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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Scott

Hate it or Love it!

Decision Time

So you’ve found the perfect home…good bones, the right amount of space, great neighborhood, everything that you were looking for. The kitchen, however, with its old wood cabinets leaves alot to be desired. The time has come to make a decision. Do you walk away from your dreams out of fear of the cost of new cabinetry? Or do you forge ahead with a plan to give those outdated cabinets a whole new look?

As a Designer, a part of my job in working with my clients is educating them on the possibilities of their space and the cost associated with bringing these possibilities to life. This aspect of the design process is an integral part of the design conversation as it helps the client to make more informed decisions regarding the direction that they would like to take the project. For this project, my client, who had been looking to make some updates to her home of over 25 years, reached out to discuss the projects that she wanted to tackle in the near future. Initially, changing out the flooring was high up on her priority list due to the costs she assumed would be associated with other prospective projects. However, after her in-home consultation, she was pleasantly surprised to know that we could give her kitchen a whole new look without having to purchase all new cabinets for around the same price of switching out her flooring. And just like that, we had a kitchen facelift on our hands!

Kitchen Before

The Dilemmas

-Orange Tone Cabinetry-The undertones of the cabinetry dated the look of the kitchen and clashed with the furniture in the adjoining family room

-Countertops-The faux marble countertops were lack-luster and had visibly seen better days. As well, the angled corners drew unnecessary attention to the limited counter space.

-Lighting-The current lighting further dated the space and gave the space a sterile, office vibe.

-Lack of Natural Light- The awkward positioning of a lone cabinet blocked the natural light provided by the window directly next to it and made the space feel cramped.

The Solution

-Save money and Reuse-Having the cabinets refinished would further extend the life of the cabinets and provide a cost saving measure in achieving our goal

-Small Changes for Big Impact-Slightly modifying the current cabinet and countertop layout would open up the space and provide additional natural light and a few inches of counter space.

-Address Lighting Needs-Incorporate task lighting for the various kitchen zones.

The Cabinets

To update the cabinets, we decided on a painted finish. Despite their age, the cabinets were in great condition and their traditional style made them easy to seamlessly transition into a more updated look for the kitchen. To further aid in giving the cabinets a more contemporary look, the decorative wood panel above the sink window was removed along with one of the adjoining cabinets to allow more light to flow into the kitchen. Prior to starting the project, my client had disclosed that she had the cabinets refinished once before. So, the fact that we were able to get a third life out of them was truly a bonus! Before completely bathing all the cabinets in the chosen paint color of Sherwin Williams’s Languid Blue, we provided the client with a swatch on the actual cabinets to get a feel for how the color would look in the space. Once the client gave the contractor the go, we were full speed ahead towards a new kitchen. By reusing the current cabinets, we were able to cut out the cost of new cabinetry and allocate those additional funds towards upping the ante of the countertops and backsplash.

Countertops and Backsplash

When it came time to select a new countertop, one of my client’s main requirements was durability. Keeping this in mind along with the light and spacious feel she desired for the space, we decided on a white quartz with light gray veining. In comparison to other countertop options such as marble or even granite, quartz ranks highest on the list in terms of durability with its high heat, stain, and scratch resistance qualities. As well, the clean look of the countertops complemented the backsplash perfectly by allowing it to be the center of attention for the kitchen design.

While removing the lone upper cabinet in the middle of the kitchen did allow for greater light flow and created a cleaner sight line, I still wanted to give the illusion of more space within the small footprint of the kitchen. To do this, we installed a glass tile backsplash that helps bounce light around the space, creating a roomier feel. Applying the tile all the way up to the ceiling further exaggerated the size of the space by drawing the eye up and, thereby making the ceiling seem higher than what it actually is.


Even though my client and I both recalled the day in which track and fluorescent lighting were all the rage, neither had a place in the new design of the kitchen. Instead, we opted for a ceiling light that accentuated the picket shapes found on the backsplash and seeded pendant lights for an additional layer of texture. We also added two additional recessed lights above the stove area. Each new light fixture was purposefully selected not only for its looks, but for the tasks that they were beautifully equipped to handle.

New Kitchen, Who This!

My client loves her new kitchen and is excited about tackling the next project on the list! With a new view in sight, the next 20 years in her forever home will surely be bright!

So tell me. What’s a space in your home that you currently hate but desperately want to love again?

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