The Kitchen: The big reveal!

kitchen1

BOOM. Bet you were expecting a big block of text at the beginning of this post? Like about how this “little stop-gap quick n’ dirty” kitchen renovation spiraled completely out of control and took way more time and a little bit more money than expected? Or how maybe over the course of the project I got a little more ambitious and a little more crazy and a little more perfectionist than when I started out? Or about the time when we thought the kitchen was basically done and then decided to up and add about 40 more square feet of subway tile that you see above? Or like how it robbed me of so many irretrievable hours of my life and maybe some of my sanity and also sent me to the hospital that one crazy time?

Nope. Not gonna do that. So let’s dive right into this business right here, because the water’s warm and time’s a-wastin’.

fridgewallbefore

Here was my kitchen before I embarked on this whole crazy non-stop-fun-and-excitement renovation adventure roughly 10 weeks ago. Aside from the downstairs bathroom (and maybe the side porch), this kitchen held the distinction of being pretty much the worst room in the house. I think it scared more than a few buyers away, who saw it as a total gut-job nightmare that they weren’t trying to get down with. Nobody likes to buy a house and immediately get pushed into a full-on kitchen overhaul (especially when everything else needs so much work), making rash decisions about layout and materials and redoing the plumbing and spending a bajillion dollars, so in a way, this kitchen was probably a huge blessing that got us a great house for way below market value. Thanks, janky kitchen. I owe you one.

The picture above was taken after I removed all the old linoleum floor tiles, but you get the idea. It had a drop ceiling. It had old wood cabinets with lots of wear and tear and corroding hardware and drippy polyurethane. It had leaky pipes running through it that serve the upstairs bathroom. It had weird wires and scary outlets and old grease-stained paint, and vinyl brick-patterned wallpaper, and contact paper backsplashes, and so many other terrible, unspeakable things.

fridgewallafter

But looky there! We changed all that mess and made it an awesome space that I totally love and am so happy about I could scream. And also take a long nap.

We were able to keep all the big important things——including the sink, the cabinetry, and appliances——so the goal here was to knock out all the the cosmetic changes humanly possible while keeping costs super low. I know I keep repeating that this likely won’t be the kitchen we have forever (those cabinets are already 60 years old or so, and they won’t last forever!), but now I can confidently say that redoing this kitchen “for real” can probably wait until all the other house projects are crossed off the list. We have an absurd amount of work ahead of us with this house, so having the weight of a full-on kitchen renovation off our shoulders for the foreseeable future feels like a great place to be.

As I’ve discussed in past posts, we took down the drop ceiling, patched and prepped all the things, painted the walls, ceiling, moldings, doors, radiator, and all the original cabinetry, crafted up some new DIY wood plank countertops, added a boatload of subway tile, new cabinet hardware, changed all the lighting, and generally worked our adorable little butts off making this space into exactly what I wanted out of a kitchen. It’s clean and fresh, unfussy, utilitarian, cheap, and a great space to cook a meal and have guests over. I love it.

longwallbefore

Oof. Just get a load of that mess. Trust me when I say that these pictures make things look WAY better than they actually were.

longwallafter2

Forgive the in-progress glimpse of the laundry room! We’re still working out a few things in there (you know, like having working laundry machines and little details like that?), but…KITCHEN.

The whole idea behind the design was to try to minimize the bad, highlight the good, and add some inexpensive features that would up the quality of the whole space. To that end, we decided to paint the ceiling and the walls similar shades of matte white, which minimizes the awkwardness of our semi-awful soffits while still giving the room some dimension and depth. Painting the cabinets covered up the wear and tear and ugly tone of the wood, which allowed the super-simple shape of the doors and drawer fronts to shine. The cabinetry isn’t ideal (it’s very low-quality and strangely proportioned for the space), but we got really lucky that it was so plain and easily salvaged with some paint and elbow grease. 

I’ll do a tiny post on the cabinet hardware soon, but they’re just made of simple wood dowels! They were crazy cheap (it would have been so expensive to outfit 33 doors/drawers with traditional hardware, which even at the low end is normally in the $3-$10 per piece range), and I love how they offset with both the white and inky-blue-black cabinets.

fromdoorbefore

fromdoorafter

Having no prep space next to the stove made the layout of this kitchen really awkward, so we got super lucky that my dear friend Anna just happened to have a (discontinued, sorry) IKEA kitchen cart that fits perfectly on this relatively short wall. Having just this small section of real butcherblock (which we can chop directly on, as opposed to our wood countertops) makes this area super functional, and makes me feel better about skimping on the cost of outfitting the rest of the countertops with real butcherblock.

We were able to salvage the stove from the now-defunct upstairs kitchen, and while it’s just a cheap Sears Kenmore electric model that’s probably something like 40 years old, it actually works great! The gas line is still here, too, so we have the option to easily swap-out with a nicer gas stove down the line. For now, though, this is perfect.

If you’ve been following along closely, you might remember that originally I only planned to tile the backsplashes of the cabinets and the little area surrounding the sink, but once things really started to come together, Max and I both felt like the stove area looked a little unfinished and kind of…busy. Aside from the obvious functional benefits of having a wipeable surface behind a stovetop, the subway tile also really helped unify this wall with the rest of the space, and overall just makes the whole room feel so much more warm and complete. The decision to add the extra tile did mean we had to buy more tile, obviously, and also thinset and grout (for the rest of the tile, I used leftover thinset and grout from my apartment), but it still only tacked on about $100 to the project and was totally worth it.

Even after the subway tile was all up and completed, though, we still weren’t sure about what to do with the area above it. The image above is the view walking into the room, so this wall is kind of a focal point, and having nothing there looked pretty flat and weird. I got really lucky finding the big mirror in a junk shop just a couple days before the kitchen was complete, though, and realized after buying it (I couldn’t just pass on that fine thing!) that it would be perfect above the stove. I love how perfectly weathered the frame is, and I think it adds just the right amount of vintage patina to a space that was otherwise feeling a little bit too sterile for my taste.

stovesclose-up

Anyway. Yeah. Subway tile. It’s the wind beneath my wings. The other thing I like about this stove is that the top is flat and pretty beefy, so it’s a perfect spot for the Muuto pepper mill that I picked up for half-price at the DWR Annex ages ago. The pig is a vintage cast-iron piggy bank from a yard sale, which serves no purpose beyond being cute.

I also took the time to remove and strip all of the old hardware from the doors and window——knobs, hinges, backplates, etc, using the tried-and-true crockpot method. When everything was stripped, cleaned, and dried, I covered it all with Rustoleum matte black spray paint and reattached it to the freshly painted doors and frames. It’s one of those little details that just makes everything look a little more finished and fancy.

kitchencart

I kind of couldn’t handle the idea of screwing into my new subway tile, so the magnetic knife strip (the FINTORP from IKEA) is held on with industrial-stength velcro! It works great for now, but I’ll probably end up attaching it for real soon. I wanted to make sure the placement was exactly what I wanted before rushing into anything, though.

When the very friendly people of West Elm Market caught wind of my kitchen renovation, they sent me an email and were all “hey, need some things to finish it off?” and I was all “UM YES GIVE ME ALL OF THE THINGS PLEASE.” I’ve been a huge fan of West Elm Market since it began, and I think the whole aesthetic is pretty in-line with this kitchen, so it was awesome working with them. The Schmidt Brothers Basic Knife Set  is the fanciest thing we got, and I just need to take a moment to say that these knives are SO NICE (and really reasonably priced, too). I’ve never really owned nice knives before, and these are so nice to look at and nice to hold and super sharp and I’m just all-around very thrilled that I get to use them.

The enamel measuring cups are also from West Elm Market, and they’re obviously classic and very adorable and way better than the plastic ones I bought at the grocery store. The pink depression-era glass bowls were a yard sale find, the tea towel is IKEA, and the strawberries are fake. Just kidding, they’re real and I made them into a dessert and it was delicious. Maybe this is a great kitchen for me to start posting recipes from? So you can also explore my culinary delights? Full disclosure: my diet is 47% Top Ramen.

fromsideporchbefore

fromsideporchafter

I opted to tile all the way around the wall, which I think finishes things off nicely. Better than having a weird naked little sliver of wall on the right side there.

OK, I’m done talking about the tile. I’m really proud of my tile.

Other improvements to this area included taking down that little piece of weird molding over the sink, changing the light fixture above the sink (sorry it’s blown out in the picture above, but you can see it in the picture at the top of the post. It was salvaged from the upstairs kitchen!) and putting a clock where it’s supposed to be! The clock is actually hanging on an outlet specifically installed for a clock (so cute and quaint and 50s, yes?), but the Newgate Bubble Clock is actually battery-powered anyway. It’s also available at West Elm Market, but Max bought it for me a while ago at Lancelotti in the East Village.

The main light fixture in the room was a thrift find ($7!) in Sweden last summer. I carried it around disassembled in my suitcase for the entire trip and then hoarded it for a year when we got home, so it’s so exciting to see it hung up! It’s cute.

Lesson: always hoard light fixtures. You might buy a house and need them. It happened to me, people.

oliveoil

Obviously marble countertops were not an option (this time around!), but I love how marble mixes with the black/white/wood thing we have going on, so I wanted to incorporate affordable marble pieces in the kitchen with smaller things like cutting boards, coasters, and our paper towel holder. This is the French Kitchen Pastry Slab from Crate & Barrel, which is huge and heavy and totally classes things up ’round these parts.

Also, because Max took and styled some of these pictures (and maybe doesn’t cook so much), I want to point out that we do NOT use our fancy new knives on our fancy marble pastry board. But it looks nice for a picture. The green bowl and measuring cup are vintage junk shop/yard sale finds, respectively.

The olive oil is in the Copper/Glass Pour-Top Soap Dispenser from West Elm Market, by the way. We didn’t like it for dish soap, so we cleaned it really well and filled it with olive oil, and it’s perfect for fancy drizzly oily times.

chasedoorstools2

This kitchen really isn’t supposed to be an eat-in, but we kind of couldn’t say no to a couple of bright yellow faux-Tolix stools for $99 (for both! And now I see they’re on sale for $75, which is bananas.), courtesy of Target. I wasn’t sure how much we’d use them, but we sit on them ALL THE TIME while we work or eat at the counter or just hang out in the kitchen while one of us or a friend is cooking or whatever. They stack and they’re really good quality and they’re yellow. So. That’s that.

This is the part where I draw your attention to that glorious monolithic structure between the cabinets and the door. THAT, my friends, is the fancy chase I built to hide the unsightly plumbing that runs from the basement through the kitchen to feed the toilet, sink, and shower in the upstairs bathroom. BEHOLD:

chasebeforeafter

Yeah, I kind of outdid myself? I’m super proud of this thing. Maybe it doesn’t look like much, but there’s a whole lot of complicated framing under those luscious tongue-and-groove boards that required many hours of confusion and terror (also, yes, it has to be that wide for reasons I won’t bore you with in this joyous moment of kitchen revealing and general excitement). I think I have to do a whole post about it. It’s probably a two-way tie between this and the tile for what I’m most proud of in here.

doorbeforeafter

This is the main door into the room from the dining room, in case you weren’t turned around enough? Sorry for all the redundant photos…I’m just very excited about this kitchen.

apron

I love how the pantry door looks with the white paint and the black hardware and the pretty knob and the apron! The hook was salvaged from another area of the room (where it had been coated with a million layers of paint and left to die). I love that I get to reuse things like this——every time I hang that apron up, I think about where that hook was hanging before and what it looked like and how happy I am to give it a second life. I’m a sap.

towelnexttosink

Also, this hook next to the sink! It was lurking around the gross plumbing pipes before (there’s a picture of it in this post!), but now it’s all stripped and pretty and hanging by the sink with a cute tea towel from Dry Goods. Yes, I need to dab a little black paint on the screw heads, but whatever. I like it!

sinkenamelpans

Speaking of the sink, it cleaned up SUPER WELL. We still need to get a new faucet (this one is old and crappy and leaks), but the sink! I scrubbed it with lots of Barkeeper’s Friend, and it looks great. The enamel pans are also from West Elm Market (the Jelly Roll and the Roasting Pan), and we use them all the time for roasting and baking stuff. I like that they’re pretty enough to go right from the oven to the table.

windowhardware

I love how the hardware on the window above the sink came out. It was covered in tons of paint and didn’t really move before, and now it glides in and out like it’s supposed to. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen hardware like this, but I love it!

shelves

I’m still SO HAPPY with how the black radiator looks! I’m also really happy with the little shelving unit over it. I’d love to have more open shelving in the kitchen, but this little wall over the radiator was our only option, so I wanted to take advantage of it. I’ve been wanting to use these IKEA shelving brackets for FOREVER, and this was the perfect spot. I bought my own wood from Lowes for the actual shelves and cut them to size and sanded and sealed them with satin water-based polyurethane. The top shelf is all thrifted, the middle shelf holds the Marimekko tea pot that Max got me (that guy…he’s pretty great.) and the ÄDELSTON mortar and pestle from IKEA (everything from that line is so pretty and such great quality). The glass jars are also IKEA, and the enamel canisters are from West Elm Market and hold flour and sugar. The enamel canisters have a rubber seal to keep everything fresh and are overall super nice, gotta say.

SO. Budget? Budget.

PAINT AND STUFF:
Caulk (4 tubes white, 1 tube black): $18.27
Ready Patch (1 quart): $8.99
Paint Rollers (4-pack. I never reuse paint rollers. Sue me.): $11.98
Clark + Kensington Paint:  $138*
+ Walls: 2 gallons Casablanca, flat enamel
+ Ceiling: 1 gallon Designer White, flat enamel
+ Moldings/Upper Cabinets: 1 gallon Designer White, satin enamel
+ Base Cabinets: 1 quart Arabian Nights, satin enamel
Rustoleum Matte Black spray paint: $5.49
High-Heat Gloss Black Spray Paint, Ace Hardware Brand, 2 cans for Radiator: $12.98
Spray-on clear matte varnish for knobs: $3.87
1 gallon B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer: $41.98
Screws and nails: $20.22

TOTAL:$261.78

LUMBER:
Dowels for cabinet knobs: $7.92
Countertops: $46.07
Baseboard/Quarterround/trim pieces: $74.12
Tongue-and-groove for plumbing chase: $44.58
Framing for chase—7 pieces of 2″x3″x8″ framing: $15.12
Sandpaper: $20

TOTAL: $207.81

FLOOR/TILE: 
VCT tiles: $142.56
Adhesive: $28.97
Tile: $176.07
Thinset: $12
Grout: $11.78

TOTAL: $371.38

ELECTRICAL:
Swtichplate covers: $5.53
GFCI outlets: $49.96
Lightswitches: $8.04

TOTAL: $63.53

DECOR:
Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, IKEA: $12.99
Marble Pastry board, Crate and Barrel: $49.95
Jute Rug, clearance outlet: $40
Paper towel holder, Crate and Barrel: $19.95
Mirror, junk shop: $42
Knife Rack, IKEA: $12.99
Stools, Target: $99
Crock, Good Will: $4
Shelving Brackets + Wood, IKEA/Lowes: $45.36

TOTAL: $326.24

GRAND TOTAL: $1,230.74

*paint was generously sponsored by Ace Hardware, so I didn’t actually pay for it.

Sinkwallbefore

sinkwallafter

I think that’s it! I’m so happy with how the kitchen turned out. I think this is probably the most dramatic and ambitious project I’ve ever taken on, and I feel really proud for pulling it off, even if it was a bit of a bumpy ride. Also, hugely thankful to Max and friends who were so generous with their time and helped us out!

Yay, kitchen!

This post was in collaboration with West Elm Market.


531 Comments

  1. Oh, Daniel…it looks SO good. I’m really, really proud of you! It’s been so amazing watching the whole kitchen come together, on-site and online. I can’t wait to see the AFTER in person!

    You’ve done an amazing job, my friend. So well done. xx

    • p.s. It makes me happy to see my old cart fitting in that spot so perfectly. It never worked where I had it in my kitchen, but it’s just the right thing for your place. Yay!

  2. Holy shit! First pic, jaw-dropping! Whaaat?!!! Well worth the wait. How thrilled are you guys?

  3. Daniel! I’m so proud of you (and Max and crew)! It looks AMAZING. Amazing!

  4. Stunning change! Congratulations! Everything is so thoughtful and spare – such elegant simplicity.

  5. OMG Daniel!!! Holy crap! Really?? What a beauty! Beautiful!

  6. O.M.G. SO beautiful! Love it!

  7. Wow, wow, wow. This looks amazing–even after seeing tantalizing glimpses as you put it together, I’m awed by how beautifully it came out. Congratulations!

  8. WOW. Less than $1250.00? That is amazing. Like you need a tv show amazing.

  9. My God. This is incredible. Second the TV show suggestion.

  10. I AM SO IMPRESSED!!!! Not only am I impressed, I am totally INSPIRED, and am now mentally planning ways in which I can copy your savvy techniques to jazz up my own apartment. This is such an accomplishment. I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the house.

  11. Sorry, I need you to talk about the tile a little more: How/what did you do to the outside corners of the wall behind the stove? I really like it and want to understand what you did.

    • Ha, gladly!! If this is what you’re asking…I just used 2×6 bullnose tiles vertically, with the bullnose edges butted up against each other at the corner. At the top corners, it’s just a corner piece, which is square with two bullnose edges. The bullnose/corner pieces are (at Lowes, at least) right with the regular 3×6 tile, just on separate shelves. The corner pieces came in 2-packs. Does that make sense? Let me know if I misunderstood and I’ll try again! :)

      • No, that’s exactly what I am asking about. I like it. Warmer than if you had used one of those corner tile thingies. Feels, I don’t know, European? Some fabulous little bistro with tile and old mirrors. Seriously love your kitchen.

  12. This house is so happy to be rescued. Great job.

  13. third post!

    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!!!!!!
    YOU DID IT!!!!

    GORGEOUS
    STUNNING
    INSPIRING
    INCREDIBLE
    UNBELIEVABLE
    CLEAN
    COOL
    BEAUTIFUL
    AMAZING
    TERRIFIC
    SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIXPALIDCIOUS!

    you are FABULOUS!!

  14. I am so in love with this I can’t even find the words.. Amazing!

  15. Holy crap. I need to lay down. Paint, building, crazy awesomeness and somehow you find the energy to roast things?!? You are my new bar.

  16. I hate to say this, because you are half my age, but you are a freaking design genius and a joy to read. Keep up the good work, Daniel.

  17. Just fantastic! Love everything to bits!

  18. Seeing this was the best part of my day, congrats on an amazing transformation.
    You are the Michaelangelo of tile, Perfection!

  19. I´m speechless. You are a God. Now I can´t enter my own kitchen…

  20. Good LAWD, son. You’re so insanely talented and I love every inch of this tiled beauty. Well done! I have the same piggy bank (ours was a gift from an elderly neighbor’s attic) but my guy is now yellow and holding down the fort on our built-ins. I’m going to brag all around that Daniel from MN has the same one. ;)

    I love it all. My favorite detail has to be the wood/white/black that you manage to work into so many angles without it becoming kitchy. Let me know when y’all go B&B with this place and we’ll come crash.

    Congrats on a job well done!

  21. Daniel this is so amazing! All your hard work sure paid off…thank you so much for the great before and after! I read tons of blogs and this ranks as the best I have seen!
    Can’t wait to see your next house project!

  22. Bravo wonderkind Daniel, well worth the wait. Wish you were my grandson, I would so pick your brain. Yeah, I’m old enough to be your grandmother.

    Your sense of design and color is superb. Love the integration of vintage items.

    Now onward & literally upward to other home remodeling adventures & helpful tips for onlookers.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  23. HOLY. FRIGGING. MOSES. I CANNOT. WITH WORDS. EVEN. OH MY GOD. I JUST. I CANNOT.

    Wow. Just, wow. And now I need to go check out West Elm Market stuff.

    • this is exactly what was going thru my head. the words. i can’t even. what??? so good. SO good. how?

      • Ditto.

        Holy. WHAT? How? Oh. My. God. Holy. Dowels? Fucking dowels?

        Grplpmpfffmp (that is the sound of my brain melting down). I have the mental equivalent of the blue screen of death. Error 404.

        I need a nap to overcome this. Holy crap.

    • YES. YES.
      too fancy for words.

  24. Holy cow, this is amazing! I can’t decide which part is my favorite! I LOVE the bottom cabinet color with the countertop. I love the subway tile with the dark grout. I love the knobs. ALL OF THE THINGS ARE MY FAVORITE! Excellent job!

  25. It’s done! It’s here! Congratulations Daniel! I imagine you sitting at your laptop crying from exhauation, whispering ‘its done’ over and over again whilst Mekko, Max and Linus look on, unsurprised.

    The kitchen looks bloody great though and you should be super proud. It’s amazing and cheap and I love it and I want a kitchen now. Marble and black and everything, it’s super perfect and great.

    You are a wizard.

  26. Such an amazing transformation! Loved seeing the whole process.

  27. So with all the little update posts about the kitchen, I could see where it was going – where is was going was good and all but I did NOT expect to be blown away by the final product since it was already in my head. Obviously I was wrong! This shit is amazing. You are amazing. I really need to do something to my kitchen now that you’ve done two!

    One stupid question.. I see you have those west elm white enamel canisters. I’ve been eying them forever but I have no west elm near by. Do they hold a fair amount? Like would I be able to hold a bag of flour in the larger one. I hate messing around with leftover bags. Thanks

    • Thanks, Sherry! We have three medium sized canisters, and I think a bag of flour *JUST* squeezed into it.

  28. So so beautiful. Bravo.

  29. Loud applause! Whistling! Stomping of feet! You absolutely should feel proud — it looks great, not just as a quick-fix or facelift but as a real room worth living in. Mazel tov!

  30. I’m about to chuck my laptop at my husband and yell at him to let me rip apart our shitty kitchen. sweet mary and joseph, you did a fantastic job.

    it looks amazing. I think my favorite part is the stove and sink. I can tell all that extra tiling made a huge difference! the hardware on the window is really cool, too.

  31. This is so amazing. You did such an outstanding job. Thanks so much for sharing all the steps along the way and the budget breakdown (that is maybe the most inspiring part – that you accomplished so much on such a low budget). Bravo, sir.

  32. i’m speechless, but i did cry……beautiful beyond words!

  33. This looks amazing! What a transformation; nice work. I have these very same cabinets, and my husband and I can’t agree on the paint. I want to do white on top and charcoal on the bottom like this, but he wants all charcoal. I’ll have to show him your pics. And the knobs — so smart.

  34. AH! It looks incredible: so full of light! Gorgeous work…

  35. This is the best ‘before and after’ I’ve ever seen!! I want to live in your kitchen!!! You guys are so talented. :)

  36. Daniel! This is amazing. It looks so fantastic. My mouth was wide open, from beginning to end on this post. To be honest, I was a little scared for you the first time I saw this kitchen but all my fears now seem ludicrous.

    I’m so glad you posted in (your) middle of the night. It’s noon my time. I saw you posted, grabbed quiche & coffee and had the nicest time reading your blog. Thanks so much for sharing, as always.

    (typed on iPhone; please forgive typos. In real life, I can both spell and proofread…)

  37. I.die.

    Thank you for posting. You just made a craptastic day better.
    The kitchen just sings- all that glorious white and light and dark accents.

  38. You. Are. Amazing.

    Seriously. It’s like you have a superpower for rehabilitating forlorn spaces into beautiful, happy ones.

    So well done.

    PS, I totally feel you on the hooks. <3

  39. Wow! Congratulations—the kitchen is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the house. What a jewel!

  40. this looks so, so great! and i cannot believe how inexpensively you did it (except for your own time, which is a huge accomplishment unto itself). wow!!

  41. That house is so happy it found you!

  42. Get outta here! That is just freakin’ awesome! I’m a long-time blog reader but a comment- virgin to your blog, but I couldn’t NOT post a comment to congratulate you on a seriously awesome kitchen reno job. Well done! I’m now so SO eager to see what you do with the rest of your house :)

  43. Insanely awesome :D :D You’ve inspired me to try a bit harder with my kitchen!!

  44. Supremely impressed! I don’t know what your real job is, but you should be in the reno business! Your fix-it skills have really improved. You must be so proud. I hope you get tons of press from this. Can’t wait to see the next project. Don’t forget to divide your plants and plant more bulbs this fall. Ann

  45. LOVE it!
    So good. I’ve been following you for years, and you never disappoint. Every post brings a smile to my face:)

  46. I registered just to say, it is true.. You are made of magic!

    Your kitchen is amazing! I can’t even imagine you guys ever doing a “full” renovation. It looks so perfect as it is!

  47. A-mazing. No words. You did it!

  48. This is unreal for the price. The before and after is absolutely stunning. This might be your best work yet for a budget project. Nice work, Damiel!

  49. You sir are made of magic. Come to my house and redo my kitchen please?

  50. You should win the homies on the basis of this project alone. Now waiting breathlessly for dowel-into-into hardware post.so brilliant.

  51. I knew you would do amazing things, but wow– jaw-dropped over here! Beautiful!!

  52. WOW, what a stunning transformation! It is like you are a magician. Just gorgeous!

  53. I yelled what the fuck! Holy fuck! Oh my fucking god the entire post. The BEST before and afters I’ve ever seen! Seriously. Amazing job! I’m so jealous I want to sleep in your cabinets and admire your kitchen all night.

  54. Wow. This is the most dramatic kitchen reveal I’ve seen in ages. And to think you did it in 10 weeks! You are incredible, Daniel, and I can’t wait to see you tackle the rest of the house. After a verrrrry long nap, of course. :)

  55. Dude. Are you a wizard? Because this is amazing. I have no idea how you looked at that before kitchen and saw any potential, much less this gorgeousness, or how the hell you managed to do all this in a few months! Kids these days! All industrious and shit.

  56. Flipping fantastic. Seriously. I wish I had half the eye that you do for this stuff. This. Kitchen. Looks. INCREDIBLE. Can’t wait to see what you guys do to the rest of he place.

  57. Oh my word! I’m a new reader, and have been happily perusing your older posts while waiting for your kitchen reveal.

    It’s been WELL worth the wait!

    Love all your choices-and the knobs are nothing short of brilliant! I like that you are sappy about the hooks/etc used in the home. I’m like that with old mirrors-I wonder who peered into the glass before me, etc. I also think the house smiles a bit more every time we ( as in the collective we) restore some of their original, simplistic beauty.

    Our house was built in 1948. It looks like we have almost the same sink-cast iron, double drain boards, well used and loved. I use BF, too-and a half/half bleach/water mix once in a while on anything that stains.

    Enjoy your new heart of the home. It rocks-and then some.

  58. Nobel Prize.

  59. It looks fricken amazing. Congratulations! that surpassed all expectations.

  60. HOLY CRAP ON A STICK! A-freaking-mazing how you did this on such a small budget and small amount of time. I am in awe! Unfuckingbelieveable.

  61. I’m going to read this post again right now and just savor the pictures. I can’t pick which part is my favorite. It’s a toss-up between the tile and the cabinets. You guys did a phenomenal job!

  62. Seriously so good. You *should* be proud. Looks fantastic! Was so excited for the big reveal.

  63. Forgive me if you’ve answered this elsewhere, but I am curious as to what color paint you used for the cabinets? Thanks!

    • Clark + Kensington brand Designer White for the uppers (which is just a pre-mixed off-the-shelf white) and Arabian Nights for the lowers. It’s hidden in the budget section. :)

      • Agh! So it is. I saw a bunch of numbers and ran (I’m not an auditor for an accounting firm, I swear).

  64. Omg Wow, I am sure my own excitement over this reveal is only a fraction of yours but I have been emotionally engaged in this project from the start. Thank you for such an enjoyable journey.

  65. Great job!

  66. STOP. You are a magician. An absolutely stunning transformation and an awesome journey to get there.

  67. holy crap that is breathtaking

    please come renovate my mom’s kitchen with me

  68. You did an AMAZING job, in relatively a short time. I am really impressed, it looks so good.

  69. So, I expected your kitchen to be gorgeous. I have high expectations for you and Max… but I can’t believe how good it looks! It looks SO GOOD. So much better than I believed was possible- I feel like you led me astray with all this “temporary” talk. For me, the wooden dowels you used as handles pushed things over the top and I can’t wait to hear the DIY. Well done!

  70. I think pretty much the whole Internet wants to come hang out in your kitchen now. Fantastic job! Your tile looks incredible. So excited to see what you and Max are up to next.

  71. I’m new to your blog, so I’ve never commented before – but I absolutely had to on this one, because as I was scrolling down while reading / looking at the photos – I literally did a, “omg, SHUT UP!” out loud. It looks amazing! You definitely deserve to feel proud of yourself. (Especially when it comes to that tile!)

  72. Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH. I should have had more faith in you. Never again will I doubt your vision. THIS IS CRAZY. Good work!!

  73. I’m in awe of all the hard work you’ve done – and it’s stunning!

  74. GET OUT!!
    this is un-believable. it doesn’t even look like the same house.
    i am stunned at how amazingly beautiful it is.
    well done. very well done.
    you deserve some award or something…
    jo

  75. Honestly? It’s not that great. In fact, it all looks kind of ugly.

    Just kidding! I definitely mean the opposite of what I just wrote. Just wanted to keep y’all on your toes. Congrats!

  76. love that pig! love the window hardware. love the mirror. love the flowers and photo styling. love every other little nook & cranny. love that you’re a “sap” love love…

  77. AMAZING! I am speeachless. One of the best kitchen renovations I’ve ever seen.

  78. You totally killed it. This is what good DIY is all about. I LOVE that you kept so many “good enough” elements and tweaked them to be awesome. The cabinets with dowel pulls? Slay me. The tile is uh-mazing and just pulls everything together. You win the internet.

  79. You are amazing! Daniel, not only are you a gifted writer but a fantastic visionary. Congrats on a job well done. Can’t wait to see your plans for the rest of the house.

  80. Sensational! I love the subway tiles! Lisa xo

  81. I have no words……. ditto what everyone else has said. Truly beautiful.

    I kept thinking your realtor needs to see what you’ve done with that kitchen!

  82. Daaang that looks really good! You’ve done a great job making a black&white space feel cute and warm. It makes your kitchen stove look stylish too! Feel proud.

  83. What a huge difference ! Good job. Well done. Super génial. Oops … I’m French, I got carried away …

  84. It’s so pretty I wanna die.

  85. Crikey! You’ve worked magic in there! I’m even more in love with that sink nook, and am so glad the old sink cleaned up as well as it did (Barkeeper’s friend is the best!)

  86. WOOOOWWWW, I did not expect that. Daniel it is sooo beautiful!!
    You say they are cheaply made, poorly sized cupboards,which for many would mean let’s rip-em-out – I think it’s so cool you didn’t, and worked with what you got.
    It looks super sophisticated, while playful. Absolutely beautiful.
    Gah I won’t keep going on, it’s just I really LOVE it ;) I think I found a beautiful model for my future kitchen. :)
    Keep up the good work, can’t wait to see what else you have in store with that amazing house of yours :)

  87. Seriously your new kitchen looks amazing. I would move into it, right this second if I could. You really can be proud of yourself for this job.

  88. If you haven’t already, I recommend 3M Command Strip. You can stick them on your tile, and your knife strip isn’t going anywhere. I use them for absolutely everything! If you have something that you might take down and pop back up on the wall periodically (I use them to hold up a little container for my various dish scrubbers, sometimes I need to wash it) I recommend going up in strength a little. If the weight of the item is near that particular strips threshold, sometimes they’ll give out if you didn’t stick whatever back on JUST RIGHT. If it’s not something you ever plan on moving, you can basically stick it up and never think about it. My mom has been using them for a couple of years to stick heavy clay pottery to her walls. So far, nothing has fallen!

  89. This is absolutely incredible!! Amazing transformation on such a low budget. I love the dowels as pulls – probably not something I’d do in a “forever” kitchen, but it works amazingly well here. Props to you guys.

  90. Brilliant Daniel!!!! It looks fantastic.

  91. Dramatic gasp, flailing arms, hyperventilation all took place when I refreshed your site and that first picture came up. So. Worth. The. Wait. YOU ARE A MAKER OF MAGIC, WHISPERER OF KITCHENS, BLOGGA OF THE DECADE. I love all the gleaming subway tile, the cast iron piglet, the window hardware above the sink, the happy place that is the black radiator. This house is going to be incredible. Srsly, just the thought of what’s to come in all the other spaces makes me want to leap to my feet and twirl with glee.

    Also, don’t apologize for “all the redundant photos”. Whaaa? Never. Crazy talk. We want endless photos, from every angle, always, forever.

  92. EHMERRGEHHRD! SO NICE!

  93. I have been following your blog because you are a delight and a half and I know I don’t know you but this kitchen is out-of-this-world amazing!!! Which I know everyone is saying but I wanted to say it, too. So, yes. Bravo.

  94. That is just crazy insane beautiful genius. Seriously.

  95. You make me want to tile so bad! The kitchen looks amazing, I could look at these pictures all day long..!

  96. Daniel it looks absolutely fantastic! I cannot believe the difference. Love the tiling especially at the corners. Cannot wait until you show the next project. Love love love it!

  97. congratulations! It really looks amazing, the light pouring in is so uplifting, so cheerful, I can see why you would spend a lot of time sitting on those cheerful stools hanging out in there!

  98. When I win the lottery and can afford a high market interior designer to do my kitchen I will show her/him these pics and say “I want THAT _ exactly that” You, my man, are a magician. I am dumbstruck by everything you’ve accomplished.
    P.s. Please please do a post on how you made that monolithic pipe hider, I have exactly the same problem that really needs to be solved. Merci beaucoup in advance.

  99. Breathtaking. So, so beautiful. Bravo, Mister Kanter!

  100. You all did a wonderfull job ! I LOVE that kitchen !!! And I want the same in my house… Could I copy yours when it will be time to re-do it ?

  101. Seriously Daniel? I am convinced that you are part magician. How? For 1200$? What? Mind blown.

    Also, my striped blue Ikea dish towel is getting a lot more love these days as every time I look at it, I’ll think, ‘Daniel has one of these and he’s practically a genius… maybe a magician… but definitely genius.’

  102. Superbe travail Bravo Plein d’idées belles et pratiques. J’habite près de Paris et lit votre blog (grace à la traduction google je ne parle pas anglais) Bonne continuation

  103. Love, love, everything! You’ve done amazing things. But in a weird way with all the amazing crazy things you did, still what really stands out for me are the West Elm enamel things, because I have been looking at those for a long time but living in Switzerland the shipping costs would be crazy and make them way too expensive. Also, I don’t really need anything right now, living in a flatshare with a tiny kitchen I really shouldn’t buy anything, but they look so nice! So, in some way I like that you used them, so I can live even more through you, I guess? You didn’t get the enamel serving utensils though, did you?

  104. You are amazing. I’ve been obsessively checking your blog for updates but this far surpasses any expectations. Well done.

  105. That is a truly staggering transformation! Your are amazing. I’m speechless at what you’ve pulled off here. Just incredible. Enjoy this new kitchen.

  106. OMG!! I love it. With a tiny budget you have done amazing job.

  107. Now I want to buy an crappy house whith a crappy kitchen and try myself.

    I summ up to the hundred comments above. Incredible results! :)

    Now, I was looking at the photos and that walls above the cabinets aren’t screaming for a gallery wall? It would be very Nate Berkus-ish in my head – just saying.

    As said, incredible results, but I didin’t expected less from you. You are a genius :)

    • Thank you!! We thought about hanging stuff there, but I think it would end up being kind of busy and drawing attention to the soffits, which I don’t really want to do! I used some really wide floor-to-ceiling shots in the post to show the full space, but in real life I think it feels less like there is a mass of white space above the cabinets…keeping those areas from being a “feature” lets your eyes settle on the stuff below it, which is much nicer! If that makes sense…

  108. Daniel, this is amazing. Well done and congratulations to you both! Looking forward to ‘Manhattan Nest: the Cookbook” ;)

  109. I really love how real you are about the whole thing!! The room looks amazing & you did it for so cheap!!! I love the pops of color.

    And I think your friend Anna said something about how you & she used a lot of the same elements – colors, tile, etc, but it is fascinating how different your kitchens look. Well done!

  110. I say… there are not enough pictures of the gorgeousness! So now I guess its time to pull down that wall in the foyer :)

    Will you be doing a post on the dowel-pulls too?

  111. SHIIIIYATTTT that looks fucking awesome. Arguably the best before/after pics I’ve ever seen.

  112. Best transformation I’ve ever read about – I’m in love with your kitchen!

  113. TV SHOW
    TV SHOW
    TV SHOW
    TV SHOW
    TV SHOW
    TV SHOW

  114. OMG! So happy to wake up today and find this post! You prove once again that it’s not about what you spend; rather, it’s about making great choices with what you do spend. Plus elbow grease and attention to detail (dude, the knobs! the outlets! the door hardware! the quarter round!) High fives all around and congrats!

  115. Wow!
    I love the shelves over the radiator. If it were just the shelves I would wonder: Why?
    If it were just the radiator, ditto (you do need a radiator I understand that, but where it is felt arbitrary you know?). But the two together make me say “ofcourse!”. I love the sinkarea, so very cute. Have a wonderful day!!!

  116. Astounding. I keep looking at the before and after of the stove & sink area and it just makes you laugh with the sheer giddiness of it all. You can feel the dang house being like “thank you for getting all that crap off me!!!!”

  117. Please get some well-deserved rest. Wish I was your neighbor as I’d bring you something homemade and delicious so you can nourish yourself, then rest & get ready for the next phase.

    Looking forward to more amazing transformations.

    I am so happy for you and for your lucky house.

  118. OMG!! As the days stretched on without a kitchen update from Daniel, my expectations on how great the reveal would be, increased. Let me just say that you surpassed my already lofty expectations – it is amazing! You didn’t mention it but what was the start and finish time frame? (awaits answer while giving husband side eye – started our kitchen “freshening up” on Halloween 2012 – still not finished!)

    Take a well deserved break this weekend – your labor is done!

    • Well, we moved in on June 3rd and finished all the final touches (with the exception of the very minor things I have to get to…like polishing the floor and painting those screw heads on the hooks) on August 20th, I think. We weren’t here for all of that time, though (back in Brooklyn, up in Buffalo, down in D.C.), and were juggling this with A LOT of other house things and jobs, so it was a little nuts! For some reason I thought it was going SUPER slow while it was happening (I convinced myself I could do it in a month! doh.), but now I feel pretty good about a top-to-bottom DIY kitchen reno in the space of about 2.5 months. :)

  119. I’m so impressed and REALLY jealous! Well done on making such an excellent job of this kitchen! I can’t believe it’s only an “interim solution”. I would love to get my hands dirty on a project like this!

  120. You, sir, are a magical wizard, bringing truth, beauty, and subway tile to this weary world. Kudos x1,000,000,000.

  121. *******I love itI love itI love itvI love itI love itI love itI love itI love it*******

  122. Holy Smokes, Daniel – it looks fantastic! I love how bright and airy it is – so the *opposite* of the before pictures!

    As a demanding reader I’m just going to go for it say: After you take a well deserved breaky-pooh that I’d love to see a post or more about how you did a few things: The dowel knobs, for example. Did you just screw through from inside the cabinet door and into the dowel? Would one need to be concerned about the dowel splitting? (Maybe you pre-drilled the dowel pieces?) The chase that you made is super impressive, so that too. But also how did you decide how far up to go with the tiles? Gut instinct?

    Enough – enjoy and be super proud of that kitchen!

    • Ditto about revealing how to make the dowel drawer pulls as well as other details like painting the door knobs, etc., etc.

  123. Oh my GODDDD is this ever amazing. You guys are unreal.

  124. You have done such a wonderful job here. I love it! I too want an old house to do up, but until I have my own, I will follow along on your adventure. Well done!

  125. WHAT THE WHAT. This is crazy witchcraft surely. Wow, you guys are amazing. So so impressive! xxx

  126. I would like to live in your kitchen. The third picture down shows that the floor was the perfect thing to tie all the rest of your work together.

  127. Wow, the first time in ages I’ve come across a home improvement blog that does exactly what it says on the tin!!

    Kudos to you guys, you did an awesome job. Now go lie down for a week!!

  128. oh, this is fantastic! looks like such a nice room to be in. like others said before me, you can just feel the house thinking: “thanks, man! phew!”
    with all the stuff you’re going to be doing in the rest of the house + the mania that will come with it, it must be fab to have a room that feels ‘done’ and lovely.

  129. AMAZING. Real DIY, real creativity, and real results. I love it all.

  130. I’ve been so excited to see your kitchen reveal, and it exceeded my expectations. It looks amazing!!! :)

  131. Daniel- like many others, I suspect, I have been stalking you and your kitchen through MN. It is incredible. Now I must refrain from tearing my in-need-of-help kitchen apart and being perpetually mad at my partner for not letting me. ;)

    Well done.

  132. When I saw your instagram while still in bed I literally jumped out of bed to finish getting ready so that I could (let’s be honest) go to work and then read this post! It didn’t disappoint. I’m so happy for you and impressed with what you can do with a limited budged!

    Inspired!

    • Ha! I did the EXACT same thing! I was so tempted to go right to the site when I saw the instagram photo, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same viewing this reveal on my phone. Could not wait to get to work and finish up the first few emails so I could dive in.

      AMAZING!!!

  133. You are a wizard! A+++++mazing! I’m aroused, kind of… *snickers*

    That’s what “working with what you’ve got” ;-) should look like.

    Totally thrilled to see with what you come up next. I’m happy for you guys that you found this gem of a house and share its transformation with us!

  134. This is nutso good. Y’all have a lot to be proud of.

  135. SO BEAUTIFUL. This looks fantastic! Well done!

  136. Wow.

    Wow. Looks killer. Amazing job, Daniel.

  137. I could not love it more. You guys killed it. Seriously.

  138. this is just like, so utterly unbelievable, it kind of makes me cry….it all turned out just so fabulously!! The floor, the dowel pulls (GENIUS!) the door hardware….everything everything is just so perfect and lovely!

    quick question though – is that a bit of molding on the wall to the back door? Above the shelves that are above the radiator?

    (sorry to nit pick – my eye is just trained to notice these things! Too many years of doing punch lists….)

    • It’s actually because at some point, a new piece of sheetrock was affixed to that wall over the plaster, so that line you’re seeing is the top edge of the sheetrock. The drop ceiling used to be level with that, but once it was removed, there was a weird ridge where the wall changes depths. I opted to just paint and ignore it, which I’m OK with. It’s a weird quirk.

  139. i mean…honestly, it is incredible. bravo! bravo! encore, please…when you are rested up and ready for more that is.

  140. Amazing! Everything looks so, so, crazy good! You guys did such a wonderful job! The little details are the best. Like the little black hook for dish towels by the sink. Great job!

  141. HOLY SHIT.

  142. Woah. This is hands-down the best before/after I have ever seen. In all of the know universe/blogosphere. So impressive. My favorite line is “all these photos were styled by Max (who maybe doesn’t cook so much.)” Adorable. My first thought when I spotted that marble slab photo: Ohhhh marble + yellow, PRETTY. Second thought: lemons + knives + olive oil…yup, those are all things I’ve directly applied to other people’s lovely marble counters, followed by much cursing all around. YOU ARE AWESOME. This totally made my day. (PS have you seen the jimmy fallon bit where he jokes about aggressively showing people photos of his new baby? I feel like I’m liable to walk around town shoving my iphone in strangers face, going “HAVE YOU SEEN THE MANHATTAN NEST KITHEN REVEAL? Look at it please. LOOK AT IT!”)

  143. HOlY KITCHEN!!!! I just drooled over every word and picture. Amazing. Job SO well done!! Definitely something to always be proud of yourself about!

  144. Holy hell. This is the best DIY/Decorating post I’ve EVER seen and you should be famous and streets should be named after you and perhaps even a sainthood is in order. You are that good!

  145. You are amazing!

  146. You must be so happy right now! It looks totally awesome! Even though you already gave us progress photos I am still so overwhelmed by the end result! So much better than I could have ever expected! And this is just the “so we can reno the rest of the house” kitchen! Really curious what you would imagine when you are going to do the full-on overhaul!

    Seriously, I have been a silent reader for years now, but this made me decide to comment. It is just. too. awesome!

  147. Magical, Daniel. Just magical. Bravo!

  148. Holy cow- what an inspiration!!!

  149. Holy Shit. Amazing.

    That is all.

  150. This is one of the best (maybe the best?) before and afters I’ve ever seen. Having done my own kitchen reno in my own fixer-upper, on seeing what you started with, I knew you were entering a whole new level of DIY. But you not only pulled it off, you pulled it off with incredible style and an incredible budget. Congratulations!

  151. I’ve been waiting for this post and was impatiently refreshing your page all day yesterday. This totally doesn’t disappoint. It looks fantastic!

  152. You are a frickin genius. I could not wait to see what magic you worked on this kitchen and it was better than I imagined.

  153. Amazing!

  154. Thank you for doing this reno. Not everything in a house NEEDS to go! I hate when people walk in and jump into a 40k reno- you guys have so much work ahead that it’s great that you guys worked with what you had.

    Plus, yellow stools? Adorbs.

  155. This… this is the stuff of dreams. Congratulations!

  156. Uh mazing!! You’re right to be proud. What a transformation. I love it! And for so little coin. You work magic. And you’ve affirmed our decision to go dark on the bottom, white up top with the cabinet work on our gut job. You’re amazing!

  157. Well worth the wait (I checked your site daily to see when it’d be up) – and AMAZING. Kudos to you. Kudos kudos.

  158. Holy moly! Amazing!

    Congratulations! xx

  159. Reading this post just made my morning. Congratulations on an amazing job.

  160. I’m totally speechless. YOU ARE A COMPLETELY INSANE INCREDIBLE MIRACLE WORKER!!! What a transformation!!

    Also, we totally also have two stools in our very non-eat-in kitchen and find them oddly useful.

  161. That’s one hell of an an accomplishment! It’s shocking how much you were able to do for so little money! The dowel pulls are perfect. I’m blown away. I knew it would be good, but you really brought it! Congrats on a fantastic job.

  162. That’s absolutely breathtaking. I was having a hard time seeing this kitchen completed, but even in my most fanciful ideas, it didn’t look like this. Fantastic job. If this is the temporary kitchen, I can’t wait to see the real one.

  163. Daniel, this looks delicious! (I can’t think of a better adjective than that) – the mix of the tile, the dark grout, the salvaged cupboards, the marble / wood accents. I love it. I hope you are sitting on one of your yellow stools with a glass of something boozy reading through the comments and patting yourself on the back for a job very well done.

    And now you get to enjoy using it. Lucky git!

  164. GORGEOUS!! What a spectacular kitchen, it’s so bright and welcoming! Seriously, you have a gift!

  165. I literally stared at that first picture for a full 2 minutes thinking “that can’t really be the same kitchen… maybe this is just his inspiration photo… scroll down to see the real thing, because… that can’t be the real thing, right??” Such an incredible transformation!! It’s so gorgeous! I bet you want to sleep in the kitchen every night now, I know I would :)

  166. I’m literally giving this a standing ovation. If you need volunteers/interns to help with the next room I’ll be first in line. I feel so inspired.

  167. I wish I could come up with a new adjective because I think stupendous, marvelous, amazing, gorgeous, incredible, spectacular and mind-blowing have already been used. You done good Mr. D.! (I am still laughing about the floor crisis…a little bit too much of myself in that story.)

  168. Really amazing!! The amount of work that went into that transformation is mind boggling.

    I don’t even want to contemplate painting that ceiling, and the amount of tile work you did is incredible. But you and Max were right, it does totally make the space!

  169. I’d really like to tell you what an awesome job you did, but I have to go paint my kitchen now!

  170. Wow, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Very inspiring- if only I could rush out of work and get to work on my own kitchen! The yellow stools are perfect.

  171. Gorgeous! This is right up my alley – what a great finished product – I love the color combinations. Someday…

  172. This is truly wonderful!

  173. I’m honestly speechless. You are a genius.

  174. *begins slow clap*

  175. holy shit

  176. Holy Cow! What a transformation. Let’s kick the Kardashian’s off the air and replace them with a show featuring you, Max, Mekko and Linus. I’d totally watch.

  177. Wow…I can’t believe how amazing this is!! I’m pretty sure my jaw was dropped the whole time I read the post. You are seriously so talented. And what I like most is that you didn’t drop tons of money to make it great…you worked super hard and used your imagination to see the potential in places that most people wouldn’t. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

  178. OH MY GOD. So impressed and so proud. I can’t wait to see it in person. You are such an inspiration. Love you more than you can imagine. (Tears streaming…) I hope that realtor and her clients are reading along and banging their heads against the wall. Well done, my son.

  179. What an amazing transformation! I love it.

  180. I have been reading your blog (somewhat obsessively) for ages, but I think I have to follow the many other previously silent readers who have jumped across the threshold to comment so that I can say:

    This is completely, mindblowingly stunning.

    I don’t even have my own kitchen (lodge with a landlady in a tiny apartment – sigh) but now I want to start renovating a kitchen, any kitchen, immediately.

    Amazing, amazing, amazing work.

  181. Daniel, I bow to your complete AWESOMENESS! Love the reveal! Can’t wait to see what else you do to the ENTIRE house!

  182. Are you god or something? Seriously!

  183. BRAVO!!! You did such an amazing job! I can’t believe how small your final total was !

  184. amazing! I love that you kept the bones of the kitchen and fixed it up thoughtfully. and, amazing how fast you renovated. can’t wait to see your next projects!

  185. Holy Shit. Wow. Just big freaking wow. This is seriously the most amazing before and after Ev-er.

  186. Holy crap. Holy crap. HOLY CRAP!

    *standing ovation*

    When you first showed us that kitchen I was like, “There’s no way. It’s too far gone.” But you had the vision and determination and that is absolutely the most beautiful before and after I have ever seen and you did it all yourself. You have so much to be proud of. Well done!

  187. oh, I was waiting and waiting for this post and it was SO WORTH IT! Congratulations Daniel & Max! Even a ‘temporary’ kitchen is blowing me away. I love everything about it. Good work.

  188. Seriously amazing! I love how clean and bright it is now. It’s beautiful =)

  189. I love this SO. MUCH. I can’t even.

    Also…I would totally be on board with a food blog that is 47% Top Ramen.

  190. OB-SESSED. I can’t even. Dead. $1,300? I mean you guys are amazing. I drool and wait for a new blog post every day. This was worth the wait. Looks fabulous. I know you say this is temporary, but why? Its beautiful. I’m so jealous and wish you would come to NC to help redo my kitchen.

    • Thanks, Stephen! I guess temporary is all relative. I see this kitchen lasting like 10 years, which for plenty of people is just how long any kitchen lasts! Which is crazy to me, but I digress. HOPEFULLY we will not be made totally broke by the house, and down the line, we’ll have a more comfortable budget that will allow us to have nicer cabinets (like I said, these are probably 60 years old and aren’t in the best shape…), insulated walls, a better layout, all that stuff. I’d LOVE to expose more original features (like the pine-plank floor and maybe the brick chimney), get rid of some of the 50s stuff like the big hollow soffits above the cabinets, and add some modern conveniences that just aren’t possible here. This is more than good enough for now, though, and replacing it is just not even on the list of priorities AT ALL. We’re still young, too, so who knows where we’ll be in five, ten, or fifteen years. I hope still owning and living in this house, but that’s a long time away!

      • Thanks for providing this additional perspective, Daniel, as I was going to ask the same thing. As usual you’re showing a whole lot of wisdom for your years in recognizing that, over time, your circumstances and needs could evolve in many directions. In the meantime you have a kitchen that most of us would kill for!

      • Yeah, I can see why you would want a different layout and nicer stuff. I have lived with a kitchen similar to that (although not as bad as the before nor as pretty as the after) where the appliances were just kind of placed willy nilly and it’s awkward for cooking. The sink seems inconvenient also. But it’s soooo pretty and I think an amazing example for those people out there without a huge budget. The style is killer- I can see why West Elm wanted to sponsor your reveal post. And for many people, this type of renovation without the vague promise of future upgrades is all they can do, and often feel they have to do it in some generic builder/Home Depot/etc style. Great work!

  191. IT BLEW MY FUCKING MIND!

  192. SO AMAZING! Great job!!! So proud and jealous of your skills! Congrats on a beautiful renovation.

  193. Wowowow, you have totally outdone yourself! My eyes were popping out through the whole post. Beautiful work!

  194. WOW!! It is amazing! You did an incredible job, especially on a budget. I’ve been eagerly clicking over here waiting for your reveal, and I’ve certainly enjoyed all of your lovely photos and tour of your kitchen. Enjoy it!

  195. It turned out fabulous! Fucking awesome job, I bow at your skills.

  196. Stunning. Simply stunning.
    Can I come live in your kitchen?

  197. Holy cow! This looks awesome!
    It was well worth the wait, Daniel!

    Congrats!
    ;)

  198. So beautiful!!!! The before and after difference is crazy. I almost cried when I saw these after pictures. It looks so wonderful. I hope you can get lots of use out of this kitchen for a few years until the big overhaul. In the meantime, you should definitely feel very proud of all your hard work.

  199. Well done, you!

    I have seen window hardware like this in Sweden. It is perfect in your new kitchen. I bet those cabinets will last another 60 years!

  200. L.O.V.E. your wonderful style of writing and of course your new kitchen.
    You are just so damned talented all the way around.
    I look forward to more of your fixer uppers :)

  201. WOW! Kitchen looks AMAZING! So bright and beautiful :)

  202. Swoon. And I especially love those window hinges…
    I have questions about your creative process. Tiling behind the stove was an afterthought, you said. How much of the rest of this design solution did you see before you started it? Did you know exactly (or roughly…) where you were heading when you began, or did each little project lead you to the next solution somewhere else in the room?

    • Thanks, Lynn!

      Well, if you go all the way back to this post (which I wrote shortly after I’d started demoing and stuff), you can see that the final kitchen looks a lot like the plan——so most of the big ideas were in place before I really dove in. I did think a lot beforehand about the types of materials I wanted in the kitchen, and how they’d balance in relation to each other. For example, I figured I’d probably paint the floor black (I ended up using black VCT, but it has a similar effect), so I knew I wanted to bring some warmth into the kitchen with the wood countertops. But I also considered installing an inexpensive wood floor (like plywood planks or very cheap pine tongue-and-groove), in which case I probably would have gone with concrete countertops to keep things from getting too wood-heavy——so a lot of decisions sort of relied on each other that way. Once I made the big choices about materials and placement, I continued to modify and add things as the room started to come together——like the addition of the extra subway tile on the hearth, the mirror, the shelving, the kitchen cart, etc., until it looked and felt right and functioned well. So I guess it was a combination of both approaches! The kitchen just sort of became what it wanted to become, I think. There were some decisions I intentionally reserved until the end, when I could see better how they’d play out in the room (like I didn’t know if I wanted my doors to be painted black or white until most of the other elements were in place…I had a hunch that black might make things too busy, and I think I was right.). Especially with an old house, there are a lot of unknowns and aspects of the space that are impossible to see coming, even with pictures and several walk-throughs under your belt, so it made more sense to me to remain flexible and open to changing plans and trying different ideas out as the renovation progressed!

      • Thank you for sharing that. I really like the way you explain your process.

        I’m looking forward to your post about the chase you built to hide the pipes as I’m very curious to learn more about why you designed it the way you did.

  203. Ok, I waited rather (im)patiently for this post – and wow, it was worth the wait! Truly amazing and beautiful. Love all the vintage elements and am so, so happy that you appreciate them too and make them shine! Congrats on a great kitchen. (We are about to gut our not-nearly-so-terrible kitchen next year after waiting five years, and now I’m inspired to try to make it a little more unique and less-IKEA looking.) Thanks for the inspiration!

  204. Daniel,

    You have HONORED yourself, your home and we, your readers with your continuing dedication, commitment and BRILLIANCE with this AMAZING work. Take a deep breath, relax for a day or two, play with Max and the dogs!!!!!!!

    All the best,
    Rob

  205. Does not even look like the same house! Fantastic job!

  206. MAGIC. Wow, you did a heck of a job.

  207. Amazing work! I am in awe.

  208. Wow…
    We ripped our kitchen out this weekend. Right down to the horse hair and rag insulation. This definitely give me a light at the end of the tunnel.

  209. I’m speechless! After so many posts – with diversions, dogs, and desperation – the finished kitchen is just a sight to behold! You’ve completely surpassed my expectations!

    Daniel, you have done an incredible job, just AMAZING! The proportions, the colours, your attention to detail – this kitchen has it all. The tiling behind the stove and around the corner to the back door brings the whole space together. I’m really, really impressed – by that, and your handiwork on covering up the unsightly spaghetti in that corner. Yes, really impressed all round!

    And as always, a really nicely written post. You had me on the fake strawberries. I had to laugh at just how gullible I can be . . .

  210. Looks so good!! Love how clean, bright, and warm it all is!! Great job!!!

  211. WOWZA! Love. Love. Love.

  212. You have outdone yourself! It looks AMAZING!

  213. I’ve been so excited to see the kitchen redo! It is exactly my idea of a great kitchen. i can’t imagine all the work! Well-done. Go take a nap.

  214. You guys did such an awesome job! Bravo to you!!

  215. I kind of want to pet the screen where the tile is shown. So shiny and pretty! WONDERFUL job!

  216. How can this even be possible? In ten weeks! I am completely floored. Your kitchen is frickin amazing. It must feel great to walk in and get that first cup of coffee in the morning.

  217. Wow. Just wow.

  218. First of all, I just have to say: AMAZING!!! I’ve been following along since day one of this kitchen nightmare you took on, and the final result is absolutely stunning!

    Second: When I saw the photo of your new knives on your new marble cutting board (albeit beautifully styled by Max), I thought to myself, “Oh no! Someone needs to tell Daniel not to use that marble pastry board as a cutting board! It will dull his knives and ruin them!” I really didn’t want to be “that guy” (technically “that girl,” but that’s not an expression.) – all know-it-all-ish and annoying. So I was trying to come up with a way to phrase it that seemed helpful. Thankfully I don’t need to because you already qualified that you don’t actually use the marble slab to cut things on. Phew! Now I don’t have to say a thing.

    Third: Did I mention your kitchen is amazing?

  219. Amazing! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!So freaking gorgeous <3

  220. Gorgeous payoff to all of your hard work! That last pic is magazine worthy:)

  221. wow! absolutely amazing! well done. so beautiful.

  222. The Big Reveal is a HUGE success! So happy for you and amazed at how you pulled it off within a tight budget. Looks and feels quality. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs. You’re an amazing teacher.

  223. You and Max have done an incredible job. The vision and execution are awe-inspiring. And your final total? WOW! You rock!!

  224. This kitchen renovation and amazing post just rocked my socks. Love love love it.

  225. There’s really nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Also, I love that Max is helping style/take photos, even if he maybe doesn’t cook so much.

    ALSO, thanks for the VCT inspiration. I’m now considering them for the floor in our Airstream renovation.

  226. COnfession: I didn’t read all 231 comments but I’m certain I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said! AMAZEBALLS! And so inspiring. As always, you are my fave.

    P.S. A doggie photo bomb wouldn’t have gone amiss. :)

  227. Unreal transformation. Besides maybe some new appliances down the line I don’t even know why you’d need to change it! So beautiful!

  228. Daniel.

    I keep opening the images in different tabs and clicking back and forth, back and forth, old, new, old, new, wtf, how the heck?

    It’s amazing. You should be really, really proud.

  229. I also love the hardware on your windows. It looks very similar to the windows I had in Cambridge but have never seen elsewhere until now. Your kitchen looks wonderful, thank you for sharing it with everyone.

    Link to a picture of the Cambridge window if interested: http://fav.me/d6ja8gc

  230. I LOVE IT! Every time I see a 1 beside Manhattan Nest in Feedly I get all excited, like someone just gave me an unexpected, super awesome, everything I’ve ever wanted gift. I loved watching this kitchen come together! I can’t wait to see the rest of the house coming together! A friend of mine just dropped a sander off at my house, and your posts are getting me motivated to redo my 1937 cabinets (much like those in your kitchen, but with 13 layers of paint).

    • Thank you, Heather! Just be careful sanding those cabinets——I’m sure you know, but the older layers of paint probably/definitely contain lead, and you really don’t want to be breathing in that dust! If you’re trying to get down to bare wood or something, safer to use a chemical stripper. Also, regardless of lead, sanding through 13 layers of paint will make you want to curl up in a ball and die!

      Good luck!!

  231. It’s great to see this before and after but I can appreciate how many hours of blood, sweat and tears that went into this. It’s your attention to detail (being a perfectionist) that makes every nook and cranny of this kitchen so fab. It’s stunning. And that mirror! I would never think to pair a patina mirror with that new subway tile but it is the shiz. Your grand total shocked me. I wish you lived in Toronto so you could teach me how to shop!!! Love the cast iron pig! And Max’s styling/photos – stunning!

  232. Thanks for doing impressive work *and* being witty and sarcastic at the same time!

  233. You are awesome!!! The kitchen is so beautiful!!!

  234. Wow – this is absolutely incredible. I mean really, really amazing. I love how it turned out. Also, on a side note, I just love reading your blog. Your writing style is so great and your personality just shines through. I really appreciate reading a design blog that’s not crafty/SAHM-oriented :) Nothing bad about that, but it’s just not how I roll.

  235. I literally squee’d when I saw the hooks. I have the exact same hook that you used for your apron (found in a dusty box of miscellany buried in a corner of some thrift store – the end caps look like acorns or pinecones.) And the little foundling hook is now proudly displayed next to your sink of awesome. Congratulations on a beautiful job!

  236. Daniel,

    Is all the love in the comments section making you cry a little bit? ‘Cause I’m certainly tearing up a bit over here, and none of it is actually targeted at me.

    Lord, you did good, kid. I wanna go home and rip my crappy kitchen apart. And it’s all your fault.

  237. It’s gorgeous! It’s beautiful! I cannot believe it’s the same space. This is an amazing transformation. I love the clean simplicity of it.

  238. I keep coming back to look at the pictures– this is just amazing.

  239. Congratulations!!! The kitchen turned out amazing! I’m drooling over it. I need you to come to Chicago and make over a few of my rooms. WOW! Just wow!

  240. Seriously!? Amazing amazing amazing! I’m so happy for you! And it’s true you really should be on TV.

  241. Well, to quote Micheal Buble “holy shit balls mom!” You have outdone yourself. This is the most amazing before and after I think I’ve ever seen and you did it yourself. That is the most amazing thing about it. I am SO glad I found your blog! Thanks be to Anna for that!

  242. Remarkable job.

  243. When I go completely off the reservation and paint my bottom cabinets a dark, moody gray-blue, I’m pointing my family and friends at your blog! This kitchen … I can’t …

    I want it! The wood tones, and the black and the vintage accessories! I’m not being incredibly coherent, but I guess that’s what love does to a girl. LOVE IT! I guess I’m trying to say that I am amazed at how much you accomplished in such a short amount of time, on such a small (relatively speaking) budget! I will stop now, and leave some exclamation points for other people to use.

    Congratulations!

  244. The Missus and I are a wee bit obsessed with your blog, as we purchased at house built in 1876.
    Amazing kitchen. Just amazing. What’s more amazing is that you built your own damn chase. Color me jealous.

    Congratulations!

  245. Even if you left the rest of the house as-is, it would be my favorite house because of this kitchen. Love everything. I might cry when you upgrade. Just in case it isn’t sinking in via the other bahjillion comments…YOU ROCK!

  246. All I can say is wow! Ok, I can say more. It may not have felt it since you were living it, but this came together so quickly and (seemingly) effortlessly! Amazing job!

  247. AWESOME! Love how fresh, simple, and utilitarian it looks; it’s like a breath of fresh air, perfect for a country place. Enjoy and eat less ramen noodles.

  248. I almost can´t believe it… what a difference. Love it. Congratulations.

  249. Oh Daniel, its beautiful! Going back over your posts definitely took me back to a couple of years ago when Logan & I did our kitchen. Major pains but so much fun! Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the house.

  250. I knew it was going to look good, but this is amazing! Love.

  251. J’dore! You did an amazing job!

  252. AMAZING! And because this was basically revealed all at once (rather than piecemeal and
    spaced across 150 posts), the change is so much more dramatic! Well done.

    So the real question is…now that the kitchen is done and revealed, does it mean that the vestibule has been demo’d?

  253. Watching your progress and amazing outcome is very inspiring! Congrats on your beautiful kitchen! Hoping someone wants to turn this into a show soon because I would totally watch.

  254. Hi! I never comment on blogs, but this kitchen is DREAMY. I wasn’t sure I saw where you were going initially, but you knocked it out of the park. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

  255. Sooooo Beautiful!! Thanks for taking so many photos, and of so many angles! I can’t get enough of it. Great job!!! :-)

  256. You are an absolute freaking MAGICIAN!!! Those before & afters are jaw-dropping!

    :-o <–best I could do at a jaw-dropping emoticon

    LOVE IT!

  257. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. Absolutely beautiful. Bravo!

  258. whoa- amazing. also, did you actually find a fiddle leaf fig for 12.99 at ikea?? red hook?

    • Paramus, but yes!!! They seem to stock them sporadically and sell out quickly, probably because assholes like me think they’ve hit the jackpot and buy three! I ALWAYS check for them and NEVER see them. It was a very exciting day.

    • Heather, I was just at Red Hook Ikea this morning and they had a whole pallet full of them! Fresh off the supply chain.

  259. I started reading this post at 9am this morning, and just finished reading it now at 3:30pm. I wanted to drag it out as long as possible and didn’t want it to ever end! You’re a genius!

  260. Ditto what everybody else said + You didn’t make lemonade, you made lemon soufflé with single malt butterscotch sauce out of that sad kitchen! You must be soooo happy with it!

  261. I think that the most impressive part of this is how flexible you were through the process!! I mean, sure you went into it with a game plan, but when you encountered challenges you weren’t anticipating, you made changes on the fly! The floors? Disaster averted. The subway tile behind the stove? SUCH a great solve!! you weren’t so nailed-down to a “Design Plan” that you were able to adjust and make the best decision for the space in the moment. It was a work in progress the whole time! SO great. I hope you’re able to keep this loose of a mindset and framework with the other projects you tackle! SO AMAZING.

  262. Unreal. This has to be the masterpiece of all blogosphere.

  263. This is better than I could have imagined. I was wondering how you were going to deal with those pipes- what an elegant solution. It is so clean and fresh- modern but with a few warm and weathered touches. You know how to bring character to a space without cluttering it up too much.

    bravo! well worth the wait…

  264. SO great!!! I am obsessed. I can’t get over how nice the doors are. And those switch plates on the tile, make everything look so new and fancy. Such a drastic improvement! Congrats!

    Sidenote: I wish the internet would stop mocking me with the idea that Ikea has fiddle leaf fig trees for $12.99 because Charlotte Ikea does not and I weep into my Eivor throw after every trip there searching for one.

    • I know! I never believed it, and then it happened to me! I think I cried in the ikea marketplace.

  265. Thank you for sharing this journey of a kitchen. I would be full of jealousy except I know how much work and sweat you put into this and I wish you nothing but many, many happy hours in there! well, I’m still jealous, but in a good way :)

  266. Amazing! Thank you for posting so many pictures. I (and others) are greedy to see every nook and cranny of this makeover. And the budget. Awesome post.

  267. So incredibly beautiful. You have such a nice sense of design. So nice, I just ran over to Target on my lunch hour to snag those very stools. They are perfect in my kitchen!

    I’m thrilled for you your kitchen turned out so lovely. I could sit in it for hours, just soaking up its loveliness.

  268. I’m sitting here staring at the screen in awe, this is lovely! And from the looks of it and the description you have done so much and done it so thoroughly! Very impressive. It looks so tasteful! I have almost the same colour scheme in my kitchen, heh, so that means I have good taste too, yay.

  269. Wow! Just amazing and beautiful work. So many details to love – especially like floor, tiling, radiator and shelving, oh and stools and piggy and window lock. Yaaay you!

  270. OMG. Jaw-dropping, literally. So, so, so amazing. I want to get out a thesaurus and type every superlative in it, that’s how blown away I am.

  271. There is NOTHING I can say that everyone hasn’t already said, so I’ll just gush. OMG IT’S SO SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! I can’t even believe it! It surpassed everything I thought it was going to be. It’s perfect. You now have my dream kitchen, and the fact that you did it for a little over $1000 is IN. SANE. I’m now convinced that you are actually an alien, sent here to make us all weep from inferiority.

    Well done. Now you and Max just go have a cup of tea or coffee in there and just hug yourselves and beam, you deserve it.

  272. I seriously NEVER comment anywhere ever, mainly due to a serious case of the lazies, but HOLY SHIT this is incredible! It looks so perfect and clean!

    First the apartment and now this house? I don’t think there’s anywhere you couldn’t fix up. Great job, both of you (and I’m sure Linus and Mekko helped too).

  273. Good Gracious! This is the bestest Before and After ever. I thought the kitchen was going to go from hideous (sorry) to just OK, but no. Congratulations of a job VERY well done (and very well written about).

  274. Holy smokes, it looks sooo great!!!

  275. OHMYGODILOVEIT!! I’ve been stalking your site and (sorry Linus), I could not WAIT until that damn dog picture was replaced with AFTERS!! Wowza. Very inspirational. I have similar-colored and styled orangey wood cabinets and this just convinces me that painting them is the way to go since I can’t do a true reno. You are AWESOME!

  276. Amazing!! You have impeccable taste and craftsmanship! Congratulations. I hope you both enjoy many happy meals in your wonderful kitchen.

  277. Kudos! Lovely place to cook and to stare at it! I was so excited to finally see all the work come together. Much better flooring than the paint, for sure… Definetely the house has some style and kick ass elements and features and you know how to take full advantage of it. Just wondering about the ventilation above the stove. I guess if you do not cook too much does not really matter, but that mirror might be greasy after a dozen of dinner parties. Is it in your plans to find a solution for this? Love your work!!! (and sorry for my not perfect English)

    • Thanks!

      I’m not really worried about the grease thing…that’s what windex is for! We don’t have a range hood in our apartment, either, and I’ve never had a problem keeping things clean above/behind the stove.

      • I totally agree about the grease thing…I don’t have a hood either and I have a frame piece of art above my stove. Yes, it gets a splash or two every now and then and I just wipe it clean. You are supposed to do that right?, clean, regularly?

  278. Congratulations Daniel! I can hardly match all of the wonderful words from other commenters, but truly, amazing job. You make reading your blog so much fun. Can’t wait to see more! -Sarah

  279. It’s wonderful!! Great low budget, and it looks like a million bucks. Love the window-opener. I’m a sucker for cleaned up hardware. Yay you guys, it’s awesome! That old house is so lucky you found it!

  280. :SLOW CLAP:

    Well done, MacGyver. It’s gorgeous – now it just needs doggies lounging right in front of the sink. You know, the absolutely most inconvenient spot for them to be.

    My brother’s place in Los Angeles has the same window hardware. They are super useful for keeping the windows from slamming shut on breezy days and they look damn cool because they are unique! While we’re on the topic of old windows, I’m curious if you have any winter-izing projects that you need to complete before Autumn sets it?

  281. OMG! I am so so glad I found your blog thru Mares Mumblings. It has been so much fun to follow this kitchen redo and the outcome is beyond fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!! Will we get to follow the rest of your redo? It just is amazing what you did with what you had. I cant imagine you redoing that kitchen ever. It is fabulous

  282. it looks amazing.
    i have the same stools and love them.

    what a great idea to use the industrial velcro on the knife rack.
    i couldn’t figure out how to hang it without damaging my tilework.
    now, i have to go back to pick one up!

  283. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.
    I knew you were good, but DAMN. You just took it to a whole other level.
    This is seriously incredible.

  284. WOW!! Totally amazing, job well done!! I’m very, very impressed, not only with how it looks but with your budget! What an amazing space.

  285. One small question, because I have a similar issue. How are you going to get the space behind the radiator painted white without spoiling that beautiful black finish? Is there some fancy brush you can use?

    • In this case, I’m not! I know it looks kinda bad in that picture with the shelves, but it really isn’t apparent at all in real life that it isn’t painted back there. Unfortunately the clearance is just too small–like 1/2″–to do it without removing the whole radiator, which just isn’t worth it! Normally, though, there’s a very skinny little roller you can buy to take care of behind radiators and other tight spaces like that.

      • Perhaps you’ve already thought about it, but in case you have another situation like this, how about spray painting the wall first (never mind about the overspray on the radiator) through the fins, then covering the wall and spray painting the radiator? Just a thought! Or should I not be operating heavy machinery today? :-)

      • I figured it out! I Saran-wrapped the radiator to mask it and used a long-handled skinny paintbrush. Worked pretty well.

    • I have the same issue behind the toilet tanks in both bathrooms. I’m not skilled enough to remove toilet tanks, so I removed as much of the wallpaper as could and pushed the paint brush as far as I could. Someday, some poor soul will find a disgusting mess behind those tanks.

  286. its so beautiful I want to grab you and shake you.

  287. Your kitchen looks amazing. And looking at the before photos makes it look 7x amazing! I am five weeks in to a new house (old firestation) and seeing your work inspires me to keep pushing through and do the very best I can. Thanks for being awesome!

  288. OMG this looks amazing. Like 8 million other people, I want to hear about the dowels as hardware thing. When you’re ready to work on laundry machines, this might be worth a glance: http://oneprojectatatime.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-buy-super-cheap-washing-machine.html

  289. Oh this is the most beautiful kitchen I’ve ever seen! I’ve been following your progress for a while and have been inspired by your renovations! I’m going to redo my own kitchen soon but not quite on this scale. I’m just blown away by how amazing and beautiful this looks! Bravo!

  290. OB FUCKING SESSED

  291. just reread my post and what I meant was I can’t imagine you redoing the kitchen after this redo because it is so great as it is…. I can see how what I said might have been misconstrued.

  292. after reading this post i think i have the vapors and i don’t even know what that means.
    regardless, beautiful job. just stunning.

  293. A really amazing 1200 $ makeover! You utilized the $$ well. Love the two toned cabinet paint. I was also thinking how well the photos were styled so GO MAX! I now have those enameled pans on my wishlist at West Elm.

    Thanks for the long awesome post on the makeover! LOVE it so much!

    (!!!!!!!)

  294. hahahahha! 325 comments in 2 days. is it a record? It looks fantastic !!! I have been renoing my own place (with inspiration from the holy trio: Door 16 Manhattan Nest and Brick House ) for 3 years now and Im just finished.
    Now I get to watch you do a whole house.
    :)

    thanks for blogging everything so meticulously I know its almost as hard work as decorating!

  295. Too COOL! Now take ye old jig saw, ascrap of plywood, or whatever,and cut out a big ol fat pig to hang the humongous soffit.

  296. Some Buffalo China would like right at home in your kitchen.

  297. Well, I’m really glad that you are about 12 years old and apparently addicted to Red Bull or something. I’m exhausted just reading this post. My favorite part are the little details, like the end grain wood on your counter tops. This kitchen will easily get you 10 more years. Although as your cooking skills mature beyond that Top Ramen, I do predict you’ll want to upgrade to the gas stove option. If you stalk Craigslist you can usually find some really good deals on very nice appliances. Those recipes from Plenty deserve a nicer stove!

    On to the next room. I can’t wait!

  298. Holy mother fucker Daniel….I love the kitchen, I love this blog, I love you. This is insane amounts of awesome.

  299. So. Freaking. Awesome. You inspire me.

  300. to add to the billions of other remarks, JUST WOW. not sure if you will even see this considering the sheer volume of admiration you’re getting, but i would LOVE to see a tutorial on those dowel pulls!! that is something i know i could (and many others too) would like to do, like, yesterday. LOVE this kitchen to death and back.

  301. I mean, seriously…wow. I have been waiting to see this reveal and holy crap its way better than I imagined it. Its the perfect mix of classic and fancy, and so awesome that alot of it was just reused from before. Serious props to you guys- looks amazing and cant wait to see what you do with the other rooms! Also i cracked up at your fake strawberry comment. You should write a book, I would buy it.

  302. This just proves that you’re a visionary. It’s gorgeous!

  303. I’m totally giving you a standing ovation and yelling “BRAVO” at the computer screen right now… *incredible*

  304. Great job – your kitchen looks crisp and clean and current – love it!

  305. Daniel! This kitchen is insanely gorgeous. Like slap yo mama with a fish from the market type of amazing. Totally breath taking.
    And you should definitely share your recipes with us. :D
    #DanFanForever

  306. Amazing. Really, wow.
    I have to say aside from the spectacular kitchen I did feel that the photography was different. Max’s skills must be noted. Nothing looks over styled and the composition looks sharp!

  307. Just gorgeous!

  308. Wonderful. I really love the cabinet knobs and the black hardware against the white paint. You guys did a great job: everything looks clean and light, but not too perfect.

  309. I am stunned! What a wonderful job you did! It is so gorgeous, and sensibly done. Wow.

    I recently discovered your blog through GOMI and read back like 20 pages in a weekend. I <3 you.

  310. One word.
    Well, not really a word but…
    Amazeballs!

  311. Amazing!!!

  312. Omg. I am dead. I can’t believe how amazing this looks and how quickly you did it! You’re also making me feel like a lazy ass because It’s taking me forever to even finish painting every room in my house. Seriously though, great job :)

  313. So perfect!

    You are so lucky to have bought a house with such an awful kitchen, I hope that even after all the floor drama induced sweat and tears, you see it that way as well. I’m just browsing for houses right now and the first thing that will send me running is seeing an updated kitchen because it is always a granite and stainless steel monstrosity, and as much as it is not my taste I don’t know that I could tear out something “perfectly good” and brand new. Your kitchen, on the other hand, I would buy in a heartbeat, it is 110% what I would have done myself. I have to find something to put subway tile on now!

    You are ridiculously inspiring! Bravo!

  314. I just love it! It is so beautiful and inspirational and it has been so exciting to watch your progress. It feels like it is coming along at a fast pace!

  315. I am much older than you and have done many, many renovations over the years but none as extensive as yours. I redid one kitchen in a 1940’s house and just repainted the cabinets rather than replace them. What I remember most is painting over cockroaches-unintentionally- inside the cabinets in spite of bug sprays and cleaning. Quite a few corpses lie under the enamel. Are you finding your place buggy after it sat empty for so long? Congratulations on a job well done. Oh, to be young and full of the energy that it took again.

    • Amazingly, it’s not really buggy, no! Mostly just some little spiders hanging out in corners and stuff, but no roach infestation or anything really horrifying.

      Thank you!

  316. WHOA. This looks incredible! I can’t believe that the cabinet hardware is just dowel, I really love them – they’re one of my favourite parts of the whole new look. We’re in the process of renovating a new place and this is super, super inspiring.

  317. I just love the whole kitchen but a few things jump out at me like your ingenious door pulls and the copper coloured hinges that you didn’t paint. I am glad that the VCT flooring worked out – it looks great with the cabinet paint. How did you decide to alternate the pattern? Does it look odd all going in the same direction? Also did you paint the inside of your cabinets also? Sorry about all the questions but you have convinced me to start on my run down apartment now. Thanks for all of the ideas and also your genius writing!

  318. I want that $13 fiddle fig tree too! Did it come with that pot? I love the pot too. Amazing job!!

    • No, the pot was mine! It’s a vintage Gainey Ceramics pot I found in a thrift store in Virginia ages ago for ten bucks…so excited I finally get to use it!

  319. After waiting with such anticipation for this very post there it was, just before I had to leave for work yesterday. Yep I was a bit late but how worth it. And now with the time to comment, there’s over 350 wonderful messages that state everything I feel but can’t put into words nearly as well! So happy for you and Max! Perfection.

  320. Meant to ask, has your realtor seen it?!

  321. Can’t say anything more than what the hundreds of people have already said, but I just had to leave a comment to show some love too! Love it, love you, love your blog.
    THANK YOU for sharing and being an inspiration. xxx

  322. Hey- great job on the kitchen!

    i used to have the exact same kitchen Ikea cart and the same magnetic knife bar, and i ALSO did not want to screw into the wall.. Solution? I screwed the magnetic knife bar to the edge of the butcherblock..My knives were always at working height…I loved it and i thought you might too! (I know its nice to have them displayed on the wall, but TILE!) CAVEAT- you do have to remember to move them if you have friends with toddlers or handsy kiddos..

  323. Long time reader, first time poster. The kitchen’s new look is so bright and airy and amazing! Fantastic work!

  324. BTW…my roommate totally wants to regrout the white tile in the upstairs bathroom now. We’re in a rental house. I’ll take pictures if she does…there are a bunch of things in this place that need tweaks, and your blog is giving us a lot of inspiration.

  325. I love it. Absolutely.

    So I click the link for the marble slab, and the details read, ‘avoid using with oils or citrus fruit’. DOH!

    Anytime you want to redesign my kitchen…

  326. As I look through the photos (again and again), I am struck by how you combine perfect with relaxed and comfortable. That ain’t easy.

  327. HERREGUD! JÖSSES!

    This is so amazing that I have lost my English. In a Virgilian sense, I am amazed and stand agape. Mirabile dictu!

    Congratulations, Daniel – and thankyouthankyouthankyou for being so awesome and glorious and thereby, in effect, quite markedly cutting down my afternoon blog procrastination tour (my job thanks you) as I am no longer interested in most house blogs. Yours is head and shoulders (and well, elbows and knees!) above all others: I have simply lost interest in everything else. <3

    • Emma, I’ve had the same reaction. It seems a waste of time reading any blog than Daniels. Feeling guilty about that for the sake of the other bloggers. Should I?

  328. Wow… you did such a stunning job! Can’t even express how amazed and awed I am at your talent, patience and hard work. Amazing, amazing job!

  329. Hi Daniel,

    I totally love what you did!! It looks unbelievable. It’s exactly the look I was planning in my kitchen reno. I love the colour of the base cabinets but the Clark and Kensington Paint is not available in Canada. (I don’t think) What would be a comparable colour to the Arabian Nights paint colour? I love the blue-black and think it would be perfect for my kitchen.

    Great job!!! Can’t wait to see what you do next!!!!

  330. Sorry if this is in the post and I missed it, but where is the adorable light fixture above the kitchen sink from?

    The kitchen is beautiful! I’ve always been a white grout with white subway tile kinda gal (in fact, just installed that in a bathroom), but this has definitely made me appreciate some dark grout. It looks fabulous!

    • Thanks! We actually took that light fixture out of the upstairs kitchen and just moved it to the downstairs kitchen! I just rewired it.

  331. Jaw dropping! Fantastic redo! I love all your choices!

  332. Great work Daniel, I really love the kitchen- almost couldn’t believe my eyes, then realized, of course I can – it’s Daniel!

    I have a question: Have you graduated from school? How much of your day do you commit to renovating? I know you also freelance write so I was curious, is renovating like a “full time job” right now or you have had more time this summer? (sorry that was 3 questions!) Thanks!

  333. THIS.IS.GLORIOUS!!
    Love it :) Can’t wait to see all of your posts for the rest of the house. Forever and ever
    xo

  334. DUDE. this is absolutely stunning!! my co-worker & i are seriously drooling over the entire thing. and anna’s cart? perfect. love everything about this space.

  335. Your kitchen is BAD ASS! Wow

  336. Oh and I forgot to say that thingy that opens and closes the window is amazing – seriously what is that. I have never seen anything like that and I have seens lots of old houses. You two should definitely make this a B&B – we would all come – we would even help with projects – you could have the house paid for in no time!!! I bet the house is so happy you arrived to save it. You are a house super hero!

  337. Love the whole thing but the dowel pulls……FREAKIN’ GENIUS.

  338. Wow. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while and never commented, but this is amazing!!! Having done a few house projects, I can only imagine the amount of time and effort this took, but it looks amazing especially given the costs. I love that you even salvaged little things like the hooks! Makes me feel like it is totally normal to buy thrift store goods and hang onto them for years!

  339. I had to look at it again today, it’s just soo amazing. I might have to look at it for everyday for a week or so! Can’t wait to see what you’re doing next! (if you ever run out of things to do (I know that’s not going to happen for the next 10 years or so) I think replacing the cable of your thrifted lamp with a cloth cable might make it look even better?)

  340. Really, really amazing. You should be very proud.

  341. Just found you on Young House Love’s blog today because a reader commented on their post today to check out your kitchen. And I’m so glad I did because it’s seriously amazing. Love your style!

  342. I am in total fucking awe of you. Long-time reader (before the dogs, even!) and I was so excited to see you buy this beautiful mess of a house, but this kitchen exceeds even the wildest of expectations–it’s totally gorgeous. And so are you! And so is Max! And so are the dogs! Everything is magnificent, and I am in complete awe of your enormous white and black kitchen!

  343. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  344. Only you could make an electric/coil stove look amazing. Congrats on a beautiful kitchen!

  345. I have those stools! Aren’t they great? Even though I broke a toe running into them before coffee (really), although I doubt that will happen to you…

    What everyone else said … amazing, ambitious, I’m so impressed and jealous.

  346. Holy F(*@. This is an INCREDIBLE transformation! And such a tight budget too. Woah. I was going to say – I don’t know how you did it – but I do know because you’ve shared your experiences with us. Amazing. Are you moving a mattress into the kitchen and sleeping in it now that it’s so lovely?

  347. New reader here- had to add to the above to say this post is really inspiring and the project a fresh reminder that style doesn’t have to mean mega $$$$$$$. Love your writing, too (not just the pretty pictures). Job well done.

    One question: what did you use for your countertops, how did you treat them, and why not use ‘real’ butcher-block (cost, presumably?). Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere and I’ve missed it.

    • Yes–I discussed this a lot in the post about the countertops, but they’re just 2×12 fir framing lumber, which we sanded a TON to make smooth. We would have loved to do real butcherblock, but it just wasn’t in the budget right now so we wanted to give this a try! I haven’t properly sealed them yet (just used mineral oil), but I plan to use a butcherblock finish which should repel water and stains.

      Thank you!

  348. shut the front door. (No don’t, leave it open, I’m moving in.) When you posted those before photos a few weeks ago, I was all “aw hell no.” but this…this left me speechless. major ups, this is awesome.

  349. Everything looks so great! I would love to have this kitchen, and really love how you kept a lot of the original features.

  350. Let’s see if we can get you to 400 comments, hmmm?

    Thank you for taking the before and after photos from the same angle. It makes the comparison that much more striking. Am also thinking we should stop using before and after, alternatives:

    No.
    Yes!!!

    Just being irreverent. I think my blood-sugar is low. Ciao!

  351. WOW WOW WOW WOW. Beyond impressed. You guys did an amazing job! And on that budget, incredible!

  352. I literally gasped when I saw this! Just so beautiful!

  353. love love love love love love love love love love

  354. Because of you, I now smile at subway tile wherever I see it. Because of you, I want to paint my whole damn apartment. Because of you, I stand in our claustrophobic little galley kitchen and dream of what it could be. Because of you, I now own a sewing machine, because the grey linen sheets (remind you of anybody?) I ordered for my birthday will come with standard pillow cases, and our pillows are an odd size. Because of you, I will re-sew those expensive linen pillow cases when they arrive, so I can have exactly what I want. Because of you.

    Thank you!

    Oh, yes … Love the kitchen.

  355. Oh Daniel… I’m actually lost for words. You are are true inspiration, so talented, so unafraid – and with such a good eye as well! Your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the house turns out!

  356. Daniel! In Internet Time i’m super late to this party, but GOOD LORD man, what a job you’ve done. the hours! the vision! the hoarded ceiling light! seriously, nice work. and hat tip to max for the pretty styling too. Enjoy your hard-earned space!

  357. Okay, so I’ve been sorta kinda stalking your blog for a looong time and like all 400+ commenters above, I just had to say something! Your kitchen is ah-MAAAAHHZ-ing!!

    I’m stuck living at home temporarily after a mold scare in my apartment (which I’m still bitter about, besides the black scary stuff it was nice!), and am debating whether I should purchase a very small, two bedroom home and fix it up or continue renting. The idea of spending lots of $$$ on an older home kept me from seriously considering it, but after seeing how you worked your budget I’m seriously considering it again. It’s amazing what can happen with good bones to work with.

    BTW, About how many square feet is your kitchen? Thanks!

  358. IT. LOOKS. AWESOME. I’m so stunned! The before and afters look like totally different houses, you inspire me so much!

    Just one question…why didn’t you just build-in the entire corner where the plumbing runs to the second floor? Instead of the chase you built? (although it is gorgeous) Just seems like the little spaces to either side will be dust-collectors and not very practical. Just wondering! And again, well done. :)

    • The first thing I thought of when seeing those spaces was building some cubbies for wine storage. But maybe that’s just me.

    • I’m curious about that too.

  359. Jaw droppingly beautiful. Really, just gorgeous and inspiring!

  360. Fabulous. I love everything you did, especially the subway tile and the hardware.

  361. It is everything I dreamed of and more! You are super. You should be SO PROUD of it.

  362. Very nice results. My friend’s old place has that window stop hardware on all first floor pushout windows. They’re brass and one year he decided to polish them up shiny. A lot of work and he didn’t coat them so over the last few years they have been tarnishing back. Would like to order those West Elm measuring cups in copper. Where do I mention Daniel sent me?

  363. this is a seriously awesome kitchen. All the elements come together so perfectly. Those before and afters are unreal!! I had to chuckle at the forty year old Kenmore oven thing…my parents swore by Kenmore. They have (green, gold, energy inefficient) Kenmore appliances that will never die! Now they don’t make them like they used to. But your stove will probably last another forty years!

  364. Holy SHIT. It’s beautiful.

    Also: thank you for taking the time to break everything down. You do an incredible job.

  365. This has to be the best $1,200 spent, ever. Looks great. Can’t wait to continue watching what’ll become of the rest of the house.

  366. It’s truly beautiful.

  367. You make me want to go buy a house and do it all.

  368. I’ve decided that since I ‘love your aesthetic but will never have your manic work ethic… I’m going to just get huge framed photos from your blog and put them up around my apartment to distract everyone from the reality. No, but seriously? That mirror is genius.

  369. I seriously gasped when I opened your blog and saw that first photo of the kitchen. It is absolutely gorgeous! You did a phenomenal job!

    Also, your response to your mom’s commment…love.

  370. This is so inspiring. You should have a TV show… for real!

  371. WOW. Just WOW…seriously impressive. It’s simply gorgeous!! and for less than $1,500?!? That almost feels criminal. Bravo to you both, BRAVO!!!

  372. Daniel, OH MY GOSH. This looks so incredibly good. When I saw the first picture, I actually thought you were playing a joke, like “Oh, the kitchen reveal is still delayed, so here is this other beautiful kitchen photo that I found floating around the internet and really love.” I can’t believe what a complete 180 you managed to do in what is really a fairly short amount of time — seriously some straight up magical, diy, home-reno wizardry. Congratulations, you should be endlessly, beamingly proud.

  373. Shut the front door! No, don’t. Leave it open for all to see the genius that is your kitchen (OK, back door, whatever…all those doors confuse me).

    Really stellar job. You outdid yourself (and that’s saying a lot). Having a warm and welcoming kitchen goes such a long way toward making a house feel like home. So, well done. You must be so proud.

    Just wanted to add my congratulations to everyone else’s.

  374. WOW. Pretty sure I’ve never commented on your site before, but wow, how could I not? This is amazing & inspiring & amazing & wow. Can hardly wait to just look at your pictures over & over!

  375. Daniel: this is an amazing transformation. The budget is incredible. If you priced your time, this would have been a very expensive operation. Kudos!!!

  376. Holy. Shit. I don’t even know you personally but can I just say how proud I am? That’s not weird is it? Whatever. Because your new kitchen is RIDICULOUS! I mean, as if you need another comment on how amazing this transformation is but you guys did a great job! And I totally thought the same as some people, about how you just inserted a photo of another kitchen as inspiration and not the big reveal. Anyway, SO GOOD. CONGRATS on a job well done!

  377. This is the most amazing renovation-related project I have ever seen so far!!! You are so talented, Daniel… OMG, I just keep starring… I can’t get enough of this brilliant kitchen, really! :)

  378. Daniel,

    I am absolutely gobsmacked! You have done an amazing job. This was a huge undertaking? I am amazed by your creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness.

    Did you also remove cupboard hinges and give them your crockpot treatment? They look like a really nice copper. Renovating the door and window fittings makes a huge difference to the overall look and the dowel knobs were genius! How do you think of these things?

    I love your posts and they can never be too long?

    Can’t wait to see what you do next.

    Congratulations. You should be very proud!

    • Thank you! I actually just cleaned the copper hinges in the sink with Barkeeper’s Friend–they weren’t painted, so all they really needed was a good scrub!

  379. Wow! It looks SO GREAT.

    I’m going to keep copies of these photos to hand so that when my husband and I freak out about our renovations I can motivate us. “Look what Daniel and Max started with and look what they achieved! We can do this too!”

    And then I’m going to show him pictures of your dogs and try to convince him that a puppy would make everything even easier.

  380. Have you seen this article on Yahoo Home?: http://homes.yahoo.com/news/diy-kitchen-makeover-century-113456081.html

    It features the creation of wonderful Daniel.

    So proud of you.

  381. I found your blog via Making It Lovely and I am so stunned by your beautiful kitchen make-over. You are so talented!!! You are providing me with so much inspiration for my own kitchen.

  382. It’s more than I even hoped for.

    While I think the styling is well done, but I much prefer the genuineness and simplicity of your usual less-styled photos.

    • Thanks, Paul! I totally understand, that’s why I tried to have a mix of the more unstyled photos that I took with styled ones that Max took. The majority of the photos in the post, actually, just kind of show what the kitchen looks like on a daily basis. Because various products were sponsored, though, I wanted to make sure that we got some nicer pictures of that stuff than I’d typically take on my own, so having Max around was helpful! :)

      • I understand :) I like your honest approach to sponsorships, and I agree with your reasoning. Plus all those enamel pieces from West Elm are amazing. Give me all the enamel.

  383. Absolutely beautiful – fabulous transformation! I do have just one suggestion…..change the mirror to a colorful mini tile/grout piece of artwork – perhaps a sunflower??? It would just pop on that wall! Let me know your thoughts on this!

  384. Forgive me if this has been asked already, but what paint name and manufacturer did you use for the “inky blue black” ?

    Thanks!

    • All the paint specifics are in the budget, but the base cabinets are a Clark + Kensington (sold at Ace Hardware) color called Arabian Night!

  385. If it’s not a privacy issue, I’d love to see your mother’s reaction to your new kitchen.

  386. You are amazing and I have no idea why HGTV has not picked you up yet. This kitchen transformation is truly amazing, I am a whore for your blog.

  387. What the what? Nothing really to add to the existing comments, but you have outstanding vision and it’s so inspiring to see the home that you and Max are building together. you’ve come a long way! :-)

    Mrs E

  388. I am so excitd about your mirror. I know that is strange, but I love where you put it and I bet when the light is turned on it totally reflects and adds a great brightness to the room. Love it all. Great Job. And like others have said in comments before me, I think it is outstanding how you used what you had and made it fabulous!

  389. This is amazing. Like, not even kidding, AMAZING. I can’t even believe it.

  390. Daniel,

    You have wrought an amazing transformation. The tiled walls give the place a sense of permanence and prevents it from looking like a “until we have more money” rehab.
    Money well spent. I’m sure it will give you lots of pleasure while you work on the rest of your new home.

  391. Looks awesome!!! It’s so nice that you re-purposed so much. And thanks for posting the budget. It’s great to see what can be done on a budget.

  392. I have to say, the subway tile behind the stove really ties the room together.

  393. I can’t imagine the number of hours that were put in to pull off such an amazing transformation. And painting that ceiling? I don’t even want to think about it. You design skills are only matched by your tenacity.

    Sooooooo. What’s the next project? (Besides sleep).

  394. BTW was that a microwave attached to the old stove you got rid of?

  395. This is just gorgeous! I found your blog from Making It Lovely, and I absolutely love what you’ve done with your kitchen! I’ve been trying to make some updates to my kitchen as well: I’m really hoping my current cookie-cutter suburban townhome is not my forever home so I don’t want to drop a ton of money completely redoing, but it needed to look a little better than builder basics.I put in new laminate countertops and did a Modwalls’ glass tile backsplash, put in IKEA door hardware (didn’t have any before), new sink and faucet, and have been getting new appliances.

    One thing I haven’t done is get rid of my crappy vinyl floor. I noticed you used the VCT flooring tiles, which is what I have been strongly considering for my kitchen for over a year. How did the installation go? Was it pretty easy diy?

  396. wow! I now feel that there is hope for re-doing any kitchen on a budget! Thank you for posting about your lovely work!

  397. I follow a lot of blogs and this has to be the best, most dramatic before and after I have ever seen (ESPECIALLY since your budget was so small – it’s easy to make things better with unlimited funds).

    Congrats. I am so excited to see what you do with the rest of the space.

  398. Wow guys! It looks absolutely amazing. I love how you were able to save and reuse the old cabinets, but modernize and refresh them. I also love all the old hardware and original features. If I had just one complaint it would be those damned Phillips head (star) screws all over the place. I’m really into historic interiors and old/original hardware, and my pet peeve is incorrect screws. All old hardware should be strictly slot head screws.

    I love the tiled walls, and I’ve also been thinking about doing a similar two-tone cabinet look in my kitchen (dark wood on the bottom, and white on the uppers).

  399. Also, the leaky taps that you mention wanting to change: You might be able to just change the washers in them. It’s usually fairly simple to do, but that depends if they’re all crusted-up and corroded. I just thought it might be nice to save the original (old) taps, since they go with the vintage look. Washers are usually only a few bucks and will last a long time. There’s usually one per handle, and one for the faucet/neck. You’d just need to take the faucet apart, and bring the old washers with you to the hardware store.

    • Thanks, JC! We really want to replace the faucet for functional purposes…I hate having so little clearance between the sink and the faucet. I want to replace with something higher, maybe with a hose, which will help with doing dishes and filling pots and all that stuff. But you’re right–this could probably be repaired and last longer if we wanted it to.

  400. h.o.l.y. shnikies. wow. I have stared and scrolled and stared and rescrolled looking at your pics and comparing to the before. I’ve maybe spent an hour reading this post because I’m so impressed and amazed. Great job! LOVE the black and white, I can’t get enough of it lately. Who needs fancy new cabinets if they can look like yours? Super impressed, you deserve to post all the pics and commentary you want on this kitchen.

  401. Beaut.If.ul. In fact, there’s no if about it. Good work, carry on. x

  402. Looks darling!!! Color the screw heads w/ a sharpie…works every time!!

  403. daniel, it is truly gorgeous. i’ve come back to read this post four times now. SO GOOD.

  404. stumbled across your blog, and love your kitchen redo! looks fantastic! love those yellow stools and love it even more that they’re from target.

  405. You have done such an amazing amount of work and the kitchen looks so beautiful and cozy! I have been following your lovely blog for about a year (first post I read was when you shared Linus story) and I have never commented before but I just had no choice this time :o)

  406. it looks SO good! i love how excited about it you are – you should be! its amazing and i’d be so so proud, too!

  407. Wow wow wow! I have been so excited to see the big reveal of your kitchen and it looks even better that I imagined it would. I let out a little gasp when I saw the first photo with the white hanging light, the subway tiles and that mirror. Seriously that mirror finishes off the kitchen perfectly. You have done an amazingly good job.

  408. It looks a lot like Door Sixteens kitchen in terms of colors, tile, yellow stools and style.
    Were you inspired by that bloggers idea?

    Looks nice,

    • Absolutely! In fact, I included a picture of Anna’s kitchen in my original inspiration post for the whole kitchen overhaul. I wasn’t intentionally trying to make my kitchen look like Anna’s or anything, if that’s what you’re asking, but we’re close friends who have similar taste in all kinds of things——kitchens included! That said, the three things that are really the same are the yellow stools (actually, hers are a different brand and much brighter/more acid-yellow, but whatever), the subway tile, and the VCT floor. All of those choices were really motivated by the need to make large changes to the space that would look great, be practical, and wouldn’t cost a lot, and the VCT and subway tile checked all of those boxes. I think Anna would be the first to agree that neither VCT or subway tile are particularly unique material choices. They’re both really common and widely used.

      I think it’s funny that you think our kitchens look a lot alike, though——I really don’t see it! Despite using a couple of the same prominent materials, I think our kitchens look completely, totally different. I suppose it’s all relative (sure, my kitchen looks more like Anna’s kitchen than it does, say, a Cracker Barrel), but personally I think they’re pretty drastically different spaces.

  409. I was trying to congratulate you on a beautifully renovated kitchen, but somehow my comment didn’t get through. I’ve been following your blog for quite a while, stunning! H

  410. Wow. You guys really rocked it. I love the thrifty solutions you’ve enlightened us with. Very inspiring. Congrats!

  411. I read each post and all I can say is this is an amazing transformation and done beautifully on a budget. Congrats to you and all of you for the very hard work over a very hot summer in your area. Styled so beautifully, too. Love the vision and plan, the choices and finishes. Love the window and the unique hardware and that really cute and useful hook. Love the lighting, too. Overall, a winner! Congratulations again!

  412. Only about $1k?! It is such a darling space with way more value than just that! Can’t wait to see more of the house changes and am so happy you can start entertaining all your friends/family who will help with the remodel.

  413. This is so very inspiring, thank you!

  414. Hey Dan,
    Such an awesome transformation. You and Max and friends should all be proud of the fantastic effort that went into it. It has been really great sitting in front of my laptop and reading each new post about without having to do any actual labour. I can’t say enough good things about you and your blog! Enjoy your beautiful new kitchen.

  415. When I saw the title of the post, I so hoped it would be amazing. And then saw the magic you created in that kitchen (which in its previous life was clearly where Sunday dinners went to die). It is stupendously better than I could have imagined. That you could see the potential, reuse items around the house, and find creative and cost effective solutions and make it look like a friggin Better Homes and Gardens spread is astounding. You rocked it!

  416. Drop dead amazing. I especially love the plumbing chase. We have two and they are original to the house, so you may be on to something.

  417. How did you get rid of the contact paper backsplash? Or did you tile over it? It took us years to figure out how to get contact paper off bead board. Finally someone was able to get it off by stripping the paint underneath it with a heat gun. (Which sounds incredibly dangerous.) We still can’t get it off plaster in our kitchen dish cupboard.

    • Yikes! Yeah, it was horrible…I have to admit! I talked a little about it here, but mostly it was just a lot of picking and scraping until it was gone. Once in a while I got a nice size chunk, but mostly it was just tiny scraps the whole time. So annoying.

  418. What a transformation! Bloody amazing job. :) Cannot wait to see the rest of the house. Which room is coming next?

    • I wish I knew!! We’ve been working little bits on a few different rooms. I think it’s mostly peeling wallpaper and painting walls for a little while…which is a huge, HUGE job. I really want to tackle the entryway…Max wants to tackle the bedroom…I want to tackle my little office room…we’ll see!

  419. WHAT’S GOING ON???!!!!!!

    10 days have passed, and no post from Daniel . . .

    Are you still resting from the kitchen renovation? Maybe.
    Are you planting vegetables in that jungle plot next to the garage? I hope so.
    Are you ill? I hope not . . .

    OR

    Are you trying to get 500 comments on this post? If that is the case, you still need 19 comments. This one will be 482.

    Only 18 more to go!!

    • Hahaha, no comments goals here–crazy how many there are!

      In fact I HAVE been ill AND incredibly busy with non-blog-related things (not a great combo), and I literally haven’t had enough time to put together a full post! But I have pictures edited and ready to go, so maybe today…:/

  420. Daniel, I’m off to IKEA now.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for Fiddle Leaf Figs.

    17 and counting . . .

  421. I am not adding anything new to the rest of the fan club, but OH WOW!!!!!
    And now…16 and counting!!!
    Great job you guys!
    I really love the pattern on your stove.

  422. 15 ……….. and counting. Your subconscious wants 500.

    Heal please, so we can have more, more, more of your genius!

  423. I’m not a fan of plain white tiles. After all, Who wants to have a kitchen looking like a cold clinical laboratory in a hospital or a public toilet (as we call them in the UK)? I also thought subway tiles were just an extension of the plain white tiles. But then I saw the black grouting you did on the splash back in your apartment and I began to get interested. Now, well, I love what you’ve done in your ‘new’ kitchen. And how the black grouting pulls the whole concept together.

    Some months ago I read through your entire blog and can honestly say that you’ve inspired this 65 year old English lady. I’m currently considering a new apartment and have spent this evening working out how I can re-purpose, alter and paint existing furniture to meet my new requirements.

    I hope you get better soon, for your sake and for those of your impatient readers, including me.

  424. Daniel!

    GET WELL SOON!

  425. I can’t like this post enough!!! This is amazing and I love watching this house reno take shape. You sure are one talented bunch of people. I still love reading your blog, your writing is entertaining and insightful. Congratulations on the hard work

  426. This is the first time I’ve actually commented but I think I have to! The kitchen looks sooooo much better. I would have chosen to keep the painted floor and just go over it with actual floor paint, but I think it all came together really well. I love your style!

  427. Hi Daniel, the transformation is INCREDIBLE! I lurve your window hardware, and I think you really made the right decision by extending the subway tile around the stove. That area was really awkward, and it feels much more cohesive now. Time for a gorgeous goose-neck faucet!

  428. Cannot comment without swearing, but will moderate my speech as much as possible:

    Oh My Effing God that is Un-effing-believable.

    Beautiful and inspiring.

  429. Congrats Daniel!!! Incredible renovation you have done and shared your joy with the world. Thank you.

  430. I know, I know, the tile, the colors, the dowels, and the floor are fab. But what I can’t get enough of, is the white paint high up on the walls and ceiling. It transforms the space and allows the rest to shine. The kitchen is stunning, and I appreciate the hard work.

  431. Wow! That kitchen is beautiful! What a transformation. And I love the pig. Very cute. Well done!

  432. WOW, Daniel, you have really outdone yourself with the kitchen reno! Love the blue/black paint, the sculptural window hardware, the black grout, well…everything. Most amazing is how you kept the budget down to “real people’s” level. Bravo.

  433. Over 500 people have already posted on how amazing this kitchen transformation is…but I too have to tell you that I am gobsmacked and in awe….SO MUCH WORK, so much frustration, sweat, figurin’ out stuff, and then the shear pleasure of watching the process, seeing it unfold to this, ultimately GORGEOUS kitchen. I am truly inspired…I often think of giving up when I am in the middle of a project,( am prone to having trouble attaching things properly to walls). But now I see how you didn’t give up, and you had so many instances where anybody else would have. Be proud of you and your accomplishments. Love you guys and this blog!!

  434. Hi – followed a link over from Making It Lovely. Really, really great work! Can’t wait to dive in further and check out some of the progress posts. Congrats!

  435. wow you could definitely do this for a living !!!! wow wow wow

  436. Holy shitballs! This is so so amazing. And gives me great hope that when house hunting, I won’t be too scared of a horrible kitchen like you started with.

  437. Daniel, this is an amazing job for an amazingly small amount of money. I love your blog and have recommended it to my son and his fiancee, who are in the process of buying a late-19th-century row house in the Locust Point section of Baltimore. They also have fake bricks over wallboard over real bricks…and a dropped ceiling….

  438. this is just *wonderful;* you should be so proud of yourself. it’s also really inspiring. thank you for including so much detail and so many links and prices. i really love your taste.

  439. Stunning! Can’t wait to see the rest of the house

  440. Sooooo weird. I just visited a friend in Stockholm this week who has that light fixture over her dining room table!

  441. Saw the room featured on Centsational Girl and had to pop over and see more. I love your classic B&W color scheme, and the simple design of the whole room. Super cute.

  442. First time blog visitor and just saw your kitchen reveal. Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor and drool. 1,000 dollars well spent. AMAZING.

  443. The hard work paid off, this is an amazing kitchen renovation!

  444. I am so obsessed with this kitchen makeover. I have come back to ogle it at least once a week since you first posted it! We rent currently, but I can’t wait to tackle something like this in the future. I am taking cues from this design to see how I can incorporate little embellishments into my boring (albeit newly installed rental kitchen….it’s nice, but so not us). Love. Love. and Love.

  445. So totally late to the admiration party, but WOW, just WOW. I have to ask though, where did you get the cool stripy laundry basket visible in the shots of the laundry room entrance? I hope you will post a full laundry room reveal, but I have no patience to wait to find out where that basket came from, i’ve been looking for something just like it all year…..

  446. You basically made the kitchen I’ve been dreaming of making ours into. I love you!

  447. Fantastic!….I had an equally hideous kitchen in a rental house and for $1400.000 ….I added tile floors, granite counter tops, glass doors and shelves , new lighting and stainless steal appliances, oh and a farmhouse sink to top it off. So for those on a tight budget… YOU CAN DO IT!

  448. Did I miss what you did to the ceiling? Beautiful job! One can never have too much white:)

  449. how did you manage to get that much tile for so little? that’s an incredible deal!

    • These are just 3×6 white subway tiles from Lowes——they’re just really cheap! I think each tile is only 22 cents, the the bullnose and corner pieces only cost a little more. Subway tile is extremely budget friendly!

  450. Fantastic remodel and such a good read. Great before/after photos. Excellent detail about what exactly this entailed. I am charmed, and I don’t charm easily. I only wish I had seen this article before spending $12,000 on a kitchen remodel and it coming out not nearly as pretty. My kitchen cabinets were EXACTLY like the ones here, and they had to go. (You mean I might have gotten away with just painting them?) I am an engineer and not a designer, so that might explain part of the “not as pretty” problem. lol. Thanks for the article.

  451. We are redecorating our kitchen ourselves as well. We went with peel and stick before but it hasnt really held up well and we dont have the money for “real tile” yet. I have been admiring your kitchen for a while now and we are loving many of your ideas! I was wondering what brand/color name VCT you used? Was it difficult to lay? (We are just over in Poughkeepsie if you got it locally.) Thanks so much for sharing post and all this information, it is a big help!

    • Hi Haeley! The floor is Tarkett brand, and color is Midnight Speckle. I got it at Lowes in Kingston! (here!). It comes in a few different colors. I don’t think there’s a real difference between the Tarkett brand and the more ubiquitous Armstrong brand. It’s really very easy to install…I just watched a couple of videos about laying VCT on youtube and that was more than enough info. I used a two-part Armstrong brand “Shinekeeper” polish stuff on it a few weeks ago and it made it look sooooooo good. You just clean the floor and apply it with a sponge mop. VCT is great! I definitely recommend it.

      • Thank you so much! That is actually the exact brand and color I had picked out, feeling really good about it now that I have seen it as an entire floor in your pictures. I will add the shinekeeper to the list of supplies we need to buy. Again I cannot tell you how helpful this post and the others you link to in it have been to our planning and budget, thank you so much for sharing your home and experiences!

  452. I don’t know where I’ve been, but I am just now seeing your kitchen makeover for the first time and I am absolutely enthralled. Your sink is amazing — I hope you’ll keep it down the line? So, you’ve probably put a little black paint over those screws on the hooks (which are SO pretty, btw), but wanted to pass along the tip that a black permanent marker also works and is super fast. I use it all the time to cover silvery screws that hold black things.

  453. LOVE THIS!!! Wow! Just found this blog! AMAZING!! My husband & I are about to do our white subway tile backsplash… TODAY! I’m still somewhat undecided on grout color though….. We have the same Lowes tile that has the self spacers & currently have black onyx non-sanded grout from the Tile Shop. What color grout did you use?! Can’t wait to comb through the rest of your blog!!!!

  454. My friend just introduced me to this blog a few hours ago when I told her about my hunt for a fixer and I am completely hooked. You make renovating sound so interesting and OMG that kitchen is gorgeous! You SHOULD be so proud. It’s too bad you live in NY because I am in California and I feel like we would be great friends.

    Ok and now I’m going to keep reading about your house until I pass out on my desk.

    XO

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