Do It Yourself Kitchen Remodel

do it yourself kitchen remodel

Proceed into a kitchen remodel with total caution, sanity, and an intact marriage.  You might, *might* come out with one of the three.

We started the kitchen remodel in January of this year, figuring since we were getting new kitchen appliances from Frigidaire we ought to update the kitchen to match.  We’re now seven months into the kitchen remodel project and we still have half an un-tiled floor and no cabinet hardware {read: knobs and pulls}.  I love the way it looks so far, and I’m thinking the whole thing might be done by January 2011 if I’m lucky.

Here’s what we did to the kitchen:

-Painted the cabinets a creamy white

– Tiled the laminate floor

– Replaced all the kitchen appliances

– Put in new counters

– Put in a new sink {with the counters}

– Put bead board and new molding on the island

Here’s an aerial shot of what the kitchen looked like in the fall:

sunny kitchen

Here’s how it looks right this minute:

Here are the old cabinets with the old fridge.  I hated both the fridge and the cabinets from the minute we moved into the house seven years ago.

New fridge and painted cream cabinets:

Old floor {yuck} and another shot of the awesome cabinets:

china cabinet

remodeled kitchen

The counters and new in counter sinks are Wilsonart HD which means they’re still laminate counters but they look like solid surface for a fraction of the price. The counters are my favorite.  The in-counter sink is fabulous too; the cabinets in front of the sink had so much water damage from our old ill-fitting sink with rims.  Water used to splash down the front of the cabinets every time we turned on the faucet, now it doesn’t leave the sink.  You know, the way it’s supposed to be.

new counters

The tile floor is awesome, but we have a ridge in the middle of our kitchen which is driving me nuts.  We’ll be tiling {I use the term *we* loosely, it means Viktor} all the way through the front entrance to the front door so there’s a seamless transition into the house.  It’ll be lovely.  When it happens.

What do you think so far?  I’m really happy with it.  I think the white cabinets really brighten up and modernize the kitchen, which thrills me to bits.  The floor is really good at hiding dirt for days at a time, and I don’t think I need to spell out how I feel about that.  Awesome sauce.

I received the Frigidaire appliances as part of a campaign I’m doing with Frigidaire.  I love them.  Love themWilsonart provided me with new counters and a new in-counter sink.  I can’t tell you what a difference the counters have made in the kitchen remodel.  I mean, they’ve made all the difference.



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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. jane maynard :

    I love it. and I love how you worked with what you had and really made it so beautiful….the backsplash, for example – it looks like new. and the cabinets – no replacing but making them look very up-to-date and beautiful? good job! I really am so impressed!

    • Allison :

      I need to add back in the post the fact that the whole thing was less than $1,000. Awesome sauce.

  2. Allison H. :

    My kitchen is the same early 90’s awesomeness, and will be going through a mini-makeover soon. Interestingly enough, my plan is to paint the cabinets white and do a dark countertop also. Which leads me to ask, what is the name of the paint you used on your cabinets. Looks great!

    • Allison :

      I honestly have no idea. Let me tell you this though, don’t get the all-in-one base coat primer + paint, it’s a nightmare. Get a base coat/primer coat in ADDITION to a regular paint coat. It needs both.

    • Michal :

      Yeah, that paint and primer all in one junk from the home improvement mega chain that is convinced that all men love the color orange. Yeah, that’s total junk. Do what has worked well for the last 100 years or so: Lite sanding, base primer coat, followed by two or three layers or paint, and for that extra touch, go with a clear on top of that. The clear will make future cleanup and wipe down so much easier.
      And for extra awesomeness, buy a compressor for $75 on CL and spray the whole thing.

    • Alicia W. :

      We did a very similar project to our kitchen. We just used a flat cream colored paint. I think it was just glidden brand. Time consuming, but worth it! Your kitchen looks great, Allison C! Allison H, you won’t regret it. My kitchen looks so much better and much more up to date. You’ll love the finished product!

  3. anabella :

    wow great job. i also love your dining table. its the perfect size. where did you get it?

    • Allison :


      The dining table we got from DownEast, a company in Utah that sells scratch and dent furniture. It was originally from Pottery Barn. It has a big leaf that goes in the middle and can seat 18 people at Thanksgiving! I love it.

  4. Amy :

    it looks gorgeous – you have done a fantastic job.

    • Allison :

      Thank you!

  5. Lori :

    We are moving into a house this weekend that has the same dreaded cabinets. We are planning on painting them white. What was your technique?

    • Allison :

      We removed all the hardware, sanded them down, painted them on makeshift see saws in the garage, and then hung them back up. Make sure to use a base coat + top coat though, ask for a specific primer. Ours were a nightmare with just the one stop shop Behr paint.

  6. kelleyn :

    Great job! It looks fantastic. The cabinets look fantastic.

    • Allison :

      They’re my favorite and my least favorite. Don’t look too closely…. :)

  7. Shannon Kay :

    It looks great! It’s really amazing how much the paint changed those cabinets. I don’t like that early 90’s old lady look either. And I’m really over the light colored wood too. My grandmother had her kitchen redone a few years ago all in knotty pine and the floors are all close to the same shade of wood.

    I love that pop of red on the door in the corner. My kitchen colors are pink and red, though I don’t have a kitchen right now because we’re living with my grandparents but I was just thinking today about how I would do my kitchen when I have one, and here was your post! I love the stainless steel appliances as well.

    • Allison :

      I don’t know what it is about old people and knotty pine. Both my parents and Viktor’s plead with us not to paint them white! I don’t know what it is about the cabin look that’s so appealing….

  8. Kami :

    I absolutely love it, Allison! I so would love white cabinets, they are my favorite. So clean and fresh. I’m glad you are seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel.

    • Allison :

      Isn’t it fun? You’re the one who inspired my counter tops since yours are so pretty dark!

  9. Donna :

    Love it! It’s coming along really nice.

    • Allison :

      It’s getting there, SLOWLY……

  10. jen :

    I like the new changes! too bad we’re renting ours or else I’d totally take the leap, with complete insanity and reckless abandon, naturally.

    • Allison :

      Absolutely, I think insanity and reckless abandon are the only ways to approach a remodel. I mean, really.

  11. Anne :

    I am jealous of your triangle-shaped cabinets and of your new dirt-hiding floor. I have white tile in my kitchen and living room and to say that I hate it would be an understatement. I want someone to drop something heavy and destroy my tiles so that I can get a new floor and mop less. ;-)
    It’s very inspiring how you’ve stylishly updated your kitchen but it’s still unique.

    • Allison :


      The cabinets have been so tricky, but I think they’re the most rewarding part of the whole thing.

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I appreciate them!

  12. danyelle :

    This is amazing Allison! Having been through this process myself, I know how draining the whole thing can be. You’ve done a great job so far and I’m sure the end result will be nothing short of fabulous!

    • Allison :

      Oh it’s so grueling isn’t it? Having the contents of my cupboards spread all over the house for 6 months was almost the end of me!


  13. Amy :

    Wow. That’s gorgeous! I plan on remodeling our kitchen starting on my youngest’s 16th birthday. For now, I’m just losing the battle….
    “Stop hanging on the cabinet door!! Quit swiveling the stool into the counter!!”

    • Allison :

      It IS a losing battle! I know I sound like my own mom half the time, but *we just can’t have NICE things* around here.

  14. Kathleen :

    What an amazing transformation. I would have hated those cabinets too if I moved there.

    Love the red door too!

    • Allison :

      Isn’t it crazy what some white paint can do? The red was an unexpected pop once we painted the white all over. I love it. Such a fun little statement piece in the kitchen.

      Thank you!

  15. Tyla :

    Such a nice transformation. It’s been said before, but I love the red door. It and the other red accents really make the room pop. I think you’ll love your new tile floor. It is very similar to mine.

    • Allison :

      You know, I didn’t even really notice it until I took the photos, isn’t that funny? It’s been red for a couple of years but it looks great with the white!

      Isn’t the floor great?

  16. Naomi :

    The red pantry door really pops now. Love it!

    • Allison :

      The whole house would be red if Viktor would allow it. As it is I have a red front door, a red pantry door, and a red nightstand. I get it where I can.

  17. Maria :

    We started our kitchen remodel. I am alive so far. Ours is a huge project because we had to move our staircase, etc. The hubs hopes to be done by the end of August…wishful thinking? I think so! He has got a lot done though. We should chat sometime:)

    • Allison :

      My husband is TRYING to move a staircase and I’m TRYING to dissuade him. I’m so sorry about the remodel, they’re a total and complete nightmare.

      We should get together after New York! You’re in SLC right?

  18. Mary Ann :

    It is really amazing what a huge difference painting the cabinets made. I love your kitchen!

    • Allison :

      Thanks Mary Ann. Love how cheap paint is to spruce the whole place up!

  19. Paula :

    What you’ve done so far is beautiful! I love how the white paint unifies and simplifies the lines of the kitchen. Have you selected the knobs and pulls yet? (would love to see them) Does the $1000 also include the value of the vendor contributions?