Before & After: This Brown Builder-Grade Kitchen Is Unrecognizable After a $3,000 Makeover

updated Oct 16, 2020
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Before: beige kitchen with dark wood cabinets
Credit: Brooke Littel

Open-concept kitchens have a reputation for providing more space — and while that’s often the case, sometimes the open, airy feeling actually disguises a cook space that’s short on room.

That was the case at Brooke Littel’s 2008 house. While the kitchen offered plenty of floor space, the functionality was lacking. “The sink couldn’t fit my Crock Pot or larger pans, so cleaning them was a big hassle,” Brooke says. Plus, there wasn’t enough counter space for meal prep.

Credit: Brooke Littel

Besides all that, the kitchen was dated, Brooke says. The brown oak cabinets were in fine shape but pretty boring, especially without any hardware. And the beige walls and countertops were uninspired. All around, the kitchen was ripe for an update.

Brooke and her husband started by adding in a new portable kitchen island, which they received as a wedding gift. It helped add some much-needed storage and counter space.

Credit: Brooke Littel

From there, Brooke and her husband dealt with the cabinets. They were in fine shape, so they decided to keep them in place and paint them — blue for the base cabinets, and white for the uppers. Brooke’s husband and her father-in-law made the new wood countertops, which they sealed with epoxy. “Because we were making the countertops ourselves we wanted to extend the countertop by the back door for more space,” Brooke says — a smart move that makes the kitchen look way bigger. Adding open shelves above the new countertop adds a little more storage, too.

Credit: Brooke Littel

Another major upgrade: a sink, which finally fits all of Brooke’s oversized pans. “My favorite part of the kitchen is my giant stainless steel farmhouse sink!” she says. “It is amazing! We found it on Houzz for an extremely affordable price, under $400.” The tall pull-down faucet makes it extra practical.

The new white subway tile backsplash brightens up the kitchen and makes the walls easier to clean up, too. And because she and her husband took on the project themselves, and did it over the course of several years, the project was super affordable — less than $3,000.

“I love how bright and happy our kitchen is,” Brooke says. “It’s an enjoyable place to be and is also very functional.”

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: $3000 Later, This Brown Builder-Grade Kitchen Is Unrecognizable