Before and After: An Incredible DIY Makeover for Rental Kitchen Cabinets

published Nov 27, 2017
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Puno Puno)

When Puno Puno (yes, you read that right, her name is Puno Lauren Puno!) and Daniel Chin Yee moved into their Downtown Los Angeles loft earlier this year, they knew they’d found their dream home. First, because of all the added space (their previous apartment was a modest 600 square feet to this loft’s 1,500). And secondly, because of the huge amount of light pouring in from the wall-to wall, industrial-height windows that line their corner unit.

Even with all of these amenities however, the couple knew they had some work cut out for them in terms of updates they wanted, including making their dark kitchen much lighter and brighter. Because they rent, buying all new kitchen cabinets wasn’t an option, and the existing modern inset cabinet door handles made updating the look with new knobs difficult. So the couple devised a DIY way to update their kitchen — and when they move out some day — they can change it all back!

Partners in life and business, the digital entrepreneurs have co-founded PeopleMap and ilovecreatives among other projects. They collectively have an eye for design, and Daniel in particular happens to be handy with a saw. With that said (and tools at the ready), the two took on the renovations with an enthused DIY approach and — of course — used their digital prowess as an aid to some of the bigger decisions.

(Image credit: Puno Puno)

“Since we’re renting, buying all new cabinets was out of the question, so we worked around that by replacing the doors. Daniel got four sheets of MDF from Anderson Plywood and cut the sheets using the previous doors as a template.”

(Image credit: Puno Puno)

In progress:

“Because we don’t have a yard and cutting MDF gets pretty dusty, Daniel created an encasing with plastic sheeting. It looked like a murder scene was happening back there.”

(Image credit: Puno Puno)

“We knew we wanted the cabinets white, so I tried out three different shades using Photoshop to see what each looked like. Eventually we settled on Behr Pure Ultra White. It really changed the space and makes a big visual impact. We have a ton of light, but this change really brightens up the room. We have people over a lot and the kitchen is a congregation space for everyone.”

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

“We have people over a lot and the kitchen is a congregation space for everyone.”

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

With the island, Daniel initially planned on covering the façade with MDF but instead used laminate from Wilsonart to cover the existing dark wood, which is cool because it’s not permanent either!


Kitchen accessories:

Thank you, Puno and Daniel! Love their style — see the entire loft.