Before & After: This Cheerful $5,000 Kitchen Redo Features a Surprising DIY Hack with a Sharpie Marker

published Dec 19, 2021
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If you live in a 100-year-old house, your home has seen a lot of trends over the years — everything from linoleum flooring to avocado green appliances. And sometimes, it can get a little stuck. In this 1920 home’s kitchen, which belongs to friends of DIYer Katelyn Richardson (The Color of Our Home), the style was stalled out in the ’90s, with beige vinyl flooring, laminate counters, and blue and yellow striped wallpaper.

“Everything was very dated and in need of some serious love,” Katelyn says, noting that the wallpaper was peeling, the countertops were crumbling, and the cabinet paint was chipping off.

Katelyn’s friends contacted her and her husband Kenny Richardson to help give their kitchen a spruce-up. “They didn’t have a huge budget to work with and we wanted to help as much as possible,” Katelyn says. “The idea was to brighten the space up and make it cheery and welcoming.”

Because Katelyn and Kenny were working on a tight budget — just $5,000 for the whole kitchen — they focused on upgrades that would give them a real bang for their buck. One of the biggest projects was refacing the cabinets. To save money, Katelyn and Kenny reused the existing cabinets, but gave the flat door and drawer fronts a new look with wood trim around the outside that gives them a more cottagey Shaker-style look.

Once the trim was applied, Katelyn and Kenny gave the cabinets a fresh coat of cheery blue paint; a paint sprayer helped them achieve that smooth, flawless finish. “I was hesitant about the bright blue cabinet color at first, but it was exactly what our friends wanted,” Katelyn says. “We went with it and I’m so glad we did. This color is iconic!”

Once painted, the cabinets got all new hardware: sleek bar pulls and vintage-style bin pulls.

As for the crumbling countertops, Katelyn and Kenny scrapped those, replacing them with birch butcher block that has a food-safe oil finish. And, of course, they peeled off the dated wallpaper and painted the walls a crisp white.

Aside from some new decor, there was just one more change that Katelyn and Kenny made: the backsplash, which looks like subway tile but is actually just strategically applied Sharpie. “The tile backsplash wasn’t in the budget for this reno,” Katelyn says, so she did a little fakery. “The faux tile backsplash was much easier to accomplish than we expected.”

Now, the kitchen feels way bigger (even though it stayed the same size), and has a lot more cheer, too. “This renovation brought life back into a kitchen that had felt dull and drab for so long,” Katelyn says. “I love how happy this room feels now. It’s so bright and airy, and fun.”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This Cheerful $5,000 Kitchen Redo Features a Surprising $5 DIY Hack