Reader Kitchen Remodel

Before & After: A $2,000 Mostly DIY Kitchen Remodel

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Xan Gerson)

Upon purchasing her new home, reader Xan, who writes the blog cirqueduppicadilly, knew one thing for sure — those upper cabinets had to go. Not only were they too low (which cut off a good portion of the counter space), but they made the kitchen feel like a rental. “Superficially, they looked fine, but as soon as you touched them they felt like they might just fall apart,” she wrote.

With a small budget in hand, Xan and her husband set out to complete a mostly DIY renovation.

(Image credit: Xan Gerson)

What a difference their changes made! While you can definitely tell it’s the same kitchen, the upgrade is so refreshing.

First things first, they removed the upper cabinets. It wasn’t in the budget to replace the lower cabinets, so Xan painted them with a couple coats of Behr Ivory White, and switched out the hardware. The backsplash is simply snap-together beadboard topped with sections of baseboard to create a clean edge. The only thing they didn’t install themselves was the IKEA butcher block countertops — a smart choice to leave that to the professionals.

Let’s take a look at the transformation of the other side of the kitchen:

(Image credit: Xan Gerson)
(Image credit: Xan Gerson)

The refrigerator was the big splurge in the kitchen remodel. Xan and her husband are big fans of sparkling water, and had been planning to get a Sodastream — that is, until they found a Samsung fridge with the Sodastream built right in. The rest of this side just got a bit of a facelift with some new paint.

Of course one of our favorite touches is the chalkboard paint on the window in the door. Xan noted that the window didn’t really look out at anything worth looking at, so she painted chalkboard paint directly on the glass to create a built-in memo board.

(Image credit: Xan Gerson)

Finally, on the far side of the kitchen, Xan created a coffee cart setup. It was important to have all their coffee-making supplies easily accessible, and the FORHOJA cart from IKEA, painted to match the cabinets, was the perfect solution for them.

We also love the cookbook shelves, of which Xan writes: “I lifted the ‘cookbooks facing outward’ idea directly from The Kitchn, and I absolutely love the way it looks.” We do too, Xan!

In the end, the remodel ended up costing about $2,000. Half of that was spent on an electrician to fix the mess of wiring they found behind the cabinets, a plumber to deal with issues under the sink, and the countertop installation.

Thanks so much for sharing your remodel with us, Xan!

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