Reader Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Before & After: A New & Improved Kitchen for Under $400

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Katherine Fugit)

“I like to joke that this was the ‘Accidental Kitchen Remodel’ because what started as one project quickly snowballed into several, and our original ambition to make the kitchen just ‘liveable’ turned into making it just perfect,” Katherine tells us about her kitchen makeover. Yet even with that the whole project still came in under $400, and the result maintains the feel but adds a little finesse and personality. See the ‘After’ photos below:

(Image credit: Katherine Fugit)

Beautiful! I love the dark floors. Here’s what Katherine tells us about the makeover:

A bathroom leak and eventual bathroom remodel had left us with half of our kitchen ceiling missing for a little over a year. The other half with its chunks of dropping plaster and drooping ceiling tiles wasn’t much better so we decided to just tear tear it down and paint the entire ceiling white (plumbing pipes and
all). That was originally our only improvement. We had several “free quart of paint” promotional coupons that we used to get started and to save money.

As we finished that up, we decided to replace the old, center of the room light fixture that was basically good for nothing except, well, lighting the center of the room. We hacked some beautiful lights we had seen in a Rejuvenation Inc. catalog the best we could for $12 each and bought the “antique trouble light cages” for $3 each. The ceiling looked so good, we decided that the old,
impossible-to-clean linoleum had to go. We tore up several layers and several thousand staples (no joke) to reveal a wood floor underneath. We sanded, stained and polyeurethaned it to perfection. After that, we painted the entire kitchen with some leftover paint we had from our bathroom remodel.
(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

Then the cabinets looked so good we couldn’t bear to put the old hardware back on them (I told you it snowballed) so we replaced the silver knobs with more warm and inviting brass bin pulls (on sale for $3 each at The Home Depot). At $75 that was our greatest expense.

(Image credit: Katherine Fugit)
(Image credit: Katherine Fugit)

Our “Accidental Kitchen Remodel” appeared to be complete but it was missing something. I scoured craigslist for weeks looking for a vintage stove to replace the one that had been left to us by the previous owners. It looked hopeless and then one day, a dear friend saw a gorgeous 1940’s Roper stove at a garage sale for FORTY FIVE DOLLARS! With it installed, the kitchen is absolutely perfect.


When we jacked up the house down in the basement, we removed an old piece of wood from the basement ceiling. It was so beautiful that we cut it in half, put some Howard Feed n’ Wax on it and attached it to the wall above the stove. Handy and a great way to incorporate a piece of our 1917 home’s history!

(Image credit: Katherine Fugit)

In the end, our entire remodel (refinishing the floors, tearing out the ceiling, making light fixtures, painting, etc.) cost us a cool $390! Which just goes to show you, a kitchen remodel doesn’t have to mean gutting your kitchen or spending thousands and thousands of dollars. If you go shopping in your own house and take the time to make old things new again you can save a lot and have a room with character!

You can see more photos and read more about Katherine’s kitchen makeover at her blog, Keep Smiling.

Thanks so much for sharing, Katherine!

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