Our Kitchen: Before

White and Gold Kitchen

Inspiration image via

Over the weekend, I shared some videos on Instagram Stories of our kitchen, and what are plans are to remodel it on a budget. You guys were so excited about the project, that I thought I’d share more details with you today as well as some inspiration photos that I’ve been staring at for months now.

When we moved into our house over a year ago, one of the things we talked about doing from the very start was updating the kitchen. As you can see from the photo below, it’s a pretty good size but dark and uninviting, and we want to change that before the baby comes. We took this in the brightest time of the day so you could see what it looks like, but normally it’s even darker!

Before Photo

Kitchen Before

What we love

The great part about it is that everything is brand new, including the appliances. The layout is great, and there is plenty of space for cooking and eating at the counter. Plus there is a ton of cabinet space.

What we don’t love

While having all new appliances is amazing and will save us a ton of money in this project, we have a lot of issues with the kitchen, most of them aesthetic. First, we only have one window in the whole room which makes it one of the darker rooms in our otherwise bright home. We don’t have the budget to add more windows, so we want to brighten the space using other techniques. The black granite countertop and dark backsplash add to the darkness of the room. Those have got to go! Second, the cabinets are painted a really weird yellow/beige color that looks incredibly dated. They also have dental crown molding along the top that looks like teeth. Everyone who walks into the room comments on it so those are out too. Third, we need more counter space for when more than one person is cooking in the kitchen, and we figured the most affordable way to remedy this is by adding an island in the middle of the room. We’re lucky that there is a big open space for it.

The challenge

Brighten and update our kitchen with a $6,000 budget from our friends at Lowe’s. This will cover the cost of countertops (and installation), a new backsplash, cabinet paint, new hardware, a new sink and faucet, a garbage disposal (finally!), and brighter lighting.  Because we are working with a smaller budget, we immediately decided to skip big changes like knocking down walls and moving things around, which we’re totally fine with.

The timeline

Last weekend we went to Lowe’s to pick out everything mentioned above. We brought most of it home, but have to wait for the countertop to be installed in the next two weeks. In the meantime, we’re going to paint the cabinets and install the backsplash on our own.

The inspiration

I’ve had a kitchen inspiration board on Pinterest for years now, so I started there. That’s where the photos in this post come from. As you can see, we’re going for light, bright, and happy! While most of these spaces have marble countertops, that was out of the question for what we wanted to spend, so we ended up going with a quartz called Blano Orien, which looks similar to white marble. I really wanted to do all of our hardware (including faucets) in polished brass for that gold look, but Anel ended up convincing me to go with polished chrome instead so it would be easier to match everything and so that it would feel current for longer. We both agreed that the gold will probably go out of style soon. I love the cute chrome doorknobs we picked up for the cabinets.

The backsplash was probably the hardest decision we had to make because there are just so many choices that would look great. We ended up going with a smaller subway tile that we’ll install with white grout for a really clean look.

I seriously cannot wait for all of it to come together!

Inspiration image via

Thank you to Lowe’s for working with us on this project. They are gifting us product, but all opinions are my own.

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  1. Elizabeth Oliveto said:

    Can’t wait to see it all come together!
    Xo, Elizabeth

    3.8.17 · Reply
  2. Elena Rahmani said:

    visit my website please http://www.ruangdewasa.com

    3.8.17 · Reply
  3. I really like your kitchen they way it is now so I can’t wait to see it all when it’s done.

    3.8.17 · Reply
  4. Alyssa Loring said:

    Can’t wait to see the “after”! My kitchen is pretty dark, too – that one-window thing really hinders the light!

    Alyssa | feathers and stripes

    3.8.17 · Reply
    • Seriously, it’s such a bummer! But a fresh coat of white paint can make a huge difference… I hope!

      3.8.17 · Reply
  5. wendi said:

    i TOTALLY disagree that brass will be outdated soon – i think it is amazing! Also, If i recall, you have brass furniture throughout the house so i actually think brass hardware would match great!

    3.8.17 · Reply
    • I know. I’m so torn! I love love love the brass but it’s hard to find nice yet affordable fixtures. It might have to be a last minute call!

      3.8.17 · Reply
      • wendi said:

        I used The three inch brass pull from Lew’s hardware! They look phenomenal in our kitchen and we get tons of compliments! Would be happy to send a pic if you want to see. Also totally affordable. Check them out!

        3.9.17 · Reply
  6. Camila@effortless-style said:

    Love the direction you are going in! Bright and happy! I think the new countertop and paint job will totally give you a brighter look! Can’t wait to see what you do island wise! Perhaps you will go with an accent color here! So exciting!!!

    3.8.17 · Reply
    • Thanks! So excited to figure it all out too 🙂

      3.8.17 · Reply
  7. Virginia Merati said:

    Can’t wait to see the finished product! Your home decor posts are absolutely my favorite. I have to say, you’ve got some great bones to work with that many people would love to have! I’d love to know your plans for the island. The kitchen appears a bit space constrained, and I think you mentioned on IG that you were considering a mobile island. I’ve been in love with these custom lucite islands from Katie Kime for some time and think they’d look great in your space! They add that counter and storage space you’re looking for, while not impeding on the light, bright & airy feeling. I’m dying for someone to install one so I can see what it looks like in real life, and I think the right person for it is you! 😉 https://www.katiekime.com/collections/bar-carts/products/custom-lucite-island

    3.8.17 · Reply
    • Thank you! I’m excited to see how it turns out too. For the island, it’s definitely going to be a small one. I found one on Crate & Barrel that I like with a butcher block top. So many people keep telling me to get that Katie Kime one. It’s definitely gorgeous but I’m not sure if it’s practical! Looks like it will get scratched up, right?

      3.8.17 · Reply
  8. Exciting!! I agree about the gold/brass. I wanted to use gold accents for our master bathroom and it was really hard to find (affordable) bathroom fixture options in that tone. My husband had to do the same convincing. But it worked out and looks great, sans gold 🙂 I’m sure your kitchen will be beautiful! Bye bye dental crown molding!!

    3.8.17 · Reply
  9. Emily said:

    So exciting! I love your inspiration images – I can’t wait to see how this all comes together!
    Isn’t That Charming.

    3.8.17 · Reply
  10. Meagan said:

    What fun! You’re going to love your new kitchen! We updated ours last year and did white painted cabinets with black hardware. We also did a gorgeous gray marble — which I’m not sure I would ever do again. It is beautiful and I love it, but it shows water spots, which is annoying. Can’t wait to see your finished photos!

    3.8.17 · Reply
    • So glad to hear you love your kitchen despite the marble situation 🙂 I was torn on marble. It’s gorgeous but so high maintenance and expensive!

      3.9.17 · Reply
  11. Catt-in-Kentucky said:

    I know everything will be beautiful, light and reflect your impeccable style. It really is fun and inspiring to see what can be done on a budget. My husband and I did the same thing years ago then 8 years later a complete tear down remodel was done by professionals. Can’t wait to see your update photos!

    3.9.17 · Reply
    • So happy to hear that you loved it for 8 years though! I’m hoping these small changes are enough 🙂

      3.9.17 · Reply
  12. Cathy said:

    I think you will enjoy the quartz counter top because it is so livable. I have three teenage sons and a year and a half after our remodel I’m glad I made that choice. Looking forward to seeing your finished look!

    3.9.17 · Reply
    • That makes me so happy to hear! It’s practical and beautiful.

      3.9.17 · Reply
  13. Kiki said:

    I cannot wait to see the final reveal! Our kitchen is in dire need of a makeover and it’s literally one of those “everything must go” situations. lol Since we are currently doing renovations in other rooms of the house, we decided the kitchen would be the last hooray as it will be the most expensive. (: Good luck!

    3.9.17 · Reply
  14. Nicolle Golchin Cannone said:

    Very exciting! You have great taste. Can’t wait to see. I would not do a garbage disposal with kids in the house. We took ours out. What do others think?
    Good luck!

    3.9.17 · Reply
    • Good point, I didn’t even think about that! I always had one growing up and just had super strict rules about never putting our hands in the sink. But something to think about for sure!

      3.9.17 · Reply
  15. Carrie Barnett Miller said:

    Can I put in a plug for a contrasting grout? We have just added marble subway tile in our kitchen (backsplash) to complement our marble counter tops and I l love the silvery grout we used. My sister has white subway in her kitchen and bathrooms with a dark grey grout and I love it so much that I just did the same in our new addition – in fact, I’m going to dig out the grout in the upstairs bathroom (which is white grout on white subway tile) and do a silvery/grey grout in its place. I’m sure it will be beautiful whichever you decide but I thought I’d just mention. Reno projects are so much fun!

    3.9.17 · Reply
    • I’m so torn on this! I was originally thinking the dark grey too but my husband really liked the idea of white. I wish I could test a little of each in the space. I’m going to find out if that’s possible!

      3.9.17 · Reply
  16. Sally said:

    Julia! Love it all! Plug for grey grout as well, our Kitchen Designer told us to be very careful with white grout. I was not a happy camper when he told me that, but I am so happy he did. I ended up going with a grey grout from Lowes. Our kitchen designers concern with white grout was that it’s much harder to get anything (think red tomato sauce) out of white grout vs. grey grout. Typically greases, sauces and oils will stain the white grout. Good luck!

    3.10.17 · Reply
  17. Meghan said:

    Very nice! Hope you had a good experience with Lowes. My husband and I did a laundry nook remodel, as well as custom bathroom shelving and a custom vanity and it has been nothing but a nightmare using Lowes. Our project was supposed to be finished in November and it has yet to be completed.

    3.12.17 · Reply
  18. Katie said:

    Can’t wait to see how your kitchen turns out, Julia! I have been loving all of your Instagram stories about the renovations!


    3.14.17 · Reply
  19. Amphasis said:

    Beautiful, I love those small small details, like the tap, the cabinet door knob. It is just too lovely.

    5.15.18 · Reply
  20. Rachel said:

    I love the rug in this post (rust and browns). Where is it from?

    1.28.19 · Reply
  21. Carolyn Martin said:

    Hi Julia, Your new kitchen caught our eye. Clean lines with good quality hardware. We have been searching for a brass high neck pull down tapware and saw yours which is perfect. Do you remember the make & model along with company name? Our hardware is brushed brass with charcoal cabinets tap would be perfect. Hope you can help. Carolyn

    6.26.19 · Reply