Before and After: This $8,000 Kitchen Redo Kept the Cabinets But Lost the Dark and Dated Vibes

published Dec 16, 2021
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Credit: Keisha Burley

Although adding white paint to walls will definitely brighten a room, there are lots of other surfaces in a space that you can switch to make a room feel lighter and airier — especially in the kitchen.

If you’ve painted your walls but your space still feels dark, take a second look at the other materials: Can you make room-brightening changes to tiles, hardware, cabinets, or flooring? Or, as was the case in Keisha Burley’s 2007 kitchen, would replacing dark countertops with lighter ones make a significant difference?

Credit: Keisha Burley

Before, Keisha’s kitchen felt dated and was not her style. “The kitchen had dark green granite and yellow and green backsplash. The walls were dark taupe,” she explains.

Credit: Keisha Burley

The existing design choices made the already beige kitchen feel “dark and cramped,” she says. “We always had plans to refresh the kitchen, and as we started slowly updating the other rooms, the kitchen didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the house.”

Credit: Keisha Burley

She started coming up with ideas to make the space feel more modern and fresh, and once she chose the new white stone countertops, the rest fell into place, she explains.

Credit: Keisha Burley

“I love the waterfall edge of the counters,” Keisha says. “I went back and forth about including it in the design, and I am happy that I we kept it.” She also loves how open the “after” feels with the original bar top cut down to the same height as the rest of the counters, but it was one of the trickiest parts of the redo.

“When we cut down the bar, we discovered the hardwood flooring did not run under the cabinets,” she explains. “We had to have the flooring patched after the waterfall edge was installed.”

Credit: Keisha Burley

Her advice for any renovation — especially a kitchen renovation — is to plan for things like this to happen. “Definitely make sure you have at least 10 percent of your overall budget saved for contingency,” she says. “You run into at least one issue that you did not or could not plan for.”

Keisha and her husband hired pros to work on the cabinets, counters, and new backsplash — an installation of marble-y elongated hex tiles behind the range. They also had the island painted black and added new black pendants and a black sink to create more contrast against the freshly painted white walls, coated with Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls shade. The total cost for the redo was around $8,000, Keisha says.

In the future, she also plans to paint the cabinetry white, but for now, she loves “All. Of. It,” she says.

Credit: Keisha Burley

“I have never tackled a kitchen. This space gave me angst because I wasn’t sure how all of my ideas would translate in real life,” she says, but she is “so happy with the results.”