Before Jenny Haas moved into a big, old house in Dayton, Ohio that required a substantial amount of work, she made a deal with husband Will that they’d make a kitchen renovation project a top priority.
While they worked on their house, the couple spent much of their time in a dark basement room with old brown paneling, and ate out for nearly every meal while their kitchen was underway. It got old fast.
Now that the kitchen is at last complete (and gorgeous), Jenny's sharing the new space's dramatic transformation, and how they achieved the modern look.
A family DIY project
The couple did most all of the work themselves, along with Jenny’s dad, who is a plasterer. But they did hire a drywall finisher to smooth out the corners where they knocked out a door to open up the space. He also finished the drywall Jenny’s dad and Will put in around the sink area.
A countertop compromise
Jenny said her favorite thing in the whole room is now the countertops. She explained the couple was originally planning to make their own out of concrete, but instead ended up purchasing laminate countertops that mimic the look of marble.
“We ended up going with the light[er-colored look] because the grey countertops were hard to imagine with the concrete floor,” Jenny said. “I love the white marble — with everything else white, it really brightens up the kitchen and feels so clean!”
Mass retail to the rescue
In addition to the countertop, the couple also purchased the subway tiles for a cheery backsplash from Home Depot. New stainless steel appliances — replacing the dated and discolored ones — as well as the sink came from Lowes. The range hood, table, and chairs are from IKEA. (But sorry, admirers: The table has been discontinued!) And most of the dishes are from HomeGoods.
For a more personalized detail that pulled the whole look together, Jenny found the rug at an antique store.
Finishing touches A fresh coat of paint brightened up the entire space. The wall color is Valspar in Bistro White, and the cabinet paint is from Sherman Williams matched in Bistro White to match.
To create open storage, the couple chose metal brackets and Will made the shelves and stained them. “I did my best to hide them in my decorating so that they give an appearance like floating shelves” Jenny said.
Will also took out the drop ceiling, reworked the electrical wires and added recessed lights throughout the kitchen for a luxe, upgraded look and feel.
Jenny wondered about how the cabinets would turn out, unsure of the couple’s plan to rework the existing ones instead of replacing them.
In the end, they painted only the outside and not the inside of the cabinets, which began as dark, drab and dated. And they’re super pleased the result: bright, white and like new.
To other homeowners with big plans, Jenny advised, “Really do your research before you start a project. There were several things we thought we were doing right that turned out not to be right and ended up costing us more money and more time in fixing the problem."
The mom of four children also added a specific caveat: “I recommend not purchasing stainless steel appliances if you have small children: They are consistently covered in fingerprints!”