Before & After: Gorgeous Blue Cabinets Give This “Dark, Drab” Kitchen a West Coast Vibe

published Feb 25, 2024
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Dark countertops in kitchen before renovation.
Credit: Emily Raciti

Two years ago, when Emily and Evan Raciti (plus their daughter, Mila) moved into their modern home in Palo Alto, California, they wanted to “lean into the West Coast vibe” when designing the space. Luckily for them, most of their furnishings already fit that aesthetic. But there was one room in the house that needed a bit of an update: the kitchen. 

“We knew we wanted to freshen up the kitchen when we first saw this house,” Emily says. “While it had solid bones and a functional, pass-through layout, it was a bit dark and drab with black tile counters and old, chipping wood cabinets.” 

Credit: Emily Raciti

Although the cabinets were chipping in places, Emily trusted their integrity and knew how much money they’d save by simply painting over them. After browsing inspirational photos for nearly every color, she finally landed on blue for the cabinets. “From there, I searched for tons of photos of blue kitchens and pieced together bits from several of them,” she shares. Finally, she decided on a blue-gray shade of Benjamin Moore paint.

Credit: Emily Raciti

Pro painters painted the cabinets blue (the existing hardware was replaced with secondhand Rejuvenation pulls), and the couple hired people to install new Quartz countertops from The Home Depot. A new sink, KitchenAid refrigerator and dishwasher, and Philestina beverage fridge made their kitchen feel brand new, too. 

While the family had help bringing their new kitchen to life, professionals didn’t do all of it. Emily installed Portmore tiles from Tilebar (she loves the “clean and simple look”) on her own. By using spacers to make sure the tiles were aligned, she applied tiles with a thin-set glue. After the tiles were hung, she applied a neutral white grout coat. (Pro tip: If you’re having trouble cutting tiles to fit next to outlets, use a simple angle grinder with a ceramic blade, as Emily did.)

Credit: Emily Raciti

“To be honest, this project took a lot longer and was much more labor-intensive than I initially expected, but I’m so glad I did it,” Emily explains. 

Overall, the renovation (including the new appliances) cost just over $11,000. After all the updates (think: blue, water-inspired cabinets and light, airy tiles), it’s fair to say they accomplished their goal of accomplishing the “West Coast” vibe.

“I just love how bright and cheery it is now,” Emily says. “It’s not the biggest kitchen ever, but I think the changes we made go a long way towards making it feel more open and spacious than it really is.” If the Racitis’ kitchen inspires you, you’ll want to check out the rest of their space. Visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy to see more.