diy budget kitchen renovation

DIY White Kitchen Remodel

When we moved into the house, we had plans to paint the kitchen cabinets and replace the countertops for an easy kitchen facelift.  After living in the house for a couple of weeks, we noticed lots of water damage on the inside of the oak and particle board cabinets that we initially missed.  We should have checked inside every cabinet!  We didn’t want to put hard work into cabinets that were not in great shape.  I also wanted all-wood cabinets since we are hard on our stuff!  We decided to do our own DIY Renovation.  


There was also a giant peninsula separating the kitchen from the dining space that made traffic flow difficult.  See it up there?? You can’t miss it! The peninsula was the sole reason it took me one second too long to stop Olivia from dumping the dog’s water bowl onto the floor in fits of sweet giggles.  There was so much spilled water.  That kid would here the “clink” of the dog’s stainless steel water bowl and come crawling as fast as her chubby little legs could propel her forward.

The countertop was great for food prep but just became the dumping ground for junk.  The location of the peninsula also didn’t leave enough space to float the dining table in the middle of the dining space, so the table had to be pushed up against the wall.  It wasn’t a functional space.

We started by removing the strange patch of green carpet in the dining area.  John and I assumed that there would be more hardwood flooring under it. We weren’t so lucky.  There was only plywood under the space.  We installed a bamboo floor, which we will call Floor Number 1.  The story here is that John said, “Amanda, are you absolutely sure that you want to keep this wall? We need to be absolutely sure before we put the floor in.”  I assured him,”Yes, I’m positive,” and then changed my mind a couple of months later, which resulted in installing Floor Number 2. I’ll get there ( :





On Christmas Eve, John and I decided to peak inside The Great Wall to see what was inside.  We got a little carried away when the kids went to bed and started tearing apart The Great Wall.  We didn’t have much of a plan here. Our thought process was more like, “wouldn’t it be cool to see the Christmas tree from the kitchen?!” We can be slightly impulsive sometimes.  We even wrapped our tree in saran wrap!

Saran Wrap Christmas Tree

You can see Daisy here, giving us the puppy look for, “What the hell is wrong with you people?” #sawdustforchristmas

Once the Great Wall was out, the peninsula stuck out even more like a sore thumb.  John and I went back and forth about the layout.  If we took out the peninsula, we would sacrifice counter space and cabinet space but we would gain more walking space and achieve a layout that would be more integral with our new open concept layout.  For us, more counter and cabinet space meant more junk.

Our open space was much more valuable to us for how we live.  We starting hacking apart the peninsula.  Sorry for the dark pictures, we are moonlight DIYers. If you want to get your kids to be able to sleep through anything, get them accustomed to the sounds of power tools at night as early as possible.



We made up for the lost cabinet space from the peninsula with bookshelves in our dining area.  One of them houses our Pyrex and more cookware.  The floating shelves in the dining area are from Ikea.


(View from Kitchen into the dining area)



(same spot in the kitchen)


We removed the rest of the cabinets, backsplash, and smashed the ceramic tile.  We had open space! I started referring to the demo space as the ghetto with the holes in the walls and electrical hanging from the ceiling.  Luckily, the kids didn’t seem phased by the demolition.  We made a fancy bridge out of extra plywood for them to walk across.


When they woke up Christmas morning and asked, “Where’d the wall go? Why is half of our kitchen gone?” We told them that we wanted to open up the space and they shrugged their shoulders and kept it moving. We hung the cabinets before John installed Floor Number 2.  We chose laminate since our budget was a little tight (this was our second floor after all) and because we are hard on our floors.

John and I chose a light quartzite material for our countertops and here is a huge tip that saved us money on our kitchen renovation.  We used a prefab kitchen island that came with a top to cut down on the cost of countertop material.  We could splurge on a small area of countertop and get the aesthetic feel that we wanted to achieve with a whitish grey counter, warmed by the wood top of the prefab island.  The island was $500 and it was totally worth it.  We purchased it from Amazon here.

I’m a great stud finder… Hey there, stud…


We modified a standard 24″ base cabinet to install the same farmhouse apron sink from IKEA that we used in our first kitchen remodel.

We ran into a big hiccup when the countertop installers put in the wrong slab!  It was the same type of material but NOT the one we chose in the show room.  It was very zebra-ish and it made me hyperventilate a little bit.

Wrong Granite
They installed the wrong slab! I call this zebra granite.

We called the company and they said “OOPS no problem,” and hurried back to put the right slab on.  Their customer service was excellent.  Phew.


AH yes!  I was so happy that I may have drooled a little bit.  I gently wiped it down Mr. Miagi style. Wax on, wax off… true love.

I decided to tackle the glass tile backsplash myself and purchased a small wet saw for $50 off of Amazon.  If you need one, you can purchase it here.  It is incredibly easy if you do a little planning and measuring ahead of time.  I started the backsplash after the kids went to bed and finished around 1 am.  The tile is from Home Depot and it’s called Arctic Ice. It’s a beautiful seafoam green/aqua color.


Future plans in the kitchen include new lighting and a beadboard ceiling.  We also plan on painting the inside of our glass cabinets.  The kitchen stools were only $16 from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I got them on sale and with the 20% off coupon!  The price was so great that I felt like a stole them.  One of my favorite things about the kitchen is this little spice cabinet in the awkward space between my sink and stove.


 Having an open concept space brought the family closer together.   For the first year we were in the home, we pretty much lived in the basement.  Removing that huge wall gave us plenty of space to play together without feeling like we were on top of each other. It felt as though we could finally spread out upstairs and fill every space in our home with love and laughter.









This space is a reflection of our family- casual, bright, and open.  We could have settled on the kitchen we had but we wouldn’t have enjoyed the space as much as we do now.  We are going to be in this house for a while and the $5000 investment will give back to us on a daily basis.  Doing dishes is fun now!… Totally kidding. 

Thanks for visiting the kitchen.