The Kitchen Refresh

Moved in and got to work getting the kitchen up to date.
Paint from Lowes and Hardware from

Once upon a time we moved to Los Angeles, it was a big move and one we have been so thankful to have made work for our family. It wasn’t easy, we made lots of moves for financial reasons, educational ones and once unplanned circumstances but made it to homeownership again. We searched for a year with our oh so patient realtor and finally found a home one mile away that checked all the boxes, with the caveat that the home came “as is”.

Our home was built in 74′ and other than new flooring and a coat of paint (right over the original light switches and outlet plates too) it was original. The appliances were Harvest Gold the kitchen light fixtures were coated in dust and cooking grease (no dis, we USE our kitchen too and I have to get up on a ladder to clean our cooking debris) and the cabinets had a fresh coat of shiny poly right over all that cooking love. It was sticky. I love me some autumn but it was a bit much.

The original range, the stove “worked” but only with lots of trial and prayer.

With the purchase finalized and basic safety updates underway there were no funds for a hired contractor kitchen redo but I though “no big deal, I got this”. We did all of our refresh on our home in Orlando, lighting, mirror wall removal, carpet removal, wall paper removal, paneled feature wall to hide some of the mirror removal and paint in every room. It was a lot, this seemed like such a small thing in comparison. Seemed like.

The cabinets were coated in polyurethane and a dark stain. I first thought keep the deep color and just re coat them, but that wasn’t working with the veneered drawers and the detail in the cabinet face was just a crevice of gunk. The wood grain was interesting but I couldn’t make it work in my mind with the tile counter. I tried HARD.

It was too dark and cave like, not in a good way. After stripping all the cabinet fronts and drawers with Citrisolve and removing any last bits with IsoProAlcohol and steel wool it seemed like paint was the easiest way forward. We weren’t changing the counters or flooring so I had to work with what I had.

It was a slog of a project and I wanted to quit so many times but once a clear design took hold it was like rolling downhill. I knew where things were going and it was just a matter of doing it . There were many trips to the hardware store and more than eight paints tried out on that back wall.

I may have been sitting on the floor crying when I took this photo, so much work!

It came together beautifully, and I am so glad I did it. My vision realized so much so that my husband now thinks the kitchen never needs another touch, and has no interest in remodeling it in the future. I don’t know whether to be happy about my work or frustrated I missed out on a new kitchen.


Here’s the list of what I did: striped the cabinets and drawers, painted the front of cabinets and doors, painted pantry white Kilz, installed draw handles and cabinet pulls, drew with gold Sharpie on the painted wall and back splash, installed under cabinet lighting, painted canisters copper, applied Rub N’Buff to light fixtures to make them antique gold, assembled and installed window valance to hide old blinds, Made and hung planter.

It’s wonderful to be finished and we all love using our kitchen, it’s light and cheerful with no stickiness on it’s surfaces. Now with three cooks in the family and one more learning, it gets frequent use. A hard project I never want to do again, but so worth the effort.