My Sister’s Kitchen Transformation

I’m so proud of all the blood, sweat, tears (and wine!) my sister and I put into transforming her kitchen from the red-headed stepchild of her home, to the beautiful and budget-friendly space she’s no longer embarrassed to introduce to her friends. Here’s an “after” shot of our accomplishment:

But let’s start from the beginning. My younger sister, Brittny, bought her first house about a year ago. Unfortunately she lives 4 hours north of me, but when I get up to visit we make the most of it by working on home improvement projects. Our main project has been her kitchen–the whole space was very dark and outdated. Dark cabinets and trim, terrible lighting, peeling wallpaper, and a floor that we’re certain was never in style.

We started by tearing down wallpaper and painting her kitchen cabinets–without a doubt two of the toughest home improvement projects I’ve ever had the enjoyment of doing. First we scored the wallpaper and then used a mixture of water and fabric softener to loosen it. The first layer of wallpaper–a lovely pink and blue pattern depicting watering cans and coffee grinders–came up pretty easily, but the original orange & yellow flowered wallpaper was a nightmare. It’s quite possible it had been super glued on–if super glue was even in existence that long ago. It took hours and hours of scraping to get it all off.


As difficult as the wallpaper removal was, painting the cabinets and trim was much more tedious and time-consuming. We started by removing all cabinet doors and sanding down everything by hand. Then we painted all the trim and cabinets with two coats of primer:



We finished off the cabinets with two coats of off-white paint (the color is Wells Beach by Dutch Boy) and beautiful new bronzed knobs. The two of us managed to complete both these projects in just one weekend! Here are pictures of the cabinets completely finished, and the walls wallpaper-free:


Before & After of the cabinet doors and hardware:


Last weekend, I again made the 4 hour trip north to visit my little sister. This time we finished things up in her kitchen by painting the walls and installing new lighting. From the start I had a vision for my sister’s kitchen–off-white cabinetry, warm chocolate walls, and a bamboo shade on the back door for some added texture. Brittny had tossed around a few different ideas before we started painting, but in the end she trusted my vision and agreed to go for it. She made the final choices on both the cabinetry color and the chocolate brown wall color (Dutch Boy’s Firewood) which turned out so gorgeous!

Here is the picture that best captures in real life (finally!) what I was seeing in my head for so long:

She plans on getting a new stove eventually, but for now this beast has to stay. Not the nicest to look at–but at least it has a pretty backdrop!


We can’t believe the transformation–especially when we compare the before & after pictures side by side.

Before & After:


Before & After:


Before & After–this is the view from the entryway/dining room/living room area, looking into the kitchen:


Her next project is new flooring, but the room is almost done! What do you think?

Related Posts:
Girls Can Do Lighting Too
A Lot of Wine Went Into This Kitchen
Organized Kitchen Pantry
The Inside of My Fridge


  1. 1

    That is an awesome transformation – I love the chocolate walls with white. I think the light fixtures bring it all together, too.

  2. 2

    *swoon* I love it!!

  3. 3

    It doesn’t even look like the same space! Congrats on a great job!

  4. 4

    WOW! That looks great! Love the white cabinets!

  5. 5

    Amazing!! What a difference a little paint can make…

  6. 6

    OMG G&D! Your sis and I have the same nastified “before” kitchen (see my blog)

    Looks gorgeous now! That chocolate color is so yummy.

    I feel your pain. We just recently painted our kitchen cabs and I kept saying to the hubby that the next house we buy will have cabinets we love b/c I never want to do this task again. And we don’t have nearly as many cabs as your sister does.

  7. 7

    What a difference! Love the white cabinets with the brown walls. You and your sister make a good team! :)

  8. 8

    it looks awesome. you and your sister did an amazing job. I love the wall color with the white cabinetry.

  9. 9

    Wow, that looks awesome! I love it. White cabinets are my favorite. We did a painting project like that in my old house — and all the hard work really was worth it. We didn’t have wallpaper to deal with on top of it, though!

    Just curious — is all the woodwork in your sister’s house white or that dark brown color? If it’s dark, is she planning on painting it all white? That’ll be a job, but I think it would look really great.

  10. 10

    Wow! Those cabinets look so much better now! It really changed the entire kitchen.

  11. 11

    What an absolutely incredible transformation. Your sister is very lucky to have you! :)

  12. 12

    Thanks girls!!

  13. 13

    I am about to tackle this project in my kitchen.
    Question.. did you sand or prime the cabinets before painting them?
    I was thinking of using liquid sand but not sure it will work.

  14. 14

    erin–we sanded them down first, then primed, then painted. HTH!

  15. 15

    carrie–sorry I didn’t notice your question until now! The trim in my sister’s house is all different. The trim in the kitchen that we painted off-white, was actually PAINTED brown before. The trim in her bedrooms is currently painted bright blue (crazy, right?) and she’s planning to paint that all white. The rest of the trim in the house is natual wood and matches her HW floors (thank goodness!).

  16. 16

    Beautiful kitchen! I plan on re-doing mine sometime next year.

  17. 17

    WOW! I am getting ready to paint my walls chocolate brown tomorrow and your kitchen is such an inspiration!!! What color accents are you going to do in it?

  18. 18

    Hi Rach–thanks so much for your sweet comment! My sister has fiestaware-type dishes, so thosse are basically her accent colors–cranberry, mustardy gold, dark blue, and dark green. Hope that helps! And good luck with your kitchen!

  19. 19

    My kitchen is almost identical! both before and after! haha. great job!
    did you replace your countertops and floors?

  20. 20

    Thanks Sue J! No, we didn’t replace the floors or countertops, although they certainly needed it. My sister sold the house about a year ago and relocated, and it wasn’t something we got to.

  21. 21

    Wow, ONE weekend for cabinets and wallpaper?! I’m beyond impressed!

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