Category Archives: Renovation

{Kitchen Update} Beadboard Sent Me to the Brink

We’re about halfway through the kitchen update … wahoo!! The painting is done and now we just need to figure out the lighting situation and how much of the dividing wall we’re going to take out. I know – I just painted the wall and now I’m ripping it out?? #thatshowIroll Oh. And the hearts still have to come down. Those suckers are really secured up there.


Thank goodness for a weeklong holiday between Christmas and New Year’s – this project would have taken a FOR-EV-HER (say that in your best Sandlot voice) if I’d had to cram it into evenings and weekends. I wore this outfit for a week straight. I know what you’re thinking – TimTheFarmer is a lucky guy #youshouldhaveseenmyhair.


When we left the kitchen last week, we were picking paint for the cabinets and beadboard. TimTheFarmer and I both thought we’d pick the lighter grey, but once we saw them both on the wall and cabinets, we loved the darker grey – Cordite. It had an unexpected green tint to it that looked really cool. So, it was back to Home Depot to get a gallon of the Behr Marquee to put to the one-coat test.

Paint Sample2

We prepped all the surfaces by scrubbing the cabinet doors, the cabinet frames, and beadboard using TCP as the wash. Not eco-friendly, but gives a good clean of surfaces that get dirtier than you’d like to admit. While we waited to close on the house, I was redecorating the entire house in my head, which meant painting the cabinets. I spent a fair amount of time researching how to paint cabinets. There are some great posts out there on how to do it, but I learned it can be a super involved process.  Depending on the surface, it can involve sanding, removing the finish, prepping, priming, painting, sealing….eeeekk! I wanted to do it right, but I don’t have that kind of time. Once we finally moved in , I started really examining the cabinet and beadboard surfaces. They’re not a fancy hardwood (they might be plywood…classy, I know), they don’t have a shiny stain, and they’re a little rough. So, after consulting a few people and lots of justification in my head, I decided to wash them really well and just paint them. In other words, this not a post on how to paint cabinets. I’m hoping this method will work for our basic cabinets, but probably not what should be done for most other types of cabinets.

First, we pulled the cabinet doors off (using my new hot pink drill – thanks Dad!) and painted them and the cabinets. We didn’t paint inside the cabinets #notthatOCD but we did paint under them, which made more of a difference than I expected.


To keep it real, it looked like a bomb exploded in our kitchen. And, having all the cabinet doors off confirmed my hunch that I can not hop onboard the open shelving trend.


While the cabinets were drying, I started in on the beadboard. Oh. My. Word. I thought painting trim was awful. Painting beadboard must seriously be the most tedious thing you can paint in an existing home. Which is saying a lot, because painting the trim around windows or trying not get paint on the floor when painting baseboard trim is pretty flippin’ annoying. Between trying to get a straight line where the wall meets the beadboard and making sure all the little grooves are filled, it took as long to paint the beadboard as it did the rest of the kitchen (cabinets, trim, and walls combined). My cousin wrote to say she has 7 ft tall beadboard throughout her New Zealand home they’ve been slowly painting. Lilly, I would LOSE my mind.


I think there is going to be a whole post dedicated to my straight-line odyssey. I know – try to contain your excitement. 


Second only to the beadboard in frustrating projects, was re-hanging the cabinets. They still don’t shut quite right, but for the sake of our sanity, and marriage, we agreed to give it a week before we tried to fix them.

While I was painting the cabinets, TimTheFarmer painted the walls and ceiling with the light grey. It was SUCH a help #teamwork. After how long the dang beadboard took, if I’d have had to paint the walls too, this project would be finished in April.

Behr Marquee Paint Review 

So…the big question…did the Behr Marquee cover in one coat?

Paint Sample

Drumroll please…yes!! 

And thank goodness for that, because, as we’ve been discussing, the beadboard was close to sending me to the brink. It worked so well that I tried to get the Home Depot man to mix me up my wall color in the paint, but because it’s not a Behr Marquee color, it turns out it wouldn’t be guaranteed. Since I still had a gallon of the original wall paint, I figured I’d use that up and then try to find a super similar light grey for the rest of the house. It’s double the price of our other paint, but if I could only do one coat, the time and money savings would definitely make it worth it. Although, I did learn that one coat coverage is harder to achieve in light colored paint than it is with dark. Any ideas on why that is? I have my theories… Anyway, here’s a tiny, messy preview of the cabinets.


I can’t wait to show you how all the paint turned out! As soon as I’m home when it’s light out, I’ll get some pictures. Stay tuned.

{Kitchen Update} Clean Up at the Cash Register

Thanks for all your feedback on our kitchen update plans! We made some good progress over the holidays, but stalled out when we went back to work…and the house wasn’t warm enough to paint. Good news is that the oil man arrived yesterday morning, so we’re warm! And, there will be lots more painting this weekend.

On Monday, I mentioned that we decided to go with dark grey cabinets, primarily to avoid all the fingerprint smudges that come from living with boys. To answer the question that I know is going through your head: yes, I am perfect and would never contribute to our dirty cabinets.

Since we put the offer in on the house, I’ve been trying to sort of what shade of grey we should go with. Should it be medium grey (shark grey, I call it) or more of blue-grey or a medium-dark-grey or a dark-dark grey. Ugh. So many options. I found myself looking for inspiration on my fall travels … from taxi cabs in Philly or Chicago, to a bathroom in Decatur, to the streets of DC, to Lowes.

GreyCollageThrifty Decor Chick and I totally speak the same language when it comes to paint colors and I love the greys she used on both her fireplace and kitchen island. She *even* replied to me on Instagram to tell me the color she used on fireplace! 



Ultimately, my biggest concern was making our kitchen too dark by combining dark cabinets with a black countertop. But, like I said, finger smudges. So, I figured we’d make up for it with good lighting and bright, crisp walls and trim. Our countertop also has some greens and blues and browns in it which I thought could be fun to play off of. I finally bit the bullet and went and picked up a few paint samples.


Once I got to Home Depot (because we had gift cards), I was intrigued by Behr’s Marquee collection which guaranteed one-coat coverage, and had some cool dark grey colors. The sales rep and the Behr rep who happened to be there, both reassured me that if I used the proper spread rate and surface prep, I’d get my money back if it didn’t do the job in one coat. I HATE two coats of paint … once one’s up, my impatient self wants to be done, so I gave it a go. I picked up samples of Behr Cordite and Antique Tin.

Paint Sample

I also picked up a bright kelly green sample to try on the island. Because I am all eco-friendly like that, I didn’t take a plastic bag and attempted to balance all the paint samples and roller refills and (not eco-friendly) TCP powder and promptly dropped the green paint sample, which shattered and sprayed bright green paint ALL over the exit area, and my new Chucks, and a little on my jeans. Jeez! So embarrassing. They were very nice and made me another sample, and as I was leaving twenty minutes later, they were still cleaning up a huge paint spill. I couldn’t believe a little sample can of paint could make such a mess. #onecoatcoverage If you’re in the Kingston Home Depot and you see a green paint stain when you’re leaving…that was me.


I got home, washed the beadboard and cabinets down with the TCP, and immediately got my two samples on three places in my kitchen. I also painted the walls near the samples the new grey wall color. I wanted to see how the colors would look on the beadboard against the wall, on the lower cabinets against the countertops, and on the upper cabinets. TimTheFarmer and I both guessed we’d choose the Antique Tin (on the right in the first pic, top in second pic, left in third pic) before I started painting. Here’s how it looked, sort of … the camera doesn’t quite capture how it looks in real life.

Paint Sample2Paint Sample1Paint Sample3

So, which one would you choose?? Stay tuned to see what direction we went!

{Kitchen Update} Inspiration and Plans

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday break and thanks to everyone for their sweet comments on our 2015 Year in Review. While I wouldn’t put our break into the relaxing category, it was productive. I’ve been painting for a good solid week … my hand seems to resemble a claw, but the results are totally worth it. Before I show you what we’ve been up to, let’s start with where we’re going.

KitchenI have been itching to get my hands on our kitchen since we moved in. As with the rest of our house, it’s in great condition, but it’s dated, dingy, and dark. The walls are a yellowish white, the cabinets are a medium orangey wood tone to match the trim, there’s no overhead lighting in the kitchen … fo’ reelz? Who doesn’t put lighting in where you’re cooking?

There are beautiful black granite countertops. They probably wouldn’t be my first choice since they show streaks, can darken a room, and limit your color options a bit for the cabinets, but they’re still amazing, so we’re building our plans around them.

To identify where we were going design-wise, I started with the absolutes (please forgive the large font, I can’t make it stop):

  1. The hearts have to go.
  2. A remodel isn’t in the budget, nor is it necessary. The makeover will be paint based.
  3. As much as I love the look of white cabinets with black countertops, it’s not happening here. #beentherecleanedthat I live with a 13 year old boy and a farmer and spent the last 4 years cleaning fingerprint smudges off of the most used white cabinets. The cabinets will be dark.
  4. Because the cabinets and countertops will be dark, the walls and trim must bright.
  5. We need proper lighting. Both lights went out on our hood vent a few weeks ago and I was cooking with a headlamp. Seriously.
  6. The soffit isn’t going anywhere 🙁
  7. We aren’t organized enough to hop on the open shelving design trend.

I then turned to Pinterest and Houzz for inspiration, looking particular for designs with dark cabinets and grey countertops (there aren’t many, by the way…I’m either going to be innovative here, or get it really wrong).  Here were some of my favorite finds:



After identifying what I liked, I jotted down a few words to keep me on track. I tried to be all interior-designerish and create a mood board, but I was too antsy to get started, so you get a list.

Clean | Crisp | Rustic | Farmhouse | Glam | Industrial

I realize those terms can seem a bit disconnected, but I don’t want to go too country or too fancy or too sterile, so I’m hoping keeping all these terms in mind will get me where I want to be. This inspiration could also be translated to: anything Joanna Gaines would do #wwjgd.

Then, we need a color scheme. The foundation of the room will be:

Dark Grey | Light Grey | White | Black/Metal Fixtures

I’m torn right now between two accent colors:

Kelly Green | Dark Turquoise

We’ll sort that out later.

So, here’s the plan, in two phases. First, we’ll look at we plan to do immediately. Then, there’s ideas I have for the future, but we want to live in it for a bit to see what’s next.




  1. Paint the walls and ceiling a light grey – the same one I’ve used in other parts of the house as our “wall grey” – it’s HGTV’s Icy Avalanche.
  2. Paint the cabinets and beadboard, or do we call it wainscoting…or chair rail? Anyway, paint it a dark grey. Color TBD.
  3. Paint the trim a bright white.
  4. Get rid of the darn hearts!!
  5. Paint the island an accent color. Color also TBD (see accent color debate).
  6. Install can lights for task lighting above cook/prep area and sliding glass doors.
  7. Replace fluorescent  light with pendant light and possibly remove this bit of soffit. Maybe.
  8. Install pendant lights over island. I think. I was sure of this when we moved in, but now I’m debating between that and can lights.
  9. Update fixture to extend over length of the table.

Future ideas:

  1. I’m kicking around the idea of putting in a more dramatic hood vent cover above the stove. That’s a big-ish project though, so we’ll see.
  2. Originally I thought I wanted to cover the soffit with beadboard or extend it to the depth of the cabinets, but now that we’ve got some paint on the wall, I don’t feel as strongly about it.
  3. Take out the entirety or half of the wall between the kitchen and living room. It’s the long white wall in the third picture. This was also something I was 100% about when we moved it, but not I’m not sure. 
  4. I also want to update the sink fixtures, but that’s a minor update in the future.

Alright, we’ve got work to do! Stay tuned for updates!