Before & After: Striking Purple Cabinets and a “Groovy” Backsplash Add Drama to an Early 2000s Kitchen

published Feb 21, 2024
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Credit: Nate Klass

When Nate Klass moved into a row house in Washington, D.C., he wanted to transform the space into a 1970s-inspired oasis. However, the kitchen didn’t fit the aesthetic he was going for. 

“The kitchen before was very early 2000s — dark wood IKEA cabinets, pink marble floor, and white subway tile backsplash,” Klass said. “It was never bad — it just wasn’t that interesting.” And “interesting” is precisely what Klass wanted in the kitchen. But he went back and forth over the idea of doing a total makeover, as the room was small and the layout was already ideal. “Just the aesthetics needed a boost,” Klass explained.

Credit: Tina Krohn

At first, Klass thought new “funky blue” handles would make the original cabinets pop, but he realized he wanted more flair and color in the space. “I just bit the bullet and painted the cabinets in Farrow and Ball’s “Brassica” — a purple-gray color — and replaced the backsplash tile myself,” Klass said. “That was quite a journey, but I’m really thrilled that I was able to do it myself, and it looks professional!”

Even though he opted for smaller cosmetic changes in his kitchen (rather than a complete overhaul), he still met a few design challenges. For example, when replacing the backsplash, he was surprised to learn that he’d also have to patch a lot of drywall. Plus, his snippers weren’t strong enough to cut the specific notches in the new tile, but the thought of a tile saw “terrified” Klass. Still, he did what he had to do and rented one, noting it “turned out to be pretty easy to use.”

Credit: Tina Krohn

The luxurious cabinet color added so much intrigue to the kitchen that Klass painted the walls in the same color but with different finishes — the ceiling is high-gloss, while the walls are flat. He also applied contact paper to the dishwasher and painted it purple, too (and plans to do the same with the fridge and the stainless steel parts on his range! Learn more about how to paint appliances here). 


“The light bounces so nicely across the room and, at certain times in the afternoon, even lights up the new disco ball hanging from the ceiling,” Klass said. If this striking kitchen intrigues you, you’ll want to explore more of Klass’s gorgeous home. To see more, visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy.