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When we moved into our house, almost 2 years ago, I knew redoing our kitchen was on the list of future projects. In fact, it was on the very top of that list but after receiving multiple quotes around $70-75k, I just couldn’t find any sense in justifying such a venture. I mean yes, a brand new kitchen would be beautiful I am sure, but with two kids (and hopefully more in the future) I had to stay realistic. Not wanting to take years to save or approach the bank for a hefty loan, I started brainstorming ways to still get our dream kitchen but for a lesser price tag.

After doing a bit of research and crunching some numbers, I was able to become our own project coordinator and achieve this kitchen makeover for a little over $10k. Yes, that may sound like a lot, but when comparing that to $75k, it is a steal! Best of all, we were able to get this entire project done in 3 weeks.

So before I go ahead and break down each part of the project (scroll past pictures for further detail), lets take a walk down memory lane and remind ourselves at to where we began. Shall we?


Can you say yikes? This kitchen was the original, built with our house in 1989. Thankfully though, being that the layout was ideal, we didn’t need to rip down to the studs. Instead, as you will read below, we were able to stick with smaller updates that made a HUGE difference!


The Planning

Whenever I plan out a room in my house, I usually struggle to organize all of my thoughts. Yes, Pinterest helps but it can also be a little overwhelming and doesn’t help me zone in on all the ideas floating in my head. For this reason I like to create a “vision board” and to keep it simple, I stick with Microsoft Word to help that happen. I did this for both my kid’s nurseries and seeing how they turned out (you can find those posts HERE & HERE), I knew it would be the way to go for the kitchen.

Once I found something I liked through Wayfair, Pinterest or other, I took a screen shot and added it into the document. This way I could get a rough idea of how everything wold piece together. While everything in the end may not be exactly as pictured (because a majority of the images are just serving as ideas) they still helped guide my decision process.

The Cabinets

As I mentioned above, while the kitchen was dated looking, it for the most part was still in pretty decent shape. Additionally, I knew that in order for us to afford this project that new cabinets were going to be out of the question. With all this in mind, I decided that we’d keep what we currently had and allocate our money towards having them professionally painted. While this easily could have been an area worth DIYing, I wanted to ensure it was done right. Plus, with two littles, I didn’t know when the heck I’d ever find the time to paint it myself.

As for the existing kitchen island, it absolutely had to go. Not only was it slowly breaking down but that God forsaken electric grill was both an eye sore and waste of space. After spending a little time on Pinterest, I decided to rip it out and try and have a new one built that would match a more rustic/farmhouse style. This is where I thankfully found a local carpenter through Facebook who was able to do this and charged an incredibly affordable price. Oh and best of all, this carpenter also had lots of experience painting cabinets, which he offered to do for a discounted price since we purchased the island. Total win, win!

The Floor

In a perfect world, I would have pristine hardwood floors run through the entirety of my home. However, with kids, dogs and budget to consider, that wasn’t going to be possible for this project. Instead, we decided to go with a beautiful vinyl plank carried by Empire Flooring. Scratch resistant and water proof, this vinyl plank was the perfect fit for our home. In a 1.5 days worth of work, they were able to lay the plank over our existing floors throughout the foyer, kitchen, dining room, powder room and laundry room.

In the sake of being transparent though, I will tell you that this portion of our project was the ONLY one we decided to finance. Empire floors offered fantastic financing options that we decided would be best to take advantage of. This way we could spend our budget in other areas of the kitchen and only be left with a small payment plan, which we are going to pay off next year.


Since we only needed to replace the counters for the “L” shape of our kitchen (the new island would have a wood top), I knew we could afford to go with a little nicer of a selection of stone. We looked at various grade of granite and quartz but after stumbling on the one we went with, I fell in love. We decided to go with a beautiful this engineered Quartz. More affordable than a standard quartz slab, an engineered quartz is manmade and offers the same durability. The only cons we were warned about was that it would be less heat resistant so it would be best to avoid placing anything hot on the counter itself. Other than this, you would never know the difference. This was our splurge piece you can say and I have zero regret about it. Everything about it is perfect and was the addition to help achieve that clean/rustic feel I was aiming for.


As you will see in our older before photos, the existing light fixtures were very 90’s. Luckily, the old pendant above the dinner table was easy for Keven and I to replace, but when it came to the box light above the island, we needed a professional.

This is when things got a little interesting and we hit our only snag. Once they removed the box light, we saw how there were both scorch marks and water damage. The electricians told us we were lucky the light never caused a fire because it was looking like it could have at any moment. Thank you God for watching over us with that one. As for the water damage, this was likely the result of our crazy ass toddler (thank you Cassidy) deciding to dump water out of her bath the week prior. Regardless, this was the only snag we hit during the entire process and thankfully didn’t cause too much headache.

The Back Splash

For the sake of keeping things clean, simple, and affordable I wanted to stick with a basic white 3×6 subway tile backsplash. Honestly though, while there are so many different options when it comes to kitchen backsplashes, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with subway tiles. Again, this is another area that Facebook helped tremendously, as I was able to find a local handyman who offered to do the job for an incredibly reasonable price. All we needed to do was purchase the materials, which from Lowes, cost us a little under $150 total. Again, this too could totally be done yourself if you are willing to learn BUT since I didn’t have the time or patience, I allocated our budget to cover the install.

The Table

Last but not least, the final part of our transformation was taking our existing kitchen table and stripping that baby down. We bought this amazing solid wood piece a couple of years back on Craigslist and have lived with it looking a bit rough for a while. My guess is the previous owner at one point tried refinishing it because of the stain job (it wasn’t done very well and was more caked on), so I decided to take it down to the natural wood base.

In just a rainy afternoon, I was able to get this entire table stripped, coated in poly, waxed and set back up. Took a little elbow grease but it was way cheaper than going out and buying something new.

And there you have it, our dream kitchen. I am so glad we decided to take this route as opposed to hiring a contractor and doing a complete overhaul. With just a little patience and planning, we were able to get the kitchen of our dreams and best of all, SAVE BIG!

So what do we think? If you need any links/ referrals, comment below 🙂

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