We spent last week installing the copper subway tile for our backsplash, and I can call the kitchen DONE!  Yes, I still have to install the crown moulding throughout the kitchen and dining area, but those are minor details.  Remember where I started oh so many months ago?

Kitchen Before

The Original Kitchen

This is what I have today!

Fully Updated Kitchen

My Beautiful New Kitchen

Kitchen Before

The Original Faux-Oak Kitchen

New Counters & Appliances

New Kitchen - Right Side

It was a lot of hard work, but I think my efforts have paid off.  I have no desire to paint anymore cabinets in the near future, though.

We also got the cabinet door for my ad hoc corner-cabinet pot rack creation.  Here’s what the kitchen looked like before the door:

Pot Rack Cabinet

Corner Cabinet Turned Pot Rack

Here’s the view today.  The pot rack is neatly hidden behind double-hinged doors.

Pot Rack Cabinet with Door

View of Finished Cabinets

Finally, I can’t believe this

Unpleasant Range Hood Surprise

No Hood & No Backsplash

is now this:

Copper Tile Backsplash

Copper Tile Backsplash

Yes, those are individual 3″ x 6″ copper subway tiles, installed by yours truly.  The Mister helped a wee bit by cutting the tiles, but I put them in place all by my lonesome.  I think it looks great considering I’ve never installed tile prior to this experiment.  Oh, and the Mister did the lovely trim at the edges and top of the tile.  Love ya, hon!  :-*

So, here’s the final rundown of the entire kitchen project, start to finish:

  • primed and painted faux-oak cabinets
  • removed useless non-vented range hood
  • installed beadboard wallpaper to ends of cabinets
  • installed real beadboard behind the sink
  • removed upper cabinets by the sink and installed open glass shelves
  • installed new dishwasher
  • installed new lighting above sink
  • installed new under-cabinet lighting near stove area
  • installed pantry organizer and magnetic spice tin system
  • removed corner lazy susan and created a pot rack cabinet
  • removed free-standing electric range and had custom oven cabinet built
  • installed new electrical to support induction cooktop and wall oven
  • installed new granite counters
  • installed new cast-iron sink, faucet, Wolf induction cooktop, Wolf oven, and OTR microwave
  • installed copper subway tile backsplash

While the granite and new appliances were not cheap, I estimated that we saved about $20,000 by re-using our existing cabinetry and doing most of the labor ourselves.  I only hired professionals for electrical work and our one custom cabinet for the oven.

17 Responses to “Full Reveal of Kitchen”

  • Anne says:

    Your new kitchen looks amazing! I’m so tempted to paint the cabinets in my kitchen, they look a lot like your before photos and they are really starting to bug me. Never can get them to look clean and the edges are getting worn. I really think I’ll sell the house and let someone else deal with them! Just tiled the bathroom floor and that room isn’t finished because I decided to then replace the toilet/cabinet/sink etc, etc! It’s a slippery slope once you start.

  • Sarah says:

    It looks BEAUTIFUL! Great job!

  • Amber says:

    Oh my god, I want to lick that copper backsplash!

  • Tammy W. says:

    Gorgeous! Want to do mine? [g]

  • gail says:

    oh my gosh! I love your new kitchen! everything about it!
    I have those cabinets, and also have a ventless hood! hmmm
    Mine are not faux oak though. They are real wood, inside and out.
    I plan to paint them. I looked to see a post about actually painting them, the steps you went through but didn’t see it.
    wondering what paint and primer etc


    • Hi Gail, and thanks for the compliments! I used Valspar Multi-Purpose Primer (2 coats) and Valspar Interior Latex Paint in semi-gloss(2 coats). I know some folks prefer to use oil-based paints in a kitchen application, but I chose to use latex. It’s less smelly and easier to use. So far it is holding up beautifully. I cook often, and I’ve had to wipe splatters and spills off the cabinets several times since painting them. Any spills or drips come off easily and the paint remains intact, so I take that as a good sign.

      My best advice for painting cabinets is to make sure they are very clean before priming. I used water and Dawn dish detergent to clean mine 24 hours before I started priming them. This gives them lots of time to dry. If they aren’t thoroughly dry before you paint, the doors may warp.


    What a total and complete transformation!

  • micah says:

    Amazing!!! Love the copper backsplash!

  • Cindy S says:

    Your redone kitchen is really beautiful! Your copper backsplash is so gorgeous, whatever made you think of that? I have never seen that, but what a lovely addition! Your glass shelves are also very nice. All in all it is a perfectly wonderful change. I’m sure you are loving it!

    • Thank you for the lovely comments! I thought of doing a copper backsplash because I love the look of copper in a kitchen. It seems traditional without seeming too fussy, and it reminds me of beautiful copper cookware which is far, far too expensive for me to ever own in this lifetime. :-) Initially, I toyed with the idea of using a pressed tin backsplash with a copper finish. However, I found some wonderful copper subway tiles online and decided to use those instead.

      Confession time: those tiles are “peel and stick” tiles from Aspect Ideas. I used nothing more than liquid nails to stick them to the wall: no thinset mortar, no grout. You can grout these tiles if you like the look of grouted tile, though. You just have to use a sandless grout. Overall, the copper backsplash was a relatively easy project since it was such a small area. As long as you’re comfortable with a level and snap line, it’s a cinch!

  • I love the way your kitchen turned out. What are the counter tops? I love a white kitchen. My kitchen is white but it needs some sprucing up. You’ve inspired me. I really like the glass shelves.

    • Nita, I love a white kitchen, too, and think it’s rather timeless. I really wanted Carrara Marble for my counters, but the overwhelming opinion from stone experts is that it’s too porous for kitchen counters, especially if you cook a lot like I do and enjoy red wine, tomato sauce, etc. :-) If you don’t cook often, it might be just fine, but I do cook and tend to be somewhat messy when doing so. I couldn’t bear the thought of paying so much money for Carrara Marble only to have it stained in a year or two!

      Thus, I ultimately chose Kashmir White granite. In the end, I narrowed it down to either River White granite or the Kashmir White, and the Kashmir White won. River White granite has more movement in it which better resembles the veining in Carrara Marble, but the slabs I saw in person had more of a pink undertone than I wanted. The Kashmir White has no pink, only gray, white, a faint blue-green, and some bronze specks. Whatever you decide to do, I recommend going to a slab yard and seeing full slabs in person before deciding. Showroom samples don’t cut it!

      I also love the look of Zodiaq and Silestone quartz counters, but in the end I felt they were far too modern-looking for my kitchen. I can get away with a little modern (the glass shelves), but anything more would be too weird for the architecture of my house. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it somewhat jarring to walk into an older or traditional-style home and see 100% modern decor unless it’s a mid-century modern home. I appreciate modern, but it has to fit the overall environment.

  • Katie says:

    Just found your process in these comments. Thanks! But, what colors did you use for cabinets and walls? Thanks again!….And no sanding???

    • Hi Katie! The wall color in the kitchen is Valspar’s Polar Star, which is a gray. The cabinet color is Valspar’s Homestead Resort Sky Blue from their historic colors collection. Yes, that’s right: blue! It looks white, but when you see it next to the white trim, it has a very faint blue undertone. It doesn’t convey in the photos, I’m afraid.

      I did not sand my cabinets. I really couldn’t sand because only the doors and frames were actual wood; the inside and shelves and ends were laminate, and any sanding would have shredded the cheap laminate overlay. Thus, the key is to use a really good high-adhesion primer. The Valspar Multi-Purpose Primer is designed to adhere to slick surfaces like laminate, tile, or plastic without sanding. Some people like the Zinsser primer, but you have to wait 7 days for it to cure before applying any paint. I didn’t want to have my kitchen torn apart for weeks on end. The Valspar primer cures in 24 hours, and you can start applying your paint.

      If you aren’t going to sand, though, cleaning is crucial. You really have to make sure you clean your cabinets very thoroughly to remove any grease, which is why washing with Dawn dish detergent and hot water is critical. It does a better job of removing grease than anything else. Otherwise, grease will bleed through the primer, and you’ll have to keep applying coats of primer until the grease doesn’t reappear. This probably won’t be a big deal for newer cabinets, but mine are almost 20 years old and had some major grease build-up despite routine cleaning.

      I painted the cabinets with a small foam roller and regular old paint brushes. Having them professionally sprayed would probably give the smoothest finish, but I think mine look pretty good. I don’t have obvious brush marks, and the oak grain in the doors barely shows. When I took a door to a cabinet maker to have one made for my pot rack cabinet, they thought I had the cabinets professionally refinished. So, I guess I did something right. :-)

  • blueloom says:


    Your kitchen is amazing. We can totally understand the amount of work and hours spent on a project like that. We have also reused existing cabinetry and renovated our kitchen ourselves. It was also featured on the DIY Show Off blog recently. Your home looks very elegant and inviting. If you see the quality of new cabinets available today, you really have to spend thousands to get the good stuff, so sometimes restoring the old ones is a better choice. You have done a great job on your kitchen reno. Congrats.

    When you have a moment, please stop by our blog.
    We are the childless couple as well :)

  • Micha says:

    Amazing! I absolutely love that backsplash! Great remodel and even an awesome-r job for doing it yourself!

  • anna see says:

    This looks great and the specific suggestions in your comments are very helpful, too!