One Room Challenge

Before and After: A $5,000 Redo Gives This Brown Kitchen More Storage, More Light, and More Charm

published Jan 12, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Before: a kitchen with wooden cabinets and high chairs at a counter

Perhaps like many homeowners and DIYers, Roxanne Flett (@Roxy_Home_Living) never planned to tackle a kitchen reno on her own — that is, until she saw how costly it was to hire a contractor for a total kitchen demo.

“As you can imagine, a complete remodel comes with not only the inconvenience of the kitchen being unusable during construction, but also a hefty price tag,” Roxanne says. (Although cost varies by size and scope, HomeAdvisor estimates a kitchen renovation will cost about 15 of percent the market value of your home.)

Roxanne’s kitchen before was nice — it had quality cabinets, 11-foot ceilings, and granite countertops — but she had a few qualms with it. “There was a lot of wasted space at the top of the existing cabinetry, and the built-in desk area was dated and not functional for our family,” she says. “I also did not like how the breakfast nook cabinetry bled into the kitchen and made it look like it was all kitchen. Additionally, the previous owners hired someone to paint the island and unfortunately the outcome was not so good. The paint had visible brushstrokes in every direction, and the outlets has also been painted.”

Roxanne knew the kitchen had potential to be so much better, and she also knew it didn’t have to cost tens of thousands of dollars. “I decided to update my kitchen by simply replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and changing the color of the cabinetry,” she writes on her blog. Her kitchen makeover was completed as part of the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge.

First up: taking advantage of those tall ceilings. Roxanne ordered a set of smaller cabinets to be installed atop her pre-existing kitchen cabinets for maximum storage. She added new crown moulding above it for a luxe, seamless look, and then she painted the new and old cabinets in Sherwin-Williams’ Extra White to give them a more bright and contemporary feel.

In the breakfast nook, Roxanne closed in the desk and added cabinets there instead; the newly added storage was much more practical for her family’s needs. In order to differentiate the breakfast nook from the rest of the kitchen, she swapped out the nook’s cabinet doors and had totally new upper cabinet boxes installed. “I knew adding Shaker-style doors and drawer fronts to the new buffet would instantly set it apart from the kitchen,” she says.

On the upper cabinets, she installed glass door fronts, which also help to define the space and give it a little more character. When Roxanne ordered the doors, they had plain glass fronts. She upped their style a bit more with custom mullions from Etsy. This is a quick way to give glass cabinets or larger glass doors a makeover for around $100 — a smart trick worth saving!

Roxanne also added some more contemporary wood elements to her kitchen, like the shelving between her glass-front cabinets and her new range hood. She got her lumber from Home Depot and made the measurements and cuts herself. “The fact that nothing is square definitely created setbacks,” she says. “Adding onto the existing cabinetry was a bit challenging … I had to basically treat some areas like a puzzle, cutting pieces to size and shape to create an overall finished look. Nothing is ever easier than expected in these types of projects.”

A couple details you might not notice at first glance? Roxanne added a bit of texture (with moulding pieces) to her island before repainting it in Sherwin-Williams’ Halcyon Green, and she didn’t like the black insides of the kitchen’s can lighting before, so she painted them white. Her new cabinet hardware is from Amazon, her new sconce is from Kichler, and her light fixtures and barstools are actually the same ones as before — they just look new in the totally refreshed space.

All in, Roxanne’s redo cost about $5,000, and she says she achieved all of her goals. The space is visually more impactful, has more storage, functions better for her family, has a brushstroke-free island, and has a distinct dining nook. Mission accomplished! In the future (and with more budget), Roxanne says she might get new appliances, and she might paint her countertops with a white marble epoxy kit, but for now, she’s thrilled with her budget-friendly overhaul. “I absolutely love the after,” she says.