Before and After: A Bizarre Beige Kitchen Makes a Total Change After a One-Month, $1,600 Redo

published Oct 16, 2022
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Before: a kitchen with brown wooden cabinets and white appliances

The most popular kitchen cabinet colors for new builds these days are gray, black, green, and navy. So it was a surprise that homeowner and fiber artist Megan MacDonald’s (@modernknots_) kitchen cabinets sported a shiny oak, even though they were constructed in 2014.

As it turns out, the home’s first owner built the kitchen himself, and it was a bit quirky. “There were a lot of questions that were unanswered on the WHY for a lot of things,” Megan says of the original kitchen. “There was floor tile cemented together as a countertop. The hinges and handles looked like they were reused from an old kitchen. They were very rusty and worn down. There was also this random cabinet door with a window in only one side … very strange.”

Megan and her husband planned to do a full redo of the space to make it more to their liking, but the high cost made her reconsider. What ensued instead was nearly a month of DIY updates, including giving the cabinets a fresh coat of paint, cutting new counters, and adding new hardware throughout.

Given that the Megan and her husband hadn’t so much as used a saw before this undertaking, they proceeded making changes with caution (and lots of help from YouTube).

“If we can do it, anyone can!” Megan says. She says their most ambitious and nerve-wracking DIY was the new faux butcher-block countertops. They bought oak veneer slabs from IKEA (totaling $500) and made cuts to them.

“We were very nervous to make our own cuts on the countertop and to cut out the hole for the sink,” Megan recalls. “We triple-counted our measurements, took our time, and felt very proud of ourselves for getting it done and done well!” They enlisted the help of a more DIY-savvy friend to help them level and secure the counters once everything was cut, and to keep them looking like-new, they oil them every month.

The longest part of the month-long kitchen revamp was painting the cabinets. To help anchor the space while keeping things up top light, bright, and airy, Megan went with a trendy gray-green paint (Fusion’s Eucalyptus) for the lower cabinets and a simple white (Fusion’s Victorian Lace) for the uppers.

Her favorite part of her revamped cabinetry, though, is the new hardware. She installed new brass hinges and hexagonal knobs from Amazon. Seemingly small touches like this also made a huge difference throughout. Gold-toned faucets from IKEA (for the main sink) and Wayfair (for the drinking water faucet) blended perfectly with the new cabinet hardware. The facuets, along with a sink from IKEA, cost $410. A $144 industrial light fixture from Home Depot added some rustic charm and is a fun, knotty nod to Megan’s DIY macrame work.

Megan says if she were to change anything about the project, she might opt for a double sink, which was on her wishlist but would’ve put her over budget. Still, she’s proud that her total renovation price tag was $1,600 and is delighted with her DIY efforts.

In the end, she advises, doing your research is key. “We shopped around and compared prices between hardware stores, IKEA, and online to ensure we were getting our dream kitchen while staying within our budget,” she says. “It is a lot of time and hard work, but so worth it!”