Before & After: Dated Kitchen Transformation

Mirrored backsplashes, a dingy drop-ceiling, handcut trailing grape borders, sponge-painted wallpaper, and pickled cabinets? A cringe-worthy combination that Matt was dying to change. Check out how a little elbow grease, a lot of paint, and some handy friends transformed this 1990s traditional kitchen into a transitional space ready for 2011.

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The first element of the old kitchen to go was the wallpaper. Matt used a scorer, water-filled sponges and a metal spatula to scrape off the paper — which surprisingly came off quite easily. Then the walls were washed down with Trisodium Phosphate to remove any remaining adhesive before primer was put on the walls.

Next, the upper cabinets and cabinet doors were removed, sanded, and spray painted in Matt's father's spray booth. During this part pf the project, the mirrored backsplash was taken down, the walls were painted, and the little bit of trim was replaced to match the rest of the home. Painting everything was the most dramatic change of all. Matt couldn't afford new cabinet doors, but painting them white helped neutralize their country feel.

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The last two changes involved calling in favors from friends. Matt knew someone who was working on a major college campus renovation project who had enough extra materials to remove the acoustical tile ceiling and lay in smooth sheets of drywall.

The second favor was the expertise of a family friend who had experience tiling his own home. He spent two whole days with Matt cutting glass tile with a wet saw and fitting the sheets together for the blacksplash.

The kitchen looks dramatically different, but still left major elements, like the flooring, countertops, and cabinets, intact. It goes to show you what a lot of DIY and knowing the right handy people can do for your home!

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Images: Amanda Johnson