My 90’s Kitchen Remodel

When we bought our house in 1996, a beautiful Southern Colonial…

we fell in love with the large trees and expansive yard.

What we didn’t fall in love with was the kitchen.

My husband hated the dark dated 80’s cabinets and blue and white windmill tile backsplash.

Being the frugal person that I am, I didn’t mind the tiles and wanted to live with it for awhile.

(2018 Kitchen Before Make Over)

Persuaded that the updates “had” to be done, we made over the kitchen in true 90’s fashion.

Victorian was the trend, so a nice tea cup border and complimentary wallpaper was installed.

To keep costs low, we decided to keep the original footprint and the 6″ x 6″ terra cotta tile floor.

I was young and inexperienced.

Because we didn’t have a lot of expendable money

we’ve spent the last few years doing minor changes.

The first to go was the tea cup border and terra cotta floors.

We had large 18″ x 18″ tiles installed to help the small kitchen look bigger.

Since I knew I wanted to eventually go with a lighter counter top,

a darker color was used on the floor.

Fast forward to 2018…

It was around this time last year when we started discussing a Kitchen Remodel.

We visited a Kitchen Showroom and talked to a designer on how we could refigure our kitchen.

We have a large peninsula in our small kitchen with cabinets overhead.  (a 80’s trend)

It gives us a lot of great counter space and storage.

The problem, it closes off the kitchen and doesn’t allow natural light to come in.

And…if you’re taller than 5′ 2” (which isn’t a problem for me) it’s hard to have a

conversation with anyone in the dining room.  It completely blocks their view.

We made arrangements for the designer to come and look at our kitchen. 

The first thing she said was “your kitchen has a good flow”.  (her first mistake)

She drew up 3 designs for our approval.  None of the designs really had what we wanted.

She didn’t come up with a solution for all the cabinets that I’d be giving up.  (mistake #2)

We’d also need to re-do the kitchen tile and patch the wood floor in the dining room.

Not to mention the fact that we’d spend $20K plus to have the work done.

We weren’t sure we had the energy for a complete remodel of this scale.

(I’m not young and inexperienced anymore.)

So after a lot of contemplation and discussion, we decided to try cleaning the cabinets.

We used Murphy Oil Multi-Use Wood Cleaner* to clean the cabinets and

Rejuvenate Cabinet & Furniture Restorer* to give them back their original shine.

It took several days of cleaning and polishing the cabinets. (2-3 coats for a good shine)

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the cabinets looked.

We had originally discussed painting the cabinets and decided to “try” cleaning and polishing

them first.   My husband had promised, that if I wasn’t happy we could try painting them.

I was happy with the results of the cleaning and polishing.

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Then for $220 we added new polish nickel hardware to replace the old brass ones.

We also installed new LED lighting under the peninsula.

Since I was saving so much money…I splurged by picking a beautiful quartz counter top.

It looks lovely with my red and white dishes.

Next, came the issue of the kitchen sink. 

I wanted a off-white “bisque” porcelain sink to complement the beautiful counter top.

We looked around at several of the big box Home Improvement Stores.

We finally found the sink I wanted, only to find out that because of a fire

in one of the main manufacturing locations the sink wouldn’t be available until June.

I’d waited this long what’s a little more. 

Then…I found out I couldn’t get the sink until July, then we were told they weren’t sure

when it would be available, then I was told November.  (Say What?)

I’ve had a “busy” looking kitchen for so long, what I wanted now was clean and simple.

Picking a tile should of been easy. 

I had it narrowed down to 2 or 3 tiles depending on how the sink dilemma went.

I was told to wait before choosing to see how everything went together.

Not wanting to wait until November, we decided to go with a in-stock white porcelain sink.

We paid to have the white sink installed and it didn’t look bad.

All I had to do was decide on the tile.

Within a few days of the sink installation, I noticed spots around the edges of the sink. 

It looked like rust.

The plumber came back out, re-caulked the sink and low and behold the spots came back.

My husband called the manufacturer of the sink, we had a couple options,

we could take the sink out and paint the bottom and see if that solved the problem

or they could send us a new sink.

During the conversation with the customer service guy,

my husband mentioned that we originally had wanted the “bisque” sink.

“I can send you the bisque sink if you want?”  

It was decided to send the bisque sink (which costs almost double than white).

In the meantime…the white sink had started to grow on us

and the tile selection had come down to which sink we decided to use.

Porcelain sinks are very heavy, so it wasn’t a “let’s just try it out” kind of decision.

With the plumber charging $400 to install, a final decision had to made in advance.

In the end, we decided to go with the bisque sink and off white subway tile. 

The tile was installed a week before Christmas.

And.. I am Happy!  (phew…what a process)

I love my “new kitchen” and the way the light reflects off the tile and counter.

It is bright and cheery with the clean and simple look I was going for.

Final tally…The cost of the make-over ended up being approximately 1/4 of what a total

kitchen remodel would have been.

On a curious side note… I just got an email last week from the kitchen designer following up on her designs.  (her third mistake)


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The Old Back Porch Make Over

Thanks to my brother’s awesome talents and my father’s save everything mentality…

We took what could have been an eyesore and made it into an asset.

My siblings and I have spent the better part of this year sorting, cleaning, pitching, restoring,

repairing and saving memories (aka lots and lots of stuff) from our childhood home.

The end goal was getting the house ready to be put on the market and sold.  (big sigh!)

We’ve been through every inch of the house, from the attic to the basement.

It’s been quite a job.

To fully appreciate the after, you really need to see the before.

My Dad grew up in the days of screened-in back porches.

He loved being outside and close to nature.  (He also was a saver.)

As I came home one hot summer day, I noticed when entering the

back porch the familiar smell of Grandma’s old porch.

A little surprised, he told me that he’d just replaced a board using one he’s saved

from her old porch.  Funny how smells can trigger memories.

Over the years, as my parents aged, the old porch had become utilitarian.

It was a great place to hold stuff, like all the extra folding chairs for when everyone was over.

As we’ve moved from top to bottom and out the back door…

I wasn’t sure we’d ever get to the back porch.  I wasn’t sure I had the energy.

But my brother saw potential.

When my brother decided to paint the outside of the porch, I didn’t see the point.

After a little discussion, I finally saw the vision and agreed to help him.

We emptied out the porch and removed all the windows so they could be thoroughly cleaned.

What a difference that made.

The old silver screen door was taken down and replaced by the newly repainted storm door

that had previously been on the door between the house and the porch.

We also removed the extra blocks under the porch placed to keep the critters out.

Next, we added lattice and mums around the porch.

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The inside of the porch was unfinished.

My brother reused and installed old paneling that he’d removed from his house 19 years ago.

My Dad had kept the old paneling in his garage all that time intending to use it on his porch.

Born during the depression, dad grew up saving things that still had use in them.

It’s sometimes a blessing and a curse.

We also repurposed old trim we found in the garage.

(And by “we”…I mean mainly my brother.)

The trim was painted a clean crisp white and the walls a creamy off white.

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The floor was painted a nice medium gray.     (not sponsored by Valspar)

Valspar Porch and Floor Latex Satin Enamel*

I talked my brother into adding a ledge under the kitchen window that looks onto the porch.

After adding a rug and a couple of chairs for reading, I realized just how cozy it was.

I’ve sat out here several times already just enjoying the fall foliage.

We’ve all commented on how much my parents would have enjoyed it.


Thanks to Dad’s thriftiness, the whole project including mums cost us around $100.

And yes, Steve, you were right.

We put the house on the market last week.                               (picture borrowed from listing)

The new listing calls the old back porch “a charming three season room”.

It turned out pretty good if I say so myself.

This current season in our lives as we let go of the house has been challenging.

But as my youngest sister said, “I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else but you.”

If you liked this post you might like to read “making a place for Dad’s coffee”.


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Vintage School Desk Make-Over

I was looking for a project when I went into the Goodwill that day.

I saw the old desk sitting there in back.   I looked it over and left.

It wasn’t until later that night when I envisioned the completed project in my head.

I ran back over the next morning.

The desk was in pretty rough shape from years of use and abuse.

The three holes in the front of the desk intrigued me…

Was it a combination of several kids over the years or one very bored individual.

How long did it take?

The top was screwed onto the base with 4 screws.  I contemplated how I was

going to fit my hand in the opening to unscrew it.  (I’m including this picture

just in case I’m not the only one. )  Under the desk, were four holes for inserting

an extra long screwdriver into the hole to unscrew the top.  Duh!

I picked up some additional supplies at my local home store.                                   (*affiliate link)

I sanded off the majority of the rust with a Palm Sander*.  (hand sanding would work as well)

Spray the base of the metal  desk with Forged Hammered Antique Pewter Spray Paint*.

This was the first time I’d used a textured spray paint.  I really like the finish.

To keep the project simple, instead of cutting and gluing boards together…

I picked up a large piece of Solid Aspen that was ready to go and just the right length.

I enlisted the help of my brother to help me cut the board.

For those of you that don’t have a circular saw, a regular hand saw could be used instead.

We cut the top 18″ x 24″ and the bottom shelf 15″ x 24″.

If you don’t have any of those fancy corner templates, use the edge of the spray paint can

as a template to mark the rounded corners.

A power sander was used to round the edges of the board.

You could also use a coping saw to cut off the corner and sand smooth with a sanding block.

For a smooth finished edge…  I used a router.

Prepare the wood for staining by lightly sanding the surface.  Sand in the direction of the grain.

Remove all the sanding dust with a clean damp rag.    (read all the directions on the can)

Apply stain on the wood with brush or clean lint free rag.   Allow the stain to  penetrate

the wood for 3-5 minutes before wiping excess stain off.   Allow time for the wood to dry.

Apply a coat of polyurethane over the surface of the wood.

After the polyurethane dries, smooth the surface with a fine steel wool.

Wipe surface and apply a second coat of polyurethane.

After all the pieces were dry…

I screwed the top back onto the base and added the shelf to the bottom bar. 

I added a couple of flat rectangle baskets in the desk opening for storage.

I love the vintage industrial feel of this piece.

No longer a desk.  It makes a great side piece.

*Disclaimer:  This post uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

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Quick and Easy Make Up Bag Make-Over

It’s the little things in life that make me happy…

I was packing and getting ready for my last trip when I noticed how dingy my make up bag

was.  Yuck!   It was time for a change.  (My make up needed a make-over.)

Looking around, I found this cute little pink ticking canvas bag from Canvas Corp Brands.

The bag was the perfect size, but kind of simple.  It needed a little make-over, too.

To add a little extra personality, I used iron-on letters from Joy with lace and buttons.

I glued the lace trim and buttons on my bag using Beacon Fabri-Tac Adhesive*.

A very quick and easy project to do and now my makeup bag is “BEAUTIFUL”.

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A cute and easy make-over done in minutes.   (If only getting ready was that easy!)

JOY Embroidered letters can be found at your local craft stores in a variety of sizes, colors, simple and decorative fonts.

“This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Joy® Design Team I have been provided product and compensation in exchange for my creative ideas.  The views and opinions are my own.

FREE Shipping & FREE Returns Every Day on Fine Art Prints & Wall Murals with code SHIPFREE at Minted!

DIY: Mini Crate Make-Over

Red Crate 5878

DIY Mini Crate Make Over…

Because sometimes a girl changes her mind.

crate 4158

It all started with this…  My Sweet Earth Day Tea Party Crate. (←original post)

A cute cream and pink crate with a pretty pink flower.

It was perfect for what I wanted at the time.

But… always resourceful, I decided to reuse the mini crate* (*affiliate link) in my work space.

Because my work space has a vintage vibe… a mini make over was in order.

Paint with Red Chalk Paint 5173

I took off the flower embellishment and gave the mini crate* a light sanding.

Then I painted the crate with FOLKART Home Decor Chalk, Imperial*.

Being an impatient crafter, I was tempted to start my next color right away.  Make sure to wait.

Allow a couple of hours for the piece to dry before adding the next color.  (trust me)

Paint a thin coat of black paint 5182

Next, I gave the crate a light coating with Black Home Décor paint.

Use a small paint brush to get into those corners.

With a soft, damp, clean cloth, wipe off the black paint to give it an aged distressed look.

I used Tattered Angels Décor in Ebony*.

extra red highlights5200

If you start to think it looks to dark, just add highlights with the red paint directly over the

ebony paint.  If you like a matte finish, you can stop right here.

I wanted a little more sheen, so I applied FOLKART Plaid Clear Home Decor Wax*.

With the wax, you apply a thin coat, wait one hour and buff with a clean soft cloth.

I’ve always loved furniture with that aged red finish and wanted to give it a try.

Now that I’ve started with something small, (which is always a good idea)

I’ve got my eye on a couple more pieces I’d like to refinish.

FYI:  If you’d like a mini crate like mine you can get it at online at Amazon* or Walnut Hollow.

This project was sponsored by Walnut Hollow, Canvas Corp and Plaid. 

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Disclaimer:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

Ugly Chair Make-Over

Ugly Chair Before

I picked up this ugly green chair last fall at a garage sale for only one dollar.

The man who sold it to me that morning wanted to hurry up and sell it before his wife came home

from taking the kids to school and changed her mind.

To him, it was an ugly chair.  To me, I saw possibilities.

As luck would have it, the very same week-end, I picked up a wonderful length of red and cream

ticking fabric for 50 cents.  It was perfect, it was meant to be.

But…because I just couldn’t cut the lovely fabric just yet,

I left the project in the garage to marinate over the winter.

Beautiful Chair After

I discovered in the process of recovering the chair that it used to have a red velvet seat.  (yuck!)

It was gross.  I took everything off and added new foam before re-covering the seat.

The chair was glued, reinforced and painted with red paint left over from previous projects.

Last night I put the final coat of red paint on the chair.  (red takes a lot of coats)

I just love it.  Now to find the perfect spot.  Maybe my workshop.

Total cost on the project $4.50.  Not to bad of a bargain.  (Pretty resourceful if I say so myself.)

I can’t decide it I should leave it as is or add some kind of stencil design in the middle.  Thoughts?