Stick a fork in it, our budget-friendly kitchen makeover is done and it’s time for the big reveal of turquoise cabinets and open shelving! What better day to show off the turquoise kitchen I’ve been dreaming about since last summer (actually, since August 2012) than on my 30th birthday? I wish I had added “awesome turquoise kitchen” to my 30 before 30 list because a whole bunch of things didn’t get done while I was making magic happen in here.
It’s such a fun space!
EDIT: Since Posting I’ve added some new photos, but click here to see how to kitchen has changed over the years! It looks really different today…
Do you remember what the kitchen looked like before? Here’s a side-by-side comparison because I think you need to see this affordable kitchen makeover to believe it:
This budget-friendly kitchen makeover, as smitten as I am with it, is temporary-ish. Down the road we’d like to gut the kitchen and do all new cabinetry, flooring, counters, tile – the works, but it might take us years to save up the cash so we decided it would be wise to spend a little bit now to make it look and function better for us while we squirrel away some dough and figure out what we want from the space. Here’s a summary of how we transformed this 1990s oak kitchen on a budget (with links to previous posts included throughout, and also listed at the end – along with our complete budget breakdown and sources).
The upper cabinets were removed because they were so small and offered surprisingly little storage space. We primed and painted the remaining kitchen cabinets a turquoise that is nearly identical to my Pyrex butterprint collection. With the upper cabinets and tile gone, the walls needed a little TLC so we installed a few new pieces of drywall and used paneling for an insanely affordable backsplash. I painted the paneling a slightly creamier white than the rest of the house. I waffled about painting it the same as the rest of the space because it would make the paneling blend in even more, but I worried that the cream flooring and off-white stained counters would read really yellow against a bright white.
To replace the awkward cabinets we ripped down, Hubby and I built a simple open pantry from plywood, which we primed and painted to match the walls (using a semi-gloss finish). Windsor Plywood sells laminated wood shelving which is the perfect width, so we grabbed four of those, which I primed and painted to match the walls and pantry (also in semi-gloss).
Even though I painted out the knots, some of the texture of the wood grain remains, which is what I had hoped I would achieve – I didn’t want them to look like melamine, but I wanted them white and bright. Because the shelves are constructed from small pieces of wood laminated together (like our counters), they likely won’t cup or warp like a solid piece of wood could.
Hubby used wood glue and pegs to join two pieces together to make the longer, top two shelves. You remember our bracket debate? On the studs or where they looked good? I lost and we originally put the brackets on the studs. We were so focused on our respective concerns for the placement of the brackets, we goofed up the shelf height! We realized (thanks to readers!) that our wood shelves violated Ontario building code by being too close to the stove – oops! For the second attempt at a configuration I wanted the brackets centred on the stove but when we removed one row they left massive holes from the giant screws required. We filled them with wood filler, but they didn’t look perfect so we left the other brackets where they were. It was my Mom’s idea, actually, not to centre the brackets on the stove because, as luck would have it, both sections of shelf on either side of the stove are now exactly the same size. In the end, half of the brackets are on studs, and the other half are held with giant anchors. Floating shelves might have been a simpler solution, but we thought this would be easier – ha! (Plus Hubby was adamant that he wanted these brackets, which hold 500 lbs each. I think he’s telling me to go buy more Pyrex . . . ).
A glass vase with turquoise KitchenAid utensils and a row of three of my framed enamel landscapes from Hungary offset the asymmetry. Kinda. It’s one thing that still bugs me a little, but I think I can live with it!
To make the open shelving look more intentional, we installed them so they lined up with the shelves of the DIY pantry we made. We also lined them up so one shelf runs right over the top of the fridge, so the fridge looks less “out there,” and more built-in, for a similar feel to cabinetry. I added tons of handy storage with twelve 2 gallon glass Montana canisters for storing our dry goods.
Happily, the DIY solid maple counters Hubby built still look amazing – as does the stainless steel sink and faucet we installed awhile ago. That’s the genius of working at a snail’s pace: by the time the reveal is ready, I’ve had a chance to put everything though the wringer. I love finally seeing everything finally come together in this kitchen makeover!
I’ve been trying to be relaxed about the wood counters and just use them, but I do take certain precautions. After wiping them down or after an especially splashy dish-washing session, I wipe off any water with a dry tea towel. I used trivets for hot things and coasters for beverages – although rogue drinking glasses haven’t left any rings. I have this thing about the rubber feet on the bottom of the knife block and blender, though: I’m worried they will stain, so I bought a little cream-coloured cutting board to set them on.
I stashed my orange kettle because I’m just really loving this icy palette of cream, white, and shades of turquoise. I’ve got some mint and blue in there for variety (and now some colorful new art). My Mom gave me her vintage glass Pyrex kettle, which doubles as a tea pot. I like that it doesn’t draw add to the busyness here.
We stopped and started working on this kitchen so many times, and I lived without a functional space for so long, so it feels really, really good to have completed our budget-friendly kitchen makeover. It’s better than I could have ever imagined and I just wish you could see it in real life, where it is brighter, less grainy (!), and more aqua (it looks denim blue in some pictures). The glassware sparkles and the wood counters gleam.
It’s a cheery kitchen and when you’re actually in it, it’s not so AQUA – it feels mellower. It’s a joy to cook and bake in here and it has such a great vibe when we entertain. Guests sit on the stools, chatting with me while I bustle, and they stare at the shelves, all glassy-eyed. Everyone who we have invited over has immediately felt at home, which is such a great feeling! It’s perfect for our little lakeside home because it has a relaxed, happy, cottage feel.
Here are all of the posts related to our budget-friendly kitchen makeover:
Turquoise kitchen inspiration
Painting the cabinet doors with a paint sprayer
Painting the cabinet boxes and installing hardware
Building the solid maple counters
A little bit on wood movement
Staining the counters with a sprayer
Installing the sink and faucet
Choosing paneling as a backsplash
Installing paneling (and now, trimming it as well)
The great bracket debate
Building a DIY pantry, and working around some weirdness
Reveling in the mess
Enjoying our new kitchen stools
UPDATE: My thoughts on open shelves, six months later
Here is the budget breakdown for this affordable kitchen renovation:
Maple lumber for counters = $611
Counter stain and clear finish = $40
Sink = $200
Faucet = FREE
4 Laminated Wood Shelves = $80
13 Metal Brackets = $102
6 Sheets of Paneling = $108
Paneling Trim & Screws = $112
Window Trim and Baseboard = $30
Electrical Box Extenders = $42
Ikea Light = $30
2 Plywood Sheets for Pantry = $90
Knobs = $24
Floor Vent = $13
Edge Tape = $10
Primer for Cabinets = FREE
Paint for Cabinets = FREE
Paint for Walls, Pantry, and Shelves = FREE
Modernica Stools = A lot (they don’t count, they’re technically in the dining room 😉
Pantry Canisters = FREE
Grand total = $1492!! I’m pretty excited that we made such a significant change in this kitchen with less than 1500 bucks. I’d need to add a bit more if I had paid out of pocket for items like paint and our fancy faucet. Conversely, I think buying prefab wood counters from Ikea might be cheaper than our DIY walnut counters, but I’m totally in love with the decadently thick slabs of solid maple we’ve got going on – they make the kitchen. I’m not counting kitchen accessories, like my Pyrex collection, linens, glassware, etc., because most of these accessories I’ve collected over time. Hopefully our ancient appliances can hang on until the next kitchen reno! Oh, and if you see a math error (of I’ve forgotten something), please let me know.
Cabinet primer (Zinsser Bulls Eye 1,2,3 Primer) c/o Canadian Tire
Cabinet paint (Premier Interior Latex Semi-Gloss, in CIL’s Niagara Mist), c/o Canadian Tire
Panel paint (White on White, Eggshell), c.o CIL
Pantry paint (White on White, Semi-Gloss), c/o CIL
Paneling (B Grade Dover), purchased from Windsor Plywood
Trim, laminated shelves, metal brackets, purchased from Windsor Plywood
Faucet (the Lita), c/o Pfister
Sink (Atlantis Commercial Grade Pro Series), Purchased at Costco
2 Gallon Glass Montana canisters, c/o Canadian Tire
Cabinet hardware, Purchased from Lee Valley
Glass light fixture, Purchased from Ikea
Stools, Purchased from Modernica
Birdie foaming soap pump, c/o Umbra
Skinny Robin Egg blue can, c/o Umbra
Whew! Shall we ogle this budget-friendly, bright turquoise kitchen once more before I get on with my birthday festivities? Yes, we shall. The before, one last time:
And my turquoise, retro-inspired kitchen now: