Before & After: Our Kitchen is Finished!

I am finally showing off our kitchen! It’s been finished for months but writing about it took a backseat after finding out I was pregnant (and the subsequent first-trimester nausea). But I’m back to feeling like myself and so happy to be able to share our quaint little kitchen with you!


Here it is now!

Green and cream kitchen with brass hardware and butcher block counters

And here is where the kitchen started back in 2015:

Before picture of our kitchen

Yikes! Our goal was to keep the original solid wood, stick-built cabinetry bases, and the sink. Plus, we wanted to do as much of the rest of the work ourselves as possible to keep costs down. With the help of AMAZING friends, we made it happen! Madison is truly the hardest working man I know.

Note how much better the window looks without that scalloped light box (that hid a flickering fluorescent light we never used)! I have yet to add a window treatment, but it will be something simple.

Butcher block counters, copper pots, quaint kitchen

It’s hard to say which change has been the most impactful, but those 12×24 faux-slate ceramic tile floors are SO WONDERFUL. They have the perfect subtle texture and hide dirt like a charm. I would recommend them to just about anybody looking for an inexpensive, large format tile. The grout stick was a color that almost matched the tile, because I knew it would look lighter when applied.

We did end up hiring out the installation of the cabinet fronts – a decision I’m so glad we made. The cabinet bases are old and made by hand, so getting the doors on straight was a TASK. Madison installed the butcher block counters we picked up from a local salvage store, and we lightly stained them and sealed with wipe-on poly.

If you know me, you know I would have rather sealed them with something non-toxic, but it would have been majorly impractical for us. There is no way on earth I was going to take everything off the counters, sand, and re-oil. If I had a literal butcher’s block table we used for chopping I would, but we use cutting boards.

So far they have had a few scratches, but I picked the material knowing it would happen. If I’m not bothered by a few scratches on my furniture, I’m sure not going to mind them on a working surface. Especially when the old countertops looked like this:

Before picture of our kitchen

I did mess up a spot on them, but it was 100% avoidable (you can see it below). I forgot to cover the counters when painting the ceiling, and a million specks of white paint landed RIGHT on the wood after we had already finished them. I tried scraping with a razor gently, and that worked fine, but then I made the mistake of scrubbing with a brush then scraping. It took the finish right off.

Beadboard kitchen backsplash with brass copper pot rail and butcher block counters.

Maybe we will eventually get around to touching it up, but I doubt it. The MDF beadboard backsplash has been wonderful, even though I was warned it would be hard to clean because of the grooves. I haven’t had a problem with just wiping it down like I do the counters, and we’ve made quite a few messy meals. We treated the rest of the walls with beadboard as well, which has given the kitchen a wonderful cottage-y charm.

When we moved in, this whole nook was empty, too shallow to allow for full cabinetry as well as a decent walkway, and had a weird non-structural beam on the ceiling where it used to separate the kitchen from a porch. I bet you’re sad we got rid of that totally sick landline phone.

Now, that same spot looks much different after we took out the beam, had the ceilings re-drywalled, and added a new custom cabinet that made better use of the awkward nook (bonus points if you spot my cat).

Green custom kitchen cabinetry

In the interim stage, I had filled the nook with an Ikea cart, a boring trashcan, and a piece of art I literally found on the side of the road:

Before photo of our kitchen nook and ikea cart

Which wasn’t ideal because no matter what, the space above the trashcan was wasted and awkward! Along came my bff Eileen who gave me the idea to ask our cabinet guy about creating a custom tower for extra storage. I ended up sending him this ridiculous picture I drew on Instagram:

Sketch of my cabinet idea

And it has turned out to be one of the most useful parts of our kitchen.

Our custom kitchen cabinet tower

We included a pull out trash can, a coffee paraphernalia drawer, a slot for the microwave, and tall storage above for our juicer and cutting boards/cookie sheets. The coffee drawer is my favorite element since it freed up our kitchen cart to be purely a working surface.

Our custom coffee storage drawer

And next to the most useful part of our new kitchen is the CUTEST part – my little section of open shelving!

WOO HOO! It’s the perfect amount to display a few pieces of pottery and have our drinking glasses, but not too much to where I’ve got to dust items I rarely use.

Open shelving in the kitchen with collected items

Madison cut a shaker peg rail to fit in the brackets which is both charming and useful for dishtowels!

Open shelving in the kitchen with glassware and pottery

I need to do something about covering those screws. Well, “need” is a silly word in this case. I might get around to it (no I will not.)

We love this kitchen. I hope you like it too 🙂 Do you have any questions?




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  1. Elizabeth

    April 23rd, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Looks fantastic!!!! I am in love with the color of the cabinets. such a change!

  2. Bonnie Sims

    April 23rd, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Your kitchen is beautiful!! I love it so much! 🙂

About Briana

Hey! I'm Briana, the author behind this blog.

I'm a self-taught interior designer from South Carolina who loves sweet tea, cats, and open windows on a nice day.

If you prefer a home with soul and life over a "perfect" home, then browse on my friend.