Kitchen Tour: Ashley Ann's $500 Light and Lovely Remodel

We have been big fans of Ashley Ann's photography and charming design sense for a while now. So when we saw that she was remodeling her kitchen we had to get a sneak peek. She graciously shared some photos and the story. Here's a look at how she and her husband remodeled their kitchen for under $500, along with some of the cost-saving tips that let them do it for so little.

The primary thing, of course, that kept this budget renovation down to such a low budget was that Ashley Ann and her husband did the work themselves, including cutting and installing the countertops. Butcher block is definitely easier to cut and install yourself, though, than marble or granite!

The first thing we saw in this kitchen renovation was the yardstick backsplash. We thought this was so clever and charming! Read on to see how Ashley came up with this and how she and her husband implemented it.

The Kitchn's Before & After Questionnaire

1. What prompted your kitchen changes?
Most of our house is very airy and bright. The kitchen had a country feel and was too dark for me. The kitchen area is where we spend most of our time as a family and yet it was the least reflective of our family. Since our budget for any remodeling was under $500.00 it forced us to be creative and thrifty with the changes we made.

2. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking the most?
A feeling of peace, cheer and family inspires my kitchen. Honestly in this phase of life the only thing that inspires my cooking is "what can I make the fastest that the most number of family members will eat?" We should ask my sister this question - she is an amazing cook and loves to be creative with her meals. I should be inspired by her...

3. How would you describe your cooking style?
Fast and furious with a dash of boys running under feet. Spring through fall we use veggies from our garden and I do my best to incorporate balanced healthy foods in each meal, but we have our fair share of PB&Js.

4. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
My KitchenAid mixer — we eat a lot of chocolate chip cookies!

5. What was the best change you made to your kitchen?
That is a toss up between the butcher block countertops and painting all the cabinets white. I love both changes so much.

6. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received?
Use real butter when baking...not the fake margarine stuff.

7. Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
There's not much storage space and we don't have a pantry.....with 4 kids (3 of them boys) I could always use more room to pack things away.

8. Biggest indulgence:
Butcher block counterops - they were nearly all of our budget.

9. Dream tool or splurge:
I would love one of those big farmhouse white sinks - I think it would make the kitchen look so great.

10. What are you cooking this week?
That's a good question, if you have some suggestions let me know!

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Budget Remodel Tips

Pendant and Curtains: The pendant light and curtains were inspired by things I had seen in Anthropologie but were out of my budget.

Paint Matching: We also did all the painting and backsplash ourselves. I found my paint colors and then had Walmart match them with their generic paint so that was super cheap too ($12.00 a gallon).

Countertop: We priced butcher block at local hardware stores and it was too expensive, but IKEA had a great price. IKEA sells it in different lengths, so we got just enough and didn't have to end up with lots left over. So we made the 4 1/2 hour drive to pick up the counters. We cut it all ourselves and installed it - which was actually really easy. The upkeep is great so far too. We haven't had any stains or issues, but if we did all you have to do is lightly sand it and then re-oil. There is not a finish on the wood, just butcher block oil that is food safe. You can use any type of food safe oil. I read several sites online for upkeep and most recommended oiling everyday for the first week or month. We did it everyday for the first week and then once a week for the first 3 months.

Backsplash: After putting in the butcher block I had very little left in the budget for the backsplash. I priced different tiles, but it was all over what I had budgeted. I ended up walking the aisles of Lowe's until I saw the yardsticks in the tool section. I had seen yardsticks on walls before and decided they would make the perfect CHEAP and creative backsplash. I love how it turned out.

Remodel Resources

Butcher Block Countertops: IKEA
Knobs & Handles: IKEA - discontinued
Pendant Lamp: A basket from Hobby Lobby, inspired by Anthropologie (directions to make can be found here)
Backsplash: Yardsticks from Ace Hardware (directions to make can be found here)
4 Eames Chairs: Joz Consignment (Tulsa, OK)
You are my sunshine poster: The Wheatfield (Etsy site)
Hanging rack for cups: Actually an old drying rack found at an antique store
Table: We built it out of scrap wood and old staircase railing. We make lots of messes on it.
Curtains: Target. They are actually a shower curtain cut in half and shortened.
Wall Paint: the name is "Stillness" but I don't remember the brand
Cabinet Paint: The standard white enamel from Walmart

Most everything else was found at favorite thrift and antique stores...and from my grandmas.

Thank you so so much for sharing your kitchen with us, Ashley Ann! It's a beautiful space.

Visit Ashley Ann's weblog:
Under the Sycamore

Related: A Warm and Stunning Los Angeles Kitchen Remodel

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(Images: Ashley Ann Photography)

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