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Mom’s kitchen: Dark & gloomy to bright & airy!

Apr 04 2016 -
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It has been said millions of times: It is amazing what paint can do! When my mom asked if we could paint her kitchen cabinets white I told her YES without a second’s hesitation. If there was ever a kitchen (or house) that needed some new paint it was my mom’s new little place that she had downsized into! She added a breezeway, front deck and two car garage last year and that had helped the house work substantially better. However, it remained small (and felt even smaller) the walls were damaged and everything was in a shade of a dark brown or pink (and several little tykes had lived here leaving lots and lots of crayon artwork on the walls). This little place needed a makeover BADLY. Especially her kitchen! So, we got to work planning to paint her kitchen cabinets white.

(NOTE: Guys, thank you so much for all of your kind words last week following the death of my dog Diesel. It was one of the hardest (and worst) things I have ever gone through. It has been a week and a day and our house remains far too quiet and far too empty. I am not yet back to the person I was before my big beasty died in my arms and, quite frankly, I probably never will be. This was a terrible shock and time for us and all of you helped me so much with your kindness. THANK YOU! This makeover I’m posting today we completed just three days before my big wonderful dog passed away.)

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Is that pink painted on the walls? Yes, yes it is…

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

How can a house so small showcase SO MANY shades of brown!?

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Her cabinets were actually in far worse shape then they looked in the pictures but I would have painted them regardless. Mom has only 600 square feet on her first floor and those dark cabinets just made it feel so much smaller! Funny thing is I always thought her kitchen was just tiny, it turned out to be a lot bigger then that when you’re painting six coats on all of the cabinets!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Mom and I took two days off from work with the plan to paint her entire first floor plus her kitchen cabinets white. I knew the time line would be extremely tight and warned my mom that we probably would not get everything finished. We started by taking all of her cabinet doors off and pulling her drawers out and setting them up in the garage. I wanted to paint the backs of the doors first so we wouldn’t be turning the freshly painted faces down to paint the backs later. So, I knew with how many coats the doors would take and, not being able to do the fronts and the backs at once, that we would probably not finish in two days time. However, I knew we would be close and only two days later she and I both had Good Friday off, so the plan was to finish up on Friday which we actually accomplished! Though, I will say we were both just SHOT! We never stopped moving except for lunch!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.
Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Once we had all of the doors and drawers out in the garage she tackled taping off all of the trim in the rest of the house (dining room, bedroom, hall, living room and bathroom) while I sanded down all of the doors, drawer fronts and then main cabinet boxes in prep for primer. I knew the first thing I had to do was start the process on the cabinets asap. So, with everything taped off and ready I started on the boxes, the backs of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with the first coat of primer. The weather was really working against us and everything took forever to dry in the garage because it was literally hovering only around forty degrees with full on freezing at night.

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Every surface in the kitchen received six coats. We used two coats of Kilz acrylic primer, then two coats of acrylic primer and paint in one (in a satin finish) and then two coats of poly acrylic (also in a satin finish). Was it enough? Well, honestly, the cabinets really could have used one more coat of paint but we are both extremely happy with how they turned out. We put in two ten hour days and by the end of the second day (both of us extremely sore and moving quite a bit slower at this point) the entire first floor of her house was freshly painted and completely finished, the cabinet boxes and drawer fronts were done and the backs of the cabinet doors were done. We made the decision then to bring the cabinet doors inside and finish painting their fronts down in her basement which saved our backs, our knees and our sanity worrying about the freezing temperature outside. (Below freezing and water based paint just don’t mix.) We did the first coat of primer on the cabinet door fronts before I went home for a much needed hot bath. She did another coat of primer that night and then Thursday night after work I ran over there and did the first coat of paint on the cabinet door fronts and she did the second coat when she got home later. Then, Friday I came over and we hung the doors deciding to get them hung and getting all of the hardware on them before just painting on the poly acrylic with them in place. (Poly acrylic dries quickly and because it is clear it is really easy to apply.)

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

We also decided to spray paint the ugly gold hardware in her bathroom. All of her door handles are gold but all of her light fixtures are bronze so now with the gold hardware in her bathroom painted bronze all that is left to eliminate all of the gold in her house will just be her door knobs. That is a job for another day! πŸ™‚ She plans on adding a bronze towel bar to the dummy drawer in front of her kitchen sink, she also plans on probably replacing the counter tops one day as well as adding a back splash. We still have to paint the stairwell and all of her basement but the big job is now done!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

I don’t know about you but when it comes to my wonderful mother I just love being able to do things for her! This little house was never quite her cup of tea and when she downsized from a 4,000 square foot home that was spacious with incredible amounts of daylight (that she designed) into this 1,200 square foot box where none of the choices were her own I know she really kind of hated it. (Especially when Joe, Diesel and I were squeezing in here with her when we were renovating our house!) But now with us out of here she has grown to like her little place and it made my heart glad when she said she wanted to make it her own. I knew then that the place was really becoming her’s and she was starting to like being here. Paint does truly amazing things to a house and this light blue/gray (Three Wishes by Valspar) she chose brightened everything up to such an extent that it is almost hard to believe. Her bathroom (which has no window) was painted in a really dark brown and now it literally feels like we added a window in there with how much the paint lightened it up! I plan on posting more makeover pictures and another post or two of her entire house, especially the bathroom. And, she spent less then $400 all in when it came to paint, hardware and supplies!

Thank you again everyone!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.Painting out an entire dark and dated kitchen with white paint and new hardware makeover before and after diy do it yourself tutorial

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65 Comments

  1. April 5, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Absolutely amazing difference between the before and after in that kitchen!!! Love what you did and the colors she chose – doubled the square footage visually! Still praying for you.

    • April 5, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you Susan for your prayers! We’re doing a little better now, but still the house is so quiet and empty πŸ™ Yes, we are just stoked about how her kitchen turned out and VERY tired! But it was so worth it!

  2. April 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    So sorry for your loss of Diesel. I too lost my dog Sadie. I have also moved from a large farmhouse to a very small 1500 sq. foot house. I have changed my living room to 3 walls of red. Which I love, however the kitchen is a small galley kitchen with very dark cabinets & woodwork. I do so want to paint this white. This has really inspired me. I will flag this site so I can continue being inspired. I will also have to hire some help to help me with this, but I feel it will be worth it in the end.

    • April 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you so much for your condolences. I’m sorry for your own loss πŸ™ We don’t deserve dogs and they surely never ever live long enough.
      Your kitchen sounds quite a bit like my mom’s! It was very time consuming and having two people surely made the job a lot easier! But, it is very possible, just takes lots of coats of paint and time I would love to see it if you end up taking the plunge in painting it!

  3. April 8, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Hi Tarahlynn,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment!
    I am so sorry for the loss of your dog Diesel…we have gone through that once and it is so hard!!
    What a transformation to your mom’s kitchen – you both worked so hard and it looks amazing!
    Happy almost Friday!
    Kimberley

  4. Jacki Salinas
    April 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Looks great! What a good daughter you are, and as a mom, I know how much your help meant to your mom.

  5. Cecilia Styles
    April 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    My you do beautiful work the colors are wonderful the style is great ,thank you for sharing and letting us see
    thanks GOD bless .
    Cecilia

  6. July 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, Tarah πŸ™ You sure blessed the sox of your mother! What a wonderful transformation. Thanks so much for linking up with Vintage Charm–

    • July 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you Diana πŸ™ We’re still healing over the loss of him. Thank you for coming by!

  7. Sue
    August 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Your kitchen transformation is amazing! I’m planning on doing the same, painting my cabinets white and I can only hope it turns out as beautiful as what you had done. What is the color you painted the kitchen, it looks fantastic…I’m finding it so difficult to find the “right” colors to update my dreary, dark and dull little house

    • August 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Hey Sue, the color was in Valspar and I’m so sorry I don’t remember the name of it! We looked at SO many paint chips lol it took FOREVER looking at blues and grays and greens to find just the right color – I think she feels it turned out a little bit more blue then she expected but gosh how it lightened up her home! The painting was a real endless task to get those cabinets totally covered but it’s very doable it just takes time! Good luck and thank you for commenting!

  8. September 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    what an awesome difference! You’ve inspired me! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  9. September 29, 2016 at 12:41 am

    It looks fabulous. Do another post when she replaces her counters and back splash! Great job. Thanks for linking with #overthemoon.

    • September 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Cathy I will definitely be posting updates, thank you!!

  10. October 10, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I have painted the (top) cabinets in my kitchen white – it refreshes the whole kitchen I think. You did a wonderful job,what a big transformation of the kitchen! And I love the flooring πŸ™‚

    Best,
    Bibi

    https://simplesummit.blogspot.com

    • October 10, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      We were so glad when it all turned out! It is amazing what paint can do to lighten up a room, thank you for coming by πŸ™‚

  11. October 11, 2016 at 1:09 am

    I’m so sorry about Diesel Tarah πŸ™ The fact that you helped your mom with her kitchen is great and the way it turned out is just incredible! Great job and thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!

    • October 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you Angie, its been almost six months now since we lost Diesel but I still miss him every day πŸ™ Mom and I ended up so happy with her kitchen! It was a lot of work but SO worth it!

  12. October 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Everything looks so much more cohesive now! I love how much lighter it looks and that pink… haha I know she is glad it is gone. Great job girls. I think it would have taken me a month to do it. And I do want to do my cabinets, I just haven’t quite got myself psyched up to tackle it yet. I guess maybe I need to do like you and take a couple of days off to get it done.
    πŸ™‚ gwingal

    • October 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Nikki, it was definitely a big job but I think doing it in a just a couple of days was the way to go for us or I fear it would have taken us months! I can’t believe how much better her floor and countertops look now, it is amazing what paint can do! Good luck on your project, thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  13. October 11, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    What an amazing change! I have always feared the white cabinets but I may have to check this out for my own kitchen now that i see how wonderful yours looks!
    #happynowlinkup

    • October 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Thank you so much! It was a lot of work but totally worth it!

  14. October 12, 2016 at 1:35 am

    The kitchen looks amazing. Great job and I bet your mom is thrilled. I am so sorry to hear about Diesel. It is always so hard, one of the most difficult things in life.

    • October 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you Debra, I still miss him every darn day. It was a lot of work but her kitchen transformation was totally worth it!

  15. Jann Olson
    October 12, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Light, airy, and beautiful! What hard workers you are. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  16. October 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    So sorry to hear about your dog. That really is heartbreaking. You are such an awesome daughter for all the things you do for your mother. The cabinets really do look awesome now. I can’t believe it took six coats to get them that way!

  17. October 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    This turned out SO great! πŸ™‚

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  18. October 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Wow, a beautiful renovation. Much lighter and brighter, well done!
    Sarah
    enrichmentality.com

  19. October 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Looks amazing!

  20. October 24, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    The white cabinets look amazing! I love how you left the wood trim. It brings in some texture and a natural element to the room. Love It! xo

  21. October 27, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I have similar cabinets and have been waning to do the same thing! So inspired to get started. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared

    • October 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Hey Theresa, it was a lot of work but SO worth it!!

  22. November 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Love how the kitchen has turned into something so beautiful and airy!! Really inspiring πŸ™‚ Thanks a lot for joining us at the Family Joy blog link up party πŸ™‚
    -Shamira

  23. November 4, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    A stunning transformation! I love how bright and airy it looks now.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Can You Build it?My Profile

  24. November 5, 2016 at 12:49 am

    What an amazing difference! All those coats of paint really did the trick. I love the wall colors, too πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing at Together on Tuesdays!!!

  25. November 9, 2016 at 5:05 am

    oh my goodness! the white cabinets make the kitchen look so bright and open! well done!!!!

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you so much Jessica!!

  26. November 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Light and airy, indeed. Your cabinets look wonderful and I know they took effort. Great job!

    • November 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Thank you so much Ann Marie!

  27. November 27, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Thanks for the inspiration. My cabinets look exactly like your mom’s did before. Now I know what they can look like! Thanks for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop!

    • November 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks for coming by Debbie!

  28. November 27, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Tarah, what a difference! All that prep and 6 coats — you do great work! And I’d much rather have a 1200SF place than a 4000SF.
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com recently posted…Afternoon Tea Party Tips – Le Creuset Giveaway – 3-Tier StandMy Profile

  29. April 27, 2017 at 9:19 am

    It looks so much better in white! What a big difference.
    Cristina recently posted…Easy cake recipes for EasterMy Profile

    • April 27, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you Christina! Mom is still really happy with her “new” kitchen, it is truly amazing what paint can do!

  30. May 1, 2017 at 4:41 am

    First of all congratulations on being so good to your Mom, its obvious you have a terrific relationship.

    The difference is remarkable, it went from being a cave to a clean home. Dark kitchens really are the worst, they always make me think there are unseen germs everywhere.

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Hats off to both of you.

    • May 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you! It was a TON of work but so totally worth it and they’re really still holding up great! Yeah I had a couple of people mention that it seemed like a shame that we painted those “wood” cabinets but it was just too small of a house for all that dark!

  31. May 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Amazing how the paint makes so much difference – great job by you and Your Mom Tarahlynn and totally worth all the effort.

  32. July 14, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I love how paint changes the whole look and feel of an area… and I use it often to do that. Your project turned out great! What a huge difference… and a small area is especially in need of being light to help it feel more spacious!

    • July 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much, mom is still very happy with her kitchen. Before we painted the cabinets she and I both absolutely hated the counter tops but the change of paint color changed how they looked totally and now we both like them quite a bit!

  33. July 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    WOW!Thank you for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things, pinned and featured xo

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