A Farm Style Kitchen Makeover

In our home, everything revolves around the kitchen.  Literally, it sits right in the middle of our home, visible from almost every other room on the main level- the family room, the living room, the dining room, the entryway, the garage entry, and the stairs up to the bedroom- all roads lead to the kitchen.  And because of our unique tri-level layout, the kitchen is raised up a bit, looking down over the other rooms as if to say “Attention everyone!  I’M the heart of this home!”  And it’s true- it is.  We are endlessly cooking, baking, eating, and packing lunches.  We sit at the kitchen table and do homework, play games, blog, design quilts, do crafts, do the taxes, do just about everything.

So to be able to finally strip away the 80s vibe and give it a farm-style makeover, was truly a dream come true.  I’ve been pinning apron front sinks, subway tiles, charming vintage hardware, and light-colored stone counter tops for years.  Finally, my pinning turned to doing- my husband and I rolled our sleeves up and dove in, diy style!

So here’s the old kitchen, well, before we even moved in actually.  This is what it looked like the day we made an offer on the house.  I was impressed at how they’d made the best of what they had- it wasn’t horrible.  It was bright and clean, the light colored cabinets were nice, and the appliances were updated, thank goodness, but OH MY were those some purple soffits!  Purple purple purple, accompanied by a 1980 faux wood laminate counter top and backsplash.

Kitchen Before Collage

Well, we moved in, ripped out the cream floor tile, added dark hand-scraped hardwood floors, painted those soffits white, and changed the light fixture.  And it was…better.  Not amazing, but better.  It remained in this state for about 6 months, and all the while I dreamed, I pinned, and set aside every spare penny toward the “Mom’s Farm Kitchen” fund.

Kitchen Before 1

Kitchen Before 2

Kitchen Before 3

Kitchen Before 4

Kitchen Before 5

Kitchen Before 6

Finally, though, we took the next step.

I call this a “mini makeover” because we didn’t change the cabinets.  They are original to the house, so they don’t have any fancy modern features like self-closing drawers, or pull-out shelves, and they don’t go up to the ceiling, which is kinda sad, but then again, they’re fine.  The plain door style is nice and neutral, and to be honest, we didn’t have $25k for major construction and all new cabinets! But rather than sit around and be sad about it, waiting years, we just decided to do an affordable makeover anyway.  We wanted to enjoy a fresh, gorgeous kitchen now!  So we rolled up our sleeves, did some serious bargain shopping online, and made it happen.  A fresh coat of paint on the cabs, retro-inspired hardware, our dream marble countertops, a fabulous single basin sink and bridge faucet (thanks Amazon!), and a fresh white subway tile backsplash (so cheap at Home Depot!).  The result is so much prettier than I’d anticipated it could be for how little we spent.

Kitchen After 1

Kitchen After 2

Kitchen After 4

Kitchen After 7

Picking hardware was a snap- as soon as I ran across these pretty deco pulls- and then saw the ridiculously affordable price- I was sold.  They feel heavy and solid- so glad I found them (or did they find me?).

Kitchen After 10

But the countertops were another story- they were the most difficult decision, by far.  We spent months researching and visiting stone warehouses.  I must have changed my mind 7 or 8 times.  Dark or light?  Granite?  Quartz?  Quartzite?  From the very beginning, the look of marble captured me, but I was quickly freaked out by all of the scary online discussion threads and rehearsed speeches from sales people.  Marble will etch, it will scratch, they told me…”you don’t want it in your kitchen” they said.  So I put marble on the backburner for awhile…but the fire never completely went out.

Kitchen After 3

We were visiting our local stone warehouse, yet again, to look at slabs of Super White Quartzite.  I’d heard mention of it on quite a few websites as a good durable substitute for marble, but  in person it was more like super gray than super white.  Really really gray, the *marbling* was, um, busy, almost aggressive-looking to me!  And then there was the price- a level 6 out of 7, with 7 being the priciest exotic stones available.  Yikes!  I looked at it, and looked at it, and looked at it.  Why was this not as euphoric as I thought it would be?  If it’s crazy durable, perhaps the not-so-marble-ish factor, and the astronomical price, were worth it?  THANK HEAVENS the sales woman looked me in the eye and said, “You know, we’ve actually had reports of this Quartzite etching, so it most definitely is NOT indestructible.  Can I show you what I’m getting for my kitchen?”….and she led us back to the marbles (I held my breath!), to a slab called Mountain White.  I exhaled….Wow!  Now THIS is the feeling I was hoping for when I picked out a slab.  The embers of my hope were fanned when she explained that this marble was from a quarry in Danby, Vermont, and is said to be the hardest of all the marbles (definitely more so than Carrara)- it we take care of it, it will do just fine in a kitchen.

photo (5)

We went home that night, jumped online to try and settle the jitters after FINALLY having put a slab on hold, a marble slab no less, and found this blog post to be a scale-tipper.  I loved reading about how this blogger and her husband bounced around town, visiting local bars and foodie spots to examine the wear on those marble bar and table tops.  They looked in this light and that, cocked their heads this way and that to examine the etching and staining, and asked themselves, could they live with this kind of wear everyday?  YES was their answer, and is mine as well.  Marble is gorgeous- there is nothing that can compare to that timeless look and cool touch.  It’s a natural stone with so much history and character.  It’s been used on tables, bars, counters, floors, and even building exteriors in Europe for hundreds, even thousands of years- and it’s just as beautiful now as it was the day it was installed.  Yes, it etches, and it scratches- it shows wear over time, “patina”, if you will, but isn’t that what I’m going for anyway?  I’m the lady who sands the heck out of a freshly painted piece of furniture, hoping to make it look as old and worn as humanly possible.?  To me, the patina is just part of the character, and I refuse to be uptight about it.  Yes, we’ll follow recommended care instructions and treat it with respect, but we won’t be afraid of our marble- we’ll enjoy it!

Speaking of enjoyment, there’s nothing like an apron-front sink to add to the joy factor for this farmy-wannabe lady!

Kitchen After 5

We found this one fit just perfectly into our standard 36″ cabinetry, and didn’t have to make any crazy modifications for it to fit, other than cut out the top front of the cabinet.  It’s a self-trimming sink- so has a convenient edge on the front that covers the raw edges of your cutout opening.

The faucet we chose is this one by Danze after reading tons of great reviews on Amazon.  Sure enough, when it arrived I couldn’t have been happier.  It’s super heavy and feels really high quality- even the sprayer.

Kitchen After 6

Kitchen After 8

Yes, I’ve put pretty little doilies and napkins under the pieces that didn’t have rubber pads…just to be safe.  I know, it will probably scratch eventually, but no need to invite it right off the bat!  Plus, I think they add to the vintage farmy look. :)

Kitchen After 9

Yup, EVERYONE is enjoying the new kitchen!  Hehehe :)

Kitchen After 12

Kitchen After 11

Thanks for stopping by to check out what we’ve been up to!  Hope your week is filled with some excitement and beauty as well!

XO

Comments

  1. Love your kitchen. I took the leap several years back and purchased a marble topped dinner table. I love it. It has a few etching from lemonade and a few scratches from sewing but when cleaning or serving dinner, they bring up old memories. I would not trade for the world.

  2. New kitchen is beautiful !! Babies in the sink…priceless!!!

  3. It’s gorgeous!!! Love the sink and LOVE LOVE LOVE the marble!! So pretty!!

  4. Love the babies in the sink! Must be a big one to fit them both. We have a stainless steel countertop we have been warned about, but we still love it after 8 years of use. Of course it scratched a little here and there, but nothing major. Love the marble of course, but it was totally out of our league, pricewise, at the time. Lovely kitchen, enjoy it!

  5. It’s beautiful! I’m sure the marble will be just fine. People get all worked up about nothing sometimes. :)

  6. linda-kaye says:

    Perfect sink for bathing babies! ;) Your kitchen is beautiful, such a sunny happy place. It seems to radiate your personality!

  7. Lynne Tilley says:

    Absolutely love the kitchen, just my style, and the babies are adorable! Congratulations on a great makeover!

  8. Kathy Fair says:

    Beautiful, your little guys are loving their bath. :)

  9. I’ve been to the quarry in Danby. They have some amazing stuff there. The make over looks fantastic. Great job.

  10. Love the kitchen and the sink babies! I have been through the same thought process. We currently have laminate that looks like granite and I really want white marble or something that looks like it. Thanks for sharing your decision making!

  11. Glad you finally got a kitchen you love, including your marble :o)

  12. dannie996 says:

    Amy, you and you hubby did a great job with the kitchen, & I love your soffit color. Much better than purple, lol. Looks like the boys are loving the makeover too!

  13. Great kitchen. We’re giving a farmhouse look to our living room right now by putting up wood planks and painting them.

  14. Your kitchen make over is wonderful, but those babies are a true delight to see. I’ll have to go back and read up on the marble, and when we built our home, that is all I wanted was a farm sink, but long story, it didn’t happen at the time, but just may be in our near future!!!

  15. beautiful, your kitchen was in great shape, you should see mine. I need to update but since I was hospitalized the month of june that might never happen. too bad I live so far away I would have taken your old tops, so much better than what I have! use it well, looks like your boys are already!!!
    it’s beautiful!

  16. Looks great. You old look is what I have pretty much.

  17. Debbie Simmons says:

    Great job! And your boys are so cute!!!

  18. Love your kitchen! I think even the cabinets look great. Your counter tops are amazing. Thanks for all the info on marble. I never knew!

  19. Nice work, you have now a wonderful kitchen. But the best of all are your handsome babies! Kissable, huggable, lovable!!! Kiss them for me, please…

  20. Cheri Fleming says:

    Great kitchen! I love the little guys having such a good time in the sink! Love those babies

  21. The kitchen looks fantastic, what a great job! It looks very English Victorian. We used to have a sink like that in our old house in Ireland and I used to bath my babies in it too….so cute!

  22. You did wonderful. Your new kitchen looks great. Isn’t DIY so satisfying knowing that you designed it and did your way. Re-did my kitchen couple years back and saved so much doing it myself.

  23. Love your new kitchen! We did something similar to our 80s kitchen. Our solution for above the cabinets was to tear out the sheet rock and installed “boxes” or cubbies above them. Our backslash is bead board and we continued the lines up into the boxes. The are open in the front so it is a great place to store little pretties. It also makes the room look tall.

  24. Hi Amy, what a gorgeous makeover and so nicely described! I’ve been reading your blog ever since I enrolled in your Craftsy BOM class, but think this is the first time I comment. The last photos are adorable!

  25. Sharon L Russo says:

    The kitchen is perfect, speaking as a retired kitchen and bath designer and owner. BUT, there is nothing like a baby in the kitchen sink…AND you have TWO beautiful babies in the sink!!!!

  26. Hi Amy – It looks fabulous. M husband is a kitchen designer, and always tells his clients to go to check the slab of granite, quartz, marble, etc., because once the piece is cut, it’s yours.
    I love the cabinets, the counters, apron sink and hardware. Beautiful make-over.

    Best,
    Anne

  27. Simply gorgeous! I will be pinning yours now while I scrimp and save ;) So lovely to see your dream realized. Makes my heart happy for you!

  28. Beautiful – what a difference. A big thanks for all the links to the products you used, very helpful.

  29. Your kitchen makeover is really beautiful! Love the way the marble counter & farmhouse sink brighten up the kitchen. The cherry on top is your darling boys, who are loving their new bathtub too.

  30. Ann Becker says:

    Love the make over. I redid my last house and put in a farmhouse sink. I had dreams of my baby granddaughter taking a bath in that huge sink. Well she did. However, she started splashing and splashing. She splashed so hard that I ended up totally soaked. The new floor in the kitchen was a danger zone. We laughed and laughed. It was fun…but I never attempted that again. Back to the old fashioned footed tub.

  31. That is a beautiful kitchen! You are very wise to do what you can now and live in it and enjoy it than to wait for the “perfect” kitchen budget. I did the same thing recently and LOVE all my improvements and choices….

  32. Love it!

  33. Your new kitchen is beautiful! Good for you not giving up on what you truly wanted.

  34. Your kitchen looks fabulous! Nothing compares to the look of marble. I went through the same thing you did with everyone telling me I was crazy to choose marble. Finally someone asked if we’d ever looked at a pizza kitchen and how they always had marble countertops. I’m so glad I went with my gut decision and got the carrera. Yes, it etches, but it sure is great to roll out pie crust, etc.

  35. Seriously so beautiful, you made amazing choices! Babies in the sink is too adorable, going to weep broodily in my ugly kitchen now!!

  36. farmquilter says:

    I live on a farm and my kitchen doesn’t look like that!! I love your kitchen! I really want an apron sink, but I need it double (no dishwasher), deep and wide (to get my canning pots in it). Adore your sink and faucet! For baking, nothing beats marble – so cool and beautiful. So, what did you do with your microwave? The drawer pulls and back splash are perfect! Love it!! Congratulations!!!

  37. Amy, you definitely have a gift for design/ decorating. Maybe a sideline for your quilting career?
    I have a white kitchen that could use a little updating, and you’ve given me some great ideas. I wasn’t sure we could paint over our cabinets, as they are showing a little wear after 17 years, but I think a fresh coat of white would make a huge difference. And the granite countertops are really a brighter, fresher look. Love the color! You installed the backsplash yourself? Beautiful. I had never heard of an apron sink, but it is perfect for the retro look.
    And aqua KitchenAid mixer? Awesome!
    Thanks for sharing. Must feel so good to have your kitchen dream come true.

  38. Oh, and one more thing…
    Great pictures of your boys in the sink! Such smiles!

  39. Mary Ann Stafford says:

    I love that your redo looks so fresh and clean and beautiful, just like those precious babies.

  40. Oh your posts never fail to make me smile. Those boys in the sink . . . too cute for words! And the other thing I thought as you were describing your kitchen cabinets not going all the way to the ceiling? Mine go all the way to the ceiling, and those top shelves are getting pretty much useless as I age and shrink :)

  41. It looks great! It is such fun to make something your own! That is why, even though building was so stressful, I secretly loved it. Our house screams us and even people who come visit says that. I do hate the remodeling, as this is the 1st and only house I have ever built. All the other places I lived it was a remodel job. While nice to put your own spin on it, the whole living there while doing it adds a whole other stress factor. Its nice when your finished, but are we ever finished with our homes. NO! We are still adding things and moving stuff around, and its only been 6 mths. I think like us our homes are always a work in progress! Great job on the kitchen!!!

  42. Beverly Cotton says:

    Terrific new look! In FL, the space above your cabinets is referred to as “plant shelves” these days I’ve been looking at new homes and you see that term in the Features part of the listing. I think its a great space to show off “stuff!” I also have a 30″ single bowl stainless sink. It’s “the bomb.” My husband has put one in every house we’ve lived in. Who ever thought a double bowl sink was a good idea!? Obviously someone who doesn’t do big dishes or wash babies. Lol. My mother had pink marble end tables & coffee tables. They were beautiful & extremely heavy. Water marks from glasses were an issue but I believe a liquid wax like Jubilee or bar wax was put on as protection. Needless to say, your remodeling is right on!

  43. Amy your kitchen looks great, enjoy using it and spending time there.

  44. superbe cuisine
    Bravo pour tous ces aménagements, et vos bébés dans l’évier sont adorables
    bizzz
    Cécile

  45. You and your husband did a GREAT job, Amy! I have always felt the same way about Marble for my kitchen counters, AS WELL as the apron front sink! That is what was in my Grandmother’s house when I was growing up, and I LOVED IT when I started seeing them come back into vogue! Now, to complete my perfect kitchen, I must have a brand new Heartland wood and coal cookstove, complete with a warming oven and a reservoir! I grew up with a Guelph wood and coal cookstove, and that’s what I learned to cook on. Of course, we also had our gas stove, but we used the wood stove more than the gas stove, in the winter. The gas stove was used more in the summer, because we would have DIED cooking on the wood stove in the summer—we lived in the hot spot of Canada; Lytton, British Columbia, where the average July temperature was 105 deg. F!

  46. SO lovely!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Dawn Frisch says:

    Oh Amy!!! What a beautiful kitchen!! You certainly deserve to have what you have dreamed about!! I can see you in the kitchen baking and preparing dinner for your family. It really suits you now! You guys did great work too! You have a beautiful home and a more beautiful family that you must be so proud of!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I’m so happy for you!
    Hugs,
    Dawn : )

  48. Super informative post! I have a kitchen and two bathrooms to do…sometime…this looks great!

    • I love you new kitchen make over. Its so fresh and clean and that sink is just to die for. To have a sink that big is in my wildest dreams. Our kitchen is barley that big where we live let alone the sink. Its so beautiful the white with the marble counter tops. Great job…….

  49. What a nice kitchen you now have. It was nice before, so now I guess I’ll say beautiful! I want marble counters, also. They give the room a lot of class.

  50. Everything looks amazing! I am so happy for you. And Im pressed you went with the marble, I wussed out and did white Vermont granite (which actually has chips out in two places anyway, both within months of the install, jeez!). You’re right, just enjoy and don’t worry about imperfections, that’s what I do with most everything anyway!

  51. Love the makeover! We redid some of the kitchen in the first house we bought. I am itching to move back in and do it right! We did a countertop, painted the walls, changed the hardware, but we need to paint more and probably replace the fridge.

  52. Love, love, love it!!! What an amazing difference just a few touches make! The sink is incredible…and even better with those cute babies in it!

  53. Your kitchen looks gorgeous! I admire y’all for doing so many DIY projects. I think it gives the home such a personal feel. I’m loving that huge sink and the sweet happy baby cakes bathing in it! Talk about a back saver! I’m jealous ;) Enjoy girl, you deserve it!

  54. I think you mean “pining” for a new kitchen :D and it does look great. I absolutely love the sink, that’s my favorite part!

    • Ah, yes, pining would work too! :) Though I did mean “pinning”, as in pinning photos on Pinterest.com :) It’s a really fun way to keep track of inspirational photos- I have used it a lot to get ideas for home decor and remodeling projects. :)

      Glad you like the kitchen, and thanks for stopping by!

      Amy

  55. Becky Thompson says:

    Love the makeover! I was wondering what was keeping you busy these days. My entire house is so dark inside – living in South Texas with our hot sun, hubs put dark sun screens on all the windows. Looks great from the outside but all the light inside the house is yellow. Combine that with yellow oak cabinets and a very dark brown/black granite countertop, my kitchen is just DARK. No amount of light coming through the window helps. I mentioned a fresh white coat of paint on the cabinets and hubs was adamantly against it. I don’t have the energy to do it myself and am too cheap to pay someone else. So…I sit here with my dark kitchen and live vicariously through your bright and sunny light kitchen!

  56. Girlfran! Gorgeous kitchen. This is my dream kitchen too. One day, I hope. Love the babes in the sink too! No better place to bathe little heinies!