DIM "Did it Myself": Kitchen Facelift

When Virginia-based photographer, Courtney, emailed me about her latest kitchen facelift, I immediately asked if I could feature it on the blog. I love a good "before and after" story, and this one doesn't disappoint!  By cleverly spending money on the areas that would make the most amount of impact, Courtney was able to achieve major results without breaking the bank.  Read more of my conversation with Courtney, to find out how she transformed her not-so-cute kitchen into her favorite room in the house.


Tell me a little about your home (its style and age) as well as your family's personal style and aesthetic. We live in an old farmhouse, built in the 1920's, west of Charlottesville, Virginia. It sits across the street from a large horse farm and was reportedly the farm manager's house. The house is quirky as old houses tend to be. And many rooms have been added over the years by different owners, giving it a rambling feel. When we bought the house, we loved its "old house feel" and charm, but the very dated kitchen needed a little improving. As for our personal style, we love the contemporary/modern look combined with the old farmhouse feel.

Exterior of the House

What were the glaring issues for you in your kitchen that you wanted to correct? Wow. The kitchen had many issues but fortunately all cosmetic. We were redoing it on a tight budget so we addressed issues that could be dealt with without demo or moving plumbing. The biggest problems in the kitchen were: a hunter green, black and white tile floor, hunter green formica counters, a white tile backsplash with an ivy design, and a small white shallow sink.

(Kitchen - Before Facelift)

(Kitchen - Before Facelift)

Tell us about your improvements for your kitchen facelift! First, I would like to give credit to my good friend *Amber Brown, a designer, who gave advice on various aspects of the kitchen. Without her help we would have been lost! All demo and work was done by Mark Debow. PAINT: A year ago we painted the cabinets and trim with Benjamin Moore Fieldstone and replaced the pulls with Restoration Hardware satin nickel bistro pulls. This was a great way to gradually start our facelift and enable us to keep the cabinets. *(One of the most rewarding pieces of advice I received was to paint the cabinets and trim the same color. It completely transformed the space and made a tiny space appear so much larger).

Benjamin Moore Fieldstone

Restoration Hardware Satin Nickel Bistro Pulls

FLOORS: The floor tile was ripped out and replaced with old barn oak from Appalachian Woods in Fishersville, Virginia. The oak was minimally sanded to preserve its character and sealed with a clear water based polyurethane. We moved out for a few days because of the fumes. But it is much less stinky than the oil based poly we had used previously in the family room.

(New Flooring)

COUNTERTOPS: We looked at honed granite, soapstone (which comes from a local quarry), and carrera marble. Surprisingly the price point of the marble was the best. I also thought that white countertops would look nice in a small kitchen. We did worry about the tendency of marble to stain and etch but decided to go with it once we discovered that 80 percent of kitchens in Europe have marble (in addition to all of those cool old French bakeries)!! And we are so very glad marble was our choice. It gives a nice contemporary look to a farmhouse kitchen. We sourced it through Cogswell Stone and picked out the marble at ARC in Richmond.

(New Carrera Marble Countertops)

TILE BACKSPLASH: We decided on a simple white subway tile and liked the look of the smaller 4 by 2 inch tiles. We found Essenze Ice tile at Wainwright Tile. It is an Italian mid range priced tile and has a subtle variation in texture.

(New Tile Backsplash)

BAR COUNTERTOP: The bar was also covered in hunter green formica which we ripped out. I hoped for the look of an old farm table but at bar height. I wanted the bar to look like it was a part of the original house so we found some huge old oak planks from Appalachian Woods and my father built the table (thanks dad!). He minimally sanded the wood and applied a very thin whitewash to render a cerused look.

(New Bar Countertop!)

SINK: This may have been my favorite addition to the new kitchen. Stainless deep undermount. We can bathe my 2 year old in it! It is a Franke Grande series 31 inch undermount sink.

(New Sink!)

APPLIANCES: We removed the microwave and installed a stainless ductless vent. It was a cheap way to really improve a small cooking space! We also replaced the stove with a stainless Fridgidaire FS3085k 30 inch slide in electric range . It looks and works beautifully. My one complaint is that its fan blows cold air out of the top of the oven door which can be unsettling at times. But otherwise a great stove/oven.  At some point, we hope to replace that old fridge with a stainless one!

(New Electric Range and Stainless Vent!)


By keeping the cabinets and most of the appliances we were able to keep the costs down and achieve a kitchen that has become our favorite room in the house. Even my two year old approves!


Wow! What a transformation! And I love the fact that you were able to make such a change for a relatively small amount of money.

Thank you for letting our readers see your beautiful kitchen facelift.


(Photos 5&6 courtesy of Benjamin Moore and Restoration Hardware)

(All other photos courtesy of Courtney Coker Photography: courtaloo@gmail.com)

*(Denver, CO -based Amber Brown (Interior Designer): amber.brown@mac.com)


If YOU have a great "DIM"transformation in your house you'd like me to feature, email me at: info@interiorcanvas.com and I'll take a look!

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