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t even wait until the morning to start taking the cabinets apart.  Everything had to go white!

We used Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint in Decorator’s White (semi-gloss finish) to paint the freshly sanded cabinets.  The wall space above the cabinets was painted the same white, but in an eggshell finish.

Instead of painting the black splash area, we opted for white subway tiles.  We picked them up at home depot and all the tile cost less than $100.  In order to cut the tile we had to rent a wet saw (also from home depot) but it looked a lot scarier than it was.

After the tile was in place, we added the grout.  (You can see more tiling tips and tricks here, or ask away in the comments).  We also added simple stainless steel knobs to our freshly painted cabinets.

Here is how the kitchen looked this morning… a big improvement if you ask me!  We replaced the sink and faucet, along with a few appliances.  Our dishwasher got it’s own fun makeover, which you can read about here.  Another very simple improvement which had a huge impact was removing the lip of counter top that ran along the back splash wall.  It just peeled right off!  I wish we had done that on day one.  Here’s another look at the before and after:

Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions always feel free to ask away!

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27 Responses to Amelia’s DIY Kitchen Renovation

  1. Looks amazing… Especially love the faucet hardware- really cool!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks amazing!!!

  3. Ted Chenoweth says:

    Fantastic job Amelia! I’ve enjoyed following your blog. My question is where does this come from? I don’t remember your mother being this crafty.

    • thechicagolifeblog says:

      Haha, not sure where the time comes from, but I do think the ‘crafty gene’ skips a generation ;) Thanks for reading!

  4. Jackie says:

    Amelia – I am so impressed with your DIY skills. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now – I love it! Keep up the great content and style tips :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    amelia – you are so talented! love your humility and incredible taste :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love the tiles and the white cupboards and pulls. Fantastic job……

  7. drsusieg says:

    How long did the reno take? it is so fresh and inviting…

  8. I love this kitchen redo! I actually forwarded it to my mother for her to consider renovating her own kitchen. It looks so chic but still comfortable :)

    Lindsay Jo

    • thechicagolifeblog says:

      How sweet! Thank you! It’s very comfortable- I just love it, and hope your mother will too! xx

  9. Teresa says:

    Love the new light fixture, can you tell me where you got it?

  10. Amanda says:

    Did u pain the countertops? If so, with what? And what was the process??

    • thechicagolifeblog says:

      No, after a lot of research I did not paint the countertops. However, once I did everything else I didn’t mind the countertops at all! One thing that really helped was taking off the little 6inch “backsplash” piece of countertop that was originally joined to the wall… good luck! xx

  11. Anonymous says:

    How did you remove the backsplash on the countertop? Love the new look!

    • thechicagolifeblog says:

      We just put the back end of a hammer behind it to start prying it off and it pulled right off from there! Ours was just lightly glued on. It was so easy! I wish we’d pulled it off the day we moved in!

  12. I’m new to your blog and love it! I’m curious: How has the paint on your cabinets held up so far? I want to paint our maple cabinets white so badly, but we had a contractor tell us it was a bad idea, the paint wouldn’t adhere (even if we/they sanded), and it wouldn’t look right. But I see people doing it all the time! Just thought I’d see if you’re happy with how everything has held up over the past few months. Thanks!

    • thechicagolifeblog says:

      Hi Paige- Thanks for stopping by! I say, go for it! We don’t have a single chip in our paint months later! I also painted an old bathroom vanity (w/o sanding) and that’s help up perfectly as well! My biggest recommendation is that you use Benjamin Moore AURA paint in semi gloss. The ‘Aura’ line seems to be the key as it’s made for jobs like this. We also did about 2-3 coats, just for good measure. I can honestly say we haven’t had a single issue with our painted cabinets, and I’ve been IN LOVE with our kitchen ever since we painted them! Take before and after photos and send them over… xx

  13. Urban Accent says:

    Great transformation! I like the tiled slashback, nice change from glass.

  14. Andy says:

    Your kitchen turned out great!

  15. Anna says:

    Quite the transformation! It’s amazing how much white can lighten up a room!

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