DIY Kitchen Remodel: From 80’s Ranch to Farmhouse Fresh


I’m over-the-moon-excited to tell you we are 99% done with our kitchen remodel! AND that we’re not living with this anymore. Can the DIY sigh of relief be heard around the world, do you think?

Are you ready? Here’s the kitchen in all her new glory:


I’m in love with everything: the counters, of course, but also the new beadboard backsplash, huge single sink, and farmhouse faucet. Brian said the other day that it’s like being in somebody else’s kitchen, ’cause our kitchen has a broken faucet, chipping, uneven & ugly tile counters, holes in the cabinetry and a stove that doesn’t fit. But we are SO glad that it doesn’t exist anymore – it’s fun to be in this kitchen. Oh, on a side note, isn’t it amazing how tan the “white” color we painted originally (now only on the walls and ceiling) seems agains the cabinets?

Just to remind us how far we’ve come (in eight years, a-hem), I’m sharing again our one photo of what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house:


Can you say brown? I seriously can’t believe we don’t have a picture from inside the kitchen – we really did run around taking before pictures after we moved in while we were getting ready to spray everything white. Grrr, well at least it’s enough to give you an idea of what it looked like.

And here it is today:


Of course, we never lived in it like we found it. We removed wallpaper and painted everything the first week we owned the house and then we did these big-impact-low-cost updating projects to get us through until the full remodel:

  • Changed all the hinges from “antique” brass to silver.
  • Changed the small white ceramic knobs to more substantial silver bin pulls and glass knobs.
  • Converted the recessed light over the sink to a pendant and added a vintage fixture we bought on ebay.
  • Installed a vintage (ebay, again) main light fixture.
  • Removed the inset panels from 6 upper cabinet doors: one on each side of the sink and on the “butler’s pantry” (said completely tongue-in-cheek) wall.
  • Removed the sink cabinet doors and added a curtain plus a towel rod.
  • Bought a new stainless refrigerator (there was no fridge) and then replaced the dishwasher after it broke around year four.

So, it was livable and even pleasant for awhile. Until more things started breaking. And the counters got even more grody, if that’s possible. Just take a look at these before-and-after photos and you will see why we are lovin’ our new space:


Look at that long expanse of counters…sigh. And the new sink and faucet are wonderful. I sewed a new sink skirt out of black and cream ticking to tie in with all the other black. Plus, it’s pretty classic, so I don’t think I’ll get tired of it for awhile.


This remodel started more than a year ago with the installation of the overhead microwave which included retrofitting the cabinet above the stove (find a full tutorial here). We finally finished the area with a piece of beadboard behind the teapots which can be removed to access the electrical outlet we installed.


I think the butler’s pantry area is the most dramatic – and it took the most finagling trying to figure out how to deal with the holes left from an awkward gigantic breadboard in the lower cabinet and the weird cut-out in the upper cabinet skirt.


I’m so proud of Brian for figuring out a way to make my vision for the upper cabinet skirt to come to life here – it wasn’t easy to make scrolls with a jigsaw on attached cabinets, but it looks like it was always meant to be this way, doesn’t it? And to cover up the base cabinet holes, we attached simple flat molding. I still have an idea about running a decorative piece of molding across the front, but I can’t decide what would look best.


I refinished the wood breakfast bar to match the counters and even though one is a wood veneer and the other is oak, the dark stain helps them coordinate nicely.


Since we had everything out for staining and it really needed it, I went ahead and refinished the desk, too. It looks 100 times better, so I’m glad I did (you can see a closeup of the desk before in this organizing post). Oh, yeah, and next up is repainting the desk.

I’m planning a more detailed post next week with information about what we did and a cost-breakdown, plus another post just on the counters. For now, though, how giddy do you think I am to be checking all these things off the master kitchen to-do list?

  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 (though there’s still a bit of caulking left)
  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 (decided against this after we rearranged our utensil drawers)
  14. Replace old off-white electrical outlets with new white ones
  15. Sew a new curtain for sink cabinet
  16. Added 12/1: Cut, stain, and finish quarter-round to edge all the countertops

And that’s it! I’m calling it done and won’t bore you with a list again (though I might let you know when attach the quarter-round…). So tell me – what do you think?

Like some more details? Go to this post to read more about the kitchen redo, including links and cost breakdown!


I’m sharing this at Best DIY Projects for November, Metamorphosis Monday, Before & After PartyTransformation Thursday, Frugal Friday, Flaunt it Friday, and Saturday Nite Special.



  1. Shannann says

    Jami, it’s absolutely amazing!!! I especially love the countertops! Way to persevere. You guys did a great job. Xoxo

  2. Judy Clark says

    Jami, you did a fantastic job! I’m getting ready to redo my kitchen and just hope it turns out near as pretty as yours.


  3. says

    What a wonderful transformation! I’m happy to see non-granite countertops and look forward to reading that post. I’m a big fan of beadboard and I love how you tied in the desk with the counter changes. Job well done!

  4. Carolyn says

    Gorgeous! I know you must be thrilled beyond words.We are in the process of moving to another state with a much more expensive housing market. Your transformations are inspiring as we look at the houses in our price range and think about potential.

  5. says

    Oh my I love this, its so fresh and beautiful, I’d say you knocked it out of the ball park with this remodel! Its right up there with my style, everything from the bead-board to the counters to the colors, its just fantastic and I’d say a job well done!!!!! You guys remind me of us with the DIY projects like this kitchen, I love it!

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Missie says

    Jami, I am so happy for you! The kitchen looks wonderful and must be such a joy to create in. Hats off to you, Brian, and your kids for all your hard work. :)

  7. Jennifer Barker says

    It looks fantastic! What did you find was the best/easiest method for painting your cabinets (both inside and out)? Brush, small foam roller or sprayer?

    • Jami says

      A foam roller all the way, Jennifer! I used a brush to cut in and then the roller. I thought about using the hand-held sprayer but I needed to do the cabinets and doors, so I decided to do both the same way.

  8. says

    This is really beautiful! You guys have much more impressive DIY skills than I have – my efforts really LOOK like I did it myself (not that I’m complaining – I have fun), while you could easily pass this off as professional work. Fantastic.

  9. Madonna says

    This is lovely. I am so glad to hear you like your sink. My sister and I have been discussing the advantage and disadvantage of a sink like yours. She said it would be too big, and I said it would be just right. I can’t wait to tell her.

    • Jami says

      You made me smile, Madonna – and the more we use it the more we like it – especially with the rack in the bottom!

  10. says

    Absolutely gorgeous kitchen remodel, Jami! I love the white cabinetry with the dark countertops–so pretty! Isn’t it nice to have a kitchen that is exactly how you want it? It makes working in there so much easier and such a pleasure. Well done–so much work obviously went into this, and what a beautiful result.

  11. Teresa says

    Absolutely Gorgeous!! I LOVE the new breadbox canister!! Where did you get it? Breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy your new kitchen! So what is your next project to tackle?

    • Jami says

      Thanks, Teresa – I found the bread box at a thrift store last summer – can you believe it? My heart seriously started pounding when I saw it and I was sure they were going to have it priced high, but it was just $3.99! Love those moments :)

  12. says

    Jami, it’s wonderful! I am so jealous of your countertops! I am just chompin’ to get my countertops done. I really love how you revamped the cabinets…it all looks so good.

    • Jami says

      Thank you, Christina – I really did slave over them and wondered a couple times if we shoulda just put laminate or something cheap down. Gasp! Of course now I’m SO glad for these beautiful counters. :)

  13. says

    Wow!! Where to begin, love the white and timber combination, so clean, warm and classic. I bet you just stand there some days and take it all it. Your kitchen is just lovely and a great inspiration.

  14. Teresa says

    The gaping hole was probably where the cutting board went, but the board must have been lost. Personally, I love that feature in old kitchens for handy storage. … Great job overall. I’ve been thinking of doing beadboard in my white kitchen, and yours convinces me that it’s the right thing.

  15. Janet says

    Jami: how did you hang your sink curtain? Does it slide on a curtain rod? Love your kitchen – you all are so creative! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      It hangs on those simple, inexpensive rods they sell for hanging curtains on doors. It’s metal and you attach holders on each side of the cabinet to slide the rod in and out of – works great. :)

  16. Fran says

    I am in love with your kitchen!! We painted our cupboards white already and need to do the floors and counters. I am voting for the butcher block. Maybe if I show my hubby your amazing kitchen he will want it also :-) . Great job!!

    • says

      We get a lot of questions about this, actually, Dena – we’re planning on a 2-year update soon. :) They actually look the same as when we finished them! We’ve had two ‘accidents’ from our kids using knives on the counter, but they were easily sanded and touched up with stain/poly and you’d never know it.

  17. Mama T says

    My husband and I are planning a kitchen remodel (maybe arguing over it is better). He still likes the “hunter green & mauve with a chair rail and two different wallpapers” look. And I have to fend off that chair rail at least 3-4 times a year. Now I come across the GEORGEOUS wood countertop and I fall in love. I just hope he falls too. Pray for me ladies!!!

  18. says

    Jami – Your kitchen makeover is so beautiful! I love that it looks doable. Some minor changes made a HUGE impact. I adore your wood counters. I have a friend who has some and I am always envious. They are so warm and unique. Thank you for sharing at the Hunt & Host Home Tour link up!


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