Kitchen Update: Stripping Cupboards and Finish Selections

The last week and a half have been consumed by this kitchen renovation.  (If you missed that this was happening, you can catch up on the details here.) A little bit of trial and error, a LOT of hard work, and a few late nights, but we are making progress!

Here are some of the finishes we've made a decision on:

Originally I thought I wanted true black paint for the lower cabinets, but after some helpful feedback and some continued Pinterest browsing, we settled on this dark, charcoal gray instead. It is Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore. I am literally jumping up and down in excitement to get this on the cupboards to see how it looks! Also, the guy at the paint store was so nice and full of helpful tips. Hooray for happy, nice people--you make me smile!

I was almost 100% sure that I wanted to use a dark grout with my white subway tile but I was still a little nervous about it being SO DARK. Then I found this medium gray grout that Jen over at With Heart blog used in her kitchen makeover and I knew that this was the one! I also discovered that I can create and pay for an order online with Home Depot and then when I get to the store with baby in tow, it will be waiting for me--no running around finding everything! How awesome it that!?

Another change in the paint game: I really, really wanted a pale, icy blue for the wall color. I taped paint chips to the wall for at least a week so I could be sure of the exact shade... then, when i got the first coat on, I realized I had a made a mistake. The rest of the house just doesn't work with my beautiful ice blue. Instead I'll go with the neutral gray we've used throughout the house: Silver Spoon by Olympic Paint. 

And here's the nitty gritty of what we've been working on!

Image progression: existing cabinet where the microwave is sitting, me checking to see if there is tile underneath the cupboard, YES! there was, so I ripped that sucker out! (all by myself, I might add!)

Because the previous paint job was so bad--lots of texture, drips, etc--I decided it would be worth the effort to strip it all off before starting with the new paint layers. I'm using Citrustrip because it isn't as harsh as and chemically as others and so far I have been happy with the results. This part is almost done and my poor fingers will be happy for the break!

Kitchen Renovation

 I can't believe that I am sitting here writing this post with my windows open, my bare feet, and in a short sleeve shirt. I know to some of you this may not seem like a big deal, but it is NOVEMBER! and in Central New York, anything over 45 degrees this late in the year is like being on vacation! Seriously, I might go pull out my bathing suit and work on my tan. (joking!)

Ok, so all kidding aside, I am so excited to start this next project. It's going to be a biggie, but I'm diving in head first--I'm finally going to tackle my kitchen! It's the one room in the house I haven't really done a lot with since moving in. It's not that it's awful, it's just not me. But that is about to change! 

I thought I would start by showing you some before pictures and then share some images I've pulled for inspiration. I would classify this as a medium-sized renovation. Here's what I plan on updating:

  • Painting the walls
  • Painting the cabinets (I'm thinking dark on the lowers and light on the uppers)
  • Hardware for the cabinets
  • Light Fixtures
  • White subway tile backsplash with dark grout
  • Fixing a broken cupboard and creating a microwave shelf
  • Under cabinet lighting
  • Possibly some open shelving in place of the hanging pots and pans rack
  • Window treatment

Since it's so much harder to be objective about your own space, I would love to hear your ideas and feedback! Comment below and tell me what you think!

Kitchen Renovation Before Pic
Kitchen Renovation Paint Swatches

I taped the paint swatches of colors I'm considering to wall so I could get a feel for how the colors looked throughout the day in different lighting. It is amazing how much different they look in natural and artificial light! Some of them turn so blue in the evening! Right now I'm leaning toward the third from the top. It is the lightest and I like the color best at night.

Kitchen Renovation Before Pic

This is the broken cupboard (well, drawer actually) that I mentiond. I'm thinking about removing the drawer and its hardware entirely, the cupboard door beneath it, as well as the brace that separates the two. This will leave a big open space where I can build a shelf for the microwave so that I can reclaim the counter space for something prettier. 

I'm also debating taking down the pots and pans rack and putting up some open shelving. We'll see though, the man of the house is pretty attached to it. ;)



Here the tin backsplash behind the stove is coming down and the new white subway tile will fill that space. I may also try to add some crown molding. The people who lived here before us boxed in the space between the top of the cupboards and the ceiling, but I think some trim would really give it a more finished look.

Kitchen Renovation Before Pic

The counters are a black granite tile with black grout. Not my fave, but not really in the budget to replace them either. Typically I would coordinate vertical and horizontal surfaces in darks and lights, but I am so tired of keeping these (poorly painted) white cabinets clean! That's why I'm thinking black on the lower cupboards, but a fresh coat of white on the uppers. I'm afraid it would become really dark and heavy with all black or I would just do that. To tie in the transition, I'm contemplating dark grout with the white subway tile.

I would love to hear your opinion or words of wisdom if you've learned by experience! Please use the comment feature below to share your thoughts!

And now, a few pictures I've collected as inspiration. Most of these kitchens go above and beyond the scope of this project, but hey, who doesn't love looking at pictures of pretty kitchens!?

How to Paint a Striped Wall

striped wall // black and white stripes // entryway

I am so excited to share this project with you because I absolutely love how it turned out! I've been thinking about it for awhile but hadn't found the time, or nerve, or something to get it done. This isn't my first go-around with painting stripes on my walls, but this is definitely the most bold. Last time, I painted a wall in our living room with vertical stripes in two very similar shades for a calm, subtle look. This time I decided horizontal stripes were right for two reasons: with high contrast colors I didn't want to risk the circus tent effect, and because this is in an entry/hallway I felt like the horizontal stripes would be welcoming and draw you into our home. 

So, without further ado--our new striped entryway!

Before pictures:

Before I started with any taping or painting, I made a quick sketch of the wall and made note of the wall height so I could calculate how many stripes I wanted and what size they needed to be. The wall is 90" - 3" baseboards, so the total height I needed to divide into stripes was 87". 87/9 = 9.66 or 9 2/3. I decided to make my marks at 9 3/4 because this was an easier increment with the tape measure I had on hand. I started measuring from the bottom, so that the difference would be made up at the top of the wall, further from the eye. I decided to measure and then tape each line as I went so I didn't risk losing, or confusing, my tiny pencil marks. My husband was so kind to help me with this part of the process (it is MUCH easier with two people!) and had the genius idea to use a chalk line. This helped connect our measurements in a straight line that we then used as a reference to tape. 

Pro Tip: When measuring and taping, remember that the tape counts in your measurement. The stripes that are meant to be painted will appear larger because the size of the tape (in this case 1") is being counted into the height of the not-to-be-painted stripes. This means that for the sections you wish to paint, measure between the tape, and for the other sections, measure including the tape.

Pro Tip: Place a small piece of tape inside the stripes that you are not going to paint so you can clearly see the difference. 

Pro Tip: Seal down the edges of your tape with paint the same color as the wall/not-to-be-painted stripes. This ensures that any tiny bleed through or wicking of paint will blend right in, giving you a crisp, clean line. 

striped wall // black and white stripes // entryway
striped wall // black and white stripes // entryway
striped wall // black and white stripes // entryway

Tools for this project:

  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • 3M brand painters tape (don't skimp and go generic brand here, you want a good seal for crisp, clean lines)
  • A good trim brush--this one is my favorite
  • 1 Quart of Sherwin Williams sample paint (This paint is less than $4 for a quart! It is actually meant for trying out a color on a wall before committing to a larger qty and is only available in an eggshell finish.)
how to paint a striped wall // black and white stripes // entryway

Baby Grey's Nursery

Our wee one recently turned 6 months old and in honor of this milestone I thought I'd share a few pictures of his nursery. We wanted something fun, playful, clean, and bright. I love spending time in here with him; it's the perfect place for building block towers and reading stories!

Crib -- Ikea (this style is no longer available)
Colorful City Canvas -- Ikea (no longer available)
Rainforest Mobile -- Handmade Gift
Gray Chair -- Ikea
Aztec Pouf -- Target (no longer available)
Adventure Watercolor -- Handmade Gift
Wooden Giraffe -- Souvenir from trip to the Central African Republic
Lamp -- Target
Curtain -- Target (I started with this shower curtain then modified with fabric and trim)
Charcoal Drawing -- Craigslist
Round Mirror -- Thrift Store
Dresser -- Craigslist Makeover

Note: I do not receive compensation of any kind when you use the links above. They are provided for your convenience when shopping for the items pictured in this post.