Our kitchen updates


Our hard working little kitchen finally got some updates this year.  When we moved in 12 years ago it got a quick coat of paint by yours truly and new counters, not much else.  Two little boys and many years later it was in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and a few updates. Nothing major, we opened up the dining room wall last year and that has been huge but the actual kitchen itself needed some attention: Appliances, paint, new lighting and faucet and removing cabinet doors. Even just the few simple things we chose to do made a huge difference in this small space.

We have more planned for the future but these updates have been like new brake pads for us..giving us many more miles and usage.

First thing, new appliances.  I blogged here about our Bewitched era stove, its been replaced (angels singing) with the Kenmore elite with side oven (I think the particular 36″ model has been discontinued) and the original stove went north to live with a collector of old stoves. (Seriously, someone drove from Michigan for it).  We did install a new faucet as blogged about here and here.  Not a Rohl or Grohe but good for now until we replace counters and sink down the road.   We had used the same fridge since grad school when we were married.  It was so small.  Can’t believe we had that fridge so long but it made me really appreciate the big new stainless COUNTER DEPTH replacement. Can’t say enough about the counter depth in a small kitchen. (can you see where Henry has already dinged it??)

 Updating the appliances was huge for me.  As was the lighting. I had a fluorescent (cringe I know) long light for YEARS…I thought that was the only way to get enough light in that room.  Until I called Rejuvenation and figured out way to make a schoolhouse fixture work.  I used the Jefferson fixture and flared school house globe. They set me up with the right fixture to accommodate safely the wattage i would need for good lightning and its been wonderful.  I love pendant lights in kitchens over island but I just don’t have one, luckily I get to pick out this lighting for my clients!  And in the end I am happy, I love schoolhouse lights! I also have a set of vintage lamps on my desk and I have really enjoyed them in the kitchen as well.

 A few more of my faves..the desk we added that hides my work stuff and craft supplies underneath and doubles as a server when needed.

Other little things I love, my back door painted BM Black Jack, moving the Kitchen Aid off of precious counter space, the chalkboard wall behind fridge and on stairwell door and the vintage English street sign over the sink (a gift from this special friend).

The other big thing for me was removing the cabinet doors. I have never been a fan of that look. I learned, NEVER say never. I blogged a bit about it here. When we moved in the house all I wanted in the kitchen was white cabinets and some glass doors. I still think glass doors are very pretty but I was tired of them in my space. A complete tear out and adding shelves didn’t seem feasible at this time so removing doors ended up being the way to go for us. And I have eaten my crow, because I love it!

Ok, so just remind you this is what our kitchen looked like when photographed for BHG back in 2004. Butter color walls and glass doors, before we opened the wall to dining room.


And now with no doors. and no wall between kitchen and dining.

Makes unloading dishwasher and grabbing plates and glasses so easy.

We painted the walls Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray and used Low VOC paint from The Green Painter in Houston, Texas, for the cabinets. During the weeks of painting, it was so nice to be able to allow the kids back in the house each evening for sleep and know they were not inhaling toxic fumes. We used their pure basic white. I blogged more about the excruciating sanding and paint process here. It was a long process (and I didn’t even do it) but worth it. I originally painted the cabinets with semi-gloss OIL paint because they were covered with old green oil paint. My painter had to sand really well and then cover with a bonding primer before going over with the new WATER BASED paint.

My 8 x20 kitchen also has a door to the upstairs of our home. The stairs are a little hidden which I love.

No matter where I live, I hope I always have check floors.

 A few more details…you will notice we have kept our granite tile counters but just changing up styling and adding the shelf has freshened it so much for me. I must admit, wooden IKEA counters and farm sink  are on my wish list for someday. But for now I am very happy and at the end of the  day these little notes in my kitchen window remind me what is really important! 

 Thanks for looking and thanks for asking to see the updated photos after the sneak peak in Texas Live Magazine. If you are interested in any sources I didn’t mention please leave a note in comments and I will try to address later in the week. 

A big thanks for Natalie Lacy Lange for the photography.

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  1. It’s gorgeous! Amazing how even limited updates can refresh. I have white oilbased painted cabinets and I’m itching to repaint in a high quality oil based. I originally painted them years ago and they are kinda yellow, especially next to the white appliances. I see cream cabinets against fresh white appliances or things in some magazines, and it’s pretty, but I don’t like it in my kitchen, maybe because I know it’s not purposeful? And am I right that they did not have high quality latex trim paint years ago, or did I just not know about it? I am trying to convince my husband the solution is stainless appliances. Also love the checked floor. I can’t convince my husband on that, either. So my daughter’s dollhouse has it. 🙂

  2. oops, I meant I want to repaint in a high quality latex.

  3. What a happy space! Beautiful updates, Holly. I love it!

  4. I had to say I read your blog all the time and this made me comment. I love the updates. Makes me wish I had checkered floors. I love that you removed the doors to your cabinets. I have been thinking of doing that to a small section of mine, and now I just might do it. I wanted to ask where you found the apron and dish towel that have the ‘french’ stripes on them? Your kitchen is beautiful! Keep up the good work.

  5. I loved your kitchen before, and I love it even more now. You are so talented, and I wish you could style every home that I photograph! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Holly,
    Long time no talk to! I am so in love with your kitchen. I still have that BHG article from way back and will always keep it. 🙂 But I absolutely love the new updates. You have SUCH a way with making things look fresh, cute, and yet not too over the top. My favorite shot is the one where you can see the red leather chair peeking out of the dining room. I love everything you do. Seriously you’re genius. 🙂

  7. Wowza Holly~ the first picture stopped me in my tracks, just gorgeous! Magazine worthy….

  8. Not only is your kitchen GORGEOUS, but it is a place of hospitality and love, which sends it right over the top. Love your kitchen and love YOU!

  9. i love it – you rock. seriously rock.

  10. So lovely – I love the updates you made and the creative use of spaces, like the chalkboard on the door going upstairs. Thank you for sharing your pretty home with us.

  11. WOW this is just amazing!!!!
    It has given me so may ideas of things I want to do with my kitchen!
    What type of topiary is that? Pretty amazing, I must get one!

  12. Beautiful changes Holly! Love the new lighting and that hidden staircase is so fun!

  13. You kow I LOVE your kitchen. SO much heart and soul in there. Readers of both of our blogs are getting double kitchen inspiration right now! Everyone loves a kitchen makeover! xoxo!

  14. Beautiful updates Holly! I love your open cabinets and I’m full blown jealous over your new stove. You had Bewitched…mine is SwampPeople and looks like it belongs in a fish camp 🙂

  15. I really like the idea with no walls between the kitchen and the dining room. Congratulations!

  16. Holly! It turned out BEAUTIFUL!!! I am in love the with black door & staircase with the painted numbers. You are so talented, woman 🙂

  17. It’s beautiful Holly! All the little details look amazing-thanks for sharing!!

  18. Your kitchen is lovely! I love it all! I especially love your topiaries…are they real? where did you find them? Wonderful job!

  19. Another great post! LOVE your taste–your kitchen is so pretty! I have gotten so much inspriation from you! I can’t thank you enough.
    This is my go to blog for everything home- I’ve got beautiful butterfly prints, crystal chandeliers, dress forms (three! vintage!)silhouettes, lots of linen and that Ralph Lauren candelstick lamp from tjmaxx (this past weekend). All thanks to you and your fab ideas! Many thanks : )

  20. Fresh and functional, with so many lovely details. Beautiful, Holly!

  21. Beauuuuutiful! Simply beautiful! It’s all so, so lovely!
    I’m crushing on the topiaries too!

  22. Oh. my. goodness. Holly!!!! This is SOOOOO darling! I love it. I actually don’t want to go home to my kitchen now. It’s so plain and boring. I love how it looks polished, yet lived in. I’m horrible at accessorizing. I wanted open glass cabinets for the longest time. I now have them in one section of my kitchen, but now I want open shelves. Pretty, pretty, pretty! I pinned some of your images and I will definitely be copying cause I want my kitchen to feel cozy too!

  23. Ahhhhh! SO GORGEOUS!!! I just love everything about it 🙂

  24. Holly….I love your kitchen refresh….very pretty. I have to do mine and keep putting it off. First question, why did your painter use water based paint? Second….I love your topiaries next to your sink….do you mind to share the source?

    Thanks for the inspiration….I love your updates (and still am crazy for your counter with the skirt.


  25. Have to tell you I love your kitchen. Since we share the same first name it is not surprising that we have similar tastes. Turns out I ended up in a house with a “Bewitched Era” stove. I adore the changes you made. We did a kitchen (after we got rid of that stove) with white cabinets and ikea wood counters and a farm sink. loved it for 9 months before we had to move. Can’t wait to see more!

  26. Holly it looks great! Love all of the little touches…just beautiful!

  27. Me too… LOVE it! I love open cabinets…love them! Counter depth fridges make such a difference…. more room and they just look less awkward, Beautiful job girl!!

  28. Your kitchen looks so pretty! I’ve looked at the photos over and over again!

  29. these photos are just beautiful and i love seeing all the great things you have added and done! it just shows you don’t have to do an entire overhaul to make a big difference.

  30. Loooooove the floors, still-always. Also love the updates!

  31. Holly, your kitchen is so full of character! I wish mine had just one ounce of it.
    Honestly, it’s just perfect. Hope mine comes out half this good when the window treatments arrive!

  32. Holly, your kitchen is gorgeous!! Loved it before and even more now. You are so very talented with all you do.

  33. Everything looks so fresh. Love the styling, too!

  34. Your kitchen (entire home) looks so pretty and inviting! Thank you so much for sharing it and providing us readers with great inspiration for our own homes 🙂

  35. As always, just fabulous and so real. We would all love to go out and buy farmhouse sinks and butcher block counters whenever we feel like it, but I’d rather see a gorgeous kitchen with a real budget! Makes me think my dreams are possible even with Catholic school tuition to pay and groceries to buy!

  36. Your kitchen is gorgeous!!!! You have amazing style. I love every inch of it.

  37. Love, love everything!!! Like someone else said…you are my go to blog for everything HOME! I was wondering…what brand of bamboo shades do you prefer? I know that was not a new add…but I have always wanted to use them…now that I am ready…I don’t see them available at Target and other stores…where I can see them before purchasing. Are some better than others…etc.? Just in case I will need to order.

  38. It looks so great! I can’t wait to read more about your adventures in lighting. I have a gross old fluorescent over the sink that I can’t wait to get rid of, but I’m trying to come up with solutions and this gave me some ideas (as usual!!). Thanks!

  39. Karen Kibbee says

    Beautiful kitchen Holly! So many great things, I could go on and on. You’ve probably answered this before, but what is your floor surface? tile? vinyl? It’s gorgeous!


  40. Oh my goodness. It’s gorgeous!! I love your floors, the fresh cabinets, and you’re right- all those gorgeous appliances make all the difference! I’ll put them on my someday list 🙂 Such a beautiful kitchen packed with lots of personality. Beautiful job!

  41. Holly, everything looks beautiful! I love that you managed to keep it crisp and clean while including lots of fun details.
    What type of plants are your topiaries? Are they easy to maintain? Thanks!

  42. your updated kitchen looks fab! love love the stairs! too cute! what a DIFFERENCE!

    ashley over @

  43. Stunning! Simply, stunning! Seeing this is giving me an itch to paint my red walls white! Well done Holly!

  44. Hi, LOVE your kitchen reno, beautiful….but where is your microwave? I hate that mine sits on the counter, is yours hidden someplace creative or ditched all together??

    LOVE your blog!

  45. I love it all! Little changes in a kitchen can make a huge difference… I just did that to our kitchen as well. xoxo, Alexandra

  46. Hi Friend,
    You inspired me to go get a basket that’s being used but its beauty wasted in a cupboard in my home office. So it’s out on the counter now with my crock filled with utensils. I think I need to all wood so I have more beautiful, utilitarian items in it. I’d love to know where you got your topiaries…I need some green! So lovely Holly and you know I love me some school house lights!!

  47. This post and the previous one were meant for me. We recently purchased a new home and instantly had hardwoods installed upstairs. This left no money at this time to update the laundry room floor which I really wanted to do. Our laundry room floor is black and white linoleum and I wanted the oh so glamourous tile. After reading your post about not wanting the Ikea bedding until you saw it posted in SL, I too did not want my black and white flooring until I saw it posted in your kitchen. I mean if it is good enough for you it should be good enough for me. My husband thanks you for saving him money!! One question though. How do you keep the white areas clean? When we moved in they were dirty looking

  48. I love your new, upgraded kitchen! It looks so fresh and happy. Opening up the wall to the dining room really made a huge impact from seeing the “before” pictures. Great job!

  49. Fabulous! We built our home in 2000 and my hubbs is a cabinet maker and we chose a beautiful cherry wood shaker style. It was a showroom floor that my husband made his plans from. I love my kitchen, but I know that a white kitchen is the ultimate for me. One of these days, I will have a white kitchen. Thanks for the beautiful pics and sharing your lovely kitchen.

  50. Everything is so bright, cozy and beautiful! I found your blog via “The Inspired Room” today and I’m so glad! I am wondering about the desk/butler’s pantry/craft and office supply hiding area. Is it attached to the other counters or free-standing? I love the idea. I’ve been looking for a piece of furniture to do all of those things and I just can’t seem to find one. I love the idea of adding more fabric to my kitchen area as I don’t really have curtains in my window. Do you have a post about that area that I have missed or can you give me a brief synopsis? Thanks!

  51. Mary Catherine says

    Your kitchen is stunning! I absolutely love everything you did! As always, your blog is so inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing!

    xx, Mary Catherine

  52. I can’t remember if I told you this before, but my great-grandmother had that same ‘vintage’ stove. I loved it when I was little because it was so different. LOL! Now I have the same Kenmore Elite stove as you!! Thanks so much for this post. I finally got my own backsplash installed this week and your post inspired me to go in there and finally do some styling. I’ve gotten so used to everything being out of place that I hadn’t even done that. You also gave me a great use for my Polish pottery teacups. I’ve got tons of Polish pottery that my Sister-in-law has sent me from Germany. I’ve found decorating with it so hard because my husband thinks hanging plates on the wall is the stupidest idea in the history of the world (I know, I just have to go with it or we would spend every meal with him making fun of my decorating). Thanks so much. Your kitchen is beautiful.


  53. Where is your microwave?

  54. Your desk/buffet looks wonderful! How did you design/make that?

  55. Is there a before picture? Especially of the stove the man drove to pick up? And what fabric are the dining room drapes? It all looks beautiful. I love open shelves but fear my cats would think plates would be the perfect place to snooze.

  56. my faborites are the open cabinets, ikea shelf above stove and the chalkboard area by the fridge. oh and i have the same light fixture in my kitchen.

  57. it’s absolutely beautiful, Holly.
    I love all the little details…they really make all the difference.

  58. Holly, you have an absolutely gorgeous kitchen!!! I love everything you’ve done! What do you do with that bin that the KitchenAid sits on? Love that lovely chippy bin color too!

  59. Okay I’m so late in leaving a comment…I was pure tackiness and pinned it before reading your amazing post! You are so talented. LOVE all of your creative ideas and changes!!


  60. LOVE each detail of your fresh and beautiful kitchen!

  61. What a lovely job!! I am so looking forward to painting my cabinets white and having a much brighter space!!! Thanks for all the inspiration xox

  62. What is the secret to getting enough light out of a schoolhouse light to replace your big kithen fluorescent?

  63. Love your new kitchen. Looks perfect!

  64. amy crawford says

    Hi there,
    Could you let me know where you bought your stencils for the numbers that you have on your stairs?
    Amy from Ottawa, Ontario

  65. ellen rollins says

    Holly…love your taste…am very late with comments, but would love to know re appliances…Kenmore elite stove, what about refrigerator brand, dishwasher..am about to start our kitchen..with Ikea wood countertops and their farm sink….would love feedback on big ticket items and see if people are happy with them…Thank you…


  66. LOVE THIS!!! We have the same counter tops and you gave me some great ideas to work with, thanks! Where did you get the white wall clock in your kitchen?

  67. Oh my gosh!! I am just about to embark on a kitchen remodel in my home and we will be removing a wall and rearranging some of my cabinets! I am glad I ran across your posts! You did a magnificent job. I will have to keep some of your ideals in mind! Thanks for the inspiration!

  68. Hi. I’m a big fan of your blog, house, and work. Love your kitchen. Would you mind telling me where you got your kitchen shade?


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