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Tag: DIY Kitchen

Kitchen: Prepping for Paint

It’s kinda crazy, but it’s been 10 weeks since we closed on our new-to-us home and just over a month since we moved in.  Due to budget and timing, we had no plans to remodel the kitchen.  The space is very large and duals as our kitchen + dining room.  From the day we stepped foot into the house, the kitchen space really through me for a loop and I was unsure of how it would function and how we would use it best.  I want to live in the space for a while to know what works and what doesn’t.  That being said, I couldn’t leave it as is.  A makeover was a must.

In our last house, it was a year before we took the plunge to tackle a DIY kitchen remodel with paint on the cabinets, new hardware, appliances, etc.  The result was pretty awesome and within a few years, it ended up being featured in Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine – how cool?!?

For our new home, I didn’t want to wait.  While we had a month of construction, I took on the task of making over the kitchen on my own.  It was quite the endeavour (since we weren’t living in the house AND there were boxes everywhere), but it was SO worth the crazy, hectic moments to get the beautiful, updated result for little cost.

Let’s take a step back and look at what the kitchen looked like before we moved in…


When we closed on the house, most of our boxes were stored in the garage and in the kitchen since it was the only space not being renovated.  From our mattresses, to sofas, to chairs, to our dining room set, the kitchen was packed from floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall.  Thankfully there was a 3-foot path in front of the cabinets for me to work and makeover our kitchen…

I started out by removing all the dated, ornate brass hardware from the stained cabinets. I ditched the pulls, but kept the hinges to possibly reuse (after spray paint).

Removing the hardware made a huge difference on how the cabinets looked.

The cabinets are made by Woodmode, which is a good cabinetry company and I have used before for Client projects.  They were stained a deep cherry hue, which I didn’t love, but they are made well and are actual wood cabinets (versus a cheap composite).

Once the hardware was removed, I labeled each cabinet using a sticker on the inside of the door, then detached the cabinet doors from the face frames.

I was blessed with a work space to use to paint the cabinets.  This was key to successfully painting 20+ cabinet doors and 6 large drawers.  I was able to spread out and work at my leisure to transform each piece.

Once the cabinets were in the shop, I started off by filling the holes from the hardware.  The hole separation from the previous hardware was an odd measurement and I couldn’t find any new hardware with the same center-to-center measurement.  I also wanted the updated, remodeled kitchen to be more modern and reflective of my style.  That being said, a simpler knob would be best.

I used this wood filler to fill the holes.

The doors were really dirty with layers of grease, grime, and gunk.  Once the wood filler dried, I sanded the overall face of the cabinets with my favorite orbital sander.  An orbital sander like this will save your countless hours and really sore arms – its a life changer and hands down, my most used tool!

Sanding the wood eliminated the top layer of finish (the sheen) and in some areas around the cabinet edges, the raw wood was exposed.  Once the holes were filled and smooth and the face of the cabinet doors + drawers felt clean, they were complete.

All ready for paint!

Before painting could begin, I had a lot of particle / dust build-up in the corners.  I first thought about using a wet rag, but I didn’t think it would get all the dust out.  The mister suggested using Flarp. Flarp? What the heck is that?!? I put him on the mission to find it and he did.  I think he got it at Walgreens.  Anyway, it was the answer to my prayers.

Flarp... the best trick to remove dust from cabinet corners

It’s sticky, but not messy.  It was perfect.  I clumped the Flarp into a ball, stuck it into the corner of the cabinets, then removed it.  Voila, the corner was dust-free.  Magic!

Check it out…

Prep is complete.  Next steps… Prime & Paint.


BHG Kitchen + Bath Makeovers COVER Feature: Year 2

I am so excited to share that for the second year in a row, a kitchen project that I designed is on the Spring cover of the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, Kitchen + Bath Makeovers.

How is this possible?! Even though I’ve had over a dozen features in various BHG magazines, the thrill never diminishes. It truly is a pinch-me-moment ever time!

Behind the Scenes + Details of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

My last experience collaborating with BHG on a kitchen makeover was fantastic and to see the result on the cover was incredible. From having a project featured in that magnitude, so many doors + new opportunities opened for me. That magazine hit newsstands just about a year ago and shortly after that, I was asked back to do it all again, for this years Spring magazine – magazines work long in advance. If you remember back a year ago, I was about 5 months pregnant at the time. The editors new that and were overly accommodating. I said, as long as we can wrap it up by early June, I’m on board. They were on board too and the ball started rolling from there…

Upon finding the right kitchen that was in desperate need for a makeover, Donna Talley – stylist + producer for BHG – and I partnered to create a makeover that was not only beautiful, but also budget-friendly and had many strategic storage options + ‘look for less’ details.

I love seeing + sharing behind the scenes footage and what goes into the end result, so let’s dissect…

The ‘before’

The ‘before’ kitchen was cramped & completely not functional. The space was of an okay size but with very limited cabinet space, a refrigerator wrongly positioned, and traffic flow problems, a lot needed to change.  Here are a few before pictures…

Pictures of the 'before' kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Not only were the cabinets dated, but functionally there was a lot of unused space above the upper cabinets. The base cabinets weren’t much better. After working with an architect on a few structural questions, we decided to remove the walls @ the pantry and open up the pass through space to join the kitchen + dining space.

Here was the Creative Vision Board I created for the kitchen + dining room…

The mood board for the proposed kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

The mood board for the proposed kitchen & dining room featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

In the end we went in a slightly different direction for the fabrics & layers, but the general aesthetic + style remained. Here are a few outtakes on the options discussed…

Kitchen Palette

Kitchen Palette

In the end, this is what was chosen & is what is seen in the magazine feature…

Kitchen Palette

At the same time as the materials + selections were being finalized, I was also working on the architectural drawings of the design, which included the floor plan and the various room elevations needed to execute the fabrication of the cabinetry. This is pretty much the same steps I take for all clients that I work with on a kitchen makeover.

Architectural Drawings…

Architectural drawings for the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Architectural drawings for the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Once the drawings were finished & everyone was on board, about 2 months later construction started and the makeover transformation was in process.

Progress pictures of the makeover…

Pictures during construction of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

In the end, this was the result captured through my lens.

The Result…

Pictures of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Pictures of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Pictures of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Pictures of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

The new cabinets were fabricated by MasterBrands – the island is a teal hue, while the upper + base cabinets are a soft gray, and the “pantry” is the same soft gray with a glaze overlay.

Here’s a detail of the “pantry” that we created using stock cabinets…

Pictures of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

The island is quartz an I was pleasantly surprised by it’s beauty. Before seeing the overall slab, I was planning for it to be faux looking (a knock-off granite or marble), but it wasn’t at all. The veining & movement of the slab was gorgeous. It’s a material I will definitely use again, especially as an alternative to marble since that can be difficult in a kitchen.

Kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

The transformation was incredible and I loved every step of the 1.5-month construction process leading up to photoshoot day which was in mid-June (and less than 2 weeks before I gave birth to baby #3 – thankfully we finished in the nick of time).

As always photoshoot day is typically mayhem, but Oh SO EXCITING. On the pages of the magazine, all looks calm & serene, but most of the nooks & crannies around the main shot are just the opposite.

Photoshoot day…

Behind the scenes of the Kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Behind the scenes of the Kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Behind the scenes of the Kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

All the props + styling are credited to Donna Talley who produced & put the story together. Michael Partenio was the photographer for the shoot.

Behind the scenes of the Kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

As I mentioned last year when sharing behind the scenes details, I find it incredible how much work goes into creating each shot. The space is overall beautiful, but the added pop layered in through accessories makes the room on the pages of the magazine come alive.

My pictures don’t honestly do a justice. The magazine shares much more beautiful angles + details, along with more of the story about the homeowner & the space. It’s an issue you will absolutely want to pick up. Plus a few of my blogger friends are also featured including Rhoda of Southern Hospitality, Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, and Marian of Miss Mustard Seed.

Behind the Scenes + Details of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

Last, but not at all least, I couldn’t design a kitchen without a central command center and this one does not fail!

From my CCC (that was featured in BHG), to last years kitchen with a CCC, and now this one – all of them are so different.

Also in the magazine, a few tips are shared on how to clear the clutter and how it’s stated, “Jenna is on a mission to replace those piles with command centers”…

Behind the Scenes + Details of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

So fun! I hope you enjoyed a bit of the behind the scenes details of a kitchen makeover for a magazine. Fingers crossed more opportunities will come about in the future!

Behind the Scenes + Details of the kitchen featured on the Spring 2015 cover of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

A Simple Kitchen Window Upgrade

Do you ever feel with a little upgrade, a space in your home that you haven’t quite loved, will finally look exactly how you always hoped?  That little revamp which won’t take long, but the room doesn’t feel “right” without ?

Well, I’ve had that feeling in my kitchen for a while.  The part that needed a redo wasn’t horrible, but I was kind of tired of it.

It’s not the cabinets because I still love them 2 years later.

It’s not the hardware because I still love that too.

But instead it was actually the valance over the windows that I felt blah about.

So the kitchen window got a revamp!

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

I created the previous valance 2 years ago and I never felt it was just right (don’t tell the Mister.  He didn’t see anything wrong with it).  To others, the valance was fine, but for me, it just wasn’t exactly what I envisioned.  Here’s how it looked before (with the old oak cabinets too – crazy to look at)…

Kitchen Valance

Anyway, since I’ve been adding bamboo shades (which I got from favorite resource, Payless Decor) to many of the first floor windows after I painted the mouldings white, it seemed like the most appropriate choice to continue the look + I love the wood texture of the shades against the light yellow wall color and crisp, white mouldings!

Aren’t they gorgeous?!

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

This past weekend while the kids went out for breakfast with their grandparents, I found a few hours of free time to finally hang my new roman shades.  When does that ever happen – free time – huh??  I blasted the music – Katy Perry was my fav choice for this project 🙂 – and got to work.

You might have seen me post this pic on Instagram Saturday afternoon…Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

I removed the old valance + there was still a cellular shade from the old owners behind it.  Then in about an hour, I hung the new roman shades.  Usually I always choose inside mount shades because decorative treatments (long drapes) are on the outside, but because the moulding of the kitchen window hits the ceiling and I wanted to allow as much light in as possible, so I decided on an outside mount.  Now the new bamboo shades touch the ceiling.

What do you think?

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

Such a difference and the new shades go so well with the open cabinet.

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

O, and did you notice the new light?  That was an easy switch-aroo that we did a few weekends ago as well.  We changed the hi-hat to a hanging fixture.  I’ll share more on that later this week, so stay tuned…

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

It’s amazing how small things which only take a few hours (or a morning filled with good music), change the entire look of a room.  I am thrilled with the new look of this room.

If you love the look of these gorgeous bamboo shades, they’re from Payless Decor and the color is Tibet.

Kitchen Window Revamp - A simple upgrade for a large kitchen window via @Jenna_Burger,

Ahhh… Much Better – #happygirl

What small adjustments have you made in a room of your home to completely change the look? If nothing yet, what changes do you want / hope to make?


Kitchen Makeover Update: One Year Later

One of the biggest projects to date that I tackled was my kitchen makeover.  I can’t believe it’s been a year, but this time last Summer, I was finishing up the final details and sharing it with you.

Since that time, I’ve been flooded with questions (and many kind comments – thank you), and thought a One-Year-Followup post including answers + an update a year later would be interesting and helpful for those thinking of tackling something similar.

There were alot of details and updates that went into the entire Kitchen Makeover, resulting in quite a few posts to explain all the steps.
Here they are:

Since this is a followup post, let’s start with some of the reader questions that I received related to…

painting the cabinets

From Shani:
it is beautifully done! i painted my cabinets in my previous house, and found that if i hit the cabinets hard (with a pot handle etc) that the paint you find that to be the case? great job!

From Kyra:
Did you use primer on all of the cabinets ? I would think you would want to use primer everywhere? DId you sand the cabinets first? You don’t mention it but I would think you’d want to.

From Julie:
Looks great!!! Did you not use a primer on these..or did you tint the primer? Also did you sand these first?How is the paint holding up?

I absolutely used Primer and wouldn’t do any project like this, without! Primer is key to a great finish and a long-lasting result.  To start off, I gave the cabinets a light sanding, then applied one coat of Kilz Primer. When using the Kilz Primer, sanding isn’t really needed, but I did it anyway to remove the sheen from the cabinet face.  Plus the Kilz Primer is great for blocking the wood grain and stain from showing through.

Once dry about 24 hours later (the paint can says wait 7 days for it to fully cure, but I didn’t), I applied 2 coats (in some areas 3 coats) of Benjamin Moore Aura Paint. Their Aura paint is a primer + paint in one, but I still felt that it was important to use the Kilz primer first.


From Stachia:
What color and brand of paint did you use for your kitchen cabinets?

The paint color that I used for the cabinets was Benjamin Moore Berkshire Beige in a semi-gloss finish using their Aura Paint line (primer and paint in one).  A semi-gloss finish is important to use on cabinetry and/or furniture so the surface can easily be cleaned and/or wiped off.

updating the countertops

From Amy:
Just one question, does the countertop have bumps, or does it just appear that way in the photo?

My Response:
With the Rust-Oleum kit, the countertop is slightly bumpy to imitate the look of a natural stone surface. It’s not overly bumpy, but also not completely smooth.

From sl:
I would love to do this to my kitchen countertop. Yours look GREAT!!! I am still trying to convince my hubby. Did you put the color chip on the backsplash and edges? Is so was it hard to get them in these spots? Is not, does it look odd without color chips? Thanks for any info you can share.

My Response:
Yes, I did put the chips on the countertop edge and backsplash. With the tool that is provided, it sprays the chips all over and will cover the vertical surfaces. If there are spots that don’t get covered, you can throw chips on them, which will adhere because the adhesive is very sticky. All surfaces of the counter, absolutely needed to be covered with the chips or you won’t achieve the quality needed to hold up.

From Marti:
Could you please elaborate on your comment that the chips must cover all areas or the quality needed to hold up won’t be achieved. Do you mean that the chips facilitate the hardening process, and without them, full hardening won’t occur? Also, did you notice any odor at any stage in the process? I have an allergy to paint. Many thanks.

My Response:
When you are at the point of adding the “chips”, you want cover the entire countertop surface – the more, the better. After the chips are added, the next day you put on the sealer (top protective coat). If the countertop is not covered enough with the chips, your old countertop color will show through. The chips DO NOT facilitate the hardening process, but the chips are essentially the color that changes the countertop. So the first coat is the glue, second is the chips a.k.a. “color”, and the last coat is the protective seal. There was very little odor throughout the process. I was very worried about this with having two young kids, but it really wasn’t an issue. Honestly, we ended up going out for meals during the process since the kitchen was OFF LIMITS!

From Kristin:
Hi there! You mentioned the peeling of the top coat when the tape isn’t properly removed. We just did these countertops this weekend and had one spot where it did that. What did you use to fix the area??? On another note I would totally agree that the difficulty level is at a 2. It was SO easy and the instructions were great. The scoring of the tape, though, really is vital.

My Response:
If part of the countertop peels after you’ve applied the “chips” and sealer,  the instructions say to go through the entire process again for that specific spot.

Overall the process of the Rustoleum Transformations Kit was not difficult and the instructions were very thorough.  Included is a comprehensive video that is a must to watch! We took the weekend to work on the project, but it didn’t take all day.  Also, thankfully there wasn’t ANY ODOR – big checkmark 😉

I received quite a few questions and comments about the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit.  I have not had the pleasure of using the product, so I really can’t comment, BUT some readers that used the white or lighter colors had a bad experience with it yellowing.  Has this happened to you?

tiling over laminate

I guess my tutorial on this part of the makeover was easy to follow (or no one liked it – hehe) because I didn’t receive one single question.  Anyway, with tiling over the 3″ high laminate backsplash, the kitchen really has a custom and unique look.  Often seen in typical kitchens, is a 3″ high backsplash to match the countertop which is sealed at the joint so no water or liquid will leak behind the base cabinets.  Great concept, but very ordinary and not really interesting.  Because we were “painting” over our existing countertops, there was no way to remove the laminate backsplash, so I just tiled right over it!  It was easy and there was nothing different or special than tiling any other surface.

adding decorative brackets

By introducing the decorative brackets, the kitchen has a sophisticated aesthetic with interesting architectural details.  Before, there was one long row of cabinets, but now the brackets add an unexpected element.

Update One Year Later

Now that I’ve highlighted a few of the popular questions from the makeover, it’s time for me to share some images and updates a year later.

Thankfully the cabinets have REALLY held up well over the past year.  We’re a family of four, with two young kids, so the kitchen is used ALOT!  It has received so much wear and tear, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the cabinets.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that about the countertop.  Within the first few weeks of using the Transformations Kit, the newly “painted” surface started to scratch, show spots and wear.  That being said, I am still happy with the overall look and how much the kitchen changed by using the Rustoleum product.  I’m often asked, “Is the product worth it?  Is it more of a temporary fix?”… well that’s difficult to answer.  It comes down to your budget and how long you plan on living with the kitchen.  The product is around $250-$300 (the last time I saw it at HD or Lowes), which is pricey, but at the same time we didn’t want to invest in a more expensive countertop.  Honestly, looking back knowing the imperfections today, I’m still glad we chose this product.  A bigger, more $$$ kitchen makeover might be ahead of us in 3-5+ years and until then, the updates we made are just fine (and actually more than fine). So my roundabout answer is, if you have the money and plan on keeping the countertops for 5-10+ years, go with another surface, but if you’re on a budget and/or want a quick and on-budget solution, the Rustoleum Transformations Kit is a great idea.

Here are some images of the kitchen that I just took yesterday.

I’d like to stress that even though I’m an in-real-life designer, my home is not staged and looks like most everyone elses.  The kitchen is often the most messiest place in our home and before cleaning it up to shoot some pics, this is what it looked like…

You can see the multiple DIY projects that I’m in the midst of.

Does your kitchen look like this ever?

Thankfully a few minutes later I got it all cleaned up and this is what it looks like a year after the makeover…

These are some of the scratches and wear marks on the countertop.

And this is a stain (completely my fault) where I dropped super glue.

And like I said, the cabinets have held up GREAT, but there are touch-ups that will be needed here and there.  For instance, the shelves on the open cabinet get alot of wear multiple times a day when I take out and put back the baskets.

But there really is no reason to complain, because this Benjamin Moore paint was easy to apply and has held up SO well.

These pictures were just taken yesterday and I haven’t made any paint touch ups since the day they were painted a year ago.

And this quote – a favorite of mine -sits on the window sill by the kitchen sink and keeps me in check many moments throughout the day.

So that’s the makeover update one year later.

Are there questions that you have that I haven’t answered?  If so, Ask Me, and I’ll add them to the post.

Kitchen Makeover Reveal

FINALLY the day has come that I can officially say that the kitchen is complete! It feels wonderful to finally make the reveal – you’ve all been very patient and so kind with your comments!  After weeks of project posts and minimal pictures, here it is~

If you haven’t seen the kitchen before, here it is.  The cabinets were an orangey oak color with hunter green laminate on the countertop.  When we first moved into our house about a year ago, we quickly updated the cabinets with new hardware, but left everything else…until now!


When originally sharing the pictures of the kitchen in this post, I was kind of embarrassed.  Now I’m glad to have them because this space has made a huge transformation and it feels so good to say I did it all myself (with a bit of help from my husband too).  With my new kitchen space, I hope to inspire you to know that you can do it too!

Here’s another before ~

Okay, enough of the before… let’s get to what you’ve been waiting for… 

The Process & The Reveal

The process of this kitchen makeover started several months ago.  After contemplating the color of the cabinets and what to do with the countertops (which took forever), I decided to use the Rust-Oleum Transformations Kit in the oynx color for the countertops.  This was the first step taken in transforming the space and that alone made a huge difference!

Then I moved on to painting the cabinets.  Again, it took quite awhile to decide on this color and I love it!  I’m not usually one who likes change and sometimes things have to grow on me, but NOT this color.  As soon as the cabinets were complete, I was in L-O-V-E!  The color is Benjamin Moore Berkshire Beige and the overall tone is a taupe / gray color.  Depending on the time of day though, other hues of blue and green can also be seen.  It’s just so unique and complements the many other colors throughout my home.

Next step? Adding a custom tile backsplash.  I wasn’t sure how tiling over laminate would be, but it worked and the look is fabulous!  The small 1″ x 1″ natural travertine tile has the same hues as the cabinet color and they complement each other beautifully.

Another detail that I added to the kitchen, are faux supported brackets underneath the upper cabinets.  I’ve always loved the look of brackets and chose a profile that was fairly simple and in keeping with the modern sophistication I was trying to achieve for the kitchen.

And there is one more change that I made…I took off the door to the side cabinet to create open shelving.  This space now holds baskets (for my kids plates & cups), as well as some of my cookbooks.

Lastly, to make this kitchen complete, I removed the ugly vinyl toekick (that was falling off anyway) and vent cover.  I replaced the toekick with new ceramic tile (leftover from the fireplace surround) and spray painted the old vent instead of buying a replacement.

You know my love for tiling… it was easy and if you need a step-by-step tutorial to tiling, check out {this} post.

And there you go… that’s it, in a nutshell!  (O, and obviously you saw that we got new appliances as well ~ those old white ones weren’t cutting it anymore).

This is the overall space NOW!

And some little details…

Do you recognize the vase, creamer, and scale?  If you’re a Facebook fan you would ~ check out how much I paid for those and more!

Now we’re ready to get down and finally enjoy this space (and the summer)!

And one more time (I can’t resist) ~



So what do you think?

What projects, transformations, and/or DIY projects have you been up to this summer?

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