Before and After: For Only $775, This Brown Kitchen Now Has Major “Parisian Cafe Vibes”

published Oct 5, 2023
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Kitchen with wooden cabinets, oven and peeling floors.
Credit: Peri Eryigit

There are stunning kitchen redos out there that cost tens of thousands of dollars, of course, but there are also really nice transformations that cost surprisingly less. Take this $8,000 galley kitchen upgrade, this unrecognizable $7,000 transformation, or this one that cost just $300. 

This kitchen redo from husband and wife Sean Reischel and Peri Eryigit (@perilihouse) was also easy on the wallet, with cheap materials from The Home Depot coming to the rescue; the entire reno cost $775.

“It was bleak and dirty-looking before,” Peri says of the kitchen. The color scheme also left a lot to be desired, with brown cabinets, beige floors, and off-white walls that all felt “dirty from the many renters who lived there with pets,” she adds.

This home was built in 1900, but the kitchen was last updated in the 1990s or early aughts, as suggested by the cabinetry, the laminate floors, and laminate countertops. A few finds from the hardware store gave the kitchen a crisp and clean but vintage-inspired look.

Credit: Peri Eryigit
Credit: Peri Eryigit

New floors give “a Parisian cafe vibe.”

Peri says the pulling out the sticky laminate flooring was a messy project, but it made a big difference for the kitchen. “It immediately felt so much cleaner and brighter,” Peri says. After the laminate floors were gone, she and Sean installed new but vintage-inspired octagon and dot tile floors from The Home Depot.

“The floors give it a Parisian cafe vibe, but the bright colors make it feel fresh and airy, so it feels like the perfect hint of old world charm without being dark and stuffy,” Peri says. And, she adds, they’re easy to clean.

Peri and Sean did more tiling work on the backsplash, for which they selected a white subway tile

Credit: Peri Eryigit
Credit: Peri Eryigit

Paint on the cabinets gives the kitchen a newfound energy. 

The new bright colors in the kitchen ditch the dated vibes and zap some energy into the space. “We sanded and painted all the cabinets using a cheerful sage green color on the bottom cabinets to add some brightness and happiness to the space,” Peri says. (That sage green is Behr’s Meditation Time.

“The winter months were very gloomy and rainy here, but just adding some color on the bottom cabinets made a big difference in our mood,” Peri adds. “We made the top cabinets the same shade of white that we painted the walls.” (That’s Behr’s Bit of Sugar.) Peri says the white paint on the cabinets is crisp and clean and helps open up the space. 

Peri and Sean have renovated several kitchens, and their advice is to not rush when it comes to painting cabinets. “Honestly, the cabinets are always the simplest but trickiest part,” Peri says. “We get impatient to see the final transformation and cut corners, and it makes us have to go back and do it again — or we don’t wait until it’s fully dried before replacing the hardware, and there are little marks. This kitchen had a lot of cabinets, and it took all our patience to not rush it, especially because it was rainy and we had to wait a long time for them to dry completely.”

Although it takes time, Peri says “painting instead of replacing the cabinets is a good option if you have a small budget and plenty of patience.”

Credit: Peri Eryigit
Credit: Peri Eryigit
Credit: Peri Eryigit

Butcher block is a contemporary (and cheap!) upgrade from laminate.

The couple kept the same hardware and sink throughout the kitchen, but one big factor in making things look more contemporary was replacing the old laminate countertops with butcher block. Peri and Sean bought two pieces of butcher block and used wood glue and sawdust to make the seam between them less noticeable. They sanded the butcher block and sealed it with polyurethane. 

It’s “cheap, looks nice, matches everything, and if it’s ever damaged you can fix it with a sander,” Peri says. And as for her whole kitchen? “It’s a lovely place to wake up and make a pot of coffee or sit and read a book,” she says. 

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn. See it here: Before and After: A Dated Brown Kitchen Gets “Parisian Cafe Vibes” for $775