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Keeping the Cabinets

Every once in a while we come across a kitchen with a fantastic layout and cabinets in good shape. This allows us to rethink the finishes and make small updates to vastly improve the look and feel of the space without a full renovation. If your cabinets are solid and the layout works, painting your cabinets and changing the countertop and backsplash can make a huge difference in how you feel in the space.


The kitchen we inherited in our new-to-us house had exactly those kind of good bones. Really good bones. Movie star bone structure.

While I can always tweak a layout if needed, this one was fine and provided plenty of counter space and gorgeous light. But it was also tremendously dated, drafty, and BRIGHT (but not because of all the windows).

Track lighting, a lime green backsplash, a - let's just go with unusual, granite - an orange and green color palette, and of course, cherry cabinets all combined to make me squinty every time it was time for a meal.

Yeah. Ouch. But such good bones. See all that counter space? And those windows? And that track lighting. Wait, yes, one of those has to go. First we toned down the space with white paint and put in recessed lights in place of the track.

Up next was reconfiguring the island, so that there was a little more storage and it was easier to walk around the kitchen. In a former life, we think this kitchen was a 70's sunken den and someday maybe we'll fix that weird floor drop off, but for now, with the smaller island, it works.

Changing the lime green mosaic backsplash and green granite counters for soapstone on the perimeter was the next step in calming the space. In the process, we realized the windows were broken, which gave us the opportunity to reframe them, adding trim and changing the double hung to casements, which better frame the view.

Rebuilding the island allowed us to add open shelving at the end, which also makes the island feel lighter in the space. A gorgeous walnut butcher block counter adds texture and warmth.

And finally, the cabinet color. Drawing inspiration from the garden outside, we went with a deep green. The cabinets are painted Green Smoke from Farrow and Ball and they are the exact same cabinets we started with.

Painting and changing the hardware took this space from BLINDING to BEAUTIFUL. The walls, ceiling and trim are all a soft beige, Farrow and Ball's Matchstick.


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