When we put the offer in on our new house, we did it knowing full well that the first thing we would have to do if we bought this house was refresh the kitchen. Truth be told, we were actually excited about the opportunity to take a kitchen like this and give it a facelift and a new personality. The journey began a few days later when our offer was accepted and we moved into escrow. My wife was already a Pinterest aficionado, so she got to work pinning all the ideas that she wanted to implement in our new house Рspecifically the kitchen.

Here’s what we started out with:

before1 before2Our house was built in 1997, but I think the kitchen had been remodeled at some point. Notice the Spanish Tile countertops (which conveniently matched the tile on our front porch – fancy!). The cabinets were in really good shape, but we’ve never been a fan of the standard maple. The appliances were in pretty rough shape and the paint was a pretty standard “Arizona Tan” color. We’ve lived in Arizona for 8 years now, and we’ve never been fond of the typical AZ earth tone color scheme.


The first thing we wanted to address was the paint – walls and cabinets. We picked a neutral gray to cover the walls of the entire house – and a bold navy blue as an accent wall behind the cabinets. Mikela has always wanted white cabinets, so that’s what we went with.

during2The next thing we knew we absolutely needed to address was the countertops. The Spanish tile was just not going to work for us! We did some extensive research online (Pinterest, Blogs, Etc.) about butcher block countertops and knew that’s the direction we wanted to go. In a lot of the research that we did, we found a good amount of people having success with the butcher block from IKEA. This became a no-brainer for us. The IKEA butcher block is a great quality product at a VERY affordable price! We went with the “HAMMARP” Birch material – which is a lighter (blonde) in color. Our first choice would have been the “HAMMARP” Oak – which is a little darker, but they were out of stock in pretty much every story in North America – bummer! The countertops were pretty easy to work with. I once heard it said “Measure twice, cut once” – this principle is key in this kind of work. I think I probably measured more like 4-5x before I cut each piece – to make sure I got it exactly right. I used a standard circular skill saw for the straight cuts, and a jig saw for the sink hole.



Once we removed the old countertops – we also had to remove the backsplash / border that was there as well. As you can see, this left us with some minor damage the drywall, which we knew would be taken care of when we installed a new backsplash – our next task! For the backsplash, Mikela chose a vintage penny round tile that we were able to pick up from our local Floor & Decor tile store. I’ve never done tile work, so this was definitely a new adventure for me. I enlisted the help of my brother and together we tackled this arduous task. First we did a some minor drywall repair to fill in the holes created by removing the old backsplash – then applied the new tile.

during1Let me just say this, if you’ve ever thought about doing a backsplash on your own – GO FOR IT! Because it was¬†something I’ve never done before, I was pretty intimidated by the daunting task of installing tile like this. But once we got started, it was really straight forward! In today’s day and age, we have access to SO much information, literally right at our fingertips – and that information proved to be EXTREMELY helpful when it came time to take this project on.

The last task for this kitchen refresh, was to put the finishing touches. Hardware on the cabinets, bead board on the island, new faucet in the sink, new outlet covers on the backsplash wall, and new appliances to finish it off.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Thanks for taking the time to check out our new kitchen. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have – just leave a note in the comments.



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