Before and After: Floating Shelves Transform a Plain Kitchen in a Sophisticated $5,000 Revamp

published Sep 12, 2021
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Tri-color kitchen backsplash white cabinets
Credit: Jessica Bui

There are plenty of perks to buying a house that’s already been flipped. All of the hard work has been done for you, and as new homeowners, you get to move right into a turnkey house. Even if the finishings aren’t exactly to your liking, a flipped home can serve as a launchpad for your own customizations down the road.

That’s just what blogger Jessica Bui did two years after moving into her terra cotta brick house, nicknamed The Orange Home. “Since our house was originally built in the ’50s, we were able to purchase the home completely flipped — walls torn down turning into an open concept, new drywall, and also finishes like the mosaic gray backsplash,” she says. “But we knew that paint and fixtures would still be a big project, since the sellers chose a lot of gray finishes.”

Even with white cabinets, the dark countertops and mosaic backsplash made the kitchen feel darker than it was — a sharp contrast to Jessica’s personal preference. “Our goal and vision was warm, neutral, and bright,” she says. While a full kitchen renovation wasn’t in her budget, she was still able to transform the space with the help of a local cabinet vendor. 

Credit: Jessica Bui

In addition to replacing the backsplash with a timeless subway tile, her plan was to raise the cabinets all the way to the ceiling and break up the all-white cabinetry to incorporate some warm elements in open shelving above the sink. “Open shelving has always been an inspiration — to be able to style and add texture elements was a must!”

The project started with the backsplash removal followed by the subway tile installation. That alone brightened up the space. Next came the floating shelves, which Jessica admits was a surprisingly challenging part of the project. “The hardest part was the trial and error of doing the floating shelves ourselves. After many tries, we decided to hire a professional, and so glad we did!” she says.

Credit: Jessica Bui

After her contractor raised the cabinets to the ceiling and painted them Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, Jessica found herself in a position many homeowners would envy: She had the chance to replace the kitchen sink and countertops. “The sink and countertop installation was somewhat of a surprise,” she says. “We didn’t plan this initially, but had an opportunity to brighten up the space!” She traded in the dark countertops for a beautiful white quartz and the stainless steel stock sink for a classic white one, elevating the look of the formerly underwhelming space.

Credit: Jessica Bui

From start to finish, the project cost $5,000 and took place little by little over six months. Jessica’s favorite part? “The open shelving for sure! I love being able to style the space.”