No Pain, No Gain – The Kitchen Remodel (Part 1)

If I had to rank all the rooms in my house for which room was the most offensive when we purchased it, the kitchen would take first place. The upstairs bath with its green sinks and rotting shower would take second. The living room would come in at a close third, with its (former) red carpet and pink brick, but more on all that later. Today, we are addressing the kitchen. Hands down, the most formidable project I have ever undertaken.

Kitchen Remodel chapter37

Someday I’m going to write a post on the top ten things I’ve learned about house remodels. Numbers one through ten will be “expect everything to take longer than you thought, be more difficult than you thought, and to cost more than you thought.”

kitchen remodel chapter37

Then, when I’m done with that post, I’m going to write one about what to expect from old houses. Things like petrified contact papered shelves, and thick compacted pads of grease on cabinets will be on that list.

chapter 37 kitchen renovation

Then when I’m done giving people a migraine with ugly pictures and dire warnings…I’ll write a post about how when you’ve painted so much you have blisters on your fingers, and you’re teetering on the edge of a nervous break down over the mayhem…

kitchen remodel chapter37

…and just when you’re convinced you are absolutely beyond painting another stroke…suddenly the sun will shine again, and the backaches will all be forgotten. I think I’d just have to write a post to say your hard work is worth it, because I really think it is you know.

Kitchen remodel chapter37

Here’s a bit of info that you might find helpful if you happen to find yourself in possession of hideously ugly dated kitchen and want to spruce it up a bit.

kitchen remodel chapter37

We ripped off the old pink counter tops ourselves. The Mister was the master craftsmen who was responsible for putting new counter tops down. He used just plain old pine boards, 24 inches wide, from the hardware store. He glued them down with liquid nail, and then screwed them on from the under side. I sanded them, stained them with a black stain, and put six coats of a floor grade sealer on them.

DIY wood counter tops chapter37

We had an electrician run us new wire for the appliances. A contractor took out the wall around the old fridge, which we replaced with open shelves. He also took out the drawers where the dishwasher now is installed. The rest of the work we did ourselves.

kitchen remodel chapter37

Truth be told, that spot where the old oven was, is still a gaping a hole. That’s why this is “part 1″ of the kitchen remodel. Also, if you’ll kindly ignore the floor, it’s still waiting to be done as well. And then there’s the pantry, which is still 1950′s pink…but considering from where we started, I can deal with it for the time being just fine, thank you!

chapter37 kitchen remodelThere was a four inch gap on either side of our new oven where the old counter tops had stopped. The Mister concealed this quite cleverly with adding in two spice racks on either side of the oven.

pull out spice racks chapter37

I saved us a nice bit of change by reusing all the old cabinet hardware instead of buying new. I soaked them in stripper, and then spray painted all of it black.

open kitchen shelving chapter37

There’s also the matter of this door, that doesn’t actually open. Not the most fancy function for a door I’d have to say, I suppose its free home security? A few hooks makes it serviceable until it can either be removed or replaced.

black and white kitchen remodel chapter37

We also installed a new sink and faucet. I made the curtains, and the pendent light is just a hardware store kit stuck into an old pitcher.

black and white kitchen remodel chapter37

So that about wraps it up on the kitchen for the time being! Hopefully we can revisit it in the not so distant future for the full and complete package. Were you wondering why I chose black and white for the color scheme? Well my dear, it’s like this, I do not plan to ever, ever, repaint this kitchen, or any other kitchen, in this life, nor the one hereafter…so I, in solemn protest of the tides of color trends, chose colors which will stand immortal and enduring…or at least until the end of my lifetime anyway.

black and white kitchen remodel by chapter37

It does my little heart good to see this post…it chases out all the grumbles over painting what’s left of the house to be done. It can’t be as bad as all that! Famous. last. words.

Romans 8:38-39   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Related posts: Kitchen counter 10 month check up HERE. Fixing the hole in the wall with drawers HERE.

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About Abby

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88 Responses to No Pain, No Gain – The Kitchen Remodel (Part 1)

  1. Kristi Burton McElroy says:


    Your kitchen looks amazing and I can only imagine how much you enjoy looking at it know how much work it was and where you ‘brought it from’ !!
    You are so talented in your ability to ‘see’ what something has the potential to be. I LOVE all your before and after stories…
    Hugs to you and your girls!


    • Abby says:

      Thank you Kristi! It is true, once you’ve sunk your sweat into something it’s twice as enjoyable to use! Thank you for the encouragement, hugs back to you!

      • Chelsea says:

        I know it has been a while but do you know what black stain you used? Was it a gloss? An was it the minwax stain and polyurethane together?

  2. Amazing job on those countertops! The room is so much brighter. :)

  3. Thanks for the nice comment you left on my blog. Black and white can be really stunning! Also, I like that little green clock that you added to your new kitchen!

    -Brittany Ruth

    • Abby says:

      Thank you Brittany Ruth! That little clock is one of my favorite things in the kitchen. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • jenni says:

        I am considering wood countertops. I am concerned about upkeep and water damage between my sink and dishwasher. My set up in this area is much like yours. I’m interested in your thoughts now that you have had some time with yours….

  4. Justine Y says:

    I can’t believe how amazing your kitchen looks! ‘ll be curious to know how the countertops hold up over time, what a great and inexpensive solution! I love your white cabinets too, really opens the place up; I wish the hubby would let me paint our cabinets… they really need something done to them. :)

  5. Sherry says:

    Wow, Abby! What a wonderful transformation. The kitchen looks so much lighter and brighter…beautiful! Thank you for sharing your renovation at the Open House party.

  6. Some people have some major skill, and you Abby are one of them. This is some beautiful work.

    Well Done!

  7. Luisa says:

    Looks soooo much better…with a “simple” paint job…kidding! About the “simple” part…serious about the “looks so much better part”. I seem to keep running into your blog…guess it’s time to subscribe! Have a fantastic weekend!!

  8. It looks amazing. I recently saw the sun again during our kitchen re-do. We are so close to being done and can’t wait to feel the relief of being finished. I know you are feeling that right now! I am loving those countertops. I don’t usually like things painted black but those are amazing!

  9. I wanted to invite you to the Friday Flash Blog Party, the best linky in town! I hope you’ll join us and link up. Who knows. You may just get highlighted!

    The party goes on ALL weekend.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

  10. Rebekah L. says:

    The transformation is amazing! It’s a beautiful kitchen!

  11. cassie says:

    wow! your kitchen is amazing and how far it has come! great work!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Love it! We’re in the middle of renovating our kitchen right now, and I’m learning everything you talked about. It really is harder, more time-intensive, and more expensive than you think it will be! I’m hoping my “after” turns out to be as nice as yours. :) And I’m so glad you mentioned using a 24″ board as your counter. I was going to do 2×8′s but using one board instead of gluing three together sounds so much easier.

  13. Christine says:

    Holy bleep, and I thought my kitchen was dated when we moved in…I had orange/pink wallpaper with huge hydrangeas on it, mud colored checkerboard tiles and yellowed cabinets….and the icing? It came with white countertops sprinkled with multi colored confetti….

    Anyway, enough about mine…I love what you did. It looks bright, fresh and brand new. The area where the fridge was looks amazing!

    Congratulations on getting closer to the finish line and I hope the rest goes a lot easier!


    • Abby says:

      Thanks Christine! Sounds like you had an ultra fun kitchen to work on…I’m so glad I didn’t have wallpaper in the mix! I don’t think my sanity would have survived. =) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Christine says:

    P.S. since I feel like we are now war/kitchen buddy’s I’m your newest follower via email…:-)

  15. Manda Wolf says:

    I love it! It looks great! Those counter tops are amazing! Do you know which brand of sealer you used? We covered out gross countertops in concrete and now the sealer sticks to everything. It is a nightmare!

    • Abby says:

      The sealer I used was Minwax water based oil-modified polyurethane in clear gloss. Its supposed to be good for floors and very durable. I haven’t had any problems with bags or stuff sticking to it. Good luck!

  16. Lucy says:

    Nicely done! So much brighter in there! Love how you brought your own custom touches. I think the addition of the spice racks next to the stove were just genius! And amazing job on the counter-tops.

    BTW, love the scripture you included at the bottom. Have a great week!

  17. Judy says:

    Wow, your kitchen transformation is amazing and the new countertops are great.

  18. Brenda says:

    Finally, a real kitchen remodel with real people on a real budget, who use what they have, do for themselves, and make things look 1000% better. Great job!

    • Abby says:

      Thank you Brenda! I wish the budget was a little less real, but it can be done. =) Thank you for your sweet comment and for taking the time to stop by!

  19. Wow! Your update looks great. It really brightens the place up! Don’t forget to link up to The DIY’ers.

  20. This is amazing!!! The after is stunning- love it!!

    Hosting my FIRST linky party this Saturday, would love it if you stopped by!! DIY projects, yummy recipes & all brilliant ideas welcome! You might even get featured! :)

  21. Congratulations…this post was featured on Create It Thursday #21! Thanks so much for sharing such a fabulous idea last week!

  22. This is absolutely awesome! What an incredible transformation. You’ve done a wonderful job in this room. I know you must really enjoy using your kitchen now–it’s beautiful!

  23. Wow. Just WOW. This is what a before and after is all about! :) Featuring this over on Kammy’s Korner for Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday. You have vision, girl!

  24. Vickie says:

    I’m visiting from Cozy Little House today and I feel compelled to leave a comment to tell you what an amazing transformation you’ve accomplished!! Your wood countertops are beautiful and your kitchen is filled with charming details that you can’t find in a new kitchen. Yes, I agree, all your hard work has paid off. :)


  25. jamie@kreyv says:

    Wow! Great job, I love it!

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  28. Kate says:

    Hi Abby – I’m coming over from Better After today lured by your painted panel dining room. I have a similar paneling dilemma in what we affectionately call the Lumberjack kitchen (an EIK areas our main kitchen, but we have a full dining room as well). How did you prep the paneling and what brand of primer and.or paint did you use? Any concern of yellowing? The countertop is awesome as well and might be a nice (and inexpensive) upgrade from the navy tiles we currently have. Tiles + grout lines in a kitchen = constant grease culverts. Gross!!

  29. Kim says:

    Hi Abby, What a stunning transformation!!! Can I ask what color paint you used on the walls???

    • Abby says:

      Kim, thanks for stopping by! I actually don’t know the color, because I had it matched to a random paint chip that I then threw away. Ugh, sorry! It is very close to Behr’s swiss coffee white though!

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  32. Steph says:

    Coming from Better After…and this is DEFINITELY a Better After story! I know what an enormous task it is…I did it in my own kitchen almost 10 years ago to cover the UG-LEEEE 70′s plywood cabinets and walls with 3, yes 3, different kids of paneling. OH and the LOVELY blue indoor/outdoor carpeting that was GLUED to the 30+ year old vinyl…super. After 2 coats of primer, 3 coats of sage color paint and 3 coats of sealer, the cabinets were DONE and have held up extremely well…even made the old spottled grey formica counter look decent. I’m now looking into replacing the kitchen with a pantry that is more than 10″ wide but just goes to show what a “simple” paint job can do to lighten and brighten in the meantime. Great job!!!!!!

  33. This renovation turn into the nice result and the title is really perfect for this.Well lately i am planning to a renovation for my kitchen and bathroom in my home in Finland and i am looking for different kind of kitchen design and this is impress me a lot.

  34. Tarquin says:

    Wow! That kitchen looks amazing! You did an amazing job – thank you for the photos. Tarquin @ Him, Her and Them

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  37. You’re kitchen turned out so well! Seriously amazing job!!

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  41. Kristin says:

    This is absolutely awesome! I can’t wait to show my husband this! :)

  42. Audrey says:

    Absolutely astonishing!!! Love the countertops and all the white cabinets and paneling. Just amazing. I’m your newest follower via G+, bloglovin’ and Hometalk! Have a great weekend.

  43. Diane says:

    Absolutely beautiful…. The power of paint is amazing.

  44. Jill says:

    Beautiful work (I found you through Better After & can’t wait to spend my snow day reading through). Can you tell me more about the artwork you hung under the cabinets? They caught my eye.

    We had a similar kitchen/family room, dark stained pine. After throwing up color after color, I realized white was the best choice as I would get tired of a color after 6 months. It makes all the difference. Trying to figure out if I could use your countertop idea…

  45. I was wondering… did you discover any plumbing problems when remodeling your kitchen?

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  47. This is an incredible transformation Abby. Well done to you!

  48. Kimberly says:

    Was there plywood under the existing countertops? We are considering wood and I am the handy one in our family. I can tell there is nothing under our laminate so if I rip it out, I either have to lay Plywood or attach to the cabinets. Thanks and your kitchen was well worth the sweat equity.

  49. Brenda says:

    Finally i quit my regular job, now i earn decent money on-line you should try too,
    just type in google – slabs roulette system

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  51. this domain says:

    Yes! Finally someone writes about domain.

  52. marisela lopez says:

    Hello is the coating safe when cooking lile with oil

  53. Courtney says:

    LOVE THESE COUNTERTOPS!We are restoring a bad flip job on a house from 1929, and I’m dying for wooden countertops. How are they holding up? Do you have a lot of dings and scratches? I ask because I built our dining table out of fir, which is also a soft wood, and even though we eat in front of the TV most nights, it’s still dinged up on top. So I’m scared to use pine or fir on the counters. I’d love input now that you’ve been living with them for a while!

  54. Michael says:

    Your countertops look absolutely Amazing! I want to do mine the same way, but am not sure about the wood that you used. What exactly type of wood did you use? Thank you.

  55. Beth says:

    Hi I would love an update on how your countertops are holding up. I really want to do black/india ink stained wood countertops in our kitchen. I was also wondering if you could guess about how much they cost and about how many square feet. Trying to compare prices :) Your kitchen looks great! Thanks.

  56. Beth says:

    Just found your 10 month update with the cost info in it–thanks so much ;)

  57. Pingback: 50 Inspirational Home Remodel Before-And-Afters | Choice Home Warranty

  58. Bonnie says:

    Very , very nice, what is floor grade sealer .

  59. Bonnie says:

    What is floor grade sealer?

  60. I love it! It looks great! Those counter tops are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  61. Wow Useful information shared. I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice ideas. Fantastic walk through. I appreciate your post.

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  63. Stacy says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the countertops! Our counters are so dated…yellow laminate. We don’t really have the budget to get new ones at this time and I want something economical for our area. We would never get a return on a huge countertop investment and we have a lot of counter. But anyway, my question is…Is the sealer you used food safe? How does that work? Again, your kitchen is just beautiful and the counter are gorgeous!


  64. Trina says:

    How did you finish the edges of the countertops off?

  65. Roberta says:

    Hey Abby! I LOVE what you’ve done!! Found this post knowing I wanted stained black clountertops but not sure which stain to get – I don’t suppose you remember what you used? Thanks in advance and lovely work!

    • Michelle says:

      She posted the info back on 9/23/13. I found it while I was looking for the same info.

      The sealer I used was Minwax water based oil-modified polyurethane in clear gloss. Its supposed to be good for floors and very durable. I haven’t had any problems with bags or stuff sticking to it. Good luck!

  66. Michelle says:

    I realize it’s been a while since you posted your kitchen makeover, but I came across it on Pinterest today. How did you do the back splash? I would love to do this in my kitchen.

  67. Desiree says:

    I came across your DIY kitchen counters in Pinterest and like others am curious how they are holding up now? I would love to do something like that in our house but haven’t found many long term results people have had. Thanks for the great tutorial! I hope this is something you would still recommend for people to think about trying!

  68. Christina says:

    Abby. Beautiful! I just a finished a 5 week bathroom remodel and my fiance couldn’t shower for 5 weeks. You know men and baths don’t work so he opted with our solar camping shower in the backyard. Good thing we live near the country. As for your kitchen. Gorgeous. I’m about to start our kitchen remodel with pine countertops. I am going to weather our wood with the vineger wood method. Repainted our cabinets and adding a wall of counter space but using and faceliftimg an old dresser doe the cabinets. I’m exited about this but you blog has inspired me more I just messages this blog to my fiance. Thank you for sharing.

    Durham NC

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  73. judy paolini says:

    I LOVE your countertop idea. I am thinking I need to do that in the home we just bought. I wondered how it is holding up. Have you had to re-seal it at all? Does it handle water well?

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