Money Month

Before and After: A Beautiful Black and White Galley Kitchen Redo for $7,000 — Appliances Included!

published Mar 17, 2022
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Kitchen blue wall
Credit: Erin Hermsen

Attention foodies and amateur chefs: There’s nothing like a beautiful, work-of-art kitchen to inspire homemade meals of the same caliber.

Unfortunately for blogger Erin Hermsen (@delaneylaneliving), her kitchen wasn’t the creative cook space she wanted. “It just was not an inspiring space,” she says.

Credit: Erin Hermsen

Its laminate counters and vinyl floors were stained and sticky, the sink was small and clogged frequently, the cabinets were cut in irregular shapes, and the (limited number of) drawers were difficult to pull in and out, Erin recalls.

In addition to a lack of storage in the space, “the countertop space was really limited,” Erin says, and “there was a dead space in the corner that didn’t really serve any purpose.”

Credit: Erin Hermsen

Erin and her husband, Ryan, knew they wanted to tackle the kitchen as soon as they moved into their 1940s home. The couple wanted to make stylish, livable upgrades, but they also wanted to stick to a low budget, meaning they had to make the existing galley layout work.

“There aren’t many inspiration photos out there of galley kitchens,” Erin says. “I got the idea to make the kitchen half black and half white but couldn’t find any photos that showed what that would look like.”

Erin and Ryan decided to blaze new trails and go for it anyway. They bought all white kitchen cabinets and “took a risk” by painting all of the stove side black (Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black), Erin recalls.

Credit: Erin Hermsen

“We love how unique and custom this ended up looking,” Erin says of the galley kitchen’s new two-tone look.

Credit: Erin Hermsen

They had a friend come over to help them with the cabinet install, and everything else in the kitchen was a DIYed labor of love, too. “This remodel was a floor to ceiling undertaking,” Erin says on her blog. “We repainted all the walls, put down new flooring, installed new cabinets, countertops, appliances, hardware, backsplashes, and lighting and installed a new sink and faucet, and our personal favorite, a garbage disposal.”

They also added character via special details like “a picture frame molding accent wall, a ceiling medallion for the light fixture, a marble-inspired shelf, brass outlet covers, and more,” Erin says.

Her marble-inspired shelf is actually laminate, which is a fraction of the cost of quartz or marble, Erin says. She highly recommends her countertop selection for anyone redoing a kitchen on a budget. She’s also pleased with how much counter space was added by stretching the cabinets and counters into the “dead space” corner from before.

Credit: Erin Hermsen

She says that by doing the labor themselves, she and Ryan saved tons of money. They also saved by waiting for major sales, shopping around at different suppliers, and researching budget-friendly alternatives to more expensive features.

“You can do big things with a small budget!” Erin says.

She says she is most proud of the fact that she and Ryan did all the work themselves. “We taught ourselves so many new skills,” she says. In all, their project took about nine months and cost around $7,000 including appliances — well worth the sweat equity and certainly worth the bang for their buck.

The space is now a bespoke, “bold and beautiful” kitchen, Erin writes on her blog — “the perfect mix of vintage and modern.”

This piece is part of Money Month, where we’re covering everything from side hustles to down payments to a beginner’s guide to investing. Head over here to read more!