Country Sampler Special Edition
LIGHTENEDUP LUXURY After
This Virginia kitchen had good bones, but its oh-so-dark wine-colored cabinets had to go. A bright makeover gave the family a charming new space that shimmers and shines.
A handmade range-hood cover and plexiglass-paned cabinet doors add extra style to the freshly painted cabinetry. The black granite counter that intensified the previous dark palette now helps to break up all the white.
The James family’s Virginia home is relatively new, but Christy James knew from the beginning that she wanted to redo the kitchen. The room had been decorated in a typical style from the early 2000s, with dark cherry wood cabinets and black granite countertops. It certainly wasn’t aging or dingy, but it was darker than what Christy preferred. “I like a lighter, more airy feel in my spaces,” she notes. So Christy and her husband, Brian, decided to paint the cabinets white and install a shimmering backsplash. But they didn’t stop there. They also built a paneled wood cover for the stainless-steel range hood and enhanced the island to give it a touch of farmhouse style. Almost one year from the date they closed on the house, the kitchen remodel was done. “I am so grateful we were blessed with excellent bones to begin with,” Christy says.
Since Christy had painted kitchen cabinets before, she followed a finessed step-by-step process for this project. First, she removed all the hardware and then took off the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hinges. Christy notes that you should label all the doors and drawer fronts as you remove them so you know exactly which cabinet or drawer they go back on. For hinges, she says you can paint the old ones, but if you decide to buy new, bring one of the old hinges with you to the store as an example. Once the necessary pieces were all removed, Christy prepped the cabinets, doors and drawer fronts by thoroughly cleaning them with an all-surface cleaner and paint-prep product. She notes that these products often include deglossers to help get the surface ready for paint. After cleaning her cabinets, Christy sanded them to further remove the shiny finish. Next, she primed the cabinets, applying two coats to cover the dark color. Christy used a brush to cut in the edges and the recessed areas and a small roller for the rest. She followed the same process with two coats of paint, choosing an interior enamel for a durable, easy-to-clean finish. After the paint dried, the couple installed new hardware in a simple chrome design. “The hardest part was painting the cabinets,” Christy notes. “It was time-consuming and not the most fun project.”
Painting wasn’t the only update to the cabinets. On the right side of the sink, Christy and Brian took down a skinny cabinet and replaced it with three open shelves painted white. They also swapped the solid center door panels of the cabinet to the right of the range hood with clear plexiglass to provide more interest. To make the switch, Christy cut out the wood panels with a jigsaw, and then cut pieces of plexiglass to fit. A bead of silicone sealant and trim molding hold the clear panels in place and give the cabinet doors a finished look. “This project was a lot easier than I expected,” says Christy, “but I have to admit that cutting out those panels requires a little bit of guts.”
The couple also built a threepanel farmhouse-style wood cover for the range hood. To create the cover, Christy and Brian cut three pieces of plywood for the center panel, two triangular pieces for the sides and a skinny front piece. To attach the cover, they screwed the two triangular pieces to the existing wall cabinet (they took the doors off first) and then attached the front piece to the sides. Then, they nailed on the assembled center panel. Poplar strips covered the top, bottom, bottom sides and front seams.
Christy found a tile she absolutely loved for the backsplash—a mother-of-pearl shell mosaic subway design. Rather than using mortar to attach the tile, Christy chose a product called SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat. It has adhesive on both sides, so you just stick it to the wall and then stick the tile to the mat. Christy applied a non-sanded bright white grout in between the tiles.
For more style and color, Christy and Brian beefed up the island with 1 x 4 boards to make a Shaker box design on the sides and added beadboard to the front. They removed the old counter supports and replaced them with architectural wood brackets. The island was painted blue to tie it to the living room, which is positioned opposite the kitchen. New swirled pendant lights and a thorough cleaning of the tile floor gave a final brightness to the lively new space, which now Christy, Brian and sons Jack and Brennan can enjoy.
Visit Christy’s blog at www.confessionsofaserialdiyer.com, or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/confessionsofaserialdoityourselfer or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/confessionsofaserialdiyer.