Kitchen Renovation, 2017

When we bought our house in November 2014, the first thing on our “this has gotta go” list was the upstairs bathroom. That was renovated within seven months, and after that our focus turned to the kitchen. We timed projects around tax returns, and we knew we’d have to do it in stages. The floors went in last summer, we painted in the fall, then this past March and April we added French doors, replaced the counters and backsplash, refinished the existing cabinets, and completely rewired the entire kitchen.

It sounds so easy when I say it like that…

Here’s what we started with (forgive me for not having people-free before shots – I rarely think ahead with these things)

This was the day we first looked at the house. Despite the myriad of black and white combinations, we realized the kitchen had good bones and could be improved. We bought all new appliances, then hunkered in for two years of this nonsense.


The sliding glass door was installed backwards, only opened halfway, didn’t have a lock, and couldn’t hold a screen. We began fantasizing about French doors early on.


That’s the backside of the living room fireplace. We left that brick alone.


Ahh… the pantry. Also known as an old bookcase we cut to fit the space that WAS a pantry before the previous owners bought a fridge that was too wide for the space and had to cut out the pantry to make it fit. (Our newer, properly fitting fridge is pictured here.)


Just a whole mess of nonsense.


I have lots of pictures of Owen in here so it seemed wrong not to include one. Behold the gloriousness of the glossy black cabinets.


There was asbestos linoleum beneath the old tile so one company did the removal on Friday, and another installed hardwood on Monday. This meant the obvious time to paint the walls was that weekend without a floor. For a brief moment I thought yellow would look good. I was wrong.


When I confessed to Jeremy that I hated the yellow because it made our kitchen (with the BEAUTIFUL new floors) look like a giant pretzel with mustard, he agreed to let me repaint it. (yeah…)


Here’s where being a shorty girl has its benefits.


We didn’t anticipate having the French doors installed at the same time as the counters and backsplash, but when the contractor says he can squeeze you in between projects in March instead of waiting until July, you say yes. I started sanding the cabinets in February with the goal to have them repainted before the counter installation (I made it), while Jeremy demoed the backsplash, completely rewired ALL the lighting, then put in drywall. We were only without a sink for a few days – which coincided with a visit from a friend, of course — so the biggest headache was having all our dishes in the living room and all the food in the guest bedroom.

I’ve sworn I will never refinish cabinets again. Holy crap, that sucked.

Are you ready for the after pictures?

I cannot tell you how much we love this!!


OMG, I can’t even explain how amazing this is.



We cook roughly 5-6 nights per week so this kitchen is not just for show.


The downside of painting the cabinets is it’s really obvious that the door needs new paint as well. But that’s waiting for now…


We’ll buy new knives if we can ever decide what we like, and the metal containers will be gone as soon as we order new ones. We’ll get three blue canisters for on the counter, and the rest will be clear glass or acrylic and stay in the pantry.


The interior of all the drawers, the lazy Susan, and the pantry are all this robin’s egg blue.


Like everything else in the new kitchen, the sink and faucet are AMAZING. The gooseneck means I can wash pretty much anything in the sink without struggling to rinse it off, and the magnetic hand spray thing keeps the faucet in place.


That’s right. We have a pantry. And a spice rack!! Jeremy made this door and it’s perfect!


Mmmm… I can smell the spices from here. The empty space on the shelves is where the canisters for flour, sugar, etc, will go.


We bought these spice racks on Amazon and they’re perfect.


Did I mention the front of the pantry door is magnetic? Yep. Because my husband is a genius.

And that’s it! We happily cook for people if they bring wine, and we start taking reservations tonight at 5pm. 😉

I’m happy to answer questions in the comments!

Did I mention we did all this at the same time that I launched my latest novel? Yeah… Now excuse me while I go take a nap.








About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Mary Lautenschlaeger

    I loved this!!We have seen it first hand but had not heard all the hard work beforehand! Love the color change!! You both did an amazing job!!

  2. Judy Hooyenga

    The bring wine, get dinner thing really works! I tried it last night! Love the kitchen and all the hard work that went into it!

  3. Marian Walker

    Your kitchen is flat-out gorgeous! I knew it would be when I first heard your plans for it, but I never expected it to turn out like that
    Congratulations on all the hard work and planning that went into it. You are both amazing!

  4. Dawn Michaels

    Looks fabulous – great job!! Especially with everything you had going on – some how you did it all!

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