When we first moved to the farmhouse, I made a list of the order of rooms I wanted to work on first. This list has proven to be useless! I had planned on the kitchen being last due to the expense. I imagined black soapstone countertops with a new white farm sink and bridge faucet. Those items alone would total at least $7,000! I knew we didn’t have that in the budget now so the plan was to hold on the kitchen for now until we could afford the finishes we wanted or until we won the lottery!
However, dark rooms really bother me. The kitchen was the darkest room of the house and of course the room I spend the most time in. It was literally blah brown from floor to ceiling with some very, very faux granite laminate countertops and a brown faux finish on the walls that just blended right in with the brown cabinets and brown floors. After a few months, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to do a “quick and cheap” version of the bright room I envisioned. The makeover did prove to be cheap, but not so quick.
I started by removing the soffet that housed three can lights. It made the room feel small and oppressive. Once it was removed, I left the can lights hanging from the ceiling and had an electrician come out and remove them completely. I then had three big holes in the ceiling to patch. Once the patches were sanded, I went ahead and swapped out the light fixtures and painted the ceiling. There were two ceiling fans in the kitchen! I can’t begin to tell you how greasy and dusty those fan blades were without gagging! Thankfully, we already had the light fixtures so I did not count those in the overall cost of the makeover.
The next step was painting over most of that lovely brown faux finish on the wall. I used a satin latex Sherwin Williams paint called “grey owl”. It is a nice, neutral cool gray.
Then I painted the cabinets with a white, satin-finish oil based paint from Sherwin Williams. I replaced the grimy brass hinges and knobs with new oil rubbed bronze ones I ordered on Amazon. For some reason, the cabinets above the range had a super unattractive fluorescent light installed underneath them and it was not concealed at all. The range is a down-draft so there is no need for a vent and hood. So, I took a $3.00 wooden shelf from Goodwill and mounted it on a scrap piece of cabinetry wood, attached it to the bottom of the cabinets and painted it to match. It looks like it has always been there and conceals the light while providing a cute little display area!
I painted the soffet above the cabinets with the same white paint and added crown molding to the top so that it would appear that the cabinets extend to the ceiling. It was a pleasure to cover up more of that brown faux finish!
Since I couldn’t afford the black soapstone countertops I longed for, I googled “faux soapstone” and found a simple method to try. I primed the countertops with oil based primer and then painted them with black chalkboard paint. It took 3 coats. Once they dried overnight, I waxed them with a non-toxic furniture wax. The wax gives it a satin finish and seals the paint. I am okay with the look for now. I don’t think it really looks like soapstone, but it definitely makes the countertops much more neutral so they aren’t very noticeable at all and of course adds a nice traditional black for the farmhouse look I am going for. They have held up pretty well, but I have had to touch up the black paint with an artist’s brush a few times. I wish I had tinted the white primer to a very dark grey and that would have made dings and chips less noticeable. I have also re-waxed the countertops once over the last year.
On to the backsplash! White subway tile was the first material I had in mind, and then I decided to go for a bit more rustic look with white v-groove wood planks. The entire backsplash was only $20! Once it was installed, I painted it with the same paint as the cabinets. Hallelujah, no more brown faux finish!
The island was the last step. It wasn’t attached to the floor so we were able to rotate it easily so that it was parallel to the cabinets behind it instead of at the strange angle shown in the before pictures. I will write about exactly what I did to transform it in my next post.
Not shown in the pictures, is the eat-in side of the kitchen. I haven’t touched this area yet except to paint the walls. My plan is to use cabinets we remove from our master bathroom to create a built in bench along the wall. Until then!
Update: here are two detail pictures based on questions below.