The Kitchen is Definitely the Heart of this Home

The Kitchen After

The Kitchen After

For the last two years I have been working off and on in the kitchen. When we bought the house, the kitchen had basic oak cabinets with granite (which I was going to rip out but grew to love) and a terrible black tile backsplash. The gentleman we bought the house from had completely remodeled the home. Unfortunately, his choices didn’t match ours. But the views… the views out here are amazing and I decided to tackle the project of making this house our home.

So off we went into the kitchen. Here is what we started with:

I had initially thought about doing black and white cabinets (with white uppers and black lowers) but in the end, I went with all black cabinets. I got to work sanding, priming and painting the cabinets. I have had black cabinets before and have always liked them. I mean, what’s not to love about black cabinets?

Painting the cabinets was extremely time consuming for me – mainly because I was being very, very AR about the whole process. I sanded them down and added a coat of primer to one side, let it dry overnight, and then added another coat of primer. After those two coats, I worked on the other side. Just in sanding and priming alone I had already invested 4 days.

Once the priming was finished, I painted them black. I followed the same process (Two coats. Over two days. Per side). When all was said and done, I ended up with this:

I don’t know if you can tell, but the backsplash was a white glass tile that turned green when I put it up (and yes, I used white mortar).That backsplash was one of FOUR that I’ve had. Yes… FOUR. There was the one above, the blue and white glass mosaic and even stainless steel. I could kill for myself for not keeping the photos I took of them, but I found photos with them in the background (you will have to really squint!)
You may wonder what possessed me to change my backsplash four times. The truth is, I knew there was something I didn’t like about the way the kitchen looked, but I didn’t know what it was. I kept thinking I didn’t like the backsplash or the counters or the door handles (I think I’ve had five types of those. Thank goodness for easy resale on Craigslist). I finally realized the problem wasn’t those things – it was the cabinets. They were too dark. This house is full of light but my kitchen was a dungeon. To the chagrin of the hubs, I decided to go with my original thought from two years prior and do white uppers and black lowers.
What I ended up with was this:
Black and White Kitchen
carrera marble backsplash with black and white cabinets
The kitchen remodel has been a long process. You will notice at the top of the pic above there is a recessed vent. That was a big change for us. We converted three huge drawers in the center island to built-in shelves, had an electrician move a plug, put in a sliding shelf and voila (I will post pics soon). No more ugly microwave over the stove. Sadly it came at a cost. The hubs accidentally broke the cooktop so only half of it works now. I would be lying if I said I was upset. I want a new range so it just expedited the process.
Giving the kitchen a facelift has been challenging but I’m so pleased with the results! One thing I learned is to go with your gut. I wanted black and white cabinets to begin with. I also wanted the marble backsplash but held off because of the cost. Ironically, the amount of money I threw away on the other backsplashes was more than the cost the marble. But hey! That is part of the fun being a DIY’er – all of the lessons you learn along the way.

7 Responses to “The Kitchen is Definitely the Heart of this Home”

  1. Adria

    I absolutely love this kitchen! Do y’all paint your cabinets yourself? I’ve heard that painting cabinets can be pretty rough! Any tips?

    • Jillodle

      We did! The hardest part of painting cabinets is the prep. You have to take the time and prep correctly or you will pay for it in the end (cleaning, sanding and priming). Also, using quality paints and brushes is vital. I used Valspar paint the first go round and had to repaint the lowers after a year. When I did the uppers I used Benjamin Moore paint and I have had no problems with chipping or fading. BM is an acrylic paint so it adheres better and I’ve noticed that it has a truer color. As far as brushes, I always use Purdy brushes. They cost more but you truly get what you pay for. And finally – take your time. Rushing through a paint job results in brush lines, uneven color and paint drips. I primed each side, let it sit 24 hours and then primed the other side. After that sat for 24 hours I applied a very thin coat of paint to the first side, let it sit 24 hours and then did the other side. All-in-all I did three thin coats and the results were amazing. This probably could have been a post as long as it was! I hope it helps!

      • Adria

        Great info! Do you recommend a particular primer? I’ve used Zinsser before on furniture to good results. Did you hand sand or use a sander? I’m really thinking about painting the cabinets in my laundry room (as a sort of test before I tackle the kitchen)!

      • Jill

        Zinser is my preferred primer. I’ve tried every possible one and it gives the best results. As far as sanding…. sigh. The best response would be “by hand, of course” but the honest answer was that I got tired of doing it by hand so I used a sander. Sanders are really a good option as long as you use a medium to fine paper and don’t press down too hard. I did the corners and small trim detail by hand because I didn’t want to ruin them with the sander. I used the Black & Decker Mouse Sander ( and had great success with it. It gave me a nice even sand and was easy to control. And although B&D says the tip is great for small corners, on my cabinets (which are solid oak) it actually was too powerful and caused a small amount of damage.
        You are a smart woman starting in the laundry room! It’s the perfect chance to get your technique down and figure out what to (and not to) do. Good luck and I’d love to see pics when you get it finished!

  2. Malinda

    I love the black and white cabinets. What color did you paint your walls?

    • Jill

      Hi Malinda! Thank you! I must admit that I am in love with my cabinets. The wall color is Sea Haze in an Eggshell finish from Benjamin Moore.


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