Dad’s New Paint

As I mentioned last week when I showed the new hardware, we have paint! 


We stayed close to the same color tone as the original wallpaper, so it’s not as dramatic as say a dark navy.  But, the new paint color definitely feels fresher and updated.


The wallpapers pink tones didn’t do the cherry cabinets and table any favors, but now the gray/olive tones feel complimentary, without making the room feel pink.  As a reminder, we went with Collonade Gray on the top and Taupe Tone below, both from Sherwin Williams.

My sister and I convinced my dad to move his beloved fern.  It was too big for the corner, and made it look dark.  I also convinced my dad to remove the sheer curtains on the french doors.  He admitted they were there when he bought the house! 


He added some new artwork and a smaller plant to the corner, and it now looks much better.

The chair rail used to blend into the wallpaper colors, and to be honest, you never really noticed it because all you saw were the pink flowers.  Now the chair rail is an architectural detail and is defined by the two contrasting, but similar toned colors.



My dad is a big fan of wine, so he moved some wine artwork that was in the living room to the more appropriate dining room.

The dining room is almost complete and will be finished with the replacement of the lighting over the table.  It’s actually already been installed, I just need to go over to get some photos to share!


The dining room finally looks more like my dad’s personality and isn’t overgrown with pink cherry blossoms anymore!

We’re trying to coordinate the backsplash installation which will complete the kitchen side of this makeover, but I’ll check in soon with the lighting updates which I think will make a big difference to both rooms.

Updating Dad’s Kitchen Hardware

One of the smallest things that can outdate a kitchen is the hardware.  It’s also one of the easiest/cheapest things to update!

As a reminder, my dad’s red-brown kitchen cabinets looked fine, but the dingy, brassy cabinet pulls made it look really dated.


When I mentioned changing out the pulls to my dad, he assumed we would have to get something with a back plate to cover any damage done by the current fixtures. 


I went over one day to check on the progress and saw a screwdriver nearby and decided to do my own investigation.  Turns out it’s not so bad underneath!


You can still see an outline of where the old backplate was, but I figured once we got a more substantial pull, it wouldn’t be so noticeable. 

I removed the backplate and took that so that I could have the measurements when I went looking for new hardware.  I put the handle back on since I didn’t “technically” tell my dad I was going to sneak over and steal one of his cabinet pulls.  Turns out he didn’t even notice I took it!


While it looked really small, it’s actually 3” which is a standard size at Home Depot so I didn’t have to worry about special ordering. 

I picked up one of these standard bar pulls to see how they looked.  They looked great, but I was a little shocked by the price.

Cabinet Pull

At $5.97 a piece it was a little high.  Even getting a 4 pack at $18.98, bringing the price per piece down to $4.75, it was still high.  Especially considering we needed 27 of them!

I did some searching online and found the same style at Knobs4Less, for well…less!  They were priced $3.39/each.  I ordered all 27 of them, as well as 40 new brushed nickel hinges to replace the old antique brass ones.  Total $195.88 with shipping.  While not exactly as cheap as I thought, (when I did our tiny kitchen makeover, I only spent $33 on hinges), my dad has a lot of cabinets and therefore more hardware and hinges needed.     

This past weekend I dropped the pulls off, (the hinges had yet to be delivered), and my dad got to work. 


He’s also got the painting complete, but I’ll share that in a different post.

The hardware instantly makes the kitchen look updated.  And I spoke with my dad last night and he’s already talking about replacing the hardware in the bathrooms!  So, he recognizes what a difference such a small change can do!

The cleaner lines of the new hardware help to reduce the impact of the curved detail of the cabinets.  They also just generally look cleaner than the old brass!


They look a little off next to the old hinges, but I got those the other day in the mail, and dropped those off last night.  I’m sure it won’t be long until those are installed #retiredlife.

I’m really happy to help my dad with this project, and although it’s gotten a little more advanced than we initially expected, (tile backsplash anyone?), it’s nice that these small changes are just as impactful as the larger changes.


Next week I’ll share how the new paint looks!  While the kitchen didn’t have that much area to paint, the dining room looks so much better without the wallpaper and some new paint colors.

My Dad's Kitchen De-Wallpapered

The wallpaper’s gone! 



I picked up the paint and dropped it off at my dad’s last night and all the wallpaper was officially gone.  I had been over a few times during the process and it looked like it was coming off pretty easily, as far as wallpaper goes.  My aunt pulled the wallpaper off, then scored and watered down the backing, then scraped that off.  They did have some problems with the wall directly across from the kitchen.  It’s the wall to the garage, and for some reason it pulled up some of the plaster when the wallpaper come off.  My dad and uncle did some skim coating and sanding to prep for paint, and it looks back to normal.

The dining room looks much brighter without the wallpaper.



I convinced my dad it was time to remove the sheers on the french doors. 


He admitted they were there when he bought the house, (20 years ago!).  They were screwed onto the doors, so my dad took the opportunity to fill the screw holes and paint the door to match the trim.  They were wet when I stopped by, but he’ll add the decorative muntins back on when they’re dry.


It was almost 7pm when I stopped by, so most of my light was artificial and it still has a warmer cast to it, but in real life it’s more white.  You can still see that the trim is an off-white color and I think the paint colors we chose will make those pop, just as much if they were white.  We went with the Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray for above the chair rail, like the mood board, but changed the bottom color to SW Taupe Tone which didn’t have the green undertones as our first choice Ethereal Mood.

I also got a picture of the light I discussed in my first post.  This is the overhead light in the kitchen.  It uses 6 specialty lights, and generally looks pretty dated.


My dad gave the thumbs up to the 2 lighting options I picked in the mood board, so I’ll pick those up this weekend.


I’ve ordered new hardware, my dad will start painting soon, and I’ve measured the area for the tile backsplash. 

We should have some dramatic progress here soon!  Until then, here’s how much removing the wallpaper and some dated accessories has changed the room already.



Next time I’ll probably have some paint after’s as well as new lighting.

Kitchen Renovation | Sources & Cost Breakdown

I know I’ve already moved on to my Dad’s kitchen makeover, but I wanted to make sure to wrap up our kitchen with a cost breakdown along with all of our sources.






Cabinets: Ikea (Uppers – ADEL Off-White, Lowers – RAMSJÖ Black-Brown) | Counters: Home Depot (Corian – Rain Cloud) | Floor Tile: Lowes Epoxy Grout: Lowes| Backsplash Tile: Home Depot Fusion Grout: Home Depot |Appliances: Frigidaire Gallery from Lowes (Refrigerator, Range, Microwave) | Dishwasher: Ikea | Sink: Kraus from FaucetDirect | Faucet: Kraus from FaucetDirect | Cabinet Hardware: Lowes | Paint: Sherwin Williams 'Pediment' (Mixed at 50%) | Lights: LED –LED Lighting Wholesale, Pendants over counter – Etsy, Pendant over sink – Lowes | Bamboo Shades: Home Depot | Counter Stools: Target | Kitchen Rug: eBay

I haven’t included accessories, but most are from Target, Home Goods, and World Market. 

As for the breakdown of costs, we knew the costs of the large scale items like countertops and cabinets, but we were very surprised at the costs of building materials.  They were bought over a time period of months, from multiple sources.  It wasn’t until we sat down over the weekend to add up the dozens of receipts that we saw just how much!

Cabinets $3,934
Counters $3,600
Floor Tile (including grout) $290
Backsplash Tile (including grout) $104
Appliances $3,356*
Sink $386
Faucet $130
Cabinet Hardware $127
Paint $48
LED Recessed Lights $222
Globe Pendant Lights $213
Pendant Light Over Sink $40
Bamboo Shades $71
Counter Stools $243
Kitchen Rug $75
Building Materials $4,880**
TOTAL $17,719

*(Refrigerator: $1,943, Range: $629, Microwave: $224, Dishwasher: $560)
**(Includes things like drywall, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.)

Before appliances, we actually thought we had spent closer to $12,000! 

The building materials did come out higher than we had thought we spent, but we have to remind ourselves that we technically remodeled two rooms, the kitchen and the dining room, and those together make up 50% of our entire first floor.  Our house is also 87 years old, so the money spent upgrading the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and sometimes the framing, will help our house stay around even longer!

I also wouldn’t technically call out the accessories, like rugs or window shades, or appliances if someone on the street were asking how much we spent, but on the internet I think it’s more fair to show a picture and explain how much it cost to get there.

While we spent more than we imagined on items like building materials, we did save money along the way.  Some of the ways we saved during this remodel included using the rewards we gain from the credit card points to then pay off the credit cards, (so it’s like getting free money)!  Another way we used the large purchases to our advantage is purchasing gift cards and using store credit cards.  Mike has a Home Depot card and we received 5% off of the counters.  Our grocery store offers gas perks for gift card purchases, $0.10 off per gallon for every $50 spent.  We ended up filling Mike’s truck twice for free from this.  That’s about $80 each time! 

Not that credit card points or gas discounts seem like a lot of saving, but for something of this scale it saved us probably $500 or so.  We also waited until things were on sale to purchase.  Both the counters and appliances were purchased during sales at Home Depot and Lowes.  And, the cabinets and dishwasher, (as well as all the kitchen organizational items), we purchased during the 20% off kitchen sale Ikea runs twice a year.  We also hoarded coupons, and 10% off a $2,300 refrigerator makes a big difference! 

Just a couple ways we were able to save money along with making economical choices in the design.   

Finally, we went in knowing that this house will not be our “forever home”.  But, we do plan remodels on what we want it to function and look like.  We try to pick somewhat timeless features that will age well with the home, (it’s almost 90 years old, so using super trendy styles just won’t work).  We know we won’t be getting 100% return on our investment, but in our neighborhood, our kitchen will set us apart for other homes.  We also think more selfishly and design for us.  We want to live here for the next 5-7 years, and want our spaces to work for us.  All that to say, we’re extremely happy with the kitchen, would make the same decisions had we done it again, (although Mike would be hard pressed to promote building Ikea cabinets again), and as silly as it sounds, it’s made a huge difference in our house and how we use it. 

And, I’ll leave you with the before and after that I think best exemplifies where all our money was spent:


It’s been 9 months since we saw that wall up there, and I can’t even remember how we functioned in a kitchen that small!  How spoiled we’ve become with our new space!

My Dad’s Dated Kitchen Redo

While Mike and I may have knocked out walls to get our kitchen remodeled, you don’t always have to do that much work to update a kitchen.  Sometimes there's good bones, you just need some simple updates to overhaul.  That’s the plan with our latest project.  My dad’s kitchen and dining room: 




A little history: The house was built in 1988, and my dad bought it in 1994.  It’s a little builder basic, but has nice lines.  My dad has painted all the rooms and added his own personality, but the kitchen and dining room has remained untouched as far as updates, aside from new appliances, and décor accessories.

My dad’s friend recently mentioned that the kitchen could use some updating.  My sister and I have been mentioning this for years, but sometimes you need an extra little push, or maybe he was finally so tired of hearing about it he finally relented!  Either way, it started with just some paint, but it’s now a full on update of everything not permanently installed! 

It started with this wall paper.  For years we’ve joked that the wallpaper that was inherited by the previous owners, while nice, was completely opposite of my dad’s modern style and for a man living in bachelorhood.


Above the chair rail is a textured paper with pink cherry blossoms, below is an almost seagrass paper, with pink undertones.

The kitchen cabinets are in great shape, and I understand the red undertone of the wood works well with the pink wallpaper.  But, the whole room together was very pink/peach.


When my dad, approached me and my sister about helping pick some paint colors I knew we would have to bring in some colors to downplay the pink undertones.  As Mike would tell you, a small painting project never ends there for me, and I realized that after the wallpaper would be removed, we would need to add a backsplash above the counters.  This is probably the most expensive upgrade, but I think it’ll really update the whole space.

Along with the paint and a tile backsplash, I also suggested replacing the old cabinet hardware.  Also updating the lights and removing a lot of the little tchotchkes on the countertop will update this kitchen to reflect my dad’s personality.

I love putting together mood boards to show everyone the direction I’m thinking, and thought it’d be fun to share what we plan to do to modernize this kitchen without spending thousands of dollars.  Something I feel a lot of people could benefit from.  My $89 kitchen update is one of my most popular posts, so I know people want to see kitchen overhauls without going into debt.

Here’s some of the updates we’re planning:


1. Again the cabinets are staying.  The dark wood and red undertones are similar to the Ikea Ramsjo aptly named red-brown.

2. We’ve picked this mosaic tile for the backsplash.  It’s hard to tell from this photo, but it’s got a mixture of glass, stone, and brushed metal tiles.  All the things my dad loves.  It also has a green color that we are introducing, which works well with the red-brown cabinets.

3. To tie in with brushed nickel in the backsplash, I’m suggesting replacing all the cabinet hardware with these simple pulls.  We used these in the bathroom upstairs, as well as the linen closet in the hallway and they’re great mixing traditional and modern aesthetics.

4. The dining room light definitely needs replaced, and I'm suggesting something simple like this, but I think I’ll also leave it open to my dad in case he wants something funky, something he would say!

5. I didn’t get a picture of the kitchen light but it’s a brass flush mount light that not only is outdated, but also requires 6 special order bulbs.  Switching it out for something like this would update the look, but also be cheaper in the long run because my dad can use regular cfl bulbs.  

6.  Painting was what spawned this makeover so we thought long and hard on what the colors should be.  Like I said, my goal was to bring in neutrals that updated the room without casting a pink overcast to everything.  I used the tiles to pick these neutrals, with SW Collonade Gray above the chair rail, and SW Etheral Mood below.  

Here’s the before’s again:



My aunt is helping to remove the wallpaper and she’s already gotten half of the room removed, and I’ll be buying the paint this weekend.  I’m going to try to update along the way, but we should be complete in the next couple of weeks!