All About The Kitchen Remodel

tile demo

This is a sight I’ve been waiting to see for eight years: demolishing the 30-year-old tile in our kitchen, wha-hoo!

Which means we’ve started the last stages of our kitchen remodel which was begun when we sprayed everything with white paint in 2004 right after buying our house and was continued when we retrofitted a cabinet to hold an over-the-stove microwave.

And yes, it was started a long time ago – sigh. Such is the life of DIY-ers, where we’ve learned all about patience.

kitchen counters before
Here’s a list of what we’ve done in the kitchen since moving in:

(most accomplished in the first year)

  1. Painted all the dark brown cabinets white
  2. Removed wallpaper from backsplash and textured to match walls (not recommended, by the way – it’s been a bear to clean with the added texture)
  3. Replaced antique brass hinges with silver hinges
  4. Replaced small ceramic knobs with silver bin-pulls and glass knobs
  5. Cut out the centers of 6 upper cabinet doors and replaced the wood with glass
  6. Replaced outdated hanging light fixture with a vintage light from ebay
  7. Converted the can-light over the sink to a vintage pendant light fixture
  8. Replaced almond dishwasher with a stainless version when it broke
In order to finish the last stages of the remodel, we were waiting on two things:
  • money {…ah-hem}
  • time to drive to the Portland Ikea store to purchase the wood counters we knew we wanted.

By last summer we had saved enough money to complete the remodel and were ready to make the trip to Portland. We hauled our trailer to Ikea, only to find they didn’t have the counters we wanted in stock and they wouldn’t until October because of a manufacturing problem. For us, a winter remodel when I was teaching just wouldn’t work, so we decided to wait another year. I was majorly bummed.

However, this year Ikea was again out of the Lagan butcher block counters. Apparently, they are so popular and inexpensive that they are sold out within days of being restocked. We were told people haunt the website and when they get a new shipment, there’s a line the next day and people will buy 10 counters at a time.


On to plan B: the more expensive Numerar butcherblock, which we chose to get in oak (they come in beech and birch as well). It’s still pretty inexpensive – coming in at under $600 for 25+ feet of countertop, which is comparable to laminate but will be much, much nicer (in my opinion…).

sink before

In addition to the wood counters from Ikea, I ordered a new sink and faucet online and we bought beadboard for the backsplash, as well as paint for the cabinets.
Painted cupboards before

Sadly, ALL the cabinets need to be repainted, including the decorative backs that look out to the living room, not just touched up from the first time they were painted. Why?

Because all the paint we paid $500+ for was the wrong color…which we found out after spending a week painting the entire inside of our new house. Sigh.

How did that happen? Well…let me tell you my pitiful story:

I had used a creamy white paint from a certain paint store (which I will not name, just because…) for all our trim in our city bungalow. I liked it, and if any of you have tried to choose a white paint, you know there are a ton of shades and it’s not always so easy to decide which is best.

So when we needed to paint everything white in our new house, I just went to the same store I had used for years and ordered 80 million gallons (ok, 15 gallons…) in different sheens of my preferred color (that, I probably should mention, I hadn’t bought in a couple of years).

Only to realize after spraying pretty much everything in our house and moving our furniture in (some of which had been painted with the white from the previous house…) that they had changed the color formula.

Seriously. It was NOT the same color. It was more tan and dull than I remembered (and was confirmed when we placed bookshelves painted in the color from years past up against the walls). And when I tried to paint other colors next to the trim, my “white” trim actually began to look beige. Ugh.

I have now spent the last 7 years slowly repainting the trim, doors, and molding with a new white I found that I LOVE: Creamy White by Behr. It’s bright and crisp, but with a warm undertone that keeps it from being too stark. The kitchen is one of the biggest repainting projects left in the house. After that I’ll only have the living room and hallway left.
sink counter before
Since I’ll be blogging and updating on Facebook about our progress, I thought I’d share with you all that we hope to get done in the next few weeks (months?). Plus, there’s nothing like having a list and getting to check things off to help keep motivated, is there?

Master “to-do” list to complete our kitchen remodel:
  1. Sand all cabinet doors and bases (filling holes and sanding as necessary)
  2. Demolish remaining tile counters
  3. Cover openings left in a cabinet from an unused breadboard with molding (and a few other places to finish cabinets) – caulk and paint
  4. Use a jigsaw to even up the underside of one cabinet that had been cut out by previous owners
  5. Move small cabinet by fridge over a couple inches to gain space between stove and corner cabinet (?)
  6. Paint all cabinets and doors
  7. Add beadboard as a backsplash – trim all edges, caulk/fill and paint
  8. Measure and cut wood counters
  9. Stain and finish counters
  10. Install counters
  11. Install new sink
  12. Install new faucet
  13. Install rod for hanging utensils behind stove
  14. Replace old off-white electrical outlets with new white ones
  15. Sew a new curtain for sink cabinet

Whew. Maybe I should’ve waited until after we’d accomplished most of this before writing it out…

Have any of you tackled a kitchen remodel? Do you have any suggestions for us?


This is linked to Saturday Nite Special.


  1. Sharon O says

    You have way more energy than I do. It will look good when it is all done.
    I think white paint is similar to red, there are many shades and few match.

  2. says

    Wow, that’s a huge project! We’re still plugging away on a bathroom remodel that began last January. We’re both teachers and I thought for sure we’d get it done this summer, but no. I do remember how great it felt to smash tile though!

  3. says

    Good luck with your ongoing remodeling project! I need to do something with our kitchen too. But I’m afraid to start :)

    I look forward to seeing the new kitchen when you have it finished!

  4. says

    How disappointing that they changed the formula on you! OMG after all that work!! I’m ready to paint my kitchen cabinets but have decided instead to finish all those lovely projects that I began and lost interest in – lol! Good thing we never run out of projects or we wouldn’t have anything to blog about :)


  5. Janee says

    Sounds like more than a few weeks worth of work. We’ve done DIY remodels in multiple houses since we can never afford to pay anybody else and we are both able bodied and capable of learning. My only advice is to paint before putting in new stuff so that any accidents can be easily covered up or removed rather than having to live with paint drips on new wood countertops… :-O. Most of all….have fun!

  6. betsy justis says

    Love Behr Creamy White! I have used in our kitchen, too.
    Our kitchen arrangement is similar to yours. We removed the overhead cabinets over the long counter the day we moved in. I am so glad we did! It opens up the kitchen and I don’t really miss the ton of storage. We are planning to add pendant light s- maybe – someday. Thye might just get in the way and we don’t really need the lighting.

    How did the Ikea wood counter tops hold up? I think they look great in the store, but wonder about the longevity.

    • Jami says

      So our kitchens are twins, eh? :) If our cabinets over the breakfast bar were lower, we would’ve removed them, too, but they are high – we can easily talk to folks and see everywhere with them. They are also very nicely made with inset panels and crown molding on the dining room side, which give the room a bit more character.

      As for the counters…a-hem…they just now got installed, so will have to let you know. :) However, we installed DIY pine counters in our last house (no Ikea close to us back then) and I LOVED them and they held up great for the three years we were there after putting them in. Hopefully these will do as well.

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