DIY Kitchen Makeover

If you’ve been following along on Instagram or Snapchat (@erikaleighb), as many of you have, then you know allllllll about the epic surprise I planned for my parents while they were on vacation. Months in the making, collaborating with brands and stockpiling supplies, I made over their super-outdated kitchen that has stayed relatively the same since we moved into my childhood home back in 1995. 1995. That was 21 years ago. Yeah. The only thing that has changed at all was the addition of a new cabinet when you first walk in (7-8 years ago, possibly longer), the paint, new doors on the laundry room, some new appliances as things kicked the bed, and a chair rail that my dad installed when I was in 7th grade. I remember that distinctly because he was painting around the chair rail during a “snow day” that was actually a day that was so cold they decided to close the schools, so my cousin Tara and I asked to go to the mall and when we got to the mall, pipes had burst in the now defunct Kids ‘R Us store from the temperature. My mom and I repainted back in March, and last year we’d gotten new cabinet hardware to match a new light fixture and now the kitchen was just this blahzé grey and blue thing, so I decided it was time to take action.

Many episodes of Property Brothers, Flip This House, Flip or Flop, Love it or List it and House Hunters later, I got a feel for what my parents might be comfortable with, and how to infuse my modern flair into it. I did tons and I mean hours of research, made about 75 trips to Home Depot and Lowes and finally decided what I wanted. White subway tile, darker floors, lighter cabinets, and something lighter on the countertops. I reached out to a few of my favorite brands to see how we could collaborate and got some great support, but had to front a lot of the costs myself. Still, this DIY kitchen makeover project cost well under $1000 and seriously looks way better.

I’m not going to lie, none of this project was easy. Any blogger who says “this was the easiest project ever!” is a giant, fat liar, with their backsplash tile on fire. I’m not kidding. When you watch any DIY show and there’s always something wrong that costs more money, that was my exact experience, except, it happened with every project I tried.

I had about two weeks to complete the project, but I also took a four-day break to go to the Cape where my parents were, just to really make them think nothing was going on. There were several nights I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, only to take a nap for a few hours and get up and start working again. Lucky for me, they stayed an extra day, because from Saturday to Sunday, I stayed up for 26 hours straight working to finish until they walked in the door. It would’ve been much easier to complete all of these products with three weeks or with more help. By the way, thanks to Sinnet and Mia for both coming over and helping me out in the trenches, and to my aunt Karen for all of her tile guidance and for teaching me how to use a wet saw!

Also, worth noting: My countertop project was an absolute disaster. I decided to paint with Giani Granite after reading some great reviews, and watching a million tutorials. I went with a marble effect after watching two of their videos and others by several other bloggers. It was all good until I got to the top coat, and didn’t like the sort of “orange peel” effect it had from rolling it on. I followed the instructions to a “t,” but I thought it cheapened the whole look. So I decided to sand everything down and paint over it again, and then tried my hand at epoxy. Also, a disaster. Not only did it make a huge mess, but I also had an issue with my bucket of epoxy hardening before I could use all of it and only got through one piece of the counter. I ordered more, but the product was also supposed to be self-leveling and I didn’t like how it dried–uneven and with lots of air bubbles– so I decided to nix that idea too and polycrylic over everything. Again, a disaster. The polycrylic was impossible to level and pooled in spots ….. everything is sticking to the counter. UGH. I wasted probably three days and lots of dough on the counters that I honestly could’ve just paid to replace them with a better looking laminate.

Soooooooo the countertop is going to get replaced. Probably quartz. I’ll keep you posted.

Anyway, enough babbling. I’ll give you some before and after photos and throughout the month I’ll be breaking down the projects. 




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Thanks to my sponsors:

Backsplash tile provided by Best Tile of Springfield – U.S. Ceramic Tile in Bright Snow White

Cabinet Paint provided by General Finishes – Milk Paint in Seagull Gray [outside] and Driftwood [inside cabinets]

Grout & Tiling Supplies provided by Custom Building Products (SimpleMat and FusionPro Grout in Cape Gray) and Best Tile of Springfield

Other products used (and purchased):

Style Selections 36 x 6 Antique Woodland/Oak Rustic Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring at Lowe’s

Giani Granite in White Diamond 

Frog Tape

Lakeside Collection Wine Cork Letters

Succulents and Other Faux Florals: Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby, and A.C. Moore

Izzie’s new bowl placemat: Marshall’s

“Pantry” Stacking Baskets: Homegoods



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