Laurel Street Blog

Last project of 2009 – A $235 kitchen makeover

Posted on: January 2, 2010

Literarily – this was completed December 31, 4:00 p.m. Let’s take a stroll through time:

House on inspection day – 80’s everything.

Gray formica boxes with plastic handles. 80's everything - this was how we found it. And hated it. But we knew we wouldn't do a full renovation for several years.

Hulking black appliances.

Hulking black appliances.

Obviously this is not the style of kitchen I would have chosen for the Laurel Street cottage…. but I was going to have to ‘make friends’ with it for a while.  Once I had to come to terms that the kitchen was ‘modern’ whether I liked it or not, then the path was clear. I’d make it look intentionally modern rather than accidentally modern. I started by replacing the plastic kitchen hardware… Lesson learned? Check eBay first! My $10.00 a piece hardware from Lowe’s or a catalog could be had for $1.88 a piece on eBay. Total investment: $88.00. A loss I could live with when we do the big remodel later.

Then I took a risk and painted the black, perfectly functioning appliances with stainless steel paint. YMMV (Your Milage May Vary) but I was happy with the result. It is not magic – it basically changes the color and value of your appliances – for me it was fine. I do not recommend it if you have white appliances. Total investment about $60.00 and a weekend of meticulous painting.

Freshly painted dishwasher and compactor.

"new' stainless fridge

"New" stainless steel fridge. See how the cabinets just float on this wall - totally disconnected - lost in space.

But you see that white formica backsplash? That thing has been killing me from the beginning. Totally dated. I wanted to glass tile (or anything!) from counter straight to cabinet but that little 6″ chunk of formica covered plywood was always in the way. It would have to go.

Monday I spent the entire day considering my alternatives. Backpainted glass is very slick (I’ve seen it on a friend’s house) but by the time you get tempered glass cut for outlets and carefully backpainted, it’s no longer inexpensive.

The glass tile priced out at $600-800. This was vetoed as it would be soon ripped out. I was getting really creative and went to my bamboo supplier and was going to install some slick natural bamboo plywood or cork material back there.

I found you could buy 30″ sheets of stainless backsplash ready to hang at Lowes so I went to check it out – that’s when I spotted 18″ square slate tile. Once the old backsplash was gone it would fit perfectly. It was a dark gray so it complimented the bland gray cabinets and the existing red/gray granite insert on a side work area. I will say the old plywood and formica backsplash did not go easily (or willingly) but it was eventually convinced to leave Wednesday. I convinced it to go with multiple chisels and a pry bar. Good riddance!

New Year's Day pic - scrambled eggs, fresh biscuits (with country ham) and a touch of champagne... in a 'new' kitchen! I hung a colorful silkscreen over the stainless steel backsplash to add some interest to the rather industrial looking room, now.

Okay - true confession - I only go to Wal-Mart twice a year... it's just always so crowded and I can usually get my stuff at the grocery or drug store. But I was looking for a store that would be open on New Year's Eve and hopped over there for sundries - and I found this adorable little lamp. $15.00 (!!!) and it beautifully lights up this dark corner.

Wide shot. The counters are no longer floating in space and the kitchen and breakfast room are better delineated now.

So let's see... $24.00 for tiles and $40.00 for stainless steel sheet backsplash. Lamp - $15.00 and an $8.00 silver picture frame. Total cost for a new(ish) kitchen in two days? $87.00.

So… 87.00 for tile & accessories, $88.00 for new cabinet hardware from eBay and $60.00 for stainless steel paint – a whole kitchen update for $235.00. That’s something I can live with until the real renovation!

Bon Appetite and Happy New Year Friends!

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10 Responses to "Last project of 2009 – A $235 kitchen makeover"

FABULOUS! did you know that Pure Style Home painted her applicances adn then took it off. she didn’t like hers but yours looks good. the new range looks great too!! love the new hardware.

So cool!
*Love* the idea of that painting over the stove!
And the slate tile as well.
That’s the biggest impact there I think.

You’re an illusionist! It is definitely a big improvement from that Duran Duran style that was happening there. Good work – I know it is only a temporary fix – I can’t wait to see the major renovation!

Now I am really inspired! It looks like I want to come cook in your kitchen and shut the door on mine!!
I just noticed your Boxer – I am babysitting my daughter’s Boxer “Camelia” and she looks like a twin. Natalie found Camelia wandering the streets with fresh fire wounds – so of course she immediately adopted her and now we have another dog to add to the family collection.
Happy New Year to you and Laurel Street. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

Wow is all I can say. What a great-looking transformation. So much cleaner and together. Great job!!! And even better…your budget!! yipee. Girl, you did good. Happy New Year! cheers, -susan

it looks great.

Hey Nate – just had to crawl out from under the beach umbrella & send you a big high five!! What a truly fab job, congrats. all round. As I’m in the same predicament (living with an atrocious ’70’s kitchen until the renos. start) I’m so with you on this. You resisted the temptation of spending money on a soon to be demolished/detonated area. MOTH has just put you on his Best Friends Forever list, because you are such a good influence on Miss Moneybags here.
Millie ^_^

Wow! It looks wonderful! I love how it is modern, yet warm and inviting. Fabulous job!!

Nathan! ~ I love before and after features! Your kitchen is fabulous! {And your guest room…swoon!} I just love your little Laurel Street cottage!
Happy New Year! :)

It looks great. very clever and economical.

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime LaurelStreetNola@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

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