Kitchen Before & After: From Drab to Fab!

Reader Kitchen Remodel

All Brande wanted was a kitchen that felt clean, inviting and bright. But as she tells The Kitchn, that was not what came with her house. After living with the outdated kitchen for 12 years, she and her husband were finally about able to make some changes, most of which they did themselves to keep the project within budget. Jump below to read more and see the 'After' photos:

Here's what Brande has to say about her DIY kitchen remodel:

I wanted a kitchen that felt clean, inviting and bright. That was NOT what came with the house. After 12 years we were finally about able to make some changes, and we are in love with the results. Without funds to change the footprint of the room, we worked within the confines of the walls as they stood, as well as the adjoining laundry room and half bath, which also benefited from this facelift.

Counter space and cabinet space were issues, so a corner cabinet with fixed shelves, and 2 cabinets with drawers were placed in the corner which before held a microwave stand and bookshelf. The space between the stove and fridge, which before held a white plastic cart on wheels where I stored pot lids and some baking pans is now a more usable space with a cabinet with three drawers and a counter top, which gives me that little bit more counter that's needed when cooking.

Removing an unused utility sink in the laundry room, and moving the existing cabinet to the wall in the adjoining half bath gave us space to get a custom built floor-to-ceiling pantry, which was well worth the money.

The kitchen previously had a fixture with two long fluorescent lights, which was removed, and the new lighting consists of 5 recessed lights on a dimmer.

The old vinyl sheet floor was replaced with vinyl tile, which when grouted with a dark grey, looks similar to actual tile, but without the price. The new flooring went not only in the kitchen but in the laundry room, half bath, and small closet that contains the hot water heater. (Adura Oasis, color: Cloud Cover)

The old laminate counter tops, which were stained and scratched, were replaced with Silestone quartz (color: Cygnus). They're heat, scratch and stain resistant, which are the benefits they tell you in the store, but I love the cool, smooth surface that cleans like a dream. I never felt like the previous plastic-y surfaces were ever truly germ-free.

Walls and all existing cabinets were painted to freshen up the room, and I could not be happier with the grey - who says grey has to be drab? All paint was from Sherwin Williams. (Walls: Shoji White; Upper cabinets: Amazing Gray; Lower cabinets: Grizzle Gray)

The old metal sink was replaced with an enameled cast iron one by Kohler, that I'm very happy I didn't have to lift! The divide between the 2 bowls in the sink is low, something they call "Smart Divide" which we love and makes the sink seem even larger than the previous, when in fact it's the same size.

Hinges, knobs and handles are satin nickel, which is also the finish of the new sink faucet. My mother, who also made the curtains, found the knobs and handles at a surplus store for $1 each, which was an amazing find and big money saver.

The project took several months to complete; we didn't use a general contractor, and did as much of the labor as we could to save on cost. The most disruptive times were installing and painting the new cabinets (we hired someone else to do the walls and existing cabinets), and having the floor installed - having the refrigerator in the living room for 2 days was heaven for my husband, but I was thankful when it was time to move everything back in!

Thanks for sharing, Brande!

Related: Before & After: A Bedroom Becomes a New Kitchen for $6,000!