Create a Home: The Kitchen

I will probably say this about every room in our house once it's finished, but the kitchen is one of my favorite places to hang out! I love doing homework there, cooking, and spending time with Joe while we eat dinner together. We've hosted a few dinner parties and I can't wait to host more now that the space is complete.


The Goal:

The thing I loved about this home when we first saw pictures of it was how spacious the kitchen felt, even though it's a fairly small area. I also loved the open concept between the front room, kitchen and family room downstairs. I see the kitchen as a gathering place in our home, not just for us and our kids, but for friends and family as well. I hope to entertain people in our home often. My vision for this room included a warm and inviting atmosphere, space that encouraged family togetherness and an area that I would be excited to spend a lot of time in.

The Before Pictures:

kitchen remodel before
dining area remodel before photos

Not Pictured:

The linoleum in the kitchen that was lifting around all the edges and had holes everywhere, an up close picture of the shallow kitchen sink that had a huge hole in it and a close up pictures of the counter tops that I didn't dare prepare food on because they were stained and had a lot of holes.

The Plan and Process:

I would have to say that the most tedious part of the kitchen was tearing out the floor. There was carpet in the dining area, tile in front of the sliding door and linoleum in the kitchen area. Joe spent a lot of time tearing it all out, scraping the carpet pad off of stains on the floor and painting the floor with our favorite Kilz Max to get rid of dog odors before the new flooring went in.

The banisters were all a light oak color and I really wanted them to be dark. Rather than replacing them, we decided to strip the finish off and stain them. It was a much easier process than I thought it was going to be and I really had a lot of fun with this project. My mom and I spent an hour at the house every night for a week and got everything done from start to finish. When I stain our kitchen table in a few weeks, I plan on documenting the process to share here on the blog because it was one of the easiest DIY projects ever, I didn't do any sanding and I really loved the stain that we used!

diy painting kitchen cabinets

Painting the kitchen cabinets ended up being my least favorite project in the entire house. I used chalk paint to save myself on sanding and prep work and because I'd heard really great things about it from friends and different tutorials online. My experience with the paint wasn't a great one, and I probably won't be using it again in the future. We ended up needing double the paint that I was told to get both in the store and from everyone's suggestions online, and we spent a solid day painting with three people working the entire time. Because the paint dries so quickly, any little drip is permanently part of the cabinet, the paint is flaking off in the grooves of each of the doors and it's really hard to clean anything off the front of them if they get a smudge. I love the look of them, but I may end up repainting them with a different product down the road.

The After Pictures:

kitchen renovation after
dining room renovation after
above kitchen cabinet decorations

The Little Details:

kitchen countertops

The counter tops were the very last thing to be renovated in the kitchen, and I can honestly say that they made the biggest difference in the room. As soon as they went in, I couldn't wait to start using them to prepare meals! I found a series of porcelain tile that I really loved and picked three different colors from that series to be placed throughout our house. This was the darker of the three (the other two colors are in our bathrooms, you'll see them later in the house tour) and probably my very favorite. I love the textured look that it has and the grey/brown tones that match perfectly with the hardwood laminate that we put down on the main floor. Our tile guy was extremely talented and used the placing of the tile to add so much dimension and warmth to the kitchen. My kitchen counter tops are probably one of my favorite parts of the house.

kitchen sink decor

We have a lot of random space behind our sink and I really wanted to use it to add color to the room because I knew that it wasn't counter space I'd need for food preparation or anything else. We got these light oak bed trays for our wedding and use them a little bit, but not a lot so I decided to put them to use in the kitchen. I tried painting them with the wall paint from our front room, but it didn't stick well and I didn't want to waste time priming them, etc. so I went to the craft store and found an Aubergine (eggplant) colored paint to use instead. Not only does it add a pop of color to the room, but it's the perfect spot to decoratively hang our hand towel as well. 

Because the kitchen has always been such a central part of the fun times that I have with my family, I wanted to put some things in my kitchen that hold memories for me. The mug tree is filled with Norman Rockwell mugs that I picked from my grandma's stuff after she passed away, they remind me of going to visit her house and baking goodies in her kitchen. The plants are from my other grandma's house and I adopted them after she passed away a couple of years ago. I'm not a plant person, but my mom re-potted them for me and taught me how to care for them and I haven't killed them yet. I'm just waiting for the flowering cactus to bloom like my mom's has.

kitchen decor

I knew that I didn't want to take up precious counter space with too many decorations but I still wanted to have color in the kitchen, so I knew that I needed to make good use of the space above the cabinets. Once I knew my color scheme, I asked Bethany from Love Grows Design to create some fun prints that would fit my style and include a few of my favorite kitchen related quotes. She didn't disappoint and I was so excited to finally get these three printed and situated above my cupboards a few weeks ago (I think I had her make them for me in June or July). I plan on buying little easels for them to sit on so that they're more prominent and can be seen easily and I need to get a few more things to fill up the space above this cabinet area, but I love the character that Bethany's designs added to my kitchen and how simply they convey my goals for the space.

bright kitchen decor

This cupboard space isn't very big, so I kept it fairly simple. I'd had my eye on the ceramic teapot set since before we even looked at this house and it was one of the first purchases I made after our offer was accepted. I used our second bed tray to add more color and fill up the space and until I find something to put in front of the tray and a better place to put the hangry sign that Joe so lovingly bought for me, that will sit there as well.

home renovation after photos

Our kitchen table covers up the banister from my before pictures, but it is stained just like this one from the project pictures. I'm really excited to stain the kitchen table and chairs to match and finish off the look of my kitchen Even though I know it will be time consuming, the staining process wasn't bad at all and I love the finished look.

The Future Plans:

Stain the Kitchen Table - I was going to wait and do this until August, after we've adjusted to parenting a bit and after my next semester of classes is over, but then we bought bar stools this week and I decided that I really wanted to get this project done sooner and complete the look of the kitchen. We will be tackling that project at the beginning of March, when I'm on spring break, don't have homework, and have a few days off work.

Put in a new Sliding Door - Those beautiful curtains were really bought to hide the ugly door behind them. It's old and doesn't open or close easily and the glass is all scratched up from the previous owner's dogs. The door is also drafty, so replacing it will be a money saver because it will keep our house warmer in the winter. This year, Joe just stuffed paper towels all along the part that's letting cold air in and we never use the door so that the towels stay in place. I can't wait to have a door that opens easily so that it's not an adventure every time I want to go outside.

Stainless Steel Appliances - This is probably a little far into the future, but something that both of us can't wait to do. Our fridge, microwave and oven were all gifted to us by Joe's parent's and his sister's when they upgraded their appliances and the dishwasher was here when we bought the house. They all work well and we were grateful not to have to spend the money, but having appliances that match and are brand new will be a big day for us!

Add Personality to the Windows - My original idea was to frame the kitchen windows, but I'm currently undecided on what I want to do. I have three or four ideas that I like right now and I haven't settled on the perfect plan yet. When I do, I'll be sure to share the finished project on Instagram!

What is your favorite feature of your kitchen?


It should be no secret to any of you that I love Bethany and all of her talented design work! Not only did she design my blog and the prints for my kitchen but she has been my inspiration from the beginning of my blogging journey and I value her opinion a lot! Every time Bethany shares a new idea she has or a project that she's been working on, I get excited and inspired to try something new in my own life. She has a passion for everything in her life and is not afraid to take risks. It's something that I really admire about her! When I decided to change the brand of my blog at the end of this past year, Bethany got excited and helped me solidify some of the ideas I had and then she put a lot of time into helping me get the blog ready for the relaunch. I love showing off her work in my home and can't wait to see what she does with her business in the future!!

Love Grows Design

How did you get started on this adventure with your business?

I actually got started in the design business after designing my own wedding invitations! I loved the challenge of creating the first piece that would introduce the whole look and feel of my wedding to my guests. I had such a great time creating my own that I decided to start designing more and creating wedding stationary for other happy couples! Through that I discovered a love of branding as I loved capturing the whole feeling and experience of an entire event in one design. Since then I've transitioned into working with businesses and blogs to style their look and strategize the brand experience!

What makes you so passionate about what you do and what you sell?

I think my own personal experiences have made me come to love this whole world of creatives, as I've struggled to make my passion a full-time gig and learned so much both from my mistakes and successes. This world of creative entrepreneurship is so exciting and full of incredibly talented people and I want to do my part to help them put their best foot forward by creating a brand image that truly reflects their personality and hard work. When that spark catches with my clients and they see the importance of their brand's image and they are able to propel their business forward with the care and consistency that branding requires, I get such a high! It's an exciting business to be in and I'm so glad I can be a part of it.

Tell me what makes your business unique?

One thing that I really strive towards when working with clients, is being more than their designer- bringing their vision to life- but also to teach them. I want to help them shape their creative vision into something timeless and valuable that will truly help their business thrive, whether that's through giving them advice on how to better organize their website or teaching them what certain colors mean and how to best use them. I want my clients to be able to continue on with this new look for their brand and to have the confidence and knowledge to keep it going throughout every aspect of what they do.

kitchen signs