Before and After: A Black and White Color Scheme Revved up This Blah Brown Kitchen

published Oct 18, 2019
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Look closely at the cabinets in Christina Riley’s kitchen. See anything weird? Yep, those top ones are upside-down. “We thought maybe someone had just flipped the doors as a prank,” says Christina. “But when we removed the cabinet boxes on day two of living in the house, we realized they were installed completely upside down!”

That was the weirdest part of their home’s kitchen, but it wasn’t the only thing they weren’t wild about. Vinyl floors had taken a beating over the years, and the pink laminate counter was showing its age, too (in more ways than one). Plus, all those upper cabinets only made the cook space feel darker: “The two large windows became almost tunnel-like,” Christina says.

So out they came, to make room for open shelving. Christina kept the bottom ones intact so that she could re-finish them to fit the more modern, black-and-white color scheme she was envisioning.

Christina painted the cabinets herself, installing new modern-looking brass pulls on the previously naked cabinet fronts. A contractor replaced the vinyl with wood (part of a larger project involving the whole first floor), and the new Formica countertops were professionally made and installed.

The after looks like a whole new kitchen: bright and open, with a classic-meet-modern feel.

A new to-the-ceiling cabinet gives the fridge a high-end look; Christina made this one herself. She also installed the tiled backsplash and added in her dream feature: open shelving. “I’d been wanting it for years,” Christina says. “Having our everyday dishes right out in the open makes it easy when we have guests and looks great too!” The natural wood finish ties into the wood flooring and helps warm up the white walls.

A new, DIYed shiplap range hood and fresh swing-arm lighting over the windows complete the farmhouse-modern look. Excluding the floors, the kitchen clocked in at less than $5000—and that’s with all new appliances! “I’m so very happy with how a vision turned into reality with some hard work and a strict budget,” Christina says. “Paint, elbow grease, and lack of fear are my secret weapons!”